By: David L. Souers

Chapter 7

Don't Forget the What ???

Hanging up the phone, Danielle heaved a little sigh. She was altogether aware that her mom could be a tough nut to crack, but once she was convinced, she was unstoppable in getting the job done.

Her mental, ”next”, prompted her to once again pick up the phone. Trying to contact her best friend, Shandra, a fellow practitioner, had been unsuccessful on the net, or on the phone, the previous night.

Two rings, and Shandra’s cheery, “hello”, was in her ear.

“Well, hello yourself. Have I got news for you!”

“I just read my e-mail, and was going to cast the bones to see what was going on, but now that we’re talking. What’s up?”

“Like I said on my warning. Total upheaval, for sure. “

Relating the details of the previous day’s revelations took only a few minutes, and when she finished, not a sound could be heard from her friend.


“I’m here Danielle. I was just a little shook up for a second. We’ve known something was up, but...I guess I just wasn’t looking in this direction.”

“Hey girlfriend, how about casting for what I might missed in the rush. Then maybe you and Bill can check to be sure you’ll be set for a long cold winter, or maybe several. We can compare notes on what we will have stock up on, to be ready for it, OK?”

“OK Danielle, bright blessings.

“Blessed be to you.

Danielle made one more, quick phone call to June, the teenager from up the road a couple of houses, to see if she would like to watch the store for a few hours. Danielle knew that if her husband Gary had not been out of town at a job site, June would be here even if she hadn’t been asked. Poor Gary! He avoided the girl like the plague, but obviously hadn’t been rude enough for her to get the hint. He definitely went out of his way to keep her at arms length, not wanting to take any chances of being caught with her alone in any situation that these locals would view as, “impropriety”.

Heading out to the back pasture, she watched as Pancho, her Arabian horse showed off for her. Prancing and snorting, he came over for his usual morning greeting. He knew it was time for his morning chow, and as usual, made a big deal of it. Danielle fed him and checked his water supply, and stopped to feed the chickens and all the other critters, as she called the various animals under her care. Fifteen minutes later, she backed her truck up to her, well used, much abused, tandem axle horse trailer. It was invaluable when she used it to trailer Poncho to the various events that she liked to attend, but was just as vital when she used it to haul bulky items, as she planned to do today. With the hitch secure, and all of the lights working, she went to the front of the shop, and unlocked the door for June who was coming through the gate at that very moment.

Putting the pre-counted cash drawer into the till, she told June that she would be back by lunch time, and headed for the convenience mart just up the road a couple of miles or so.

Pulling into the small store, she parked by the air hose next to the old fash-ioned pumps. Putting the nozzle into the main tank she set it on automatic, and got out her tire gauge. Working her way around, “Old Blue”, as Gary affectionately called her vintage 1971 Chevy, three quarter ton pickup truck, she noticed that the left front was down eight pounds in just a week. Her, “Damn slow leak!” came out at just a whisper. For the last month, she had been complaining to Gary about the leak, but his two tries at finding it, didn’t do a thing to fix it, much to her dismay. If she had time she would take it to the tire shop. If she didn’t have time today, then she would do it as soon as possible. Going to the valve that they’d installed in the rear bumper, she raised the air shock pressure to an even one hundred pounds. “There, that should help to hold the back of this truck up, no matter what I buy!” Finishing the four trailer tires last, she went to the gas nozzle and moved it to the first saddle tank. They only held ten gallons of fuel on each side, but they more than doubled her total gas carrying capacity. She went on to check the oil, belts, water, and everything else under the hood, and by the time the two side tanks were full, she was ready to pay the bill.

“Twelve days be damned! I’ll stay ready ‘til it happens.” With these thoughts in her mind, she went through the door. “Hi Red, how’s it going?”

Glancing up from his outdoor type magazine, he replied, “Just fine Miss Danielle. You sure filled up on gas today. Are you on your way to the rodeo or something?”

“I’m not sure Red. I just want to be ready in case I decide that want to go later on today.”

As she handed him the credit card, she knew that Red had a healthy respect, maybe a touch of awe, and even a little fear of the pretty young gal from up the road a-piece, as he often phrased it. In a town as small as theirs, rumors spread as fast as lightning. She could almost hear his thoughts as his aura seemed to shift from one shade to the next. “Why, Miss ‘Lizabeth saw her just the other day, a-doin’ some kinda hocus-pocus stuff right out there by her garden! Weren’t but an hour or so, and a nice rain came down and broke that drought that was killing the gardens. Folks just a few miles on either side of here never got a drop. I wonder what she does with all that stuff she’s a-growin’ up there? Oh well, I ain’t never heard of her doin’ any harm, and she’s fixed many a broken critter, and even a few folks that didn’t have enough to pay a real Dr. When Bill Perry got the pneumonia last winter, she fixed him up with her herbs and potions in no time. She might be different than some folks, but her kind of different is good.”

Reaching for the card as she finished signing the receipt, she couldn’t keep from quipping, “Why Red, such a nice complement!” One last enigmatic smile, and she grabbed her slip, and headed for her old truck. She was quite certain that she heard, or felt, his… “Well, I’ll be damned!” as she started the engine and pulled out on the highway. “Town”, as the locals referred to it, was the county seat. Never a real city at any time in its long history, it was losing ground rapidly, as its youth migrated to the larger metropolitan areas. She smiled wryly as she realized that she had fled to the setting, saying, ”Money be damned!” while they had fled the area for money and jobs. After two hundred years, it looked like the place was in for a revival in the population department. It was obvious that the cities wouldn’t be able to support their populations without, modern day, high tech support. To survive, they would have to return to the land. As she approached the outskirts of town, her face wore a thoughtful pose, as she thought of all the folks that would survive the nightmare that was coming to the cities, and the knowledge that there would be more than enough of them to repopulate the land around here. So many of the these old farms the had lain fallow for so long, that it would take plenty of hard work to make them productive again, but if they wanted to eat, it could and would, be done. She had visions of an early twentieth century lifestyle just around the corner for all of them, and as for herself, she didn’t mind the idea one bit. As a matter of fact, she had told many people, on many occasions, “I was born a century to late.” She would soon find out if it actually were true.

Smiling to herself, she knew she would have to call Gary. He was on a construction job about a hundred miles north, and was working a turn-around job at a big sawmill up there. He worked very often for twenty-four hours straight through, while a sawmill was shut down for maintenance.

When his shift was over, he’d hit the sack in his motel room for a few hours, get up to a lumberjack-sized breakfast, and go out for another killer shift. Danielle’s call hadn’t reached him the day before, but the clerk promised to give him the message to call home. She left a message on her machine that told him, ”Honey, you need to get home as soon as possible. No one is sick or anything like that, but I’m going to need your help right away.” She would keep trying his room at regular intervals, as he might never get the message to call her.

Thankfully, her credit cards had a good reserve on them. She figured that this months billings were going to evaporate when the wave hit anyway, so she would get what she was going to need now, and pay things off later, as she was able. It would be sans cash, no doubt.

Two blocks short of the feed store, Danielle caught a fleeting glimpse of a real treasure in the plate glass window of Tom’s Antique Store. Moving on to the next side street, she swung the ungainly rig around the block, and came to a stop right in front of that very same window.

Sauntering into the store, she avoided looking at, or going over to the big four burner wood stove that sat in the window, looking as pretty as the day it was made. She looked at a couple of small items that would be extremely useful, very soon now. Setting an old, hand operated, egg beater, and a small pickle crock on the counter, she wandered over towards the stove, as if it was the first time she had even noticed it.

It was even nicer up close! Lifting one of the burner plates with the small detachable handle, she could see that the fire grates were just as new as the day it came from the factory. The oven had a temperature gauge built right into the door, and when she opened it, she could see that it was as clean as a whistle, and there weren’t any signs that it had ever been scrubbed, as the original factory sheen was quite apparent. There was a large container on the back of the stove where she could keep two or three gallons of hot water. If this stove had been an automobile, it would have been a “Rolls” for sure. It was a case of love at first sight. Now she had to keep Tom from seeing just how badly she wanted that stove! Danielle knew full well that no matter what she ended up paying for it, she would be making a good deal, but it was her basic nature that insisted that she would make the best deal possible.

Tom was finally coming up towards her from the rear of the store. She could see him out the corner of her eye, and yet, she still continued to pretend that she couldn’t see him approach. She had just started back towards the counter, where she had left the two small items, when Tom cut her off with his greeting, “Hi, Miss Danielle. Nice stove, huh?”

Seeming to notice him for the first time, she replied, “Oh, hi Tom. Sure is a looker. I haven’t seen it in here before, where’d you find it?

“Some old fellow found it in a barn up near Barklesville a few weeks ago. He’d gone up there when he found out his cousin died, and he was the only relative left alive. He asked me to come up and buy it, so I went over there a couple of days ago and brought it down to the store.

What do you have to get for it?”

Screwing up his face as if he was doing some very intricate math in his mind, he answered her with, “Well, if I’m going to make a pinch, I’ll just have to get seven hundred and fifty for it.”

“Oh my! I was hoping you’d say five hundred or so. I don’t think I can go quite that high. Would you consider six hundred?”

“How about six fifty, and I’ll get it loaded for you?”

“Done! You do take Master-card, don’t you?”

“Sure do Miss Danielle.”

Smiling like the “cat that ate the canary”, she pulled out from the curb a half an hour later, with her new stove safely ensconced in the back section of the horse trailer. When Tom had said seven hundred and fifty, she knew that six fifty would do, and the game began. Danielle had the feeling that bartering and bargaining were soon going to be very necessary life skills, and the greater your skills, the better a person’s odds of survival would be.

When she had first arrived in this rural southern area, she was amazed that people still addressed women by their given name preceded by, “Miss”. Now, she realized, that she not only accepted it, she had actually come to expect it.

Still a block short of the feed store, she eased the truck and trailer carefully over to the curb. Looking into the big west coast style mirrors, she saw that she had taken three full parking spaces, plus a few additional feet. Not the best of plans in the city, but she knew no one would mind here, as she was a real live paying customer, and they were in very short supply in these parts.

Tom had told her that the stove needed was a six-inch chimney, so this quick trip to the local hardware was definitely in order. Walking in, she spotted Mac, the owner, working at the back counter and walked down the very well stocked aisle towards the stovepipe lengths that were carefully racked on the back wall.

“Hi Miss Danielle, what can I do for you today?”

“Good morning Mac. I just bought that big wood stove from Tom. He said you could fix me up with the right pipes to get it up and running.”

“Sure can. That’s some kind of nice stove, huh?” Looks like a new one. I was there when they brought it in the other day and looked it over real good. It uses a six inch chimney, and I’ve got plenty of that in stock.”

“While you’re taking care of that, I’ve got a few other things to get.”

“OK missy, I just need to know if you are going to put the pipe through the roof, or the wall?”

“I think we’ll put it through the wall, just below the eaves.”

“Is it a brick or wooden wall Miss Danielle?”

“It’s wooden. We’ll put it right through my kitchen wall where the gas range is located now.”

“OK, I’ll fill your order now that I know what you need. Do you need a cart or a basket, for the other items on your list?”

“Better get me a cart Mac, I don’t even know what all I want to get.”

Walking slowly up and down the old-fashioned display shelves, Danielle would stop every few feet and add another item or two to the cart. Duct tape... six rolls, baling wire... five pounds, three big rolls of heavy cotton butchers twine, two large wash tubs with an authentic washboard just like the ones they used in the Zydeco bands just to the south of here. She knew that the only music that this one would be producing was the sound of her knuckles as they cleaned their clothes on the rough surface. A box of twelve bars of fels-naptha soap completed the laundry department. The ugly brown bars of soap worked great on a scrub board, and would use them until she could garner enough ashes and tallow to make her own soap. With the load becoming too ungainly to negotiate the narrow paths between the stocks she went to the counter where Mac was patiently waiting for her.

“You sure are in a shopping mode today Miss Danielle. I’ve got this pipe all down on the sheet, do you want to add this stuff to the tab?”

“You might just as well add it in. What am I buying for that stove?”

“Well, there’s; four lengths of six inch pipe, an insulated thimble, so the wall won’t catch fire, three elbows, a strap steel stabilizer to keep the wind from tipping it over, and a cap so the weather won’t come down the chimney.”

When the grand total had been finally been calculated, she handed Mac the well used card, and after signing the receipt, bid him a good day, and once again headed for the feed store. Driving down main she started to giggle. She was thinking of Gary’s shock when he found out she was ready... Ready to put him to work, that is! Still chuckling at her little funny, she backed into the loading dock, and went into the sliding doors at the back entrance.

Stepping lithely aside and nodding a curt greeting to a burly fellow with a large bag of horse pellets on each shoulder, she made her way inside the cavernous building. Stepping over and around the inevitable clutter, she picked out the path of least resistance through it all, and soon was safely leaning against the back counter.

“Howdy Miss Danielle. Are you headed for the arena?”

“Not today Jake. I just brought the trailer with me for supplies. I’m going to need quite a few, and I really don’t want to make more than one trip if I can get around it. You should have heard Pancho carry on, when I left with the trailer and he wasn’t in it.”

“Ya know Missy, I think those critters can be more spoiled than a kid. My dogs carry on to no end if I try to go fishing without them. Somehow they know if I’m going fishing and not to the bank, even if everything for the fishing trip is already stowed in the truck!

“You’ve certainly got that right Jake. It’s kind of uncanny, isn’t it?”

“It sure is Miss Danielle. Now, what can I get for you today.”

“Well, I’ve got a list as long as your arm. Maybe if you work on the big stuff, I can fill the seed order.”

“It’s a little early for doing seed orders ain’t it?”

“Let’s just say I want to be sure that I’ve got them when I need them.”

“OK by me Missy, we just got some of that new ultra sugary, honey and cream, hybrid sweet corn in yesterday.”

“I know it’s probably great stuff Jake, but every seed that I’m going to buy will be non-hybrid stock. Hybrid seed won’t make viable seeds from the mature plants, so they won’t do. I’m looking for, “American Heritage”, type seeds that I can get new seeds from, when I do my harvesting, to use the following year.

Knowing her reputation, Jake couldn’t help but ask, “Are you onto something special, Miss Danielle?”

Seeing his concern, she quietly replied. “Jake, I see some very big changes coming soon. Very soon, as a matter of fact! A wise man might just be inclined to stock up on the necessaries, you know what I mean?”

Nodding somberly, Jake took his part of the list, and went to the back to start filling it.

“Wow! She must be serious.” Four hundred pounds of chicken feed, and as many of scratch! Six hundred of rabbit pellets, sweet feed, oats, and on and on, and then some more items on the back of the paper! She would be lucky to get all of it home in just one trip, even with the trailer. Miss Danielle’s enigmatic, “big changes”, must be some very serious business indeed! He’d have to get his brother to deliver the thirty tons of baled alfalfa hay from his barn. Willy grew it on his property, and would deliver any order over ten tons to any location in the county for free.

More than a little tuckered out, Jake returned to the counter to find it covered with small paper bags of seeds. Each was carefully labeled with; the type of seed it contained, price per unit, and the content’s weight. There must have been forty or fifty of the little bags sitting there, ready to be tabulated.

“You sure don’t waste any time.”

“Like I said Jake, maybe that’s something that we ain’t got a whole lot of left, before the manure hits the spreader.”

“How much do you figure we’ve got left, Missy?”

“Well Jake, it isn’t chiseled in stone or anything like that, but I figure we’ve got ten or twelve days to get ready, at the most. You need to think of putting up what you’ll need to live on for a long spell, and start thinking about keeping warm. It might be a good idea to pretend that an old friend from Alaska is going to come for a visit, and he’s bringing Alaska with him!

“Sure will do that, and thanks for the tip, me and my family appreciate it.”

“If I were you Jake, I’d do my shopping before I told the world about this. Let the others do their shopping in the towns down the road. You’ll be sorely needed here at the store.”

You could almost see the gears turning between his ears, as he mulled everything over while he was reaching for his nearly antique, soon to be fried, solar powered calculator. As he reached for it, the thought crossed Danielle’s mind, “Most people don’t even know their times tables! I wonder if Tom has one of those mechanical adding machines over there in that antique store? If he does, Jake better get over there and lay claim to it. He’ll be in big trouble when his calculator dies!”

Jake methodically entered every bag of seeds by entering the price per unit times the amount, and followed that by penciling it into the right hand column on an invoice. He then looked up the prices for the tack and other supplies that she had set on the counter, in his big hand written reference book, and followed that by adding in the feed costs that he copied from the list that had been stapled over the counter.

It took him fifteen minutes to tabulate the bill, and he whistled softly when he finally got the total. ”Twenty three hundred dollars and thirty nine cents!”

He smiled wryly as she handed him the credit card. “Don’t figure these cards will be worth much real soon now, from what you just told me.”

“Don’t worry Jake, I’ll see it’s covered one way or another.”

He knew of several people right off hand that depended on her potions, teas, herbs and other skills, and figured he might be on that list in the near future. Why, even sheriff Brownlee swore by those herbs that she gave to him to put in his steamer to relieve his terrible sinus problems. He claimed that nothing else worked so well. She was also a trained veterinary technician, and that was going to be a real asset to the area too.

Nodding his head sagely, he said, “let’s go see how much of that stuff we can get loaded up.”

Danielle and Jake, along with the assistance of two strapping boys that appeared to be big enough to eat hay themselves, soon had the whole affair loaded into the now squatting truck. It actually looked as if it was trying to go airborne. The headlights were angled up so sharply, if it had been dark, she could have used them to spot raccoons in the tops of the trees on her way home.

“You sure that old truck will get you home?”

“Don’t worry, I’ll take it slow and easy.”

Glancing over to his brand new truck, she commented, ”That sure is one very pretty truck.”

“Why thanks Miss Danielle. Me and my missus just love it.”

“Jake, that stuff we were talking about isn’t going to do that new truck much good at all. You might want to start looking for something older that doesn’t have all that computer equipment on it. You get my drift?”

“Yes Miss Danielle. I sure will do that, and thanks again.”

“One more thing. Do you think your brother’s boys will load that hay into my barn? I’ll give them each thirty dollars cash for doing it.”

“I’m sure they will, but if there is a problem, I’ll call”

“OK. I’ll put the cash in a plastic baggie just inside the door on the hook. That way if I’m not home, they can just pay themselves, and stack the hay. I’d sure appreciate it if they could pull those last dozen or so bales out before they stack the new bales in. That way I can use the older ones first. If it gets too stale, Pancho just picks at it. Like we were saying a little bit ago, more spoiled than a little kid.”

“Ain’t it the truth! I’ll tell those boys to take care of that for you, and where to find their pay. You just be careful on your way home, OK?”

“I will Jake. Good luck finding that truck, and please say hi to the missus for me.”

“Sure will. Thanks again.”

Jimmy knew in his heart that his neighbors and the rest of the people he knew had no reason to believe anything he might tell them about the approaching wave, so he just gave up on the thought of trying to help.

On the other hand, Danielle’s neighbors respected her, and her knowledge. Her abilities were well known locally, and although there were plenty of skeptics around, many would heed her warning which she figured was about to spread like a brush fire in a, Southern California, Santa Anna wind storm.

The trip home took twice as long as the trip to town. On three separate occasions, huge logging trucks, loaded to the limits and beyond, went around her at speeds that she didn’t even want to try to calculate. The draft created by their bulk and speed seemed to try to toss her around ever harder every time one of the wind-blasts hit her overloaded rig. Buffeted severely by the third one, while just a mile from her house, she gave an audible sigh of relief as she finally swung into the east drive. Pulling in past the shop, she backed the trailer in, between the pasture fence, and the store wall. Pulling a large plastic tarp out from behind the truck seat, she soon had it secured over the load in the back of the truck. The weather forecast said there was a slight chance of rain, but she wasn’t going to take any chances on any of her supplies getting ruined by any rain, slight or otherwise. She hadn’t had to live in this area very long to figure out that it could be bright and sunny one minute, and very wet the next.

“Hi Miss Danielle.”

Turning back to the shop, she saw June standing by the corner with a handful of white oak strips in her hand. “Hi yourself. It looks like you been busy.”

“We haven’t had but a couple of customers since I opened, and I’ve cleaned the whole place and swept the walks too, so I thought I’d make up some supplies for you to put together when you found some extra time.”

“Thanks. You know that’s the hardest part of doing my crafts. Once I’ve got what I need, I can really go to town on it.”

They both turned at the sound of tires crunching on the gravel drive. The horn honked twice and Gary waved to them as he made the turn and headed for the shop’s parking lot.

“Hi Hon. Boy, you sure are a sight for sore eyes!

Climbing a little stiffly out of his sub compact car, Gary gave his, “most favorite person”, an endearment he sometimes liked to tease her with, a big hug and a kiss. “Hi yourself! What’s the scoop?”

“Let’s go get a big mug of apple mint tea, and I’ll fill you in, OK?”

Walking towards the house, Danielle turned to ask June if she would mind watching the shop for another hour or so, and saw the girl staring wistfully at Gary’s receding back. While Danielle was making her verbal inquiry, her mental, ”dream on girl”, was nearly as tangible as her audible question.

Two mugs of his favorite tea, and nearly an hour later, Gary said, ”We’d better hit it, if what you say about December 23rd is right.”

That’s what the Mayan’s said, but did they know the world’s rotation was slowing down? I’d rather get everything done, and then sit back and watch the action unfold around us.”

Gary was going to see if he could get Bill Watson, the neighbor from across the street, and his two teenage boys to come over and help him unload the truck and the horse trailer into the storage half of the shop building. It had taken Gary, Bill, and the two boys, two full weekends last month to replace most of the fence around Bill’s pasture, but as long as the labor was reciprocal, it got things done that one man often couldn’t handle, and he didn’t feel as if he was putting them out by asking for help.

Danielle was heading out of the drive, as the boys were walking across the high-way to where Gary was standing by the gate.

“Dad’s gone to town Gary, but we’ll give you a hand.”

“Thanks guys. Maybe he’ll be back when the really heavy part of this job needs doing.”

Gary wanted to have all of the help that he could muster for the stove-moving job. It was going to be the last thing to unload, and he wanted to put it onto the back porch so that it would be close to it’s final resting place when they in-stalled it the following day. He hoped that Bill would be back before they reached that stage of their labors.

Gary figured that he and Danielle could move it into position as long as they didn’t have to do any actual lifting. He didn’t do any measuring before he made that assumption, but he should have.

Danielle was going to visit the three veterinary offices that were located within a forty-mile radius of her home. She was well known to all of them, and they often sold her the supplies that she used on the farm for her animals, and also the ones that were brought to her. The vets knew that she would treat minor ailments, but refer serious matters to them. Many of the locals would often destroy an animal not knowing that it was something that could be taken care of by a vet.

The animals were better off, the vets were too, and she could often save her neighbors a lot of expense that they could ill afford.

She had already made her mental list of the items she wanted; suture kits, medicines, injectors, gauze and tape, and anything else that she might need. At the same moment that her front tires hit the pavement, Gary yelled to her, “Don’t forget the anesthetic!”

She gave him a wave and a big smile in response. “Leave it to Gary!” While fishing with Bill and the boys last summer, he had sunk a big four ought fish hook, well past the barb, right into his left forearm. His face was ashen when he came through the front door. Danielle took one look, and after seating him at the kitchen table, went for her, “kit.” After a couple of one half cc injections of xylocaine around the hook, and a few minutes to let it take effect, she splashed the area with tea tree oil to act as an antiseptic, and pushed the point right through the other side. She asked him, ”Are you doing OK?” At about the same time that he nodded yes, she cut the end of the hook off with a heavy duty pair of wire cutters, doused the remains of the hook that was still protruding from his arm with more of the oil, and removed it by pulling it back through the same path it had made when it went in. Two small adhesive bandages with the gauze sections liberally dosed with more of the natural antibiotic oil completed the impromptu surgery.

His only comments were to thank her, and exclaim to his closely watching fishing partners, “I’m sure glad there’s a doctor in the house!”

Needless to say, they were all very impressed, and the stories of her abilities in the medical department went up another notch in the tri-county area.

Obviously, this event was sufficiently traumatic to make him remember to ask her to get some extra anesthetic. He knew for sure that lots of this item on hand was definitely going to be, “a good thing”.

With her card in hand, she bought what she could from each of the offices, without being too demanding. All three of the practices wanted her to work for them, but she just couldn’t stand the, “money thing”, as she called it. Unnecessary procedures, and one thousand percent mark-ups were a way of life. She knew that a lot of animals suffered and died, because their owners couldn’t afford to save them, and she chose to be part of the solution, and not to be part of the problem. Danielle remembered working for hours on a neighbor’s hunting dog that had tangled with one of the big boars that haunted the swamps to the south of her place. The next morning she had found three fat laying hens in an old, battered wooden crate on the shady side of her shop. Putting the chickens into her coop, she returned the crate to its rightful owner that afternoon. Yes, some of these folks were more than a little bit afraid of her, but when the chips were down, they all knew where to turn. She had a compassion for life, and it showed through like a beacon in the night.