The Thirteenth Story in the Adventures of the Ambrosial Dragon: A Children’s Fantasy Series
It was one of those rare days when Buddy was at home watching eight-year-old Landon and his 20-month-old sister Dani while everyone else was out.
Grandpa, Dad, and Dad’s cousin Nate went out for lunch and to see a movie, while the kids stayed at home in the Ambrosial Dragon’s care.
Buddy wasn’t much larger than the average collie, but although a dragon, his intelligence and maturity was equivalent to an adult human’s. In fact, given his other worldly nature, there was no estimating just exactly how intelligent Buddy was, or for that matter, how old he was.
Buddy had hopped up onto Grandpa’s “reading chair”. Landon came out of the bathroom after brushing his teeth.
“Hey, where’s Dani?” The last Landon knew, she’d been sitting in the living room looking at her books, but now only Buddy was there.
The dragon chirped, “Dani? Dani gone? Where is Dani? She disappeared. She went bye-bye.”
“Why are you acting so…” Landon stopped when he heard his sister giggle. This was what it’s like when she’s “hiding” under a blanket. It’s a game she plays. She pretends to hide, Dad or Grandpa says what Buddy just said, and then Dani giggles and pops her head out of the blanket.
The game could go on for hours, but this time, there was a problem: there was no blanket in sight, at least none a toddler could possibly hide under.
“I’m serious, Buddy. Where is she?”
Both the dragon and the little girl giggled some more, but Landon could only see the dragon. Then he realized something.
Landon dashed back into his bedroom and looked at the foot of his bed where he’d last seen this invisibility cloak hanging. It was gone!
The child rushed back into the living room. “Dani, you give me back my cloak!”
The baby’s disembodied head appeared out of nowhere, seemingly suspended in mid-air.
“No be mad at Dani, Landon. Buddy’s idea. Buddy and Dani play joke on Landon.”
Both Buddy and Dani were laughing as the little girl crawled out of the invisibility cloak. She stood up and the cloak she was holding became visible, a deep black with a silky sheen.
Landon roughly grabbed the cloak from her. “This is magic, Dani. It’s not a toy.”
The toddler began to tear up and ran toward the dragon. Buddy pulled her up on the chair and held her in his lap.
“Landon, cloak a gift from Buddy. Be nice. My idea to let Dani play.”
The dragon’s apprentice took a moment to calm down and listen to his Master’s words.
“Oh, okay Buddy. If you say so.”
Landon was still unhappy about his sister playing with his stuff, and he was sulking as he walked back down the hallway and put the cloak back on his bed.
Later, Buddy was standing on a short ladder by the stove making lunch for his two charges, while Landon and Dani played in the living room. Landon was using a fake magic wand he got for his birthday to pretend he was making spells from the Harry Potter movies.
Dani was sitting on her little rocking horse with a book in her hands. Instead of pretending to read it to herself as she usually did, she acted as if she were reading to someone else.
Landon looked up and saw by the way she was moving her head from left to right, it was as if she were teaching a class, like how his teacher at school taught his class. Landon had never seen her do that before and it was kind of creepy.
“Lunchy-lunch time,” Buddy called from the kitchen. Buddy had used Grandpa’s recipe for Mac and Cheese to make the kids’ favorite mid-day meal. Landon’s bowl was already sitting at the table, and the dragon would serve Dani as soon as she was in her high chair.
Dani got off her rocking horse, but was still looking around and talking (though she wasn’t really using words) as if there were other people in the house besides him and Buddy.
“Who are you talking to, Dani?”
Dani didn’t have a really big vocabulary yet, so most of what she said were one-word sentences.
“Friends.” She pointed at empty air.
“Buddy, come here, please.”
“Sure, sure,” the dragon said from the kitchen. “Buddy come.”
The dragon rounded the corner as Dani was still pointing at nothing, then he froze.
“Presence. Buddy feel presence. No see, but feel.”
“Friends,” Dani repeated.
“Bye-bye” she was waving down the hall as if someone were there who was about to leave.
“Bye-bye. Later. Bye-bye”.
By now, even Landon thought he could feel an alien presence, but he couldn’t get any details.
“Presence fading, fading. Presence gone. All gone.” Buddy was staring down the hall. The presence had ended at Landon’s bedroom.
“Landon, Dani eat lunch.”
The dragon helped Dani into her high chair and gave her a bowl of Mac and Cheese along with a small spoon. Landon was sitting at the table but he didn’t touch his meal.
“It okay, Landon. Buddy be right back.”
The dragon walked into the hallway and was gone for several minutes.
When he came back, he quickly made himself a sushi roll and joined Landon at the table. The dragon covered the roll with a big pile of wasabi paste and soy sauce, then swallowed it whole.
He smiled and belched. “Yummy!”
Landon took a few bites of his lunch, while Dani, having devoured her’s was demanding “More!”
“Did you see anything in my room, Buddy.”
“No see. No see. Feel something. Not sure. Very strange. Not sure. Gone now. No feel danger. Just mystery.”
The dragon hopped down off his chair to get Dani seconds and to make himself another roll. Landon ate more of his lunch and wondered what was happening to his sister, who seemed to be the only one to see…something.
After Buddy cleaned up the lunch mess, he played with both Landon and Dani, chasing them around the house. Dani kept trying to go into Landon’s room, but Buddy was always able to catch her and return her to the living room. She thought it was a big game.
At one point, Buddy was pretending to put Baby, the living stuffed giraffe, in “jail” on top of the refrigerator (Buddy wasn’t supposed to fly in the house, but Grandpa and David weren’t there to see him).
As he landed and let Landon chase him, he realized something.
“Wait!” He held up his left front limb. “Where Dani?”
Landon and Buddy ran down the hall. The door to the boy’s room was ajar. They burst in, but the room was empty. Except for the rest of the stuffed animals, who were all asleep, there was no one around at all.
Baby was stuck on top of the fridge where Buddy had put him and was calling to get put back down on the floor.
“I go get. You wait here.”
Landon was still looking around the room when Buddy and Baby returned.
“Everybody, wake up.” At the sound of Landon’s voice, the rest of the stuffed animals, many more than he originally had, thanks to getting lots of birthday presents, slowly woke up.
“Wassup?” Starry the Penguin rubbed his eyes. The other animals stretched and yawned.
“Anybody see my sister in here?”
There was a lot of confused murmuring and shaking of heads. “We were all asleep, Landon,” said the Chanukah Bear.
“Didn’t see or hear anything,” uttered Scorchy the Stuffed Dragon.
Meanwhile, Buddy was sniffing at the invisibility cloak hanging at the foot of Landon’s bed. The dragon explained that one of the things the little railroad lantern hanging around the boy’s neck did was provide magical tools as needed.
When Landon was stuck in Dreamtime and being chased by Tarmreiboth, the Dark Wizard, the lantern has produced the cloak (the inside of the lantern was much bigger than the outside) which had wrapped itself around the child without his being aware.
Buddy said he was going to train Landon in how to better use the cloak later, but maybe now it was too late.
“Buddy have very bad feeling about this.”
“About what?” Landon was getting really scared now.
“Yeah, about what? What’s going on? What happened to little Dani?” All of the stuffed animals were talking at once making it hard for Landon to concentrate.
“Shhhhh, you guys.” The noise the animals were making tapered off.
Buddy stuck his head right into the cloak and it disappeared. Landon thought it had just become invisible, but then the dragon pulled his head back out.
“Inside the cloak? That’s crazy. The cloak would be invisible.”
“No, not cloak. Inside invisible world. World inside the cloak.”
Maybe the inside of the cloak was bigger than the outside, too.
“Landon, Baby, come. Other stuffed animals, stand guard here.”
“Right, Right-O, Sure thing, Boss.” All of the stuffed animals responded to Buddy’s command as the dragon leapt into the cloak and vanished.
Baby jumped up onto Landon’s right shoulder. The poor creature was trembling with fright but still game enough to face any danger with his best friend.
Landon opened the cloak. It was all black inside, as if there were a space inside the cloak and not just cloth. He stuck his head inside farther than it should have gone and got dizzy. It was like being in a thick fog. All he could see was a white mist. He moved forward into the cloak.
And then he was there, wherever “there” was.
Back in Landon’s room. The stuffed animals watched Landon and Baby vanish. They deployed a parameter around the cloak and kept eyes on the magical apparel and around the room.
Several of the stuffed animals took up positions near the front and back doors in case any intruder should happen by. This was unlikely, as it was a Saturday afternoon, but since they were the last line of defense, they took no chances.
Inside the invisible world, Landon could still sort of see his room, but it was like looking at it through gauze.
“Hey, everybody! I’m still here.” He tried calling the stuffed animals, but they all ignored him and went about their business of securing the home.
“Landon. Animals no hear you.”
He turned in the direction of Buddy’s voice and saw a vague outline. As he walked closer, Buddy became clearer, but the real world became impossible to see.
“This way. This way.” Buddy hopped and leapt along and Landon did his best to keep up.
As they went along, suddenly shapes would spring up around the both of them, but dissolve back into the fog before they could be recognized. Landon couldn’t see anything clearly in the mist and he wondered how Buddy could.
By the by, Landon thought he heard singing. He and Buddy kept moving forward and he could finally make out the words to the eerie tune.
“We can play, we can play, with the girl from far away.
She can see, she can see, she can see us you and me.”
The words kept repeating. Sometimes different lines were sung, but these were the two verses Landon heard over and over again.
Landon and Buddy could see…people, sort of, all white like the fog, misty and hard to see. They were holding hands, making a circle and dancing around. In the center was Dani. She was sitting on a chair, like a throne made of marshmallows, singing and clapping her hands.
The singing and dancing stopped suddenly and a high-pitched voice cried out, “Stop!”
One of the mist dancers broke from the others to approach the boy and the dragon. It ignored Landon and faced Buddy, then started talking rapidly in a language that was more like music than words.
It didn’t surprise Landon that Buddy could answer back in the same language, but he wished he could understand what they were saying.
The conversation stopped and Buddy turned to the child. “They say Dani Queen, only human to see them in our world, Mighty Queen. Must live with them.”
“No, Buddy. Daddy will flip. She’s gotta come home.”
“I try, Landon. No want war with Invisibles. Very powerful they are.”
Buddy turned back to the guard and a very loud and animated exchange took place. All eyes were on the dragon and the invisible, so no one noticed Dani getting off her throne. Before any of the mist beings could stop her, she ran up to Landon and grabbed onto him.
Dani must have thought all this was some sort of game at first, but now the alien environment was getting scary to her.
The invisible arguing with Buddy turned angrily toward Landon, as if it were going to try to separate the two children. Then another voice was heard out of the fog.
Another mist creature appeared, one that hadn’t been among the dancers.
The rest of the invisibles bowed in the presence of the newcomer. Buddy whispered to Landon, “You bow, too.”
Landon did what Buddy said. Dani was too young to understand what was going on.
The new invisible talked/sang to Buddy and Buddy talked/sang back. After a few minutes, the bowing invisibles stood, but instead of giving off a feeling of hostility like before, they seemed very friendly.
“We go home now,” Buddy said to the two human children.
The dancers took Landon’s hands, and Dani’s hands and skipped with them back in the direction they came from. One was even riding on Buddy’s back. They were all wordlessly humming the strange little tune Landon had heard before.
As they walked forward, Landon could see the real world more distinctly. They were actually in the vacant lot on the side of Grandpa’s house, Landon could see the house and the window of his bedroom.
It was like they walked right through his bedroom wall and the next thing he knew, they were all walking out of the cloak and back into his room.
Landon looked around. He could see Buddy and Dani. Poor Baby hadn’t left Landon’s shoulder for all this time, but he seemed a lot less scared now that they were back home.
Landon could see his stuffed animals, and now that the group of travelers was back, the guards at the front and back doors returned to the bedroom.
The boy could even see faintly glowing shapes in the room. The invisibles. He could see them like Dani could. So could Buddy.
The “head” invisible talked rapidly with Buddy and when they were done, it motioned for the rest of them to follow it back inside the cloak.
“What happened? What’s going on? Where did you go? Who were you talking to?” The stuffed animals were all consumed with curiosity, and it was obvious, they hadn’t been aware of the presence of invisible beings.
Buddy sat on Landon’s bed and pulled the now sleepy little girl into his lap.
“Dani spend time, lots time in cloak. The more time you’re in, the more you go into invisible world, the more you see invisibles in ours.”
“You mean they come into our house and we don’t know it?” Landon was scared a bunch of invisibles were spying on his family.
“Only because curious about Dani. Dancing invisibles are children. Playing Dani was Queen. Other invisible was mother.”
“But you acted like we should be afraid of those…those kids.”
Even invisible children dangerous if mad. Invisible world strange, unknown. Buddy not know much about them except language.”
“Now they friends, this family anyway. Maybe help us someday. Maybe we help them someday.”
“So the more I use the cloak, the more I’ll be able to see the invisibles and their world.”
“Yes. Practice. You need practice. We practice later. Time for Dani’s nap now.”
The dragon took the dozing baby in his front limbs and fluttered his wings so he could levitate out of Landon’s room, go to Dani’s room, and put her in her crib. Lovingly, he kissed her cheek, laid her down, and covered her.
Dani was very tired. She’d had a busy day.
Today’s story immediately follows Through the Dreamgate and reveals more about Landon’s invisibility cloak.
This is the thirteenth tale in this story series I’m writing for my grandson. If you want to read this series from the beginning, start with The Day a Dragon Came to Live with Us. At the end of that story is a link to the next, and then the next, and so on. Keep reading and you’ll eventually get back here.
Read Landon’s and Buddy’s next adventure in Return to the Dark Realm.