For once, Death appeared not to smile.
He brought his hand down on the strings.
There was no sound.
There was, instead, a cessation of sound, the end of a noise which Susan realized she’d been
hearing all along. All the time. All her life. A kind of sound you never notice until it stops…
The strings were still.
There are millions of chords. There are millions of numbers. And everyone forgets the one that is a
zero. But without the zero, numbers are just arithmetic. Without the empty chord, music is just noise.
Death played the empty chord.
The beat slowed. And began to weaken. The universe spun on, every atom of it. But soon the
whirling would end and the dancers would look around and wonder what do next.
It’s not time for THAT! Play something else!