‘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.

#64: Justin's Dark mood #4: Parenting Advice from a Murderer

The day of Dragon Father’s dark, moody obsession was not over. I have seen dreamers before. I have seen obsessed dreamers who have nothing on their minds during that day but their obsession. 

It was that sort of dream for Dragon Father that day. Except that other dreamers do not have to continue to talk to a real girl who lives in their dreams. Nor do they have to talk to remnants of dreams from years before that have stayed behind...

Following Dragon Little’s unusual reaction to his behavior, he had stormed down to the Infinite Prison at the belly of Bonny’s Revenge

Dragon Little remained on the deck, gloomily looking at the impenetrable castle Dragon Father was trying to penetrate.

She did could see and could not hear what Dragon Father did in the Infinite Prison. I could not see, either. But I could hear. 

I heard him kicking steel bars. 

I heard him stomping back and forth, clearly in frustration. 

And then I heard another voice. 

“Pirate,” the voice said. I recognized that voice well. “Pirate, it is not easy to be a parent.”

The stomping stopped. 

There were many creatures in the Infinite Prison. Villains all. Creatures of Dragon Father’s dreams that he and Dragon Little have captured over time, creatures that have stayed behind forever, and were locked forever as well in the ship’s Infinite Prison. I would recognize the voices of all. But one I recognized fastest, for over time he has become Dragon Little’s good friend when Dragon Father was awake. 

“Today, you failed in being a parent,” the villain continued. 

“Well, thank you, General Hawk, for that amazing insight,” snarled Dragon Father. “I was really hoping to get parenting advice from a mass murderer!”

“Hmmmm…” General Hawk said calmly, choosing to ignore the accusation. “The day is not over. The work is not done. You have mistreated the Nestling. Now you have to apologize and treat her well.”

“I do not have to apologize! She--”

“It does not matter if she did something terrible. It is not important.”

“I had to--”

“It does not matter what you have to do. Not even a little, Pirate.

“You don’t understand--”

“It does not matter what I don’t understand, Pirate.”

Dragon Father exploded, “Why don’t you just SHUT UP AND LET ME THINK!”

“It does not matter that I shut up, Pirate. And it does not matter what you think,” General Hawk continued as calmly as before. “Only one thing matters. And she matters more than anything you think or feel or need or want. You are her father. And she matters more than anything you are or have or desire.”

There was a short silence. 

“You understand me, don’t you, Pirate?” 

Another short silence. 

“You know I am right?”

A third short silence, followed by a very humble and soft, “Yes.”

“Then you know what you have to do. Go, Pirate, go!”

I heard steps. Calm, this time, and slow. Dragon Father was walking towards the exit of the Infinite Corridor. 

I heard him climb the first step, when I heard him whisper, “Thank you, General.”

“Mmmmmm…” came the even softer answer.

As for what happened next, I will tell you that tomorrow. 

—Told by The Red Dragon

#65: Justin's Dark Mood #5: Making It Right

#63: Justin’s Dark Mood #3: Joy’s Angry Face