‘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.

#99: How Did You Do That?

Dragon Little - the small, human girl whose real name was Joy Shelley, not yet five years old - my Dragon Little stood with her arms and hands shaking in the middle of a pool of blood. She was covered with blood, none of which was her own, and the pool of red around her was twice the length of her arms. Beyond that and all around the pool was the mangled and slashed body of the giant, flying octopus that had kidnapped her. 

Her sword and small laser pistol lay behind her in the pool of blood. 

She breathed hard and did not move. 

Dragon Father arrived on a jetpack strapped to his back. Dragon Father, of course, is the name I gave Justin Shelly, the father of Drag—of Joy. He is the dreamer. She is the one who stays behind all alone when he is gone and awake. 

Dragon Father almost always arrived at the very last moment to save his daughter. This time he had been held up and arrived too late. 

He landed outside the pool, beyond the body of the Space Octopus. The jetpack disappeared immediately. 

“Joy,” he whispered, in what sounded as both fear and amazement. “How did you do that?”

He pointed at the sword and the gun. The Space Octopus was immune to both. 

She looked at him, still quavering, but didn’t answer. 

“Joy…” he took a step towards her, his voice soft but pressing. “How did you do that?”

She raised her hands and made movements to show him she had used the gun and the sword, but her eyes were blank and her pupils were dilated. 

“Oh, jeez, you’re in shock.” He took a few quick steps and was right next to her in the pool of blood. “Let’s… Let’s go home, Joy. I think we’ve had enough adventures for a while. Okay?”

She dropped her hands and did not respond beyond that. 

He grabbed her shoulders, pressed her close to him, and hugged her tightly. “It’s okay, I’m here. I’m here. I’m sorry I was so late. I’m here. I’m here.” 

She didn’t respond, just allowed herself to be hugged. 

“Okay. Okay. You can tell me later how you killed him, okay?”

She nodded. He hugged her and breathed a huge sigh of relief. “Okay. Okay.”

But all through the time I watched them in his dream, she never did tell him how she killed the octopus. Only she and I saw what happened and Dragon Father never knew. 

—Told by The Red Dragon

#100: Love You More Than Anything

#98: The Snot Eater: Part 5: Conclusion