Mervyn picked them up on a whim during his morning walk. Taken immediately with how they swarmed about a baby bird that had fallen from its nest. More than once he felt as if they’d never survive the car journey. Thereafter he kept them between two panes of glass and a frame he made up in his shed, while they fed on the peanut butter sandwiches he never left the house without.
He had debated if it was right. To uproot them from their natural habitat. But the moral quibble soon passed once he discovered how much pleasure they brought him, watching them establish hierarchies, work together at finding a way out. They rejected their new names at first. Said they already had homes, parents who would be looking for them. He reasoned he had been careful enough. That in time they would forget.