vanishing act

When I was a kid, my parents discovered that I could make things disappear. They didn't know that's what they'd discovered, of course--what they knew was that they couldn't trust me around any of their belongings. They figured I just misplaced things a lot. Sometimes they joked that I was cursed, but they didn't mean it, not really.

I just knew it was weird. As I grew up I thought maybe I really was cursed. But it always happened when I was distracted, so it seemed like I must have just had a problem remembering where I put things. And there's such a thing as unlucky people, right? But when I lost something, it was never found ever again.

I discovered I was actually making the things cease to be in high school, when I had things to hide--and suddenly they were hidden, forever. It wasn't as useful as I'd have liked for contraband, since usually the point of contraband is finding it again later--but at least nobody could catch me with it. I spent hours practicing until I knew all there was to know about it. It was my party trick, the thing I used to impress girls.

I never really found a use for it, though, apart from the novelty, and that wore off pretty soon. I didn't have a talent for theater or magic tricks, though I tried. There wasn't enough variety to the show. Things just disappeared, and never came back. No transformations or startling appearances. But I kept practicing anyway. I kept trying to show it off to people who were less and less interested. I had a gift, and it didn't do anything for me except make people think I was weird.

But I was always learning more. If I tried, I could make big things disappear. Bigger than I thought possible--and the more I tried, the more I realized there was no limit. I went out to the city dump and started vanishing things there--toasters, tires, rusted out husks of cars. I embarked on a campaign of vandalism, destroying things people owned. Nobody else knew my secret, and it left no trace, so there was no way to track it. I left chaos in my wake, but it wasn't enough, no matter how much I destroyed. It would never be enough, though I brought the entire world to nothing.

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