Bradley Wallace Murphy just turned thirteen, and he’s not happy about it. His life is lousy, with no relief in sight. He doesn’t fit in at school, he’s no good at sports, a bully torments him, he’s a disappointment to his parents, and his only “friends” are fictional characters on a TV show called “Dark Shadows.” He’s on the verge of manhood - and wants no part of that, either.
Then he finds the egg.
And everything changes.
From this egg hatches Whilly, a supposedly mythological dragon that bonds with him physically, emotionally and spiritually. The sudden responsibility of hiding and feeding and caring for a rapidly growing dragon in a small California city in 1970 forces Bradley Wallace to grow up whether he wants to or not.
Through their adventures together, boy and dragon learn the true nature of their symbiosis, and Bradley Wallace comes to understand that he is not just a misfit kid who happened to find a misfit creature from some other time.
He is something far more dangerous.
More dangerous than anyone in history.
So dangerous that he’ll be killed if the truth comes out.
The boy who doesn’t want to grow up comes to realize that it might actually be better if he didn’t.
During that night, the wind kicked up again, howling
fiercely. It rattled the house so severely that Bradley Wallace woke
several times fearing the structure would be viciously torn from its
foundation and whisked high above a writhing funnel of spinning
air, just like Dorothy’s house in “The Wizard of Oz.” The Murphy
home, however, remained earthbound.
By morning, the street outside looked as though a battle had
been raging all night long. Broken, splintered tree limbs, and several
of the uprooted trees from which they came, were scattered sadly to
and fro across the pavement looking lost and forlorn. Plants of every
description had been torn from the ground, fences ripped from their
foundations, garbage cans rolled and clattered up and down the
street, and thousands of leaves blew in every direction, whipping
constantly off the asphalt into mini-tornadoes. And the wind
continued unabated. If anything, it increased in sheer force, and
Bradley Wallace found it difficult even to walk outside - it felt like
he was trudging through three feet of snow during a raging blizzard.
But there was a good side to this weather, he noted to himself - it
The tempest continued to grow in strength throughout the
afternoon, with winds being clocked at over one hundred miles per
hour, and threatened to rip the mighty Golden Gate Bridge from its
moorings. The TV news had live cameras at the sight, and Bradley
Wallace gazed in fearful awe at the swaying span, which looked no
more solid than a hammock in a blustery summer breeze. The wind
was reportedly getting stronger, the newscaster said, adding that
bridge officials feared this could mark the end of the world-famous
Katie desperately wanted someone to drive her out to the
bridge just so she could watch it fall and then call all her friends to
tell them about it. But neither parent would consent to go with her,
as it was too dangerous and too crowded. The TV newscasters kept
telling people to stay away. Angrily, Katie stalked off to her room to
sulk, muttering about what she’d do when she was old enough to
drive on her own. Jack finally changed the channel to the golf
tournament, and Marge went back to her room to read a book. All of
which left Bradley Wallace on his own with nothing to do except
homework, and he just didn’t feel in the mood. Not with all that was
happening at the bridge and everything.
On impulse, the boy donned his heaviest jacket and gloves
and dashed out the front door into the street. The wind nearly
knocked him down, and he could barely open his eyes against its
force. He summoned Whilly, and the two rendezvoused deep within
the Gully. The aged warehouse in which he’d first found the dragon
stood naked and exposed against a stark background of weeds and
dirt, and the old, familiar rope swing twisted frantically in the wind
like a snake in its death throes.
*I want to go look at the Golden Gate Bridge,* he said
telepathically once the dragon had landed beside him. It was much
too windy to talk out loud without shouting.
*Do you think it will fall?* Whilly asked, reading the
thought behind the boy’s request.
*I don’t know,* Bradley Wallace answered truthfully. But
he knew he didn’t want it to fall. *Let’s go see.*
When they arrived on the scene, all roads onto the bridge
from both directions were closed off and barricades had been set up
along the perimeters to keep the hundreds of milling spectators back
away from the danger zone. The bridge creaked and groaned in pain
as it was stretched and buffeted about like an old piece of string. One
of man’s greatest engineering achievements was clearly no match for
the awesome power of Mother Nature, and looked close to
collapsing at any moment.
Whilly set down atop a ragged bluff overlooking both the
highway and the dying bridge, and instantly made himself invisible
so no one below might look up and spot him. Bradley Wallace
slipped down to the rocky surface of the precipice and gazed in
amazement at the sight before him. He couldn’t believe that mere
wind, something he couldn’t even see, had the power to sway such a
massive steel structure with so much ease. The grating and twisting
sounds of struggling metal rose to his ears, and a wave of sadness
came with them. The bridge had existed long before he was born,
and should remain long after he died. It was special, almost a living
being unto itself, and he didn’t want to see it die.
Whilly hesitated before delivering his next thought. Even
though he’d been told it was now Bradley Wallace’s time, still he
hesitated. He knew the boy had to find out, but was this the right
moment? Would Bradley Wallace be able to handle such a
revelation, or would it destroy his rather fragile mind? He knew the
boy better than anyone else, and even he didn’t know the answer to
that question. But then, he believed in this child, didn’t he? Yes, he
decided, he did.
*You can save it, Bradley Wallace,* he finally said, hoping
his judgment was correct.
Bradley Wallace gave him a sharp look. “Don’t kid around,
Whilly,” he chastised out loud. “This isn’t funny.”
*I’m not joking, Bradley Wallace,* the dragon assured him
seriously. *You have the power to save that bridge if you choose to
A sudden chill, like the realization of impending death,
curled slowly around the boy’s heart, and he felt exactly the same as
he had with Mr. O’Conner and the unspoken matter of the pictures -
afraid. “What are you talking about?” he asked uncertainly.
*If you concentrate hard enough, and I help, you can stop
that bridge from swaying,* Whilly explained simply, carefully.
“You’re crazy!” the boy scoffed, unable to hide the quiver in
his voice. “No one can control the wind.”
*Not the wind, Bradley Wallace, the bridge. You can create
a force equal and opposite to that of the wind with your mind, a
force that will cancel out the effects of the wind. And the bridge will
“That’s impossible!” Bradley Wallace insisted, refusing to
meet the dragon’s probing eyes. He gaped instead at the Golden
*It is possible, Bradley Wallace. And if you don’t do it, the
bridge will be destroyed. It’s your choice.*
Bradley Wallace was silent. He knew Whilly well enough to
know the dragon didn’t joke, but he also knew that what his friend
suggested was simply impossible for any human to accomplish.
Especially him. And yet, that little subconscious voice tickled at the
back of his mind, assuring him he could do it.
Another wailing banshee-like shriek from the tortured bridge
painfully pierced his eardrums, like fingernails scratching across a
blackboard, and he knew he just couldn’t stand there and watch the
Golden Gate plunge into the ocean.
*Just concentrate, Bradley Wallace,* Whilly told him
quickly, while the boy’s feelings of compassion were strongest.
*Focus every part of your mind on the image of that bridge
as it should be, stationary and unmoving. Your will must be
unbending, Bradley Wallace. You must want it from the heart
before it will come from the mind.*
Almost robotically, Bradley Wallace obeyed. He
concentrated, emptying his mind of all images save that of the bridge
as he’d always known it - solid and eternal, untouchable by wind or
rain, a lasting tribute to man’s ingenuity, strength, and artistry. But
the image wasn’t pure. Something crept in, traces of fear, droplets
of doubt telling him what he was attempting was impossible and
Whilly knew he had to awaken pleasurable memories the boy
associated with this structure, for Bradley Wallace’s mind was
fighting him, setting up barriers that only strong emotions could
break down. He searched back into Bradley Wallace’s past, and
plucked out an incident that might serve his purpose.
*Remember, Bradley Wallace, the time you and Mr. O’Conner walked
across this bridge? It was a bright summer day and you were six years old. You carried an ice cream cone, and you were so excited about being
up so high that you threw the cone off the bridge into the water
below. Remember how much you laughed at that?*
Bradley Wallace smiled. He did remember, and with the
memory came the feelings of joy associated with that day so many
years ago, feelings that unlocked the power within him.
Without warning, the roaring floodwaters that signaled its
release pounded through his head like a whirlwind, and he felt
himself in touch with everything around him - the water, air, plants,
rock, everything. It felt as if all those things were part of him, and
he them, and the power was his to command. His eyes blazed bright
red, and his body coruscated with pulsating energy, the energy of the
earth itself. He felt ablaze with power, and locked his eyes and heart
on the swaying Golden Gate Bridge below.
And he commanded it to stop moving.