Hannah had died and gone to Hell, stuck in the world as a happy ghost.
In the three years since her death, she had been forced to feel never-ending happiness. The pain of this much happiness was almost enough to kill her, if she had still been alive. In fact, it had been the happiness that had killed her in the first place, a jolt of pure happiness hitting her and overloading her circuits.
Nothing she did got rid of it.
She had never been happy in life and that had suited her just fine. Happiness only distracted people from their goals. She was living (dead?) proof of that. Every time she tried to pass this feeling of joy onto someone else the happiness would spike and she would miss her opportunity, usually to comedic joy-increasing effect.
She couldn’t go on like this, but she had no idea what to do about it. Other ghosts refused to deal with her, saying that her aura was “too bright”as if she could turn it down at will. She had spent the past three years fighting the happiness on a daily basis and she was tired, no, more than tired. She was exhausted.
Colin found her sulking in the park one night, her sparkling aura lighting up the area and confusing the pigeons who were trying to sleep. He had been drawn to the light because it was something he had lacked ever since he had died of a broken heart, his happiness robbed from him by a callous lover.
He approached her bench at a slow glide. Most everyone, from ghosts to people to animals shied away from the black hole of his aura no matter how friendly he tried to be. As he got closer the darkness of his aura reached out and began sucking in the light of Hannah’s bright aura. This was why everyone ran away from him. Too much time near him and he would suck every bit of joy out of them altogether. He didn’t want to and it only caused him to feel sadder and guiltier, but that was the nature of his death. He was a joy vampire whether he liked it or not.
But this bright aura gave him hope. There was so much joy there. Surely he wouldn’t be able to absorb it all. And if it looked like he was about to, he would leave. In the meantime he’d at least get to experience a little bit of happiness.
Hannah snapped out of the daze that had come to replace sleep feeling as if someone was tugging at her, but no one was there. And yet something was definitely pulling at her. For the first time in three years she felt the touch of someone else even if it was an invisible force. Her happiness surged and also for the first time since dying, she didn’t mind the spike.
It didn’t last though. As soon at her joy levels rose, they dropped again flowing out of her like water out of a tub and it wasn’t just the increase that vanished. The overwhelming background happiness started dropping as well. In normal circumstances that her happiness was ebbing would have pleased her, but any pleasure she felt flowed away as quickly as it flowed into her.
Not that she minded, but it couldn’t be natural. She looked around for the cause and barely made out a shadow of a man standing in the darkness off to her right.
“Are you doing this?” she asked.
“Do you want me to stop?” was the muffled response.
“No! Take all you want! I’ve been trying to get rid of it for years.”
Colin stepped forward opening himself up to more of the woman’s happiness. It flooded into him and kept on coming. Finally! Tears came to his eyes as he experienced happiness again after so long in darkness. He felt the joy fill up even the darkest corners of his soul. He’d done it. He’d gotten rid of the hurt. The tension he’d been carrying around since his death eased as everything around him got brighter. He laughed and clapped his hands like a thrilled toddler.
He tried to take a step back, replete with happiness, but he found himself fixed to the spot, with more and more joy flowing into him. It was too much! His body burned with happiness and turned to pain. No! He struggled and pulled but he couldn’t break loose. If he weren’t already dead, he would have died of happiness.
As the happiness drained out of her, Hannah heaved a sigh of relief, however the pleasure didn’t last as the other ghost started to pull at her too much. The happiness had all gone and yet the flow wouldn’t turn off. It kept going pulling other emotions out of her starting with all the good ones and moving on down the scale. She saw the dark man become increasingly brighter and brighter until he was too brilliant to look at. His brightness and her pain fogged her vision. She tried to pull away but the attraction between them was too strong. In moments she’d lost all strength and, no longer able fight against the pull, she plunged foward stumbling down the pathway towards the ghost that was sucking her solul from her.
Pressure built up inside Colin as the happiness turned progressively darker. No! It couldn’t be happening. He wouldn’t return to the darkness. He wouldn’t let his blackened soul destroy the happiness he was feeling, even if it was overwhelming. Whatever was happening it was connected to this woman. He couldn’t break the connection, but maybe if he made physical contact he could stop the psychic one.
He took one step foward expecting more resistance, but the burning sensation eased somewhat. Another step and the pain dropped down another notch. And another and another. He started to run, desperate to stop the agony, but didn’t see that the woman had already begun her own journey towards him.
The two of them slammed into each other and the shared joy and pain blossomed in a shower of etheral sparks. And in that moment of explosion, the two souls moved on , each one finally balanced, the last thought of both of them a single unified “Oh!”.