They were lizard-dragons. Ferrying travellers from land to land, never skipping a beat. The travellers paid for the honour, their breaths caught in the wind, as they saw new horizons rise and the sky melt into the ground. They travelled in pairs, male and female, always touching, if only just the tip of a wing.

But then the cold came. The cold that froze water into stone and grass into snow, and they were captured by those who called themselves men. Captured and tortured for all eternity. Their scales forged into bristles of metal, their wings into strips of rubber. Then they were set, forced into place, and there they have stood, for hundreds of years too many. They still travel in pairs, but one opposite the other. They are right next to each other, but they never touch, and they never will again.

So there they are, everywhere, really – slaves now, instead of roaming free. And those who called themselves men had children and they had more children, and more, and more. These children don’t know of the lizard-dragons; fables and tales, they say they are, as they stomp and trample on the scales of the once majestic creatures.

They even gave them a new name – escalators. Feeble, compared to their names of old. They were names that could inspire fear and wonder and reverence, even if you whispered them in the clear of day.

Now they have no feelings, no thought, no voice. But sometimes, if you stop and listen, you can hear the rumbling of their dissent. And sometimes, just sometimes – you can hear the soft gravel of their voices, murmuring their love to each other, in a language so lost the words feel like dust.

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