HOME - KITCHEN
Burt Lamont asked as he walked into the kitchen.
He'd been upstairs in his
room, lost in thought and concern over his girlfriend Janet
still trying to get used to that last name...who'd run away and disappeared days
earlier. Despite his best efforts coupled with the efforts of her sister
Jillian Stokes, Jillian's fiancÚ Reginald
Callison, and the local police
department, they still couldn't find her. Burt was beginning to fear the
worst. In the middle of his worrying, he'd heard his mother cry out,
rather loudly, from the kitchen and he'd immediately run downstairs to see what
was the matter.
"Ma? Are you
okay?" he asked again as he moved further into the kitchen.
Not seeing any sign of her, he
bit his lip in confusion. He'd just known he'd heard her crying out as if
something were horribly wrong. He was about to head back upstairs when he
caught a glimpse of her, out of the corner of his eye, still lying on the floor.
"Oh, my god! Ma!" He rushed to her side and knelt down beside her. Seeing
the beads of perspiration on her forehead he touched her face and was shocked by
how clammy she felt. "Ma, speak to me!" Unsure of what to
do, he slapped her cheeks frantically in an attempt to bring her around.
Penelope finally spoke in a faint whisper as she regained consciousness. A
throaty, disturbing cough tore from her chest.
"Ma, are you okay?
she muttered, clearly weak. The thinness of her breathing and the several,
short gasp for air that she would make told him that she was most definitely not
"Ma, I'm gonna go call
the doctor." He quickly jumped up from his place on the floor and ran
for the telephone.
"N-no, Burton," she
muttered. "J-just...just help...me upstairs...to bed."
"Ma! You need a
"B-Burton, I...I'm your
m-mother. You w-will...do...as I say." Using what little
strength that she had remaining, she lifted her hand to him as if begging him to
help her stand.
"Just let me call the
Quickly weighing his options,
he was unsure what to do. Ignore his mother's pleas and phone the doctor
or do as she'd asked and take her upstairs? Realizing that she more than
likely would be much more comfortable in her own bed than on the cold tile of
the kitchen floor, he decided to take her to her room and then make the phone
Powered by fear and
adrenaline, he rushed back to her side and scooped her up into his arms before
carrying her out of the kitchen and through the front hallway to the living
room. Reaching the foot of the stairs, he ran up them with his mother in
his arms, taking them two at a time.
Finally reaching his mother's
bedroom, he gently laid her on the bed. Stopping only for a moment to gaze
down at her, he saw how frail and delicate she had become. Because she'd
not been in the best of health for several years, he was used to her occasional
attacks, but he'd never seen one quite this severe. That worried
him. More so, it terrified the daylights out of him.
"Ma, I've got you in your
room. You're in your bed." Burt took her hand into his in hopes
of somehow passing along some sort of strength to her. "Now, I'm
going to go back downstairs and call the hospital. I'm going to be right
Penelope's voice was weak and raspy. She fought to open her eyes, but
could only manage to barely lift her lids. "B-Burton...I h-have to
t..." Her body jerked frantically as sharp pains shot through her and
she cried out.
Momma!" Burt knelt down beside the bed and again took her hand into
his as panic began to overtake him. "Ma!"