Apollo’s plan was simple: he would compose a lullaby unrivaled by mortal song, and Lexie would devise a dance to accompany it. Together, the two recorded a video of their collaboration, and disseminated the recording through various arcane methods. Lexie’s training in the dark arts of social media management were of immeasurable help here, but not nearly so much as her training in the craft of dance-smithery. The movements she devised were languid, beguiling, even … hypnotic.
The lullaby was an unparalleled success. All those who listened to the video and watched the accompanying dance fell instantly into a deep slumber, and when they awoke they shared it with all their social networks. The song topped so many charts that a new chart had to be invented simply to track its multitudinous remixes. The song singlehandedly solved insomnia, melted away stress, and – most importantly – was responsible for many hours of sleep. As these hours mounted, Apollo’s cunning plan became clear: since Hypnos had only asked for a thousand hours of sleep, not a thousand hours of Lexie’s sleep, the effects of the lullaby would amply pay Lexie’s sleep-debt.
To Lexie, all this seemed too good to be true. Here she had discovered a foolproof loophole in her contract with the Sleep-Lord, she had a god to aid her, and Hypnos seemed not to care. Was he simply too lazy to intervene? Did he truly not care whose sleep Lexie repayed him with? Was he, unlike other gods, free of vindictiveness? Was he totally cool with the fact that Lexie had played and was continuing to play him?
Apparently so, for the lullaby grew and grew in popularity, and still Hypnos said nothing. Within the first week, the lullaby was already responsible for a thousand hours of sleep, and its popularity still grew. The song was all anyone wanted to listen to. The video was all anyone wanted to watch. Soon the lullaby was responsible for ten thousand hours of sleep, and then a hundred thousand. The lyrics were translated into every language, and record executives approached Lexie and Apollo with offers of vast riches.
It was then that Lexie understood why Hypnos had not tried to stop her. She turned to Apollo, horror etched in every line of her youthful face.
“I’ve repaid my debt a hundred-fold, Apollo. Can’t we take down the video now?” But Apollo turned to her, and the sorrow in his eyes told Lexie that he already knew what she feared.
“No, my darling, my love. We have made a grave error, and there is nothing you or I can do to stop it. The video has gone viral, and soon the whole world will sleep, and sleep forever.”
“No,” said Lexie, gritting her teeth to keep despair at bay. “There must be something we can do. I won’t go through eternity without a dance partner.”
But Apollo simply shrugged. It was up to Lexie to find a cure for this global somnolence, before it was too late.