Peyton was warned the lyre would empower her emotions.

“I need to try a different approach!” Peyton shouted in frustration.

The lyre did come with a warning that it would empower her emotions. She thought the inventor meant it figuratively and not literally. The golden lyre’s ouroboros body of a dragon eating its tail should’ve warned her this was no ordinary instrument. She tried to play a calming song, but the wind’s angry whips made it impossible for her to string together any music.

She retreated inside her tiny cabin in the middle of the forest outside Hochatown.

“That’ll teach me for playing a song about my breakup on a magical lyre,” Peyton mumbled, trying to make a joke out of her predicament.

She took a deep breath, closed her eyes, and let her mind drift to happy thoughts of cute baby animals and silly memes as she played a peaceful tune. The wind softened its pounding on the wooden cabin until it came to a complete rest with the conclusion of the song. 

Peyton lifted her eyes open to the sight of the lyre’s inventor standing before her. Peyton cussed, nearly dropping the instrument.

“What did you give me, Modva?” Peyton demand. “Are you like an actual alien or something? I thought you were in a costume when I met you. And how did you even get in here and find me?”

Peyton assumed Modva was a human in her late 20s just like herself and that the light purple skin was cosmetic. She met Modva outside a small used bookstore earlier that afternoon in town. She didn’t give the inventor’s appearance second thought even though she didn’t know of any book character who wore a long, white lab coat with black spandex leggings and a black sweater. Two hair sticks tied up Modva’s black hair with rubies encapsulated on the ends, which complemented her red sneakers.

“First, as previously instructed, I gifted you with the Winds of Emotion Lyre to help you process your feelings,” Modva calmly and factually stated. “Second, you would technically classify me as an alien based on your definition of being born on another planet. Third, I have tracking installed on all of my inventions to follow up with people. Finally, your door was unlocked.”

Peyton stood in silence for a moment as she processed what she’d learned. She marched up to the inventor and thrust the lyre in her arms.

“I don’t know what your endgame is, but whatever it is, but I don’t want any part of it,” Peyton huffed as she opened the front door.

“All I was hoping was for you to learn that the journey itself was all that mattered,” she explained as she respectfully left the cabin.

“I don’t need some dangerous magically lyre for that,” Peyton scoffed before shutting the door. 

Modva sighed. “Let’s get it started again.”

Modva stepped off the porch’s steps and walked down a trail to a free-standing wooden white door with a red frame. She pressed down on the black handle and pushed open the door. Through the door contained another time and place where the sun was out in a small town. The door had a view of Peyton enjoying the view and beers from Beavers Bend Brewery – before Modva gifted her the lyre outside the bookshop.

Modva adjusted her lab coat. “I need to try a different approach.”

This week’s short story introduces Modva, a new end-timer! As touched in the story, Modva’s journey throughout time and space involves her helping people with fantastical inventions that reshape people’s reality.

The story came about from a writing challenge where authors had a list of words, sentence blocks, defining features, and a word count limit of 800. The Defining Features were, “End the story the way you start it. i.e. use a cyclical structure” and “an ouroboros is present somewhere in the story.” The Sentence Blocks were, “Let’s get it started again” and “The journey itself was all that mattered,” which I used all of them. I used two of the four words from the word list, “Cyclical, Doc, Wind, and Music.”

The location was influenced by a visit to the town last year and this article my friend Heide Brandes wrote for NonDoc.