The Eyes Of A Fetch 361-380

The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 380) To Relinquish

Quietly, Lyla slips in under the sheet and slides over next to Crispin. She looks at his face and watches as his body moves up and down with each breath. Feeling that he is now comfortable, she very gently rests her head on his chest. Without opening his eyes, he wraps his arms around her securing her next to him.

Many thoughts are running through her mind as she puts her memories in order. Hours ago in the attic, when Crispin and Quinn were fighting and she was fading in and out of consciousness, she recalls a confusing memory of Crispin. He was holding her face within inches of his as he forced her eyes open. He kept saying, “Please don’t make me do this.” What did he mean by this? Was this a plea to his uncle, was he asking him not to force him into taking her life? That had to be it for she is not frightened of him, not even after remembering this intense part of the past.

Lyla looks up at Crispin’s face. Now that his breathing is slow and rhythmic, she is relieved that he has fallen asleep. Pressing herself even closer to him, she wraps her arm around his body. She too decides to relinquish the day and give way to the natural progression of the night as she falls asleep in his arms.

Excerpt 380

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 379) To Rest

Slowly and gently, Lyla helps Crispin slide up on the bed resting him back against the mound of pillows. His skin is very pale, almost translucent, and he is shaking severely as if he is freezing. With rapid and labored breathing, he struggles to get air as he sits up gasping.

After a few minutes of this frightful experience, he lets out a long sigh and leans back closing his eyes to rest. Covering him with the bed sheet, Lyla holds her hand on his chest to make sure he is breathing. The slow up and down motion of each breath reassures her.

After turning off the lights, she adds a couple of logs to the fire. Quickly dampening a washcloth with cool water, she sits down on the bed next to Crispin. His eyes are closed and his breathing is calm as she runs the cloth over his forehead and face.

After several minutes, she takes the cloth to the sink and studies her reflection in the mirror. Taking a few minutes to compose herself, she then turns and looks back at the bedroom to find Smokey has decided to join them. She is curled up in her nightly spot on the bed and does not seem to be afraid that Crispin is there.

Excerpt 379

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 378) Distant

“Crispin, what are you talking about? Are you hurt? How can I help?” Lyla says frantically as she inspects him for an injury. “There is nothing you can do.” He says as he winces in pain. Lyla starts to cry; Crispin looks and acts as if he is dying. “I’ll call for an ambulance.” She says as she reaches for her cell phone.

“No!” he says forcefully. “Lyla. . . you must not do that.” He says faintly as he grabs her hand. “Quinn, my uncle. . . I helped him pass. I took his pain.” Crispin coughs as he lies down on his side. “It’s the least I could do for him. After all he raised me and taught me everything I know.” He doubles over for a few seconds then sits up again. “He truly was a good man Lyla. He just became consumed by greed.” He coughs again.

“Oh Crispin, I don’t know what to do.” She weeps as she reaches for him but backs off fearing that if she touches him, it will hurt him. Her hands are shaking as she touches her fingers to her lips.

“There is nothing to do. I promise you, this will pass. Just stay by me, please.” He says as he tries to sit up and again cringes with pain.

Lyla pulls the covers back on the bed and tosses the pillows up into a pile then pulls Crispin’s shoes off and sets them on the floor near the window. While unbuttoning his shirt she looks into his eyes. They are a deep green color with flecks of yellow appearing and fading as if pulsating with each heartbeat. He looks distant and unable to focus.

Excerpt 378

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 377) Too Much

Crispin consumes Lyla’s thoughts. She is very worried about him and the guilt he must be feeling for killing his uncle. It was all so bizarre and what could she have possibly done for Quinn to want her dead? How many times has he twined Crispin and how many times did Quinn take matters into his own hands without Crispin’s knowledge?

After spending nearly an hour in the bathtub, Lyla steps out and slips into her night-clothes. Just as she is about to venture out into the hall to find Crispin she hears a thump on the wall. Pulling the door open, she is face to face with him. He is leaning up against the wall to the right of her doorway. With deep dark circles under his eyes and tears streaking down his cheeks, he holds his stomach and doubles over. He is in severe pain and is barely able to move.

“Oh my god! Crispin what is it?” she asks as she grabs him around his waist. He looks as if he is about to fall so she pulls his arm up and around her neck as she attempts to get him into the room where he can sit down. He groans in agony with every move.

“No, it’s nothing to worry about.” He says with a weak voice as she helps him to the bed. His skin is clammy and pale and he is shaking. “I needed to make sure you were alright. I just tried to do too much too soon.” He says as his voice fades.

Excerpt 377

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 376) State Of Shock

Lyla does not want to be alone, but she also realizes Crispin must take care of Quinn’s body, so she does as he suggest. Maybe he is right, maybe she is in a state of shock, for she feels numb and disconnected from what has happened. Crispin runs her a hot bath and has a fire started before she even decides to get up from the bed. He sits back down next to her.

“Are you leaving?” she asks.

“I did not plan to, but will if you want me to.” He replies as he holds her hand.

“I don’t want you to go.” She says as she stands up. He stands as well and pulls her hand to his lips.

“First, I must tend to a few things but I’ll be back shortly, Lyla.” He says gently as he squeezes her hand and leaves the room.

The bath is warm and it smells of sweet berries. She steps in letting the tap continue to flow until the water is up around her neck. The warm buoyancy is so relaxing that she finds herself becoming extremely tired and is completely unaware of what the time is or how long she has been soaking.

With the various memories she has recalled and the strange events of this evening fresh in her mind, she expects to hear sounds from Crispin moving about downstairs. Oddly, the house is eerily quiet except for the occasional snapping and popping from the fireplace.

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 375) Downstairs

Instead of following the passageway to the first floor, Crispin stops at the entry to the guest bedroom. He pulls a latch and it clicks releasing a wooden side panel that opens to the room. This is the room Marcus and Lyla spent time in the night of the party. They discussed the odd things that were happening and Marcus explained his theory that Crispin might be a doppelgänger, which has turned out to be true.

“How did you know there was a hidden passage?” Lyla asks as she stands just inside the entry to the room. She looks back at the small hall and steep steps they just came from.

“I stayed here, with my aunt, for a short time when I was very young.” Replies Crispin as once again, he holds his hand out to assist her.

“I remember a girl my age would stand out near the road and look up at the windows. I used to tell myself she knew I was here.” He grins and Lyla wonders if the little girl he speaks of was her.

Sweetly, Crispin helps Lyla out of the passage keeping his arm around her as if he is afraid she will faint. He closes the thin door behind them and they walk out into the dark hall. He is extremely familiar with the layout of the house and takes Lyla directly to her bedroom. She sits on the bed while he turns the lamp on as well as the light in the bathroom.

“Would you like me to run you a bath?” he asks as he sits next to her. “While you’re in there I can start a fire so your room will be warm.” He looks down at the floor. “I must tend to things downstairs as well.” Lyla knows this is in reference to his uncle.

Excerpt 375

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 374) Their Descent

To Lyla’s surprise Crispin takes her by the hand, picks the flashlight up from the floor, and leads her to the back wall of the attic. They follow it going east which takes them to a chimney. This flu services the fireplace to the second floor bedroom as well as the dining room on the first floor. He taps on an ornate block of wood and a thin door unlatches. Pulling it open, it creaks a bit as it scrapes across the floor. Crispin then steps inside the small hall as Lyla stands still watching him. He turns to look at her, smiles, and extends his hand.

“Come on, it will be alright.” He says softly. Holding on to Crispin’s hand, Lyla follows him through short little nooks that twist and turn as they make their descent. All the sharp angles and little steps remind her of what a haunted house at a carnival is like. They turn to the right and down several steps until they walk straight then turn to the left. She has no idea of which direction they are going.

How is it that Crispin knows of this passageway? It is as if he is more familiar with this house than she is. Months ago, when she was trying to find her way out of the attic she headed in the opposite direction and found herself in a trap.

“In a trap.” She thinks to herself. “Am I walking into a trap now?”

Excerpt 374

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 373) He Hesitates

“I am so sorry Lyla. I had no idea of what he was up to.” Crispin’s breathing is rapid as he glances at the darkness of the pit below. Lyla holds tightly to him, she is stunned by what she just witnessed and is shaking from the entire experience here in the attic. She feels horrible for Crispin and now has more questions than before. What is she to say to him? He just killed his own uncle.

“Are you alright? Did he hurt you?” Crispin asks as he holds her at arm’s length looking her up and down. “Your hand is bleeding.” He says as he holds it palm up.

“I must have cut it when I. . .” she stops before finishing the sentence.

“What is it?” He asks. He looks her in the eyes as if trying to read her thoughts then pulls her close once again hugging her tightly. She can feel his warm breath on her neck and she feels safe in his arms.

“You’re in shock, aren’t you?” He is holding onto her as if his life depended on it. Slowly he looks again at the opening to the ladder and knowing Quinn’s body will be at the bottom, he hesitates.

“We need to get you downstairs.” He says quietly. “Let me show you another way.”

Excerpt 373

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 372) Farewell

“I can’t have you waltzing in here destroying all that I have built.” Quinn says to Lyla in a calm yet arrogant tone, he then nods as if he thinks Crispin is still behind him. “My nephew does good work, actually the best that’s ever been. I can even say he taught me a thing or two, but he has a soft spot and it happens to be for you.” States Quinn in the same gravelly tone he used earlier.

Lyla now realizes that Quinn is the one that came back to the house after Marcus escorted Crispin out. He too must have the skills that Crispin spoke of for he proved to be a very convincing duplicate. “I believe it’s time to meet your fate, Lyla.” He says as he looks at the opening to the ladder. Even in the dim lighting, Lyla catches onto his intentions immediately. He is going to push her down the shaft! She grabs a hold of the railing with both hands and Quinn laughs.

“Handrails won’t save you when they are faulty.” He says as he kicks at the wood breaking her hold. With one more kick, the rail breaks free. It falls two stories to the floor below making a splintering cracking sound as it hits the bottom. “That’s too bad.” He says as he cringes at the sound it made. “I’m sorry dear, but the carpenters must have forgotten to secure the rail when they were here working on the house. I’m sure someone will feel very guilty about your fall and I assure you it won’t be me.” He grins in an evil way as the color in his eyes flash and Lyla steps back. Reaching his hand out to grab her he says, “I must now bid you farewell.”

“Indeed!” Crispin yells. He rushes at Quinn before he gets his hand on Lyla. Kicking him in the back, this sends Quinn into a stumble and he steps over the ledge, tumbling down into the dark abyss to fall victim to his own sordid ploy. Immediately, Crispin pulls Lyla to him, and holds her firmly as his eyes become tear-filled.

Excerpt 371

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 371) Not So Fast

Lyla does not know which man to trust or which one is the true Crispin. However, now she notices something different in the man who is holding the other down. The swirling in his eyes has stopped as he watches her, focuses on her, almost pleading. Without warning, he is lifted into the air as if by an invisible force, and then slams down on the floor across the room. Now the man he was fighting stands up, wipes his hands off on his pants and immediately turns, quickly heading in Lyla’s direction. Unsure of what she has witnessed and of whom she can believe, Lyla begins to back up then makes a run for the ladder. Just as she places her hand on the rail, she feels his hand on her arm. His fingers are digging into her skin like knives as pain shoots through her muscles.

“Not so fast,” says a voice she recognizes but not as Crispin. She turns and sees the older man who bumped into her table in Madrid and she now remembers him as Quinn. This is the same man who cooked dinner for her and Crispin all those many months ago at the cottage.

“Wha. . . what?” she questions as she stares at him in disbelief. Looking over his shoulder, she sees Crispin lying on the floor, motionless. Stunned, she is void of what to say or how she should react as she looks into Quinn’s menacing eyes. A numb feeling comes over her and once again, she glances over Quinn’s shoulder. This time Crispin is gone.

Excerpt 371

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 370) Stay Away

Lyla knew there was something odd about Crispin tonight. He was his sweet kind self during dinner, just as he was the night before. It is when he came back that something seemed, off. He was distant, darker in his statements and cold in his actions. How can she tell the difference between the two? Has she been dealing with the real Crispin or his twin all along? Suddenly the thunderous rushing sound that came with the wind has started to fade and the house is no longer shaking under the pressure. Lyla watches the two men stay in their position as they try to calm down.

As she moves to stand up she bumps a loose board causing it to make a popping sound and both men look in her direction. Lyla freezes in place for she is now the center of attention. The Crispin on the bottom that is being held down, speaks first.

“Lyla, help me.” He says in a weak voice and she immediately takes a step toward him. His eyes are wild, spinning and flashing as he tries to kick the man on top. Taking another step forward the man on top holds his hand out.

“No Lyla, stay away.” He says with much aggression. The man on the bottom speaks again.

“Lyla, you have to help me!” he says loudly.

“I don’t know what to do!” She replies with nervousness and confusion.

Excerpt 370

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 369) Evenly Matched

The dark mistiness that Lyla has witnessed so many times before is spinning and whirling around both men as they battle each other fiercely. They seem to be evenly matched as they forcefully attempt to bring the other down.

“You have lost your way!” yells one of the men as he lunges forward pressing the other against a large beam of wood nearly snapping his back. With a rush of wind and a roaring sound that builds to such a point that Lyla covers her ears, the man pushes back trapping the other against two beams that cross each other.

His neck is resting between both boards as if he is in a guillotine. With all his might, he holds the man down in this position, pressing on his throat to stifle his breathing. The one on the bottom gasps for air as he grabs the arms of the other.

Lyla can see that both have the strange flickering spinning look to their eyes that she has seen many times, in person and in her visions. How is it that there are two Crispin Duffs? Does he have a twin? Or, has one twined the other?

Excerpt 369

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 368) Like Him

Lyla’s ears fill with a rushing sound, much like a loud waterfall, as she tries to awaken herself from this state. She does not want to see anymore from the past for she now knows Crispin’s intention all along was to kill her. She can now hear some of the sounds going on around her as well as feel the hardness of the wooden floor beneath her.

A strong scent of fresh sawdust fills the air. Voices, she hears voices of men talking, no, yelling. Suddenly she is back to the vision of her and Crispin and as she pushes him away she notices, his eyes fill with tears as he begs and pleads with her.

“Please do not make me do this.” He says softly but then grabs her by the head, pulling her towards him, forcing her eyes open to focus on his.

Again, he pleads for this not to happen. With a loud explosive popping sound, as if a large firework has gone off very near her, Lyla is suddenly alert to her true surroundings. Sitting up she sees the flashlight is still lying on the floor shooting a bright stream of light across the spacious area. To her disbelief, she sees Crispin fighting a man who looks exactly like him.

Excerpt 368

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 367) Images Begin

Lying on the floor, Lyla feels as if the room is spiraling in all directions. Her senses are neither awake nor asleep as she closes her eyes in an attempt to stop the churning and twisting of the things around her. Flashes of images begin to appear to her and she tenses up as they play out in her mind. She is reaching out to tap Marnie on the shoulder but as she turns, she sees that it is Crispin. She backs up through a crowd of people and he follows. As he looks into the eyes of the people around him, his image changes to mirror them.

Suddenly she flashes into another scene, this time she is in the attic crawling backward through the beams. The space around her is as black as night and she cannot see much at all in the glow of the flashlight. She knows Crispin is close behind, following along as if hunting for the pleasure of the chase. His eyes are wild with color as he grabs at her foot pulling her back to him several times.

Her visions show that lightning flickers behind her as she watches Crispin turn into Marcus. She now covers her eyes and begins to cry then hears Crispin’s voice reciting a poem. The same one from the note he gave her last night along with the red tipped white rose. She now feels him kissing her softly.

Abruptly this vision flashes forward showing that she is hiding from him, terrified when he finds her huddled behind the cold bricks of the fireplace. Now she sees him in the moonlight pleading with her to come with him.

“Please stay with me, Lyla.” He says as his lips touch hers, pushing him back, she hears her own voice scream, “No!”

Excerpt 367

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 366) Not This Time

Lyla feels the sharp pricking sensation of fear as it runs up her legs to her spine. She fights the urge to run but where would she run to anyhow? She cannot even see her own hand in front of her face. Taking a chance, she bolts forward but Crispin grabs her around the arms causing her to let out a long scream.

“Oh no you don’t, I didn’t come all this way to let you just walk away! Not this time, not again! You are getting in the way and it has to stop!” He says loudly.

“What are you talking about? Let me go!” Lyla yells as she pushes and scratches at him.

During the scuffle, the flashlight drops to the floor and switches on. There in the dim light Lyla sees that familiar black misty smoke as it incases them in its swirling motion. The hold Crispin has on her is strong but she punches and kicks him until he loosens his grasp.

Breaking free, she runs in the opposite direction. Due to the many beams and braces that support the roofline, she does not cover ground very quickly and abruptly feels a tug at her shirt. This causes her to fall backward, landing on her hip and she scrambles to get back on her feet.

“It all stops now!” He bellows in a deep gravelly voice.

This frightening sound runs through Lyla causing her to feel extremely cold as she tries to flee. Again, he pulls her backward this time causing her to trip and hit her head on one of the thick heavy crossbeams. Dazed and feeling as if she is spinning, she falls back again landing hard on the wooden surface.

Excerpt 366

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 365) Hunted

Lyla stands with the bright beam of the flashlight upon her as she begins to pull the strange pieces of the puzzle together. Crispin does not say a word but he lets out a very evil laugh as if her confusion pleases him dearly.

“Who I thought was Marnie turned out to be you and then you kept changing as I backed away. You’d look over at someone and then you became them.” She watches Crispin with wide eyes as she takes a few steps back. “I remember you attacked Marcus and then tried to hurt me.” She looks around the attic space. “Smokey jumped down and. . . you threw her out into the yard; I thought for sure you killed her!”

“Ahhhh, sweet Lyla remembers.” Crispin’s voice sounds very strange.

“I ran from you, I came up here.” Again, Lyla looks around as if trying to find a way to flee.

“Don’t worry. There is only one way in and one way out.” Crispin says as he stands next to the ladder that leads down to the main floor of the house.

“What is wrong with you? Why did we get to know each other again if all you wanted to do was hurt me?” She asks now letting her anger come through over her fear. She takes two steps back from where Crispin is.

“Do you remember crawling through the attic?” He asks as he quickly steps in her direction. “Do you remember the feeling of being hunted?” He turns the light out and the attic is now pitch black.

Excerpt 365

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 364) She Was Me

“Turn the ceiling light back on, you’re blinding me with the flashlight.” Lyla is clearly losing her patients. “Why are you acting so weird?” she questions.

“Here, let me set the stage so I can better explain the chain of events,” says Crispin as he places two fingers over the flashlight dimming the beam but still illuminating Lyla’s face.

“You’ve just been told that your pastry-making town gossip friend has been found dead and Marcus has you believing foul play is to blame.” Crispin starts to circle around her with very slow deliberate steps.

“Then you see poor selfish Marnie, sulking in the corner, as you go to comfort her you discover she is not at all who you believe her to be.” Crispin stops behind Lyla then jumps in front of her and says, “Instead, she was me!” He flashes the light in Lyla’s eyes once again and she turns to the side to keep from being blinded by the beam.

Excerpt 364

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 363) Lights Off

“Your thoughts?” Crispin asks as he steps off the ladder and joins her in the middle of the room.
“I really do not understand the significance of us coming all the way up here.”Lyla states as she looks around attic space. “You don’t?” He questions. “How about now?” As soon as he says the word now, he pulls the chain on the light causing the entire attic to go black. Immediately Lyla switches the flashlight on. She does not want to be here and definitely not with the lights off.

“What are you doing?” she questions hastily as she shines the light on his chest. “I’m trying to shock your memories back for you.” He says in a very calm, almost eerie tone. He takes a step toward her and she backs up slightly. “Do you remember lying on the beams over there?” He places his hand over hers as he directs the light to a boxed area, several feet away. It holds the wires and struts to the chandelier that hangs in the foyer. “What?” questions Lyla.

“You came up here to hide and watch the activity below by peering through the cracks where the wires and brackets feed through.” Says Crispin as he continues to shine the light on the area. “Now why in the world would I do that?” she laughs.

“Yes, that is a good question, isn’t it?” he points the flashlight at her eyes and she immediately throws her hands up to block the glare.

Excerpt 363

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 362) Answers

An incredible amount of dread begins to press down on Lyla. She starts moving again as she continues to climb for what seems like an hour. The ladder spans the entire height of the first and second floors of the house and there is no place to step off and rest. “Why am I doing this?” she mumbles to herself.

“I didn’t catch that, what did you say?” asks Crispin. “I was just wondering what in the world I am doing this for.” She says loudly. “Answers, my dear. You are doing this for the answers.” He replies in an odd tone.

Reaching the top, Lyla steps out onto the wooden floor of the attic. The space is dark but not as dusty as she expected. The crew that repaired the structure actually did a terrific clean up after the project was done. The floor of the original space was not near as complete as it is now. Since there are many areas that can be used for storage, or converted into several small rooms, the restoration team installed flooring throughout.

Excerpt 362

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The Eyes Of A Fetch (Excerpt 361) Up We Go

Lyla cannot quite put her finger on it but Crispin seems different somehow, colder and distant. Is he angry because Marcus caused such a scene? She does not feel as safe around him as she did earlier in the evening. “You know we should go to the living room and just talk a little more; maybe I’ll remember things without climbing into the dingy attic.” She says as she starts to turn the other way. Crispin blocks her path and takes her hand in his.

“Nonsense, here I’ll help you.” He says as he pops the door open, reaches inside the cubical and flips the switch on the wall next to the ladder.

“You know, we should probably grab a flashlight.” Lyla turns to go find one when Crispin tugs at her hand pulling her towards him. He points to the one he is carrying in his pocket.

“Would you feel better if you hold it?” He asks as he pulls it from his pocket and extends the light out toward her. Slowly, she takes it from him. “Come on, up we go!” He pushes her slightly as they both enter the small space. With him standing behind her, she barely has room to bend her knee to step on the first rung of the ladder. Very slowly, she starts climbing up. Her legs are shaking slightly from nervousness and as soon as she clears several steps, she hears Crispin place his foot on the wooden rung. She stops where she is.

“What is it?” He asks. Lyla does not respond immediately. She feels panicked and confused as to why this is necessary.

“Nothing, nothing at all.” she says as she tries to conceal her fright.

Excerpt 361

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