A sharp scream came from the direction of our kitchen, where Mummy had shooed me out of earlier as she was preparing to fry up some heh bi (dried shrimps) and Chinese chives pancakes for a late morning snack. As I reached the doorway, I saw her standing on a stool by our dining table, her face ashen. She shouted at me to stop, then pointed to what looked to me at first like a thick coil of rope on the floor by the cutlery cabinet. It was a snake โ€“ fat and brown with pale yellow markings. She...
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