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"It's Gramma," Kitty answered. "I have to go to
Missouri." She opened the closet door and pulled a suitcase
from an upper shelf.
"It's really bad?"
"Peter says she hasn't got much time..."
Kitty opened the suitcase, then sat beside her husband.
She covered her face with her hands, began to shake.
"He put her in the hospital," she said angrily. "He took
her off the farm... Bastard!" She gulped for air and began
to weep in great, painful shudders.
"They're sixty miles from a doctor there," John said
softly, pulling her close. "She'd die at home."
"She's dying now!" She pushed him away and walked
stiffly to the dresser. She began filling the suitcase.
"I'll go with you," John said. He crossed to her, rested
his hands on her shoulders.
Kitty turned and embraced him. She held him tightly to
her. "No," she said, her voice low. "You stay here. Mind
the business."
"The business will wait..."
"Please, John." She touched his lips to silence him. "I
have to go alone."
"I don't know," she answered softly. "Something's
happening. Something important."
She pressed her ear tightly to his chest, holding him,
letting herself be held.
"I'm frightened," she said.
In the stark, antiseptic hospital room, Claire Beaumont
slept on and on.
"She's fallen into a coma," the doctor said.