Friday Flash: An Unintended Consequence

18 Feb

Hannah hated how helpless she felt. She had never allowed herself not to succeed at something she wanted and she wasn’t going to let this happiness thing beat her. Just because she was dead and overly full of a joy she didn’t want, that didn’t mean she still wasn’t herself.

Which, she supposed, was a part of the problem. Having never cared about pleasing others in life, she had no idea how to go about making people happy now that she was dead. What made it even more difficult was that it seemed that no one could see her. With much practice she had learned to move things around but instead of cheering people up it just scared them and they would run away.

Not at all productive.

After who knows how long trying to find someone who wasn’t scared of moving-on-their-own objects, she gave up. As weak as the living was, they weren’t able to handle her. At least that hadn’t changed from living to dead.

But it meant she had only one option left.

She was going to have to do anonymous good deeds to spread the happiness about. She gagged on the thought. If she had to make others happy, she at least expected credit for it? It was like working for free and she had never done that, not even as a child when she wouldn’t do any household chore without some sort of contract written up between herself and her parents.

In the end, however, she decided to do it. The contract would be between herself and the unwanted happiness.

“If you agree to leave me alone, I will do my best to spread cheer and not look for any credit.”

Of course, the happiness didn’t respond, unless she counted the ever-present ecstasy that underlay everything she did or thought. It was all she had, so she accepted the self-imposed contract.

She took the next few days to scout out a good recipient of her good deed. A stickler for solid research, she wouldn’t go into this willy-nilly. It needed to be ordered and carefully arranged for maximum happiness dispersal. And if she could do something that would bring happiness to more than one person, all the better. She only wanted to have to do this once.

After looking at several possible locations, she decided on a school yard. Her memories told her that there was a whole lot of unhappiness to be found there and she also seemed to remember that most children (who weren’t her) swung from mood to mood like a pendulum. Surely a good deed would have a desire effect in a place like that.

A few more days gave her the participants as well. In the elementary school she had chosen, there were three distinct groups of children: the bullies, the bullied and the ignored. The ignored made up the majority, but they lived in fear of becoming one of the bullied.

In her various experiments with her abilities, she had discovered that she could lower the ambient temperature of the air around her. By focusing on this talent strongly enough, she could create ice of out thin air.

Her plan was a simple one. The next time the bullied group found themselves being victimized, she would freeze the ground beneath the bullies and give them an etheral push. Once everyone had seen the untopple powers in the school struggle and fall for apparently no reason but their own clumsiness, they’d rise up and lose their fear, making everyone happier. Well, not the bullies, but she couldn’t please everyone.

She kept vigil, every day waiting for just the perfect moment when all the bullies had gathered together to pick on someone in front of a large audience.

Hannah slid through the air and touched the ground beneath their feet willing it to freeze. She was about to give them the final push when the doors to the school burst open and three teachers came storming out. The bullies scattered, managing to stay upright as they ran off the narrow strip of ice.

Unfortunately however, the teachers strode straight at where the bullies had just been, right onto the strip of icy playground. In their dress shoes they suddenly found themselves without any traction and as one they flew up into the air, then danced in a line, trying to regain their balance.

The whole playground, bullies, bullied and ignored all burst into peels of laughter.

As did Hannah. Unwillingly she gaffawed like she had never done in life. Her spirit writhed in coils of glee as the slapstick-quality accident unfolded in front of her. Yes, the children were momentarily happier watching their teachers pinwheel across the pavement, but she hadn’t counted on the happiness within her reacting to the comedy in front of her.

And instead of ridding herself of her happiness, she had managed to increase it.

Damnation. That was not supposed to happen.


Posted by on February 18, 2011 in Friday flash, Online Fiction


8 responses to “Friday Flash: An Unintended Consequence

  1. Alicia

    February 18, 2011 at 10:16 pm

    Hi Alex, I’ve just been catching up on Friday Flash, I love all the stories, more please! Space boy reminds me of a teenage Q from Star Trek, mischivous and meddling, and dead happy Hannah is great fun, even if she doesn’t like it! Alicia xx

  2. Alex

    February 18, 2011 at 10:47 pm

    Yes Alicia, Space Boy is sort of a teenage Q mixed with teenage Dr Who, and a touch of Zaphod Beeblebrox.

    Hannah is becoming a great character, although given how contrary she is by nature, she doesn’t want to cooperate and tell me her story. 😉

  3. Aidan Fritz

    February 19, 2011 at 6:26 am

    Amused at the premise that there is a constant amount of happiness and for her to get rid of some of that she’ll have to make someone else happy. Yet, in the end we discover that happiness isn’t constant (or is it just that the teachers are losing a lot of happiness).

  4. Alex

    February 19, 2011 at 12:01 pm

    @Aidan: I hadn’t thought of happiness as something limited. I pictured it as something that expands and contracts depending on the situation. But it’s a fascinating concept. I might explore that…

  5. Cathy Webster

    February 22, 2011 at 12:16 am

    Delightful story! And what a nice position to be in: trying to squish happiness rather than trying to find it!

    • Alex

      February 22, 2011 at 6:56 am

      Thanks Cathy! I’m having fun with this alternate perspective on the world.

  6. Elaine

    March 2, 2011 at 11:08 pm

    A little late to the party, but I’m liking the Hannah story. I too came off a Being Human marathon over the holidays so that puts me into a ghost in the real world kinda mood.

    • Alex

      April 1, 2011 at 7:59 am

      @Elaine: You’re a little late to the party but I’m very late in greeting you. Glad Hannah’s interesting you. Today you get her ending.


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