Here’s a little excerpt from Chapter 1 of Awakening (which I probably should have titled Let Sleeping Dragons Lie). In the book’s opening, our two heroes, Charlie and Robin, are in the world beyond reality. Robin is attempting to teach her friend to unleash his imagination, and with it, the power of the dream world. In the excerpt, Robin has been abducted by a green forest dragon (who are notoriously grumpy) and Charlie is in pursuit on a giant crow he’s named “Crowdacious.”
What? It could happen.
The pair flew above the landscape, mixing briefly with a tangle of smaller dragons, most of which flew like bumblebees, which is to say, poorly. One particularly chubby orange beast bounced off Charlie’s head, sending him, arms pinwheeling and mouth screaming, over the side of the crow. After falling a few hundred feet, he noticed his crow circling below, and he allowed himself to enjoy the free fall. He landed on the downy feathers of the bird’s rump just as Robin came into view.
She was once again dangling from the dragon’s foreclaws, and again appeared to be struggling. On closer inspection, however, it was clear that she was dancing, and the dragon was moving in concert with her own movements.
Only Robin could teach a dragon how to dance.
The pair continued their flight, soaring over a forest that was rumored to be inhabited by mythical beasts. It was dark below, despite being bright sunlight above. As they descended for a better view, they were buzzed by a swarm of what at first glance appeared to be angry insects. These bugs, however, had grizzled beards and cursed like sailors. They buzzed Charlie and Robin, who were waving frantically at them as the swarm thickened. These were not insects, but small, flying humanoids. As they swarmed, they stung the kids with minute bolts from their outstretched fingers. Charlie could not tell if it was electricity or magic, but it hurt.
“Go away, you stupid gnat fairies!” Robin yelled.
Her dragon began raking the air with fire. It worked, finally convincing the swarm to depart, but also caught Charlie’s enormous crow in the crossfire. The big bird descended in a power dive to the ground, its tail feathers aflame. It swooped low, headed for damp soil. Charlie dove off the bird just before it slammed into the earth and rolled itself in the dirt, putting out the fire. The bird missed crushing him by inches.
Charlie lay in the grass for a moment, panting, as his heart slowed its jackhammering to near normal. He was in a field of lovely purple flowers, all of which were shaped like six-petal stars. He leaned over and sniffed one, and immediately erupted in sneezes. It smelled like black pepper and garlic.
“Jeez,” Charlie said, as Robin helped him to his feet, “next time you decide to fry fairies, wait until I’m out of the way first.”
“Sorry, dude. I hate bug fairies. One flew up my nose.” She looked at him, a sly gleam in her eye. “Snot very cool.” Charlie rolled his eyes in response. Robin’s eyes darted up to the sky, and she screamed, “Look out!”
She dove out of the way, but Charlie did not react quickly enough. He had just enough time to look up, as his angry crow discharged its … feelings … about being singed … all over Charlie. He was now covered from head to toe in a Crowdacious mound of bird poop.
Robin’s eyes were watering, and it looked as if she were biting her lower lip hard enough that it might start bleeding.
“If you laugh, I swear to God, we aren’t friends anymore.”
“Oh pooh balls. You’re no fun at all.”
Charlie gave her the longest eye roll he could muster, and then, thankfully, woke up.
His hair was still covered in bird poop.
These dreams are becoming too realistic.