a dragon is imprisoned and he escapes.
Gawain hissed angrily at the humans who stared at him from above. A few of them stepped back off the observation platform in alarm, but most just gawped at him. He snarled, then curled back up. He could speak but chose not to, for if the news heard, more people would come to the zoo where he was imprisoned, and that would mean more money for the owners, and they would be even more unwilling to let him go.
Gawain hadn’t been at the zoo long; he’d been there for about a month. When they had caught him, he had been hunting, but catching the mysterious scent of a human vehicle, he had gone to investigate. When he had arrived at the scene, they had started panicking, and Gawain, deciding this prey looked harmless, had prepared to attack. But one human, their leader, had pulled out a gun, and shot Gawain with a sleeping dart. When he had awoken, he had been in this cage, with burning iron manacles holding him down. And then humans had stood on a platform that was out of his reach, and paid to stand up there for hours and stare at him. And that’s where he was now; chained, in a cage. There was another reason they paid an arm and a leg to see him; unlike most dragons, who had an armour of scales, he had a thick coat of sky-blue fur. And the hair on the back of his head was at least two feet long, and stood on end, protruding in a sort of crest.
Some of the other animals had been talking about how humans from all over the country, and off of it, had come to the zoo to see the only dragon in captivity. This was getting the zoo owners rich, and was annoying Gawain a lot, for the more money they made out of him, the longer he would be kept in a cage. But what worried him most was that the longer he was kept here, the more he would rely on getting meat without hunting. So instead of a dragon, wild and free, he would be reduced to a little pet, which relied on humans like a dog, or the other animals that were kept there.
More than once, he had blown fire at the platform, and scared the visitors off the platform. When the zoo staff had learned he could blow fire, they had shot him with a tranquilliser, and chained his head to the ground so he couldn’t breathe fire at the platform as easily. When he had first been chained there, the chains had been made of a stainless steel, but when the zoo owners learned that iron sapped his strength and burned him, they had the zoo staff changed them to iron, so he couldn’t pull them out of the ground, and prevent him lunging up at the platform, as he had done in the past.
Now that they had subdued the dragon, the zoo owners didn’t bother him any more. Instead they were content to sit in their home, and continue to make a fortune from him. The bright flash of a camera startled Gawain out of his mental tranquillity. He tried to look upwards, but the iron collar burned him, and held him down. He raised his head as high as he could, and spat a ball of flame. All the watching humans stepped backwards, out of reach of the flames. By the time they plucked up the courage to look over the side again, Gawain had lowered his head. He glanced upwards at them, and even though he trying not to speak, to give them the satisfaction, he couldn’t help himself now.
“Do you know what you’re looking at?” he demanded, his voice resounding through their minds, causing them to flinch from the contact, but there’s no where to hide in your own mind. “You’re looking at an intelligent being, who is suffering, and in pain, and who’s as intelligent as you. You’re looking at a majestic, intelligent creature, probably the freest animal in the world, who has been caged, and gawped at!” The guide who was leading them glared at the dragon, cursed him, then tried to hurry the company along.
“Come on, come on! We’ve been here too long!” he called cheerfully to the company.
“How can you bear it?” demanded a young boy, who was no older than twelve. “How can you bear to cage this wonderful animal?”
“Well …” faltered the guide. “We didn’t know he could speak before today, you see. He was silent before today.”
The boy was silent, as Gawain spoke to him in private.
"When I try to break free, and if I succeed, do you want to travel with me?” the dragon asked him quietly. The boy, who was called James, shook his head a fraction of an inch; he couldn’t do that to his parents, who, might have been rich and lofty, but still loved him. He couldn’t let them see him carried away into the horizon by a dragon, and not know what became of him. He could’ve been eaten, for all they knew. The dragon nodded, as though he understood the boy’s decision.
“By the way my name’s Gawain,” the dragon told him. With that, he surged upwards. The chains clinked and tightened around his limbs. He snarled in pain, as the iron burned his flesh, and sapped his strength, but he didn’t stop. He pulled harder, and felt something give underground, where the pegs that held him in place were. He pulled even harder, and the peg that held his neck flew out of the ground, and swung around, almost hitting the platform. He spread his wings; they were the only limbs that weren’t chained down. He flapped them, creating a small whirlwind of dust, and dead leaves that had fallen into his prison. The pegs that held his legs flew out of the ground and lashed the iron bars that hemmed him in.
The only way out was a large opening at the top of his cage. He flew towards it, but before he got there, he landed on the platform, that creaked and groaned alarmingly, but held.
“Take these manacles off of me!” Gawain roared at the guide, who was wearing an angered expression on his features.
“Why should I?” he asked obstinately.
“Because he’s getting away anyway, even if you don’t take them off,” James spoke before Gawain could.
“Not if reinforcements catch him first!” the guide smirked as guards charged onto the platform, armed with tranquillisers. “You see, while my little money-maker was freeing himself down in the pit, I called for help,” the guide said smugly.James scowled at him, then grabbed the keys from the guide’s belt.
“Hey! What are you doing?! Get him!” screamed the guide, as James ran up to Gawain, and one by one, inserted the key into the locks that were on the manacles. But the guards wouldn’t come any closer; they were too afraid, and they couldn’t risk shooting in case James got in the way.
“Thank you,” Gawain thanked James, as the last manacle fell away. With that he opened his wings and soared away, revelling in the open air, and being able to stretch his wings. James felt a thrill in his heart as he watched the majestic dragon fly toward the horizon. He would remember that sight for years to come.
Gawain continued to fly until he reached his homeland, and all the while he was gaining strength, for the iron was no longer near him. When he got back, he was welcomed with open arms, for his parents had been worried to death, for he had gone hunting and never returned. Then he laughed, glad that he was back. Then he tried to contact James, and to his delight, found that he could, for he remembered the feel of James’ mind.
“Good bye, James,” he whispered.