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No Good Deed: Ch2 - Children Should Be Seen...
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Shady Stoat



Joined: 02 Oct 2005
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Location: England

Posted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 1:44 pm    Post subject: No Good Deed: Ch2 - Children Should Be Seen...  

Chapter Two: Children should be seen…

It took only a second to juggle the possibilities. In a hundred years of work experience, she had heard every wish and considered every solution, no matter how extreme. Until now, she had never been willing to implement most of them.

That was all about to change.

She manufactured a sympathetic smile for Becky’s benefit.

“Your stepmother sounds terrible!”

Becky huffed out an indignant breath. “I’ve just told you. She always…”

“Yes, yes, I quite understand,” said Elladora, hastily. “It seems to me that she doesn’t really appreciate you.”

“You got that right!” moaned the girl, wallowing in her own angst.

“Well, they do say that absence makes the heart grow fonder.” Elladora waved her wand in a quick swirl-and-jab motion. “There. That should sort things.”

Becky opened her mouth, looking confused. The fairy-godmother gave her sweetest smile and talked over her.

“Now remember, dear, if things don’t work out… if you ever need my help again…” The smile turned vaguely shark-like. “…work it out for yourself. You’ve had your three wishes. Cheerio!”

And with that, she swished the wand and vanished.

-----------

A moment later, Elladora arrived at her own cottage again. She gave a quick look around, to make sure that there were no unexpected callers, then she hugged herself with glee.

She whistled cheerily as she put the kettle on. While it was boiling, she took a pencil and jotted down her job-notes in the little black book. Then she poured herself a brew, forgoing the usual cream-cake (nothing could possibly make her feel happier than she already did!), and went into her study.

On the shelves was another vital tool of her trade. The crystal ball. In the first days of the job, Elladora had used it constantly. After all, what could be better than seeing all those smiling, happy little faces as she made peoples’ dreams come true?

The naivety had lasted almost six months. The optimism-in-the-face-of-all-evidence had lasted nearly two years beyond that. Then the desperation had kicked in, keeping her watching for nearly a year longer.

She lifted it from its perch, blowing decades of dust from its surface. Suddenly, she wanted to view every nuance of her work in excruciating detail. Her hands wove patterns around the surface of the scrying orb, in the sequences that she had been taught so long ago.

A sudden burst of light flared in its obsidian depths… then faded again. It left a tiny pinprick of illumination, right in its heart. Elladora gazed at it in disgust. Of course. Shoddy workmanship, courtesy of Fate. Typical of her boss, really.

The first three wands had been a disaster too.

One had failed to work entirely. She’d looked a right fool, the very first time she’d tried to grant a wish. Idealistically, she had chosen to don the official costume. Outfitted in a white dress befitting to a jelly-and-ice-cream party, complete with silver tiara and ballet slippers, she had waved her wand to a complete absence of anything other than teenaged laughter. She wouldn’t forget that job in a hurry!

The second had backfired every fifth or sixth time she had used it. Very embarrassing where teenaged boys and love potions were concerned!

The third had been fine for all of three weeks. Then it had started to dribble yellow slime, in slow-oozing droplets. Fate had insisted that all wands did this, and that it was nothing to worry about. A week later, she had revisited her employer and given Fate a whole new look in interior decoration. Once the tsunami of cold custard had finally been dispelled, Fate had grudgingly agreed to pass on the fourth, and adequately working, wand.

Elladora had not been so lucky in her efforts to secure a fully functional seer’s ball. Despite various attempts at tinkering (and one memorable attempt to alter its functionality with the aid of a large mallet), it still took between five and ten minutes to warm up.

Ah well. There was nothing for it but to wait. Soon enough, she would see what she would see.

She sipped her tea and giggled. Fate was going to be furious! Furious, but unable to do anything about it. After all, Elladora was only dealing with Becky’s spoken desires.

The teenager had complained about a stepmother who would never let her go out. Well, an invisible person could come and go as they pleased. No problem!

Stepmother had put her on an unpleasant new diet? Easy! As Little Miss Invisible, she would have no problem raiding the fridge or the kitchen cupboards. Now she could eat whatever she liked!

Weekly chores? Whoever heard of having to do your chores when you were invisible?

And finally, if Becky was complaining that her stepbrother got treated better than she did, the solution was to make sure she was not treated at all! That way, there was no basis for comparison.

From the moment Dora had waved her wand, Becky had been completely cloaked to the senses of her stepmother. Of course, it couldn’t be that simple. For the wish to work, she had needed to affect Daddy and little brother too. None of them could see, hear, touch or smell her, until Elladora said otherwise. Not strictly in the letter of the wish, but that part came under creative license. She had gone further in her time – and that was when she had been trying to do the job well!

She sighed in satisfaction. Finally, the orb was beginning to flare up again. Another moment and she would be able to see all.

“Show me Becky,” she commanded, staring deep.

A scene began to form in the reflection of the ball. Elladora peered closer. Closer still, drawn in until she felt like she was actually there...

----------

Becky frowned. Her lips pursed into an expression of indignation that they had assumed all too often lately. She looked at the space where, just a minute or two earlier, Elladora Chubb had been standing.

Hah! Some fairy-godmother she was! The woman hadn’t even stopped to explain how she was going to work her magic. One flick of a wand, then a disappearance. What sort of service was that? Fairy-godmothering must really be going downhill fast, to employ that type of second-rater!

She gave an exaggerated sigh. Well, if no-one could be bothered to tell her what was going on, she supposed she would just have to go and find out for herself. She rose from the bed, picked her way through the labyrinth of half-read magazines on the floor and started down the stairs.

The wood floor was cold under her toes as she padded towards the lounge. She barely noticed. The anticipation was too fierce! She wondered whether Eileen, her stepmom, would still be there? If she wasn’t, Becky hoped that she’d taken bratboy with her, too. He was such a little gimp. Always in and out of her room without permission, always borrowing her stuff, always following her around and asking her to play games with him. If she’d wanted a little brother, she would have asked Elladora for one already!

Yeah. Better if they both were gone. Or maybe the godmother had done something really hideous to the pair of them? Turned them into giant lettuces or something. Pumpkins, more likely. That was a speciality for people like her, wasn’t it?

Feeling quite pleased with her speculations, Becky wandered in through the open door of the lounge. She was somewhat disappointed to see, not only that the two of them were still there, but also that they looked perfectly content with life.

Eileen was curled up on the couch, leaning against Daddy’s side while she watched TV. Becky stared at her, lip curling in resentment. What right had she to act like she belonged here! This was Becky’s house! And Daddy’s, of course… but definitely not Eileen’s or slimy Simon’s!

Usually, they moved whenever she came into the room. Daddy would subtly sit up straighter and Eileen would move to the other end of the couch. Whenever she could, Becky would squash in between them, securing her rightful place and making sure that ‘the wicked stepmother’ couldn’t snag her claws any further into her father.

Tonight, though, they remained cuddled up, as if watching re-runs of Dynasty was the most important thing in the world. Becky felt that a little reminder was in order.

“Daddy?” she said, in a voice that held a warning.

Nothing. Not a blink, not a look-around, no indication at all that he had heard her.

“Daddy!” she stamped her foot. “Answer me!”

For a moment, she thought that he was going to react. Then it turned into a slight shifting on the couch, and a tightening of his arm around his new wife.

Becky felt incredulous. Then indignant, then a little frightened.

“Daddy?” she ran up to him and shook him, only to see her hands go right through the place where he was sitting. “Eileen? Simon? Can you see me? Can’t you hear me? I’m right here!”

She was shouting into their faces, which were remaining quite tranquil and happy. Turning around in desperation, she looked for something she could throw, something she could knock over. Anything!

It was no good. The ornaments on the mantelpiece were solid, but her hand misted through them, touching nothing. Filled with a mixture of panic and rage, she lifted her head and howled out:

“Fairy-godmother! Get back here, right now!”

-------------

From the comfort of her armchair, Dora’s face lit up in a delighted smile. So far, so good. Everything was proceeding perfectly. She could keep this up for days. Until Fate noticed, anyway. Then would come the warning. The first of many, hopefully.

Eventually, her boss would be forced to conclude that Elladora had lost her touch. Then she could get back to living for herself, instead of granting moronic wishes for an eternity!

She began to focus on the ball again, only to be interrupted by a knock on the door. For a moment, she was puzzled. Then she groaned.

It was Wednesday night. That could mean only one thing.

She bustled to the front door and opened it. Sure enough, an old man stood expectantly in the doorway. He wore white robes and a hood. White hair curled thickly on his head and mingled with that of his long beard. Put him in a red suit with white fur-trim, and you would have Santa Claus. The only thing that redeemed the image was the long shepherd’s crook in one hand and the hourglass in the other.

Father Time. Elladora sighed. A nice enough old geezer, even if he did take the uniform a mite too seriously. He was here for their weekly canasta evening.

For a moment, she considered cancelling it and sending him on his way. He was regularly cheating, she was sure of it. When you could stop time, you tended to win at card games. Besides, she really wanted to see what was happening to Becky.

Then she relented. Becky would still be there at the end of the evening. There was such a thing as enjoying your job too much!

“Come in,” she said, manufacturing a smile.

-------------

It was after eleven when she finally persuaded Father Time to leave. Blast the man, he had won again. Someday she would catch him out, then claim back the small fortune that he had embezzled from her.

For now, though, she was much more interested in the progress of her latest wish. She hurried back to the study, waved her hands over the scrying orb, said a very unpleasant word when it had to warm up again and went to fetch herself a fresh cup of tea.

Finally, she sat back and allowed the orb to tune into The Becky Experience again…

-----------

“Have you searched the attic?” Becky’s father ran a hand through his thinning hair.

Eileen was already halfway up the stairs by the time she answered. “Yes. Three times. It’s worth another look, though.”

“I’m going out to look for her again,” he said. “Simon, try and remember. Did she say if she was going anywhere?”

The boy shook his head, looking miserable. “I don’t know where she is. I already told you five times!”

“Well, ring around again. Any of your friends, any of the numbers on her mobile phone. She might have turned up there.”

Even though Becky was a ghost to her family, the orb had no trouble in picking up her image. She was sitting, back against the wall, watching her family mill around. There was a stunned expression on her face. Probably something to do with the fact that her shouting and tantrums had never been ignored before.

Elladora smiled grimly. It was a lesson well-earned, in her opinion. She steered the orb towards the stepbrother for a minute or two, idly listening in on the telephone conversations, each repeating the same questions and getting the same answers back. It was nearly midnight, yet the kid was still up and about, doing his bit for the family. It seemed that Becky had one friend, deserved or not!

It was the stepmother she was really interested in, though. Technically, she had not stuck to the letter of the wish, and she needed to be able to justify the magic she had used, when Fate brought her to task. Therefore, she needed to know as much about the situation as possible.

The orb’s angle of perception floated up the stairs, along the landing and up the loft ladder. It stopped in a surprisingly large attic, full of storage crates and boxes. Eileen was treading carefully, lighting her way with an electric lantern.

“Becky?” she called. “Are you up here?”

She moved forward a cautious pace or two. “Becky, there’s no need to hide. We’re not angry. Your father’s really worried about you. I am too. Please come out!”

Elladora watched as the woman paused. When no answer was forthcoming, she wiped a pale face with her dusty hand.

“It’s all my fault,” she murmured. “Poor kid. I should have been more patient.”

She began to make her way back to the trapdoor again. As she got to the bottom of the ladder, Dora could see a tear-track running down the dust on her cheek. The godmother watched as Eileen brushed it roughly away.

“Pull yourself together,” she told herself in a choking voice. “Nothing’s happened to her. She’ll be all right.”

With that, she began to check the bedrooms again, one at a time.

Elladora’s glee had transformed to guilt, as thoroughly as if she waved her magic wand to make it happen.

This wasn’t right! Becky was the one supposed to be suffering, not the rest of the family. It seemed that her magic was harming all the wrong people.

She hovered in a state of indecision. On the one hand, she had to get out of this job, and she couldn’t do it by being everybody’s doormat forever more. On the other… there was right and wrong. Fun was fun, but it seemed that she had gone too far.

She gave a heavy sigh and waved her wand again. There. The spell was cancelled. No doubt everyone would be happy again. Everyone except her, that was. And maybe Fate.

That last thought made her brighten a little. Even though the wish had only lasted a short time, no doubt it would come to the attention of her boss. There would be complaints, accusations, written warnings…

Oh yes. Things weren’t so bad after all. Well, it was time to continue the good work. As soon as she had got a good night’s sleep, she was going to make her way to the next brat on the list. Maybe this time she could get it right and annoy Fate at the same time.

She went to bed, sleeping better than she had in months.

-------------

In the morning, she awoke refreshed. Breakfast went by with no surprises, pleasant or otherwise. She drained the last dregs of her cup of tea, then went straight to the notebook. It was time to catch up on her backlog.

Only six names now. She looked at the top one.

Ah. Cassandra and her second wish. She had been putting that one off for a long time (mostly because she had dripped the inside of a jam doughnut over the page section that described what the second wish would be!). She couldn’t prepare for it in advance. Nevertheless, it was the logical choice for her next attempt to get sacked.

The wand swooshed. Elladora vanished.

-------------

Elladora landed in another bedroom. Cassandra’s space was similar to Becky’s in some ways, and vastly different in others. The posters were still crowding the walls. Instead of the magazines, though, there was a room full of games, computers, books and half-built model kits.

This time, she caught the girl by surprise. The fairy-godmother was already standing there as Cassandra turned, took a startled step backwards and tripped over her beanbag. She landed hard on her rump, quickly scrambling up again.

“You shouldn’t creep up on people like that,” she snapped. “Give me warning next time.”

“Maybe I should ring the front doorbell?” asked Elladora, icily.

“Well, I don’t see why not!”

The godmother gave her a scathing glance. “Fairy-godmothers do not knock. Now, I’m here. What do you want?”

Cassandra seemed about to argue. She opened her mouth, then closed it again, obviously deciding that the wish was more important.

“I’m tired of this,” she said, gesturing around her room.

“Tired of what?” asked Dora, honestly puzzled.

“All of it. How come everyone has more fun than me?”

Looking around, the fairy-godmother had a fairly good idea why this could be the case. However, she held her tongue, letting the girl get into full flow.

“This is all rubbish,” pouted Cassandra. “My only friends are on that computer over there. The only boys that want to go out with me are freaks. The only girls that talk to me only do it because they want me to correct their homework for them. It’s not fair. I want it to change!”

‘And you want someone to wave a magic wand and change it for you,” thought Elladora, beginning to see where the wish was going.

“How?” she asked.

The girl shrugged, pettishly. “I don’t know. That’s your job. Do something to make me more popular. I want to be the envy of everyone at school. It’s about time people started to pay attention to me.”

Dora waited for the nod that sealed the bargain.

“I think I can do that,” she said, slowly…

========

Okay, so it came together easier than I expected. Thanks for the input, thanks for all the votes and now it's time to begin all over again. Ideas, people?
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LordoftheNight



Joined: 11 Aug 2005
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Posted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 2:21 pm    Post subject:  

she wanted people to pay attention to her hmm?

gove her horns that only children can see
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Ingrothechundyer
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Posted: Fri Dec 16, 2005 2:40 pm    Post subject:  

Sounds like a good wish to grant. She wants to be a dumb pretty popular girl let her be a dumb pretty popular girl. Prettiest in her schooll :twisted:
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Chinaren
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Posted: Sat Dec 17, 2005 4:32 am    Post subject:  

Nice episode Ms.Stoat, very well written and highly enjoyable. I can see the pattern emerging.

Now, for this one I had a great idea, but then I watched an episode of Joey (a funny one actually) and I forgot what it was..

There ya go. :?
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ethereal_fauna
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Posted: Sun Dec 18, 2005 5:11 am    Post subject:  

Urgh, I never understood the concept of popularity. This wish would be difficult to grant without having to change the attitudes of all the kids at her school...or whatever crowd she considers fun and popular and wants to be a part of. I'm trying to think of something that you could do to just her.

She wants others to envy her, to notice her. I say give her extremely large breasts- huge, cumbersome knockers. Certain to attract a lot of attention, something any teenaged boy would delight in, and the envy of any young girl that doesn't have to put up with them. After a week of knocking things over, squeezing into desks, and backaches, she'll wish she had stayed a pale little gaming geek. :D
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Smee
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Posted: Mon Dec 19, 2005 5:12 am    Post subject:  

Hmmmm...

My first thought when I read it a few days ago was along the lines of Fauna's suggestion.

But as that's already been said then in the interest of a varied poll another possibility...

How about all the kids of the school suddenly see her as a celebrity?

This will make her incredibly popular, and noticed. The envy of everyone certainly, and as an added bonus for the first few days she'll think it's the best wish ever. That is until the 4387 autograph is signed, the 400th date turned down, the 8th time the police is called to get rid of the stalkers outside her house or following her home.

This requires the alteration of a lot of people though.

Another possibility...

Give her huge great ugly leathery wings. She can fly making her the envy of friends, and she'll certainly get attention. But maybe not the sort of attention she wants when the guys in white coats come along to study her strange appendages, locking her in lab and doing experiments etc.

I'm out.

Happy Writing. :)
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Chinaren
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Posted: Mon Dec 19, 2005 5:20 am    Post subject:  

Maybe she could start dating the most handsome stud in the school, to get the envy of the girls.

Lots of money?

I don't know! And you say my decision points are getting harder!!!

<Goes off to think some more, possibly with his good friend Mr.Beer>
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ethereal_fauna
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Posted: Mon Dec 19, 2005 7:41 am    Post subject:  

Smee wrote: ...the 8th time the police is called to get rid of the stalker...
I thought you said it wasn't going to come to that... o-)
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Solomon Birch
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Location: England..... but Japan beckons.....

Posted: Tue Dec 20, 2005 10:54 am    Post subject:  

Wow, you really are promoting evil tendancies in your readers :grin:

Well, I like the idea of giving her some strange power that she will think is amazing, and people will be envious of her, but so envious that they decide that if they can't have the power, which they can't, then she is a freak who must be segragted, studied (plenty of gang-probes and the ilk) and ridiculed for being different, even though everyone else would want to be like her.

There, nice and cruel..... :lol:
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Shady Stoat
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Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 2:29 am    Post subject:  

Well, there's another poll up. 5 days this time, to let everyone (including me) get over christmas. I've tried to keep the number of options down this time, so it's at 4. Again, sincere apologies to anyone whose option I've missed out on.

Vote now and give Dora something to amuse herself with :D
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ethereal_fauna
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Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 4:20 am    Post subject:  

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LordoftheNight
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Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 4:43 am    Post subject:  

voted
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Ingrothechundyer
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Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 4:59 am    Post subject:  

Cast my ballot
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Smee
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Posted: Fri Dec 23, 2005 5:28 am    Post subject:  

It's gotta be the hooters. :)
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Chinaren
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Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2005 4:53 am    Post subject:  

Well, I really couldn't help myself.

Interesting picture EFauna! :shock:
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ethereal_fauna
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Posted: Sat Dec 24, 2005 5:50 am    Post subject:  

chinaren wrote: Interesting picture EFauna! :shock:
Nah, the really interesting ones I refrained from posting here. :D
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Shady Stoat
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Posted: Wed Dec 28, 2005 3:22 am    Post subject:  

The poll is over, and the hooters have it (I never thought I'd be saying that in one of my storygames. Yey for new experiences!)

I shall attempt to write a worthy and dignified third chapter. Then I'll scrap it and write what comes naturally ;)
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