‘The Squashbuckler Diaries’ are the daily tales of Joy Shelley’s Life in the Dream. The ‘Lost in Dreams’ books will tell the story of what happens to her at ages 6, 9, 12, 15, and so on. The diaries tell us what happens before, after, and between the books.

#32: Return of the Red Dragon

One day, shortly after breakfast, the sky darkened. One moment, Dragon Father and Dragon Little were on Bonny’s Revenge, sailing on a serene ocean. The next, entire battalions of man-sized flies filled the sky, blackening out the sun and my view of Dragon Little and her father.

The man-sized flies wore uniforms, held laser guns, and brought massive starships behind them.

“They’ve come for us,” I heard Dragon Father say through the incessant buzz that filled the air now.

“Remember the pirates we took Bonny’s Revenge from?” Dragon Father asked.

There was no response from Dragon Little. If she shook her head or nodded, I could no longer see.

“They worked for these guys, the Flying Flies. I knew one day they’d be back. Now they are.”

“Let’s get them, Dad! Fire up the ship!” There was no fear in Dragon Little’s voice. She had never lost a battle, protected by her father’s dreaming. How would she know it was even possible, if she had never experienced it?

“We can’t,” Dragon Father’s voice was somber. “We’re outmanned, and our guns and weapons are not enough to even put a dent in their forces. We’ll lose.”


“Well… if we don’t get any help, that is.”

“Really?” Dragon Little was excited. I felt a happy chill run down my long spine. I believe I knew what would happen before it happened.

“Here. You blow.”

“No, no. You do it.”

“All right.”

And then I heard. The sound of the Horn reverberate through the entire Dream. It was the Horn that was used to summon me.

I leaped into the air from my hiding place, behind the suns’ bright lights, and I spread my wings.

It has been almost a year since I had really flown, and my muscles ached for it.

I gained speed and dove through the gathering army of Flying Flies.

Those who were unfortunate enough to be struck by me fell, but not as fast as I. I dove past the flying battalions surrounding the and then they were behind me. I could see Bonny’s Revenge again.

In two seconds, I stopped just above the water, my body and wings slightly bigger than their ship, my face mere centimeters from my two favorite people.

“How are you doing, my Dragon Little?” I asked and smiled.

Dragon Little’s smile was even greater. She jumped on my nose and hugged my head. “Red! Red! I missed you!”

“I missed you too, little one. I am glad to see you once more.”

“Mmmmmmmm!” Dragon Little hugged me and could not stopped.

I laughed. I never laugh, but I laughed. Her love warmed me.

“Hello, Dragon Father. It is nice to see you, as well.”

“Hey, Red,” he said. “I’m glad to see you, and I’m glad you could make it. As you can see, the situation’s bad. We need reinforcements. Are you willing to help?”

“Of course,” I said.

Dragon Little disconnected, climbed up my head and sat behind it. There was groove in my scales, created by my former enslavers, so they could ride me and control me. Now no one controls me. Dragon Little sat in it, shouting, “I’m riding with Red!”

I laughed again.

Soon the battle would begin, but I grow tired of telling. Memories seep my strength. I will tell you what happened tomorrow.

—Told by The Red Dragon

See how I came up with the idea for this post:

#33: Wrath of the Red Dragon

#31: Giving Back the Treasure