A quick flash of light and the buzzing of my phone vibrating against my bedside table jolt me awake.

The fog and haze of a half night of sleep, mixed with a soft throbbing burn of white wine and Thai food attempting to work its way back up, are pushing against me, making it far too difficult to sit up.

I move the back of my hand across my sleep crusted eyes a few times in an effort to bring the darkness into focus.  I can make out a capital letter ‘P’ and a capital letter ’S’ on my phone.  The letters in between are too small and blurry for me to make out — but my list of contacts is a short one, which makes it easy to figure out that Penny Simpson is calling me.

I heave a sigh, and quietly chastise myself for the offer that I put out to her after we’d found her son, Baxter.  

She’d needed so much help to do the basic requirements of asking for help and persevering through the arduous task of searching for her young son in the freezing cold weather of a Coffee Creek winter.

Realizing that she was in need of more help that I’d originally thought, I’d put out an offer to her.

It sounded good at the time. 

In fact, I’d prayed about it and felt really good about the decision I’d come to. 

But that was before the streak of middle of the night calls came pouring in.