If ever snakes could hate under their hooded eyes, these did. They never knew when the long, probing steel snake-catcher would swoop into the glass and take one of them for her pleasure. When one would be lifted out, would be forced to dance, to contort its ribs and move under her tight grasp.

Their tongues flickered in the night air of the cage, tasting the need for revenge, for dignity. They shrank against the sides of the glass, probing the sleek, ungiving metal top. Seeking any opening. Any way out.