Chapter Seven: The Dragons (The Adventures of Jolean and the Magic Eraser)


Katelyn Styborski, Writer/Designer

Finally, Jolean and Smiley reached the trapdoor. Smiley wriggled out from Jolean’s hair and floated down to the algae-covered wooden door. Tiny minnows flitted from rock to rock; their colors glinted in the rays of sunlight that punctured through the water like buckshot through a deer carcass. Shells littered the ground in a rainbow of colors and patterns. Jolean’s fingers traced along the ridges. She sifted through the sand, letting it spill over her palms. 

“It’s so pretty down here.”

Smiley nodded, “It was prettier before….”


“Nevermind,” Smiley said quickly. “Just reminiscing.”

Jolean poked his top edge. “About what?”

He sighed, melting into her touch. “I’d rather not talk about it. I shouldn’t have even brought it up.”

“Okay,” Jolean relented. “Want to crack open this trapdoor?”

Smiley immediately regained his excitement. “Absolutely!”

The two yanked and tugged and pulled at the rusty iron handle, to no avail. Eventually, they lay on the river floor, huffing and puffing for… well, water, I suppose.

“UGH!” Jolean groaned. “Why is it so heavy?”

“Well, my dear,” Smiley retorted through gritted teeth, “It’s been down here for an awfully long time.”

“Long enough for you to remember, apparently.”

Smiley grinned. “Any ideas to get this door open?”

“I’m so glad you asked.”

With a shout and a torrent of river water, Jolean and Smiley tumbled through the trapdoor and landed flat on their faces. Grumbling in pain, Jolean sat up and wrung out her ponytail. Her mermaid tail slapped against the dirt floor.

“Ouch. That was way more violent than I thought it was going to be.”

Smiley shook the water droplets off his rubber surface. “What’d you expect to happen? You rammed into the door at full speed!”

“You were the one who didn’t stop me. ”

“I didn’t think you’d be that reckless!”

They collapsed into a fit of laughter. Swallowing his giggles, Smiley propped himself up against the tightly-packed dirt walls that surrounded them. It was then that Jolean thought to look around. 

A narrow tunnel stretched far beyond them, dark and dusty. The only light came from flickering torches that lined the enclosed space, sending dark shadows stretching over Jolean and Smiley.

“Smiley!” She grabbed him from the edge of the tunnel, pulling him close. “What was that?”

“What was what?” He looked around frantically.

Jolean squinted into the darkness. “It’s probably nothing—just my mind playing tricks on me. But I’d like to actually be able to run if we did see something…”

With a brilliant yellow spark, and a loud POP! Jolean found that her legs, (and her normal clothes,) had returned.

“Eep! Thanks, Smiley. You’re awesome.” She planted a kiss on his cheek and hopped up, narrowly avoiding knocking her head against the low ceiling. Bouncing over the smooth pebbles that were sprinkled over the ground, she sprinted around the corner, laughing all the way. 

A tug at her ponytail made her stop short.

“What is it?” she whispered, noticing the fearful expression on Smiley’s face.

“Just be careful! We’re not alone down here.”

A boom echoed through the cavern, followed by more equally loud THUMP THUMP THUMPs. Jolean and Smiley cowered behind the dirt wall, barely peeking around the corner. A glistening red figure stomped through the cave, leaving long scratches in its wake. Gnarly black claws scraped across the dirt, sharp yellow teeth grinned through tough, scaly jaws.

“Dragons!” Jolean breathed in awe.

“See what I mean?” Smiley sank deeper into Jolean’s dark ponytail.

“Well, what are we waiting for?” Jolean smiled, “Let’s kick their butts!”

“Woah! Wait, we can’t do that.”

“Why not? We sure got those alligators.”

“Jolean, they’re a family!”

“Mommy, Mommy!” Two little purple dragons came running up to the large red one. She laughed and scooped them up in her claws. 

“Hello, darlings. Are you ready for dinner?”

“Yes, yes!” They cried. 

She moved them to her back, right between her giant, leathery wings, and continued to move through the tunnel. Jolean and Smiley followed closely behind, dodging clumps of dirt that the mother dragon sent cascading down from the ceiling. 

Eventually, they found themselves in a giant kitchen. The children climbed off their mother’s back and began squabbling over a seat at the table. A giant, bearded blue dragon sat with his snout buried in a giant newspaper. 

“Yikes!” said Jolean, backing away. “What do we do?”

“Don’t worry,” reassured Smiley, “They won’t hurt us as long as we stay put. So let’s just stay here and watch, alright Jolean? Jolean? Jolean!”

Whipping his head around, he finally located Jolean clambering up the leg of the giant table. He flew over to her, carefully avoiding the dragons’ gaze. 

“What are you doing?!” he hissed in her ear. 

“I wanted to see the dragons better.” She huffed, straining to pull herself up onto the table.

“Jolean, this is crazy!”

“You’re the one who brought us here. What’d you think we’d do?” 

Smiley paced back and forth in the air, his face turning as red as the mother dragon. “You’re going to get us killed.” 

Jolean stuck her tongue out at him and hopped onto a giant salt shaker. She balanced herself on top of it, and plopped down. Smiley slowly floated down to rest beside her.

Humming, the mother pulled a steaming dish out of the oven and placed it on the table. Then, she pulled a chair out and sat down. The force of it caused Jolean and Smiley to wobble slightly. She latched her fingers in the holes of the salt shaker, willing it to keep its balance.

Smiley caught her eye, nervously.

The dragons chewed with their mouths open, laughing heartily at every word each of them said. With a bellow, the father dragon slammed his fist on the table, causing the salt shaker to topple over. Salt spilled across the table, along with Jolean and Smiley who tumbled onto the dragon’s plate. 

“Oh Jim, look what you’ve done!” The mother scolded, amused. She scooped up the salt, her claws narrowly missing Jolean and her friend. 

Jolean stood up, shakily. She wiped mashed potatoes from her skirt. Smiley floated up to her height, covered in gravy.

“Gross,” Jolean groaned.

Smiley licked his lips. “Hm, it’s actually not that bad!”

“Not the food, I meant the dragon’s breath. It reeks!”

The two suddenly noticed the silence of the room. They turned around and saw all four dragons with their mouths agape, staring straight at them.

“Uh oh…”

“Run!” yelled Smiley. 

Jolean grabbed him out of the air and leaped off the table.

“Catch them!” Screeched the mother dragon.

Bouncing off the chair cushion, Jolean and Smiley flew through the air. 

“HaHA! Look, Smiley!”


The two sailed over the baby dragons’ heads and landed in the soapy sink. They barely made a splash. 

Gasping, they broke through the surface. Jolean gagged on the bitter taste of the soap. 

“In the sink!” They heard the dragons shouting to each other.

“Jolean, look!” Smiley motioned towards a bubble floating out of the water.

“You’re a genius, Smiley!”

The two pushed their way through the soapy membrane and floated up into the air. Jolean pressed her face against the bubble, relishing the rainbow filter that covered the world. 

The dragon children jumped up towards the bubble, their sharp claws threatening to pop their safe haven. 

Jolean and Smiley floated up, up, up and out of the kitchen. The dragons chased them into the cavern, where the bubble finally popped. With a muffled scream, the friends shot to the ground at breakneck speed. 

“AAAAHHHH SMILEY! Do something!” Jolean shouted, tears streaming from her eyes from the speed. 

“Hang on to me!” 

They struggled to reach each other, hurtling towards the hard ground, and the dragons close behind. With a battle cry, Jolean grabbed one of Smiley’s edges and pulled him towards her. She wrapped her arms around him and closed her eyes, bracing for impact. 

There was no need. The dragons had finally caught them. 

Unfurling its large, red claws, the mother dragon glared down at them.

“What are you doing in my lair?” She snarled, blowing a halo of smoke around the cowering child and eraser. 

“We come in pe-”

“Mommy look!” Smiley was cut off by one of the baby dragons, who was violently motioning behind them. 

The pair turned to look into the deep, dark cavern.

“Smiley! It’s the creature from the store!” 

And there it was. Its dingy, ivory skull stood out stark white against the horrible depth of the cave. Its long, scrawny limbs scampered across the ground, searching for something. 

“What is that?!” The mother cried, dropping the friends in shock. 

Smiley and Jolean bounced off a mound of dirt and came rolling to a stop. They jumped up instantly and began running towards the creature. 

“Let’s get it!” Jolean cried, racing towards the horrible thing. 

“Jolean, wait, its dangerous!” Smiley yelled after her, following close behind. He turned to look for the dragons, only to come face-to-face with large, scaly toes. 

He frantically twisted left and right, looking for a safe place to hide. There! With all his might, he shoved Jolean into a crevice in the wall. They tumbled through and landed on soft, plush carpet. 

Jolean sat up dizzlily. They had landed in a giant bedroom. 

“Quick! Under here.” Smiley whispered, motioning under the bed. 

It was just tall enough for Jolean to comfortably crouch under. She held him close to her, pulling her knees up to her chest. He could hear her heartbeat.

With an ear splitting BANG! the door burst open. Shiny, purple feet stalked through the room with a scaly tail trailing across the carpet. The footsteps got closer, and closer, and closer, until-


Jolean clamped her hands over her ears, sheiling Smiley from the sound with her elbows. The baby dragon let out a frightened squeak before bolting out of the room.

“What on earth was that?!” Jolean cautiously lowered her palms from her ears.

“Nothing good,” Smiley mumbled.

“I can’t believe we got away. That was a close one.”

“Too close…”

That’s when the ground began to shake.