‘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.

#82: Missing, Part 3

Dragon Father was jumping up and down in place in frustration. He could not contain his emotion at having his daughter disappear while he was away. He had just searched for her at the bottom of the ocean, and even though she was not there, he was no doubt still living through the agony of imagining her dead. 

“JOY!” he screamed at the top of his voice, and his voice, because it was his dream, echoed throughout the earth, the suns, the moon, and the stars. 

“JOY!” his voice reached out to all corners of his dream. 

Then he stopped and listened. 

My hearing ist far better than any human’s, and there was not a whisper flying on the wind that he could have heard. 

Then a man’s voice came, muffled: “Pirate! Pirate!” 

Dragon Father raised his back, looking all around him. 

It took him a second to realize where the voice was coming from. Then he sprinted down the stairs and into the Infinite Corridor, past my ability to see him. 

Immediately he called, “Who called me? Who called me?” He could identify the one voice from the hundreds of villains they had imprisoned in the belly of the ship. 

“I did,” the voice said again. 

Dragon Father ran a hundred meters or so to the villain who spoke to him. “General Hawk! Do you know where Joy is?”

“I do. There is nothing to worry, Pirate. Your Nestling is unharmed.”

“Did you take her?!” Dragon Father bellowed at him. 

“No, no, I would not have kidnapped children in my worst days. She wanted to explore how far this prison goes. She set off down the corridor hours ago. 

“Hours ago?!”


I could hear Dragon Father’s breathing slow down. “That’s all she did?”

“That is all. Your Nestling is quite curious.”

“Yes, she is…” Dragon Father’s voice was now closer to his normal voice. Then, anger came out of him, “Why didn’t you tell me before, General Hawk?!”

“I wanted to see how much you cared,” the General said simply. 

Dragon Father snarled at him. 

I heard him running again, but not back towards the deck, away from it. “Thanks for telling me,” he yelled. 

He ran and ran and ran. He ran for two hours and still there was nothing. 

But he did not stop running. 

Sigh. Telling you stories of fear rather than joy are taxing. I will tell you what he found tomorrow. 

—Told by The Red Dragon

#83: Missing, Part 4

#81: Missing, Part 2