“Things kept disappearing until there was nothing left on earth.
It all started with inconspicuous things like the rustling of the leaves that accompanied the swaying of the branches in the wind or the sound the night makes when you open your window and listen closely to the wee hours of the morning. But once things got properly going, others soon followed: every twelfth shaft of sunlight, the odd breeze at the very end of March and even a fraction of the second right before sunrise, all gone from the places they had been just a moment ago.
The vanishing did not only concern inanimate objects and phenomena, if that is what you were thinking. The cat, ready to pounce upon an unsuspecting mouse pawing through the mud disintegrated into thin air as soon as its feet left the ground when it closed in for the kill. The raven, now still cleaning its feathers, disappeared from sight the moment it took flight (some of the feathers lazily lingered in the air, painting it with inky streaks before drifting to the ground gently) and when one of the numerous fishes broke the surface of the ocean in one lively jump, it melted softly back into the sea on its way down, never to be seen again.
There were no regrets, this was the way it happened. Not only for the animals but also for humanity (although, admittedly, this division is sort of unfair, humanity also has its own wolves, cats, maggots and beetles, probably even more so than animals do in the first place). The canvas was wiped clean once more or rather wiping itself clean, I do not want to suggest any divine intervention whatsoever, neither in painting nor in erasing, not even in observing the picture; this was simply the way things went.
This is not a parable about the extinction of endangered species or something like that, mind you, but about the actual act of disappearance, of ceasing to be once and for all. It was as if in every organism, even in matter as such (nobody would want to forget the rocks and the stars, those unlikely siblings, or the sky and the sea, for that matter) there was a built-in switch, once flipped shutting them down, snapping them out of existence for good like any old light bulb.
Sometime after this had started happening and when finally there was nothing left, it became clear what –“