Sometimes there are people we meet or know who are just different. Positively different, differently positive even. The latest victim of our troubled past was one such person.
She is (not was) the answer to a very simple recurring question. What's today's Northern Ireland like?
The response - if you could give it a shape, a body, a mind you'd find something very similar to Lyra McKee.
Were she alive, I imagine she would laugh at that. But she's not there because she has become a headline instead of writing them.
She has fallen on a battlefield not of her making, but one she was born into, one she chose to stay in, not run away from.
Quite naturally, many of her generation are choosing to run. There are other incarnations of today's Ireland and Northern Ireland in Sydney, Vancouver, London, Glasgow, Dubai, Shanghai, San Francisco and countless cities scattered across the world.
An often neglected truth is that Northern Ireland doesn't give many breaks to its young, rewards the few and not the many.
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Everything Lyra got in her life and in her career, she had to fight for.
Often, for those with talent and ambition, this can seem a land of closed doors - sometimes padlocked tight as the gates of Stormont.
Maybe it's a land that deserves to lose its young if this is what it does to them, a bitter wee grape that deserves to wither on the vine. But on the other hand there's a rare beauty to the place, the people and the language that's worth fighting for.
The recognition of this is why I say Lyra represented today's Northern Ireland, a place of battles fought in a brand new format. Wherever she faced adversity, she stood up against it.
Again, as a young gay woman in a land that refuses to recognise her equality, she could have given up the ghost of hope and gone elsewhere. But she stayed.
She wrote a renowned letter to her 14-year-old self. She gave a TED Talk on the subject of confronting prejudice, particularly in religious circles.
In this cold house for anyone different, she sought out the warmth of love and found it. She kept us amused and warmed our hearts on social media through updates and stories of romance with her partner Sara.
Though fiercely ambitious, Lyra had a very down to earth feel to her personality.
Like all good writers, she could switch between simple things and big ideas in a single sentence.
One moment she might be describing Derry's late-night cuisine with such spice you could taste cheese sauce on chips through a computer screen. The next, she'd be reminding us of the big battles that still needed to be fought - men taking domestic violence seriously, politicians shaping a society that offered hope to the young and so on.
And through all these stories, again in the style of a writer, she had a great ear for language. She loved and recognised the local dialect with the flair of a linguist.
Some of her observations about Belfast and Derry speech were worthy of an honorary doctorate - as in recent weeks with her forensic analysis on social media of Adrian Dunbar's sayings in the TV series Line of Duty.
Maybe it was duty that inspired Lyra to do so much of what she did in journalism, social media and life. Writing always seemed more of a vocation to her than a way of earning a living.
Perhaps it was that which led her to the Creggan, to the borders of a cruel destiny. Though not sure I believe in one, if there were a God everything about the past weekend seems haunting - a bad dream we're still to wake out of on the 21st birthday of the Belfast Agreement.
Even Good Friday itself this year was a strange meteorological affair, a long stretch of gorgeous heat, buds bursting forth on the trees and newborn lambs lying on beds of perfect greenery, as if in a scene from Van Morrison's Days Like This. And yet - at the same time - the day had a teary haze about it. This land that looked a picture of perfect hope had lost a part of that feeling. From the second I saw the news headlines on Friday morning, it just had to be Lyra.
Derry doesn't have so many 29-year-old journalists who can also call themselves recognised authors. Delving further into the story, something happened along the lines of legends of ravens leaving the Tower of London.
A city of hope had fallen before it had even been properly built. This land of sun slowly rising had been plunged back into night, to a time way before the ceasefire babies of Lyra's writing had even been born.
Time of Greysteel, Kingsmill, Enniskillen, Loughinisland - names resonant in syllables of local dialect that should amount to far more than being synonymous with death.
The news of Lyra's death was like hearing of an incarnation of the past stepping out of the shadows and shooting the future.
But let's forget the politics for a second.
Lyra, open to all perspectives on the future of this land, would have understood the rioters' motives. She'd probably have understood their rage, their demands even.
But laying aside the politics, there's one part she wouldn't have understood, would never have sympathised with. That's the brutal killing of a woman by a man, because ultimately that's exactly what it was - an undercurrent of masculine and fatalistic aggression that this society has never quite been able to get away from.
That's the macho, c**k-swaggering (sorry but it has to be said) attitude of the society and its politicians, whether male or female.
It's time to get rid of the conditions that give rise to dark figures stepping out of the shadows on the anniversary of more hopeful days.
One side of the powers in politics needs to stop standing in the way of equality and the other needs to stop commemorating past acts of resistance until a time when wounds are not so raw.
Unless this happens you might as well put a huge sign up at Belfast International or George Best airports: 'Would the last young person with hopes of a different life please put the lights out before you leave?'
But that's not what I believe Lyra would ever have wanted. She fought for change and the hope of writing a new story for this place.
That is a story more fluid, more open in its sense of borders and boundaries than in the days of the past.
It's a story too of a place re-imagined from 21 years ago where equality and identity is about more than religion or political aspiration.
Personally I don't know what the ending will be. I'm not sure I care anymore unless it changes. At the end of every field of pretty lambs, there's a slaughterhouse somewhere in the shadows.
It doesn't have to be that way for lambs, for people, for history.
This wasn't how Lyra's life was supposed to end.
If anything good comes out of this, let's hope for change and movement on multiple fronts at the same time - power-sharing, equality, social justice.
That way, her death becomes the spark for resurrecting the Easter story this land thought it was writing on Friday, April 10, 1998.
In that way, though a very small compensation for what's been lost, this can be Lyra's contribution to the language of this land.
Change, movement, progress and a socially equal land that recognises multiple aspirations and multiple identities at the same time. Then when the next generations talk of this age of change, they'll hear Lyra's name and know this was HER STORY.
Paul Breen is a Fermanagh-born writer now based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Charltonmen. Paul is donating his fee for this article to the fundraising campaign towards her funeral expenses and legacy. To donate go to www.gofundme.com/in-memory-of-lyra-mckee