Saturday, December 3, 2016

Write What You Know, Part 26

This is my first draft for NaNoWriMo 2016 novel Write What You Know. It's only a rough draft with very minimal editing and will, more than likely, contain, typos, grammatical errors, plot holes, or conflicting descriptions. It also includes notes to myself and excerpts from the novel the MC is writing that I try to indicate through various formatting that doesn't always translate well with my limited html skills. Furthermore, this particular novel is... there's no delicate way to put this... this novel is fucked up. So, especially in this rough draft crazed sort of NaNoWriMo way of writing, it may be difficult to read or follow.  I'm still posting it here because I want to shed more light on the process of writing to encourage and inspire other writers or readers who are interested. To learn more about this project, or my daily NaNoWriMo postings, please read Day 1-7.


Write What You Know, Part 26
By Stephanie Thompson,  1, 745 words

Read: Part 1Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23, Part 24, Part 25

Detective Riley was not finished with his case. There was something Fields was going to tell him before she (came to her senses) asked for her lawyer. HE just needed to figure out what that thing is.
The last thing she’d looked at was the gps map for the phone but that didn’t tell her anything really new, she knew where she’d been. So, what did she know that he didn’t know?
For one thing, she knew her life better than he did. He knew who this Helen Richards was and where he could find her. (She knew if she did it or not). And she knew her books.
He didn’t actually know if any of those things were going to be helpful at all but he wasn’t ready to let this go just yet and since the murders them selves offered no more leads, the only direction to go was in the direction of the suspect.

Cass picked up the phone and dialed is number. Maybe it was too soon to call him. Normally she would text but (I’m not mentioning this phone again so put something else here). He didn’t answer which was fine by her. She left a message.
“Hi (Does this dude have a name?) it’s Casse, we met last night and, I’m just really looking forward to seeing you again. Call me back when you get the chance.”
She hung up the phone. Then sat down and closed her eyes. There were two things on her agenda today. One was to make that phone call. The other was to talk to Helen. She didn’t want to, she didn’t want to give the little bitch the satisfaction of making her grovel down to her but she’d reached her limits of what she could achieve without her purse, without her phone. Helen had stepped out of bounds when she hid them anyway. But every once in a while everyone needed a reminder. Christie Fields was finding that out now, it was time for Helen to learn her lesson too.

That was the thing about time. It made you forget. It made the edges memory. It forces you forward, swiftly and relentlessly, and in that constant march forward you leave things behind.
They get dusty, rusty, fragile. And when you’re forced to reach back there and grab them, it’s painful to bend this way and something is bound to get broken (God mother fucking awful, just stop).
She hadn’t forgotten Helen but she did forget about the secrets. That there was someone who knew her secrets. Secrets she thinly veiled as fiction and printed in book form. Their secrets she printed. The secrets of a person who hated her with a violent fury. The kind of  stabbing violence with which the New York Ripper showed his or rather her victims.

“Each of the real life victims matches victims from my novels.”
“What do you mean?”
“Okay, I can’t be exactly sure about this, I’d need the books and the police files side by side to note the details. But that last victim, the blonde woman, she reminded me (OF SOMEBODY FROM THESE DAMN BOOKS). But not all of them get murdered, you know, in the book. Like (THE FICTIONAL PAINO PLAYER) she was actually a client of Nikki’s. Nikki helps her in the book but Helen killed her.”
Somehow her saying Nikki’s name out loud made all of the gears that started moving into motion last night in the police station finally click together completely. Now she was certain it was Cassandra. Not only was the only person who would stalk her, not only was she the only one who hated her enough to implicate her, but she was the only one who would connect the fictional Nikki to the real Jennifer Transom. Who would see right through Christie Fields and be determined to destroy her all of them.
“Cassandra did this,” she said to herself.
“Cassandra? You mean Helen. You’re sure? You’re willing to implicate your friend, your ex-girlfriend.”
“I don’t . . . It’s the only possibility. She had the phone, she’s stalked me in the past, she knows these characters and these books just as well as I do. And she really likes stabbing.
“But how, you’re name was changed, you weren’t sending her your books were you.”
“No, She know’s Nikki. And . . .and the stories started as therapy tools back when we were in  (SOMEPLACE) back when we shared everything. She knows me. She knows Nikki.”
“She knows Nikki?”
“You know what I mean. The character of Nikki is basically unchanged from my first stories I wrote in the hospital. And some of the things . . . Some of the dialogue were things we said to each other. . . In the love scenes.”
“But when you saw her two years ago she made no mention of reading the books or hating you enough to do all this? Did she ever mention the borrowed elements of your relationship?”

She’d thought about sending Helen her books. She was the only person she wanted to celebrate her good fortune with but she had the legal name change and the scars to prove that relationship was severed. Once again she had to tell herself that wasn’t her fault. All they had wanted was a real life but Helen was to sick to survive in it. Jennifer’s dream didn’t change just because Helen wasn’t there. It lost some of it’s light, it’s color, it’s purpose but she couldn’t go back to the hospitals and the drugs. She had to survive.  So she kept on surviving but she didn’t forget. And when she saw Helen on the streets of New York so many years later, she didn’t keep walking or pretending she didn’t see her. Instead she instinctually hugged her.
She didn’t have words to say when she saw her. It was like surprise and joy possessed her to action. She was lucky it wasn’t just someone who looked like Helen though if she was being honest she didn’t think a look alike would actually fool her. They had a bond Helen and Jennifer, and no number of names changes or personalities could fake that bond. Which is how she knew that she was hugging Cassandra and not Helen at all. She didn’t hug her back, she had no enthusiasm in her body, just emanating cold.
“Oh my god, Cassie, how’s it going?”
Cassandra couldn’t fake a good mood but she could fake a bad one.
“Not great. It’s been hard you know, outside of SOME HOSPITAL)”
“When did you get out?”
“I actually have to go?”
“Oh no let’s. . .let’s go in this cafe and have a coffee. Let’s catch up, can you  miss your thing?”
It was no coincidence that they’d met on the street. She had no ‘thing’ to miss. Just testing the waters. Perfect for jumping right in. “Sure,” she shrugged.

Cassie didn’t forget either but she also didn’t forgive. TEn year she was in that state hospital. State hospitals were hell. Full of stupid useless people, patients and staff alike. The patients were barely vegetables or too crazy to have good conversation unless you too cared to scream about whatever bat shit fears of the criminally insane. That staff were under funded and over jaded and usually armed with next to nothing but their good intentions. Cassie fucking hated good intentions.
10 years because of that faithless, lying whore. She wasn’t going to let her get away.
In those early days it was hard. She could see no way to get to her. She did’t just want to kill her now, she wanted to annihilate her utterly so that when people spoke of Jennifer Transom in the future it was only terms of tragedy and crumbs. She would destroy anything and everything about her and what she loved.
She thought about it for a long time. A long, long, time. And she almost wavered. Nearly gave up. Then she was in the meager room they called a library and found ‘NRaged. IT was odd to her that it should be there. Inappropriate given the clientele. Likely to incite violence or unclean thoughts for a weaker patron. For Cassandra herself it was a sign. Like a present from the cosmos, rewarding her patience and blessing her mission. But at first it just looked like a trashy novel.
It was when she read the blurb that she saw what it really was. A breadcrumb of a clue. She read the book in that room in two days. It only took that long because she didn’t want to bring It out lest someone decide she shouldn’t be reading or if anyone else discover the secret. The secret that Christie Fields was so obviously Jennifer Transcom, a crazy just like her. Though you wouldn’t think it if you read about the author.
Christie Fields is a blah blah normal. This is her first novel. Midwestern girl with an over active imagination. Something Something something. No family, No pets nothing to kill in her life.
Despite that she knew exactly how to destroy Jennifer. After years of waiting, it had fallen right in her lap. She’d always craved normalcy. Sanity. Cass would be more than happy to take that away from her.

“Well, I’ll be damned,” he said to the records machine. (Figure out if this is just a computer or microfiche or whatever the fuck) He’d been saying that a lot lately as a bunch of tiny pieces started to fall in place.
First of all, Helen Rodgers was a real person. A real dangerous person. A person with a violent past. She showed up the first time in Christie’s own file. He went home and scoured her records. He drank two coffees and a red bull and maybe didn’t blink at all. He read it all in chronological order, then he read it in reverse.
What she’d said about Helen was true. At various times in different state medical records, Jennifer was linked with a Helen or Cassandra, usually being disobedient or intractably linked. She was only in one police report associated with Fields though. When Helen tried to kill her.
In the office today he wanted more direct information on Helen Rodgers. He found another police report where she tried to kill someone else. And the where was one more thing of note on the computer.
“Seriously, I be fucking damned,” he said when he saw it.



Thanks for Reading!


Friday, December 2, 2016

Write What You Know, Part 25



This is my first draft for NaNoWriMo 2016 novel Write What You Know. It's only a rough draft with very minimal editing and will, more than likely, contain, typos, grammatical errors, plot holes, or conflicting descriptions. It also includes notes to myself and excerpts from the novel the MC is writing that I try to indicate through various formatting that doesn't always translate well with my limited html skills. Furthermore, this particular novel is... there's no delicate way to put this... this novel is fucked up. So, especially in this rough draft crazed sort of NaNoWriMo way of writing, it may be difficult to read or follow.  I'm still posting it here because I want to shed more light on the process of writing to encourage and inspire other writers or readers who are interested. To learn more about this project, or my daily NaNoWriMo postings, please read Day 1-7.


Write What You Know, Part 25
By Stephanie Thompson,  1, 592 words

Read: Part 1Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23, Part 24

Neither  of them were with anyone else. When would they have the time? Helen wasn’t ever out of hospitals for more than a home visit or anything else and Jennifer was too busy raising various levels of hell.
In their letters or in their rooms at night all they talked about was freedom. When they were 18 their parent’s or the state or grandparents or whoever as the case may be could no longer force them in to any institution as of their choosing.
They could live on their own, in a little apartment with a patio for flowers. They could go in and out whenever they liked and eat at any time and there wouldn’t be group therapy sessions and continuously changing med schedules. Best of all they could be whoever they wanted to be. Nikki, Cassandra, Helen, Jennifer.

At first, everything was right on track. They found an apartment. They found jobs. They used the small amount of inheritance Jennifer had to buy furniture and get them started. They didn’t have much but they didn’t need much. It was perfect. They should have known it wouldn’t have lasted. Maybe Jennifer did, deep down. But she didn’t expect it to end as explosively and completely as it did.
Helen did not have the strength to work, Cassandra didn’t have the temperament. It got so bad that Helen could barely leave the house and Cassandra nearly got charged with aggravated assault by one of her managers. So they stayed home and Jennifer went out every to work.
That too wasn’t bad at first. It was like married life. Jennifer would come home from work, lay her head in Helen’s lap, and tell her all about the little workplace drama’s and jokes and what happened that day. Helen wold stroke her hair and listen and laugh. Over dinner they would talk about the past, about the future, about the weekends or her next day off.
It was nights where she worked late, or the occasional nights out with workmates that caused problems. In those times Helen wouldn’t talk to her. Those were different silences, not like the ones in the good ol’ days. They were silences that froze. Silences followed by too much noise later. Followed by shouting and accusations and name calling and crying.
No matter how much she explained that there was no one else but Helen, how there would be no one else who could understand her as she did, but that she still had to go out into the world and she still wanted other friends on occasion, Helen still behaved the same. Then retreated into a silence she never came back from. Instead Jennifer was left with Cassandra constantly.
Trying to love Cassandra 24/7 was like trying to live life while riding a bucking bronco. She was just as upset and possessive as Helen but more jealous and aggressive. She followed Jennifer everywhere she went. And when Jennifer slept, Cassandra stalked her colleagues and the few work acceptances she had. She stalked them and threatened them. She stabbed one them. A girl from work, who gave her a ride after a late shift and Jennifer missed her bus. Cassie didn’t like that at all.
So, you see Jennifer didn’t do anything. She didn’t even want to do anything really. She wanted Cassandra to love her in balance with sanity. Or she wanted Helen back but she didn’t have the tools to fix her. To bring whatever structure or stability the hospital gave to her and giver her that herself. That’s what she wanted but when the courts sentenced Helen. She knew she had failed, would fail, and could never succeed at the task.
She did abandon Helen though. She visited her in jail and in hospital. She wrote her letters just like in the old days. But she never wrote back. She never spoke at the visits.

Until the final one that is. It wasn’t Helen though. It was Cassandra and Cassandra didn’t love her anymore. Cassandra blamed her. Cassandra hated her. Cassandra wanted to kill her. She tried in that lsat visit. Called her every nam,e under the same. He mouth and face were contorted in rage to look like something inhuman, something Jennifer had never seen before. Something that haunted her when she closed her eyes for a long time after that. Then she did a combination of attempted strangling and shiving at the same time.
Cassie lunged across the table with such force and suddenness that Jen fell over backwards in her chair, no chance to move or evade. It was like a tiger on an unsuspecting gazel.  She grabbed Jenn’s throat in one hand stabbed her WITH SOMETHING SHARP in the other.
It was funny to wonder while she was dying if anyone had been killed in such an odd manner. It made her want to laugh. Then she had to wonder if anyone whos face was hot, who’s lungs were bursting from her chest, and who’s liver was experiencing the strange new experience of a breeze across it’s surface had ever wanted to laugh while it was happening.
That’s pretty deductive but even afterwards in the hospital that’s mostly what she wanted to do she wanted to laugh. There was pain yes. More pain she ever felt in her life. More fear too. But every thought she had the was a really thought and not just abject terror was something funny and then funnier than the last thing like “This is what they mean by love hurts” or YOU KNOW SOMETHING FUNNY.
The other thing was that it felt like it was going on forever. Maybe it was oxygen deprivation that made time slow down. She was only stabbed three times and she never blacked out only saw spots. ORderlies pulled Cassandra off, restrained her and sedated her. Jenn felt the blood pool around her own body, felt it go from warm to cool. And when she could breathe agin in ragged breaths she did finally laugh.

A doctor who had treated her and Helen barely a year before visited her during recovery. She told her that she could consider changing her name. Not just for the clean start but maybe even for her own safety. Whatever she had with Helen was gone because Helen was gone and Cassandra was only the worst of what was inside of her.
Jennifer thought a long time about that. About the difference between Helen and Cassandra. It wasn’t the same as her and Nikki. Nikki came and went, Nikki was apart of her, but they were separate. The doctors said she was a delusion, Jenn thought it was like having her soul haunted, as if it was marked or stained somehow and Nikki was that mark. Helen and Cassandra were the same side of two coins if they were really two sides at all. Incomplete without each other. They’d have to integrate to be healed, to be a functioning member of society and with two attempted murder charges now, it was unlikely that even if healed that they’d get that chance again.
Jennifer, if scarred now was fucked up but she could survive, she should survive, she deserved to survive. So she changed her name and let Helen go.

Lyndsey Sawyer and Lyndsey Sawyer only heard the whole tale. She didn’t want to tell Stella. And she only told her because she insisted. Insisted to the point of threatening to drop her case. And after a pretty fruitless day herself, she knew she’d be absolutely screwed without Sawyer’s help.
So she told her everything.
“So, when you saw Helen a few years ago, what happened?”
“Well, I saw her on the street and it was weird. It was different. Distant, I guess. I was happy to see her. Overjoyed because there hadn’t been anyone else you know. No close friends, just. . .”
She almost said Nikki, that she only had Nikki but that part wasn’t in the story. She didn’t saw how real Nikki was. She didn’t say that Nikki cause all her troubles. She didn’t say she reappeared  in New York. She said like she had all those years ago to those doctors. She took responsibility for her actions because they were hers alone, Nikki was a figment only. Because there was only so much truth one could stand at a time.
“Stella, only Stella. So, seeing Helen on the street was just like anyone meeting an old friend, and old flame. It felt like serendipity. But Helen didn’t feel that way. She said she’d been released, lived in a halfway house, hated her job, hated her life. I wanted to do something nice for her. Give her a way to fit back in to each others life. So I gave her my old phone. She could have freedom and privacy and she could get in touch with me any time or anywhere. But she never did. I assumed she sold it or went back into a hospital.”
Lyndsey was taking notes on a tablet, typing as fast as Chrisite could talk. “What makes you think that this is her now?”
“Two things. The first is that according to Detective Riley that phone has been everywhere I’ve been since my book tour started. Maybe one or two cities would be a coincidence but there’s only one person I know who would follow me everywhere because she’s done it before. I don’t know anyone else, I don’t have any ferverent, obsessed  fans.”
“And the other?”



Thanks for Reading!


Thursday, December 1, 2016

Write What You Know, Part 24



This is my first draft for NaNoWriMo 2016 novel Write What You Know. It's only a rough draft with very minimal editing and will, more than likely, contain, typos, grammatical errors, plot holes, or conflicting descriptions. It also includes notes to myself and excerpts from the novel the MC is writing that I try to indicate through various formatting that doesn't always translate well with my limited html skills. Furthermore, this particular novel is... there's no delicate way to put this... this novel is fucked up. So, especially in this rough draft crazed sort of NaNoWriMo way of writing, it may be difficult to read or follow.  I'm still posting it here because I want to shed more light on the process of writing to encourage and inspire other writers or readers who are interested. To learn more about this project, or my daily NaNoWriMo postings, please read Day 1-7.


Write What You Know, Part 24
By Stephanie Thompson,  1,554  words

Read: Part 1Part 2, Part 3, Part 4, Part 5, Part 6, Part 7, Part 8, Part 9, Part 10, Part 11, Part 12, Part 13, Part 14, Part 15, Part 16, Part 17, Part 18, Part 19, Part 20, Part 21, Part 22, Part 23

Next time they were in a facility together, Jennifer was in for heroin addiction. Helen’s parents had moved her to another hospital, unhappy with her progress in the previous one. To be fair to her parents, she didn’t talk before and she still didn’t talk when they before. Jennifer was never sure if the new hospital did the trick or if it was the fact that they were together again after SOME TIME apart.
The first word she heard her say was her name.
They were alone in their room on her first night back.
“Jennifer, I thought I’d never see you again,” she said quietly just above a whisper, like she was telling the darkness her secrets. (That is a lot of words, I guess you better figure out how long she hadn’t been talking, why and how old they both are when this goes down.)
It was Jennifer who was quiet for those six weeks.

She had some kind of assignment that actually finally left her alone. She was up in the, what she thought of as her room already, laying on her stomach a fresh clean notebook in front of her and a pen in her hand. Elbow deep in her in her element.
Nikki was sucking a lollipop, lying next to her. Lord knows where she got the lollipop.
Watchya doin’?
What does it look like I’m doing?
It looks like you’re starting a new project but I’m pretty sure you’re suppose to be making a timeline of your NYC activities.
What the hell is there a blue moon out or something? Since when do you pay attention to what I’m suppose to be doing?
Since I’m not the one in trouble for a change and you obviously need help.
For you’re information, I don’t need help.Well, at least not your help. I’ve got a crack team of people already on it.
You have, really?
Well, Stella has. Whatever, it’s being worked on. I’m doing this.
You do know that I know what this. I know everything you know.
Ok, I’m not getting into this again, for the millionth time, right now. I’m doing what I’m doing, you go back to shutting the fuck up and eat eating your ridiculous fucking lollipop.
Christie went back to the task at hand. On the top line she wrote, How to Catch a Helen.


It wasn’t long though before Jennifer was talking again because it was only withdrawal or methadone or whatever the hell what was likely to be happening at this hospital for rehab. But no matter who was or who was not talking at any point in time, they were always learning more and more about each other. They were best friends. Because no one tells more secrets than the person who wants to be understood and no one listens better than the one who’s not talking. (Jesus that was fucking horrific let’s try something else)
They learned a lot about each other and the others too. Because it turns out when you’re the quiet one, everyone wants to tell you their secrets, even the grown ups. They wielded the silence like a super power. Everyone else treated it with reverence, like the silence was implied wisdom. Reason beyond their years.
It wasn’t until later that they used the secrets and silence like weapons.

Cassie went downstairs for coffee and breakfast. What she found was a newspaper with her old friend on the front. She took the newspaper, eggs, potatoes, ham, and coffee found the least popoulated corner  to enjoy it all.


Nikki was right when she said they ruled ONE OF THE TOO MANY MF HOSPITALS. But Nikki was only around when Helen wasn’t. Then it was Jennifer and Helen who ruled.
It was one of the few secrets she kept from Nikki. And the fact that she liked Cassandra just as much as Helen was a secret she kept from Helen.

On the second page she Wrote How to Catch a Cassandra

In the afternoon Stella, check in on her.
“I’m about to go to the . . . .are you working on a story?”
“No I’m doing that thing . . . That you wanted.”
She wasn’t doing that either but she hoped she’d say whatever she wanted to say and leave her alone again.
“Really? Still?”
“Did I have a time line?”
“Ok fine, I’m going to the store. Do you want anything?”
“Yes, I’m sorry, can you grab me like a carton.”
“A carton of?”
“Camel 100s.”
Stella opened her mouth and she knew what was coming out next. Or what would have come out if Christie didn’t give her a look that stopped her dead in her tracks.
“Ok, anything else?”
“Nope.”
“Alright, then, Lindsey’s PA is coming back this afternoon so, maybe type up that timeline for her soon, ok?”
“Yup.”


She wasn’t sure when or how the falling in love thing happened.  It was one of those things just happened. Sort of like Nikki.
They shared a room in THE NEXT PLACE. They didn’t want to let them stay together once it became clear that they knew each other. This hospital, these doctors, had a philosophy you might call it. A philosophy that said that we shouldn’t fall back in to old habits and be open to new experiences. Then Helen stopped talking again. She could turn it on and off now. It was pretty easy to play comatose, she sometimes even enjoyed it. For her part, Jennifer let Nikki come out and play, which oscillated between blatant disrespect and belligerence and actually fucking shit up like making other patients cry, throwing food around, and refusing meds.
The first time they worked together like that it took 14 days to get what they wanted. They honed their efforts after that.

Both pages were blank because she didn’t know how to catch a Helen or a Cassandra. Didn’t know how she got her in the first place out side of fate or cruel coincidence which she was just not realizing was one in the same.
She stubbed out on cigarette then lit another. She started a third page too. NYC Timeline it said and it too was blank but she couldn’t remember one day from another and barely even one city from another. How long was that bitch WHO’S NAME I’VE ALREADY FORGOTTEN SINCE SHE’S DiSAPPEARED FROM THE STORY was bossing her around? HOw many interviews? How many outfits? How many sleepless nights watching the clock tick tick tick down?

I cannot express how tired I am of writing this novel. I get so far then I get stuck
I get so far then I get stuck
I never at any point found my mojo. It’s like a constant fight. I know what I want to happen how set it forward but I don’t actually know how to write it short of narrating and expositing the hell out of it. And every second I’m not writing I’m literally wasting my life because I get further and further behind and if I keep getting further behind how in the hell can I finish on time and I might as well use this time to do something more productive or healthy like fucking sleeping if I’m not going to finish anyway.
And in the meantime,  a significant part of this novel is just composed of notes to myself or straight insults to that actual writing. So it’s almost as if it doesn’t count.

So what is the point?

Their first night back together. They were sort of celebrating together. Catching up. They’d talked before then of course. Not much because of Helen’s WHAT’s THAT WORD FOR NOT TALKING state. And they’d been sending letters during their time in different facilities. Nothing was quite the same though until they were in person in the dark together. They sat on Helen’s bed, close, shoulders together, feet pulled up, giggling as softly as they could.
There were also quiet moments because they were friends like that and everything they had was counted in silence and secrets and the dark. Then someone grabbed someone’s hand.Wouldn’t it be romantic to say that it was so clear who did what and when. Or that she wanted it so bad and then it happened and she couldn’t tell if happened because she wanted to and it was magic or she got lost some place imagining and didn’t notice when it happened but the truth was it was none of that. Or she didn’t think it was.
The truth was that it was so long ago and the memories got fuzzy even if you didn’t want them too. Even the important ones. Even the ones not marred by a different pharmaceutical or illicit drug every other week.
That was one truth at least. This is another one. It happened and was so natural that neither of them noticed that it had happened.
They sat there for a long time. All night in fact.
“Look the sun is coming up,” one of them said.
Then one of them kissed the other.

Maybe the truth was they were indistinguishable from one another. That’s what love was wasn’t it? Two becoming one? So she couldn’t remember who kissed who, who held who hands because they weren’t two separate whos. They just were. One.


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