‘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.

#103: Taking the Wheel 3: Aaaaaah!

What I am about to tell you is quite… uhm…

Well…

Embarrassing? Ridiculous? Pathetic? Funny? Unbelievable?

Uhm…

Of all the things I have told you so far about the life of Joy Shelley, the human girl I call my Dragon Little, this is the hardest to tell because… Because I like Dragon Father. He is a good father. And this time… Oh… The thing that happened to him because of Dragon Little…

Uhm…

I will just tell it.

As you recall, two-and-a-half-year-old Dragon Little was left alone on Bonny’s Revenge while Dragon Father was awake and gone from the Dream. She realized she could play with the ship’s wheel and… overturned the ship as it flew above the ocean in a straight line. She was able to save herself by falling into the open sail, right above the mast. Beneath her, the mast’s highest point was just above the water.

There was nothing for her to do for hours except sit on the open sail and wait until Dragon Father would appear to save the day.

And, indeed, after more than six hours, Dragon Father appeared. He appeared in the same spot as always, on the deck, in the same position. But this time, appearing in the same position meant that his feet were up and his head was.

“What the—” was all he succeeded in saying during his fall before his head hit the water, and he disappeared.

Dragon Little made a face. Dragon Father would often disappear when delivered a blow that would kill anyone else. She did not know it, but I have been through dreams and I have seen dreamers - he would disappear when he would wake up. That fall made him wake up.

A few minutes later, he reappeared, in the same position on the same spot on the deck. He fell immediately.

“What the—” was all he succeeded in saying as he fell flat on the moving ocean surface and disappeared.

Dragon Little squeezed into a deep self-hug and frowned.

A minute later Dragon Father reappeared.

This time he swung around as he fell and spotted Dragon Little in mid-air. He pointed to her, mouth open in shock. The water hit him and he disappeared.

Dragon Little covered her eyes.

A few seconds later, she spread her fingers and peered through them.

It was just in time, as Dragon Father reappeared in the same position at the same spot.

He fell, but was ready for it. He swung around in the air, fell into the water, but was able to keep his head above it. Just as his head bobbed above water, the top of the mast struck his head in full force. "Aaaaah!” was all he succeeded in saying before he disappeared.

Dragon Little squeaked and her frown deepened.

A minute later Dragon Father reappeared, as always. He fell, as always, swung around, fell into the water, hands first, and dove in deeper intentionally. Bonny’s Revenge passed over him harmlessly. After a few seconds, he bobbed up, leaping into the air. A jetpack appeared on his back, keeping him flying. .

“Joy!” Dragon Little’s head was looking down at the water, searching to see if he had disappeared. “WHAT DID YOU DO?!”

Dragon Little released a high-pitched squeak and covered her eyes again.

—Told by the Red Dragon.

#104: The Red Dragon's First Days in the Dream

#102: Joy Without Mary: Taking the Wheel