She didn’t know the day her dreams had died.
It wasn’t really a sudden thing. In fact it was so gradual she didn’t even feel it. Just a bit of frost at first, tiny crystals slowly coalescing into a thin layer of perfectly clear ice.
Little by little, with every passing day and every new promotion, the layer slowly thickened.
Her voice became politely impersonal, her eyes cold and expressionless, her smile chiseled in stone. She began to blend right in.
Her new ‘professional attitude’ and ‘emotional detachment’ were promptly noticed by management, something that helped skyrocket her career within the company.
Soon she was playing in the big leagues, courteously absorbing smaller companies only to surgically dismantle them to extract the highest shareholder value.
She had finally made it to the top.
That morning her assistant found her already at her desk, as usual, and started briefing her on the day’s agenda. It took almost an hour for anyone to notice she wasn’t breathing.
The police found no evidence of foul play, something the coroner confirmed after the autopsy. She had died of natural, if quite unusual, causes.
Her heart was frozen solid.