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It started with the pigeons.

For a while very few people missed them. The crazy old fools who fed them were dismissed as crazy old fools when they complained loudly about the absence of pigeons. Tired little waitresses were pleased about the lack of excrement on chairs and tables. Smrklnd the horse, carved out of granite by the great German sculptor Ferdinand Avowel, missed their little talons, scratching at the itches he could never reach.

It took two weeks for the mysterious disappearance to make the news. There being no official body responsible for handling this kind of situation, various entities vowed to take ‘whatever action necessary’ to rectify the situation.

A couple of weeks later questions were raised in the daily papers by the handful of people who always write to the papers. Once again, the official bodies replied with statements that ‘every measure is being taken to fully comprehend the scale of the situation’.

Within six months pigeons had not only vanished from the country, but were almost completely extinct in people’s memories. The fables about perfectly balanced ecosystems keeping all god's species in check were thrown out of a window somewhere and fell onto unfertile concrete. No one missed the pests. After all they harassed tourists, defecated on the shoulders of men in suits, dirtied public buildings and in general made a nuisance of themselves when they were around. The crazy old fools took to feeding rats in gutters and that was the end of that.

One bright, October day dawned to a world without cats.

This time the outcry was widespread and intense. Breaking news flashed all over the globe. On plasma screens and transistor radios, newspapers and fancy mobile phones, wives to mothers-in-law, and other reliable channels that transmit smidgens of news at lightning speed, the lack of furry cuties was broadcast in an alarming frenzy. Heads of state met in sombre, grey buildings wearing sombre, grey suits and carrying sombre, grey briefcases. They talked and talked and drew up documents with great resolve but the cats refused to turn up.

A year later the media carried features that mourned a year without fluffy, feline creatures.

And then it was the storytellers.

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