The cobras raised their hoods, conferring together like cowled friars, concealing their intentions. They moved slowly across each other in the small glass cage, whispering their stories again and again to pass the uncertain time.

This one was snatched from the sunning on the roof, this one from the field where it had been watching a quivering, mind-numbed mouse, this one from a garden corner where the warm rocks had lulled it to sleep.

They dreamed of the wild, where their paths were not blocked by glass, where the sun was real, slow, silent and warm. Not like this weak light that whined and whirred. A place of slow dreams. Where no one dared disturb their slumber.