They were never allowed the gift of reality – they never felt the temptations of Nature, the myriad sensations of air and earth. Trapped inside the imagination of man, they prowled – fiery and lost – throughout the darkness of his misunderstanding and fear.
Imprisoned between bars of Latin, they were held motionless by parchment and vellum, the shredded skins of farm animals. Their monstrous bodies shrank until they could fit inside a gilded manuscript, wet with jewels and gold. Their status was degraded until they were nothing more than illustrations, flinching under the ignorant scratch of the artist's pen.
Their jaws were pulled wide, but they were silent, denied their reptilian speech, Their breath, smelling of smoke and cinders, melted into the undergrowth of words and margins. The hand that fingered the story came away smudged with ink and ashes.
But when the book was set aside, lying open on the ground, it suddenly trembled and stirred. There was a sibilant ripple through the fragrant grass, a hiss of rebellion. The words reached in vain: but their pages were empty.