Valley of Shadows (Novel)
Chapter 52: Blindsided

Chapter 52: Blindsided

Reverend Mother’s children were not allowed to see her, after she went into respiratory arrest. Huddled together in the hallway outside of her room, they caught only glimpses of the nursing home staff trying desperately to revive her, each time the door opened and one of them rushed in or out. Rachel attempted to intercept and question several of them. By the time an ambulance arrived, her children had already been directed out to the sitting area near the front entrance.

When the paramedics rushed in and jogged down the hall pushing a stretcher, Rachel was on her feet peppering them with questions. She attempted to follow them, demanding answers. Joshua and Richard had to restrain her. Rachel struggled hard, her face slick with angry tears, shouting for them to let her go. The last of Richard’s patience drained away as his migraine bloomed. He grabbed and shook his sister, snarling at her through gritted teeth.

“Sit down, before I knock you down! You’re not the only one upset. We’re all worried about mother, but you don’t see us screaming like we’ve lost our minds! You’re disturbing the other residents.”

“Let me go Richard, I wanna know what’s wrong with mama!”

“Don’t you think we want to know too? The staff back there is busy trying to get her stabilized. What do you want them to do, stop in the middle of reviving her and come talk to you? Quit being so damn selfish! The world doesn’t revolve around you. We have to stay out of their way, so they can help mother.”

“I’m scared Richard. What if mama…”Rachael wailed.

Richard pulled her into his arms and stroked her hair, doing his best to comfort her, until her tears subsided. Samentha sat apart from the others attempting to make sense of it all. Something was very wrong. Reverend Mother did not have a history of respiratory problems. She was fine, when they arrived less than an hour ago. Samentha’s eyes narrowed speculatively. Could Nicole have made another call, from her jail cell and dispatched someone to do in Reverend Mother? Perhaps what was meant as another veiled threat had somehow gone too far.

Whether or not it was some misguided attempt at intimidation, if she died then at the very least it would be considered manslaughter. That meant the cops would start questioning everybody. Samentha didn’t want to be around, when that happened. She thought about the spirit whistle and cursed under her breath. There was no way to get into Reverend Mother’s room and look around for the damn thing.

Samentha’s eyes had roamed around the room earlier, while they were all sitting together and it was nowhere in sight. Reverend Mother didn’t appear to be wearing around her neck either. She may not have even intended to keep her promise and give it to Samentha.

Rachel wailed and Samentha rolled her eyes. That woman’s penchant for drama was beginning to get on her nerves. She would recede and allow Harriet to be conscious again, for a little while. In the next moment, Samentha acted on her decision. The transition was abrupt, leaving Harriet feeling dazed. Her last recollection was trying to leave her mother’s room, to escape the pull of the spirit whistle. She had gone to the nursing home alone. When had her sister and brothers gotten there? Why did they look so upset?

“What’s going on,” asked Harriet.

“Mama is dying and you ask what’s going on? Are you stupid,” spat Rachel.

“Don’t yell at Harriet. She’s probably just in shock or something. Are you okay Harriet? You don’t look good,” Joshua said.

“I…I was visiting with mother alone. When did you all get here?”

“What are you talking about? We came together. Not twenty minutes ago, we were all with mama and she started coughing. It got so bad, she couldn’t breathe. I think she collapsed or something. They had to call for an ambulance.”

Realization struck Harriet, like a punch to the stomach. The spirit whistle had succeeded in locking her away again. Harriet shuddered at the thought of how long Samentha was out this time and what mischief she had gotten up to. She hoped that Samentha wasn’t responsible for her mother’s sudden illness.

“What day is it,” Harriet asked uneasily.

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