“No!” Landon was startled and then crazy scared as his two-and-a-half year old sister Dani appeared before him as Circus Baby, a character for the horror-based video game Five Nights at Freddy’s but an instant later, and for the millionth time, the impossible happened.
The many fragments of the soul coin, shattered by the combined magic of Landon’s formerly animated stuffed animals leapt out of his top dresser drawer where he had put them and spun around the two children as if they were in orbit around twin suns. Then a big light flashed and they were gone.
“Coming, coming. I’m old. Don’t rush me.”
It was a very familiar voice. Landon was holding onto Dani’s hand standing in front of an ancient door set into an even more ancient tree, a really big tree in a really big forest. Sunlight was streaming through the emerald canopy above. The day was warm and the children could hear birds singing friendly songs.
The door opened and as Landon expected, the oldest dragon in the universe, Gerlilanum was on the other side of the threshold.
“Oh, Hello Landon. I was expecting you.” The grey bearded serpent seemed not at all surprised to see him. Then Gerlilanum bent down. “And you must be little Dani.” He smiled revealing not entirely friendly teeth, though the boy knew the dragon was entirely friendly and peaceful.
Instead of the toddler being afraid, she giggled. The dragon used one finger to gently tickle her under her chin, making her laugh even more.
Then he stood again. Come on in, you two. I’ve just set out tea, biscuits, and strawberry jam in my study.”
The old dragon stepped aside allowing the boy and girl to walk in. Landon led his sister down the old brass staircase into the bowels of the tree, and then down the hallway and into the study on the right. It was cooler down here and Gerlilanum had a few logs lit in the fireplace.
Dani saw the plate full of biscuits and made run for them.
“Wait, Dani. Wait for Gerlilanum.”
She stopped but just barely. By that time, the dragon entered. “Here. Let me put some jam on them for you and give you each your own plates.”
Landon had first met Gerlilanum in the tale The Very Old Dragon and their adventures together continued in Saving the Egg and Landon to the Rescue. This was the first time the boy had been back in his tiny realm, which had been hidden in a corner of the soul coin, since those days last autumn. It was the first time Dani had been on one of Landon’s extra-dimensional adventures ever, except for the time she’d been made the Queen of The Invisibles.
Dani had eaten more than enough biscuits and jam and was drinking her lukewarm tea as Landon explained what had happened to them, including the shattering of the soul coin and the loss of animation of the stuffed animals.
“I sensed what had happened to the coin, young lad. Fortunately my world remains intact, but it now resides in one of the tiny pieces of the coin.”
“What about the other pieces, Gerlilanum?”
“They each hold a separate world but they are still all loosely bound together by magic. That’s why they are all on a string around your neck.”
“What?” Landon reached into his shirt and sure enough, there was a string with a bunch of tiny broken metal pieces on it. “But if we’re inside one of these, how…I mean…shouldn’t the necklace be outside in my world?”
“It is, my dear boy. It is. But everything you are and have is duplicated when you come here including the necklace. Yes indeed, magic is a strange thing.” He chuckled to himself. “Oh, and if you examine the pieces carefully, you’ll find that one of them is the tiny railroad lantern amulet you typically wear. It was incorporated with the other magic pieces and now they all work together.”
Landon was thinking about what that all meant when he looked over at Dani and noticed she’d finished her tea and was now playing with a snake.
“Dani!” Landon stood up afraid the snake would hurt his sister. Both the girl and the snake jumped and Dani started to cry.
“Now look at what you’d done, young man.” The snake sounded most indignant.
Landon looked at the orange and blue snake wide-eyed as it turned back to the little girl and tried to comfort her. “There, there, little one. I’m sure your brother was just trying to protect you.”
“I assure you Landon, Mr. Covingham is not dangerous. In fact, he is one of my closest friends.”
“Oh.” The boy shouldn’t have been surprised given everything he’d experienced, but like most humans, he had a natural aversion to snakes.
In the meantime, Dani had stopped crying and gone back to holding Mr. Covingham in her lap and gently stroking his scales. “Nice snakey,” she uttered and then giggled as he gave her hand a little snakey lick.
“Why are we here, Gerlilanum?”
“So I can answer your questions, but first I suspect your sister needs a diaper change.”
“You have diapers for her here?”
“Of course, Landon. I try to be prepared for all contingencies.”
Some minutes later, after the dragon had put the little girl in a fresh diaper, he brought her back to play with Mr. Covingham.
Gerlilianum sat in his plush easy chair with the boy in another beside him. “Now where were we?”
“You were going to explain…”
“Ah, yes. Of course. You and your sister were brought into my realm for your protection. After your rather hideous adventure involving that horrifying video game world, you and Dani became mystic magnets for all sorts of evil spirits. Fortunately, they can’t reach you here.”
“What about Buddy?”
“Your friend is still meditating in his little pocket universe and won’t return for another few days. In the meantime, you’ll have to make do with me.”
“What can we do?”
“First, you must know a few things such as why your sister can see the invisible.”
“I keep meaning to ask Buddy about that, but one thing after another happens to us.”
“Quite so. In any event, this is an ability your sister has always had since she visited the invisible realm. She absorbed some of its magic and now, even though she has yet to develop other invisibility related powers, she can see what is unseen.”
“Wait. What do you mean she hasn’t developed invisible powers yet and why did she look like Circus Baby when she was in my room a while ago?”
“Remember what I said about being mystic magnets and attracting evil spirits. One of those spirits tried to take over your sister in order to destroy you. That’s why I had to bring you here so quickly.”
Landon looked at Dani and she was rubbing her eyes. “I think it must be about time for her nap.”
“Nope,” Dani replied trying to brighten up.
“It’s quite alright. I could use a nap myself,” said Mr. Covingham. “Would you like to cuddle with me?”
“I take nap with snakey?”
“Why of course, if you’d like.”
“Where can she sleep, Gerlilanum?”
“Bring your sister and follow me.” The dragon rose from his chair. Mr. Covingham draped himself around the back of Dani’s neck, while Landon took her hand. They walked behind the dragon and down the hallway. After several left and right turns, they entered a darkened bedroom.
“I believe this bed will do.”
Dani was looking around. “Book? Read book?”
Landon looked up at the dragon. “She likes to have two books read to her before going to bed.”
“Well…” The dragon turned to a bookshelf at the back of the room and selected two children’s books. “I believe these will do.”
“Do you want brother to read to you?”
Dani nodded ‘yes,’ so Landon picked up the first book and began while she, Mr. Covingham, and even Gerlilanum gathered round to listen. At the end of the second book, she cuddled up with the snake and let Landon put blankets over her. “You have a good nap, Dani. I’ll be right here when you wake up, okay?”
“Okay, Landon. Night-night.”
“Pleasant dreams, child,” murmured the dragon. The little girl had closed her eyes and was beginning to slumber by the time Landon closed the door.
“Mr. Covingham will take good care of your sister, Landon. Have no fear. We can retire to my study again and plan out our next moves.”
Once back in the study, the dragon put another log on the fire and then pulled a large tome from one of the multitude of bookshelves that lined the room.
Sitting back in his chair and with the boy beside him, he opened the covers to where a bookmark was placed. “Hmmmm. It says here that in the event of the shattering of a soul coin, many of the spirits it contained are either set free or the bonds that hold them in their worlds are weakened. Whatever evil originally attacked you must still be hiding in one of those worlds. I fear we must find the correct one in order to either vanquish your foe or seal it in forever.
“It came back with the coin from the Gremlin World, Gerlilanum. Shouldn’t it go back there?”
“Oh dear me, no. You see this is what had cursed the Gremlins to become such annoying pests on your world from before the time men became dominant. If we took it back, the curse would continue.”
“You mean they aren’t cursed anymore?”
“Yes, they are. That’s why your mission is incomplete.”
“Shouldn’t we wait for Buddy?”
“There’s no time. Remember when I said the actual necklace still resides in your world above? If the spirit escapes into your world while we are here and Buddy is still absent, who knows what terror it might visit upon humanity and upon the Gremlins. It must be stopped now and we’re the only ones to do it.”
“That means another quest, like the one with the egg.”
“Well, hopefully not that dire. Then we were trying to save the universe. This time we need only save a planet or two.”
“When do we get started, Gerlilanum?”
“As soon as little Dani wakes up?”
“Shouldn’t we leave her here with Mr. Covingham? I mean, this is going to be dangerous, and she’s still just a toddler.”
“Actually, she’s an important part of my plan.”
“Wait a couple of hours. You’ll see.”
Landon was confused but in spite of the fact that the old dragon sometimes was disorganized and acted rather silly, he usually knew what he was talking about.
The boy was reading by himself in the study, a book on magic of course in an attempt to improve his skills and knowledge for the mission ahead, when he heard the dragon return.
“Landon, I believe I have the answer to your question with me now.”
He put down the book, stood up and turned to the doorway. There was the dragon at the side of a teenage girl, maybe almost twice the boy’s age. He was wondering who she was and what she had to do with anything.
“Hi, brother. It’s me. It’s Dani.”
This story immediately follows The Last Night at Freddy’s and I hope it’s a bit more “kid friendly” than the previous tale. It begins yet another adventure for Landon and a dragon, but this time brings in an unanticipated element involving his little sister.
I’ve “solved” the issue of Dani being able to see the invisible and suggested that as she grows, she’ll develop more powers. Now, Landon, Dani, and Gerlilanum will finally tackle the mystery of the Gremlin’s curse in the chapter that will immediately follow this one. Stay tuned.
Welcome to the latest entry in the series of adventures I’ve been writing for my grandson for almost a year-and-a-half now. To read the series from the beginning, go to The Day a Dragon Came to Live with Us. At the bottom of that story is a link to the next. Each subsequent story has a link to the next chapter, so all you have to do is keep reading and clicking and you’ll eventually get back here.
The next story is The Outside-In World.