Friday, August 31, 2012


by M. J. Joachim

Paralysis hit during the night. Melissa rolled over to turn off the alarm clock, landing on the floor without warning. Her left leg was immovable; she couldn’t feel it, the tingling sensation she’d been worried about in her toes up to her ankle was gone.

Confusion had taken over her life. Ordinary tasks like making coffee and brushing her teeth became huge undertakings. Doctors were mystified, testing her for debilitating diseases like muscular dystrophy, multiple sclerosis and rare forms of cancer. Nothing came back conclusive. Nothing showed anything at all.

At work, Melissa’s co-workers were more than a little concerned. This vibrant young woman was losing all sense of who she was and slowly, treacherously, becoming incapacitated. No one could understand how Melissa, a woman outshining her boss in every way, could inexplicably become so ill.

Melissa’s boss seemed to hold it together so well. She’d been his rising star in the company, the woman who made him shine. Why wasn’t it enough for her, he reasoned to himself. Who was she to side-step him and take any glory for herself?

He quickly closed and locked the desk drawer as she entered for their private meeting. “Here,” he said. “I bought you your favorite cafĂ© mocha again today. It’s made just the way you like it.” Melissa drank her coffee throughout the morning, unwittingly ingesting the small dose of arsenic he put in it each day.

Photo Credit:  Wikicommons, GNU Free Documentation License