She read the label which said in bright, bold lettering: “Guaranteed to cure what ails you!”
Sure, she thought, I bet this snake oil will cure everything wrong with me. She sat in the chair in her living room, itching at the fresh skin that was still growing over the stump of what used to be her left arm. The pain killers hadn’t run out yet, so she didn’t have to worry about pain management, but they would run out. Sooner than she would have liked, too. Why the hell not? It’s not like it’s going to make things worse.
She popped the cap off the bottle and poured some of the shimmering liquid into the short glass of water that was dripping condensation onto the wooden armrest of her couch. She swirled the two liquids around in an attempt to mix them and her eyes widened as she watched. Instead of mixing, the strange medicinal liquid formed a ring in the center of the water, like oil separating, but in the middle instead of on top or bottom. It also changed colors in flashes as it swirled. One second it was a light pink, then an angry red, a deep black, a happy yellow, a calming blue, a refreshing green. The color changes came faster and faster as the liquid continued to swirl.
She set the glass down and let the water mixture settle, but the two liquids stayed separated. She shrugged, figuring that no one in their right mind would ever sell something in this country without it being safe for people for fear of being sued into oblivion. She plucked the glass from its spot and downed it in a single gulp.
The liquid, both warm and cool at the same time, traveled down her throat until it hit her stomach where she could feel the sensation spread out before contracting down into a small ball. The sensation slowly faded away as the man on the TV extoled the virtues of the extraordinarily bland kitchen knives he was trying to shill to unsuspecting shop-at-homers. Her eye lids became heavy and they slid closed as she fell into a deep sleep.
“What do you think did it?” one paramedic asked the other as they stood over the woman, sitting on her couch, her face frozen in an expression of absolute horror.
“Not a clue. All signs point to a heart attack, possibly from shock,” the medical examiner said, walking up behind them. “But, all her medical records indicate that she was perfectly healthy.” He tapped a few more buttons on the tablet screen, pulling up a document name that was in red. “Hang on here,” he said. “Hospital records indicate that she was admitted for a month after a car accident and just released the other day.” He mumbled to himself, flicking the screen to scroll down the page. “That can’t be right.”
“What is it?” the second paramedic asked.
“Hospital records indicate an amputation of her left arm.” The medical examiner looked at the woman over the top of the tablet. “They can’t be the same woman. She has both of her arms.”