Michelle had a gift. Her first memory of using it was in kindergarten, when her best friend Betty was pushed down at recess and started to cry.
Michelle laid a hand on her friend's arm and silently willed her to be happy, to forget about the bullies and the bruises, and to get back up and play again.
She was delighted to see a smile dance across Betty's face and cheered when her friend jumped up and began to play with her.
Betty's new-found happiness didn't just disappear. She was still smiling and laughing happily months later. Nothing could shake her spirits.
When Michelle was 8, she got into a fight with her mom over dinner. As she sat pouting at the table, she silently wished her mom would be sad and upset too.
She was shocked when her mom began to cry right then and there. The crying didn't end for hours, and her mother retreated to her room.
That night, Michelle walked into her mother's room and hugged her, telling her how she wished she could be happy again. Willing the sadness away.
And as though the rain-clouds had lifted, her mom was smiling again and as happy as Michelle had ever seen her.
The wheels began to turn. By the time she was a teenager, Michelle had almost mastered her ability. A happy teacher was much more likely to give you an A.
A happy parent would gladly buy you a car.
One night, she saw a man standing on a bridge, arms out as though he were about to fly. As she realized what he was about to do, she caught him by the back of his shirt, pulling him down.
“Don't kill yourself!” she pleaded. “Life is worth living!”
“Not my life,” the man shook his head, sobbing into his hands.
Michelle touched his arm and willed all the negative emotions away. She pictured the sun piercing through the gray valley of this stranger's mind.
He slowly looked up at her and a smile began to twitch across his lips.
As she walked away, she smiled, thinking about how she'd saved this stranger's life.
There were no smiles when she saw his picture on the news, the names of his recent victims slowly passing beneath him on the scrawl. Six victims, raped and murdered.
She visited him in jail, her shaking hand holding the phone to her ear as he squinted at her through the glass.
“You're the girl who saved me,” he said.
She could see the monster now. She'd given him new life, and in turn he'd brutally murdered several innocent people.
So she willed the happiness away, watching the smile fall from his face. She was completely still as he began to realize exactly what he'd done.
The monster began to smash his face repeatedly on the table before him, blood and mucus oozing out as he sobbed.
Michelle walked away, knowing she'd never will happiness upon another soul.