Tag Archives: Laura Besley

Hot Potato! Short Story Collaboration #5 Laura Besley

8 Jul


Hot Potato

Welcome to Hot Potato!

8 writers over 16 weeks writing 1 short story

 The Potatoes: 

Ben Cooper, Gail Aldwin, Aksania Xenogrette, CJ Sullivan, AK Anderson, Laura Besley, Gwendolyn Salzman, Natalie Elizabeth Beech

Here’s the fifth fortnightly instalment of our collaborative short story, this time featuring potato/writer LAURA BESLEY who is taking AK’s ‘middle’ and continuing the story however she likes….

In case you need a reminder of how our story began you can find Ben’s beginning here, Gail’s ‘middle’ here , CJ’s ‘middle’ here, AK’s ‘middle’ here

_________________________________

Here’s Laura’s contribution:

>>>>

But it was too late. As the echoes of her father’s cries rang out around the abandoned carousel hall, Chloe had already touched the strange robotic girl, with sparks of blue light flashing intermittently out of her open head.

>>>>
‘No,’ her father whispered.

>>>>
Chloe turned to face her father and looked pleadingly into his eyes, as she had done many times as a child. Am I in trouble? her eyes asked.

>>>
Her father took a step towards her and as he did the robo-girl moved her arm, which clanged into the dilapidated fence with a thud, sending a ripple around them.

>>>>
Chloe turned away from her father and faced the robo-girl. ‘Hello?’ she asked quietly. Are you okay?’

>>>
‘Chloe, let’s go,’ her father said. ‘Now.’

>>>
‘But Dad, we can’t just leave her.’

>>>>
‘We can.’

>>>>
‘How can you be so mean?’

>>>>>>
‘Chloe, you’ve never seen one of these robots before. They were all destroyed before you were born. You’ll need to trust me. We have to go.’

>>>>>
Chloe took one last look as the robo-girl stood up, swaying gently on her thick metal legs, and stared straight past Chloe. She turned to see what the machine was looking at: it was her father.

>>>
‘Jeff,’ the robo-girl said, in a voice higher and more human than Chloe could ever have imagined.

>>>
‘No,’ her father said gently, one hand outstretched as if to ward her off. ‘My name is Pete. Peter David.’

>>>
‘Darling Jeff,’ the robot said. ‘I’ve missed you.’

>>>>
‘I’m Peter, not Jeff.’

>>>>>
The robo-girl started walking towards him, tentatively at first and then more sure on her feet.

>>>>
Chloe looked at her father in confusion.

>>>>>
‘Run!’ he shouted, grabbing Chloe’s hand. They ran through the rusty ruins of the carousel and out into the fresh September air. ‘We need to get to safety and phone it in,’ he yelled, between gasps of breath. ‘They’re all supposed to be dead.’

>>>>
They could hear the heavy footsteps of robo-girl behind them. Ever louder, ever closer.

>>>>
Suddenly she was on top of Peter, forcing him to the ground. Her weight was more than Peter could stand and he was struggling to breath. A flash from robo-girl’s head flew out and killed him immediately.

>>>>
‘Dad?’ Chloe said. She shook him, but his body was limp.

_____

>>>>>

If you want to find out more about Laura  and her writing you can do so here:

http://www.laurabesley.blogspot.co.uk/

or follow her on Twitter here:

https://twitter.com/laurabesley

or connect with her on Facebook here:

https://www.facebook.com/laurabesleywriter

>>>>>>>>

Laura’s text was passed to potato Gwendolyn Salzman on Friday. The next instalment of our short story will be on Monday 22nd July. I’m looking forward to seeing where Gwendolyn  takes us……..

FYI: The writer’s are progressively taking up the structure of beginning, middle and end. The writers can take the story where ever they like.

>>>>

 

Flash Fortnightly #17

26 Jun

Words 2

 

Welcome to Flash Fortnightly!

Laura BesleyMy name is Laura Besley and I’m an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher. Over the years I’ve met thousands of students of all ages from many different countries in the world. This job really suits me as I love meeting people and learning about different languages and cultures. After working in England for a couple of years, I moved to Düsseldorf, Germany, where I taught Business English for two years and now I’m living in Hong Kong. This small pocket of Asia is a perfect blend of East meets West and is rich in colour, noise and inspiration.

That brings me nicely onto writing. I’ve been writing on and off since childhood and did my degree in English Literature and Film Studies. When I was in Germany I started writing a bit more regularly and in Hong Kong I’ve really had the time to dedicate to my writing. In 2011 I joined the Hong Kong Writers Circle and a critique group which allowed me to start looking at my work with a more critical eye. On 4th May 2012 I embarked on a project to write one piece of flash fiction a day. I’ve always seen myself as a novelist, but actually I’ve found that I really love writing short pieces as it gives you plenty of room to experiment with style, voice, characters and settings. And each day I can write something new.

I hope you enjoy this ‘Flash Fortnightly’ entry and I’ll be back on Wednesday 1oth July 2013 with some more…

~~~

The Great Escape

Mr. and Mrs. Wright were sitting on hard wooden chairs towards the front of the local community centre – which also doubled up as the village’s theatre – waiting in silence for the beginning of an amateur production of Hamlet. Mr Wright’s nephew, Rupert, was playing the lead part. Precisely four minutes before the show was due to start, Anne turned to George and said, ‘I just need to pop to the loo.’

‘Christ Anne, it’s starting soon,’ he replied, gesticulating wildly at his watch.

‘I know. I’ll be really quick.’ She put the badly photocopied flier onto her seat, picked up her brown leather handbag and left George sitting on his own, staring out of the window at the dark November night. She walked quietly, slowly down the aisle to the main lobby. The Ladies’ toilets were on the right. She glanced at the short queue, looked back over her shoulder and pushed the heavy oak door open.

Stepping into the car park she breathed in the cold air and let it fill her lungs. She dashed down to the main road and saw, with relief, the taxi she’d ordered earlier. ‘Airport, please.’

In the back seat of the taxi she looked at her watch and thought about Rupert who would no doubt be on stage by now. She was sorry to miss the show, she’d even helped him rehearse his lines, but she knew this was her only chance. Hopefully one day he would understand. She knew that George on the other hand would be fuming and wondering where she’d got to, but too embarrassed to get up and look for her before the interval, giving her enough time to get away.

‘Flying to Paris?’ the young woman behind the check-in counter said.

‘That’s right.’

‘Your flight leaves in two hours. We advise you go through Security straight away to avoid long queues.’

Anne put her passport back into her bag. ‘I’ll certainly do that.’

‘Any luggage to check in?’

‘No, just my handbag.’

‘I wish everyone would travel as light as you!’

Anne laughed like she was expected to. ‘Yes, I bet you do.’

Once through Security, Anne bought new clothes, a new bag and went to the Ladies’ to get changed. She bunched up her old beige blouse, stuffed it into her mouth and screamed as loud as she dared. The old material masked the noise enough not to cause any kind of commotion. Walking towards gate number 55 in a glittery fuchsia pink dress, she felt like this was the first day of the rest of her life.

Laura Besley

~~~

If you’d like to check out more of my writing, flash fiction and non-fiction, check out my  blog: Living Loving and Writing. Or you can follow me on twitter @laurabesley or connect on facebook Laura Besley Writer

>>>>

Hot Potato! Short Story Collaboration #4 A.K Anderson

24 Jun


Hot Potato

Welcome to Hot Potato!

8 writers over 16 weeks writing 1 short story

 The Potatoes: 

Ben Cooper, Gail Aldwin, Aksania Xenogrette, CJ Sullivan, AK Anderson, Laura Besley, Gwendolyn Salzman, Natalie Elizabeth Beech

Here’s the fourth fortnightly instalment of our collaborative short story, this time featuring potato/writer AK  ANDERSON who is taking CJ’s ‘middle’ and continuing the story however she likes….

In case you need a reminder of how our story began you can find Ben’s beginning here and Gail’s ‘middle’ here and CJ’s ‘middle’ here

_________________________________

Here’s AK’s contribution:

>

The Owl saw the child approaching the fence, and wondered what this was about.

>>>>
What new Legend was about to be born?

>>>>
The Owl dove at the glass box inside the arcade. It held a mannequin. And the mannequin held tiny cards. Just as the mannequin had dropped The Lovers through thecrack in her box so many years before, she slid another card to the Owl.

>>>
The Owl picked the card up with her beak and rushed to the rafters to contemplate this new portent, and to observe.

>>>>
Robo-girl’s memories were disturbed by the rush of air and feathers. She realized, sadly, that she was still alone, and sighed.

>>>>
Was she remembering? She thought she heard human footsteps, that she could sense the heartbeat of a person of blood. Oh, how nice it would be to have a friend again. After her Tom had been gone for fifty years, her loyalty circuits were supposed to reboot. A new human could claim her with a simple touch.

>>>
Robo-girl heard more footsteps, tiny, hesitant. She sighed again. She listened to the tiny footsteps, wondering what child 100 years ago had moved so, to give her a memory this vivid.

>>>
“Chloe, wait!”

>>>>
A man’s voice echoed through the arcade. Mice and rats, Swallows and Sparrows, Larks and Finches departed in a feathered cloud. Who was this man to destroy their carnival nest? A man. A human man’s voice. Robo-girl slowly pushed her torso into a sitting position. A human man like her Tom. Would he claim her? Would he be kind? Would he want to make love with her on the beach?

>>>>
Her eyes had long since worn away, the sensors filled with corrosion. She used her other sensors to locate the short, breathing human who was warm, only a few armlengths away.

>>
“Touch my hand,” she said to the child, holding out her arm. Her voice modulator still worked. She had a lovely human face, Tom had told her many times how lovely she was to him. The child would be drawn to her smile.

>>>
The small human took a step away from her.

>>>
“Daddy?” a girl’s voice said, shaking.

>>>>
“Chloe, don’t touch her,” the man’s voice said, his footsteps heavy on the planks.

>>>>
“Just touch my hand, Chloe” she repeated, keeping her voice set on the soft, nurturing tones. She had a lovely human face, Tom had told her many times how lovely she is to him. The child would be drawn to her smile.

>>>>
When she smiled, she heard the child step away again. What was wrong?

>>>>
“What is she, daddy?” the child asked as the adult footsteps grew near.

>>>>>
“A discarded toy,” he said, his voice filled with something Robo-girl’s sensors could not register.

>>>>
“Is she a person?”

>>>>>
“No. Stop calling it ‘she’, it is not a woman. It has never been a person.” The adult took a step away. “Come on, Chloe, let’s get out of here. Leave that thing where it is.”

>>>>
The Owl tilted its head and watched as the father and daughter left the fairgrounds.

>>>>
Robo-girl tilted her head as she listened to their steps and the scrape of their clothes against the gap in the fence.

>>>
Long after they had gone, robo-girl stood. She shambled to the windmill and recharged her power. Long after the sun stopped powering her solar relays, she followed her newest data, and slipped through the gap in the fence.

>>>>
The Owl pecked at the card from the arcade machine. She wondered what it meant as it fluttered to the wooden floor onto the place where robo-girl had lain.

>>>>
The smiling face of the Star peered up into the night sky.

____

>>>>>

If you want to find out more about AK and her writing you can do so here:

http://authorakanderson.wordpress.com/

or follow her on Twitter here:

https://twitter.com/A_K_Anderson

>>>>>>>>

AK’s text was passed to potato Laura Besley on Friday. The next instalment of our short story will be on Monday 8th July. It will be intriguing to see where Laura  takes us next………

FYI: The writer’s are progressively taking up the structure of beginning, middle and end. The writers can take the story where ever they like.

>>>>

 

Flash Fortnightly #16

12 Jun

Words 2

Welcome to Flash Fortnightly!

Laura BesleyMy name is Laura Besley and I’m an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher. Over the years I’ve met thousands of students of all ages from many different countries in the world. This job really suits me as I love meeting people and learning about different languages and cultures. After working in England for a couple of years, I moved to Düsseldorf, Germany, where I taught Business English for two years and now I’m living in Hong Kong. This small pocket of Asia is a perfect blend of East meets West and is rich in colour, noise and inspiration.

That brings me nicely onto writing. I’ve been writing on and off since childhood and did my degree in English Literature and Film Studies. When I was in Germany I started writing a bit more regularly and in Hong Kong I’ve really had the time to dedicate to my writing. In 2011 I joined the Hong Kong Writers Circle and a critique group which allowed me to start looking at my work with a more critical eye. On 4th May 2012 I embarked on a project to write one piece of flash fiction a day. I’ve always seen myself as a novelist, but actually I’ve found that I really love writing short pieces as it gives you plenty of room to experiment with style, voice, characters and settings. And each day I can write something new.
 
I hope you enjoy this ‘Flash Fortnightly’ entry and I’ll be back on Wednesday 26th June 2013 with some more…
 
NB. If any of Laura’s readers find this particular story familiar, it is one Laura has already published on her blog. We’re glad she’s sharing it with us. 

___________________________

Down the Hill
>>>>
Mrs. Knox pushed the heavy wheelchair up the hill for the third time that day, then stopped, turned and released it. She pulled her gloves off both hands, finger by finger, cupped her hands in front of her mouth and blew. Mrs Knox’ hands hadn’t been warm for as long as she could remember.
>>>>
The wheelchair careened down the incline, gaining speed and she turned at the sound of the crash. She put her gloves back on and slowly stomped down to the heap of metal, under which was her husband.
>>>>
She passed the row of town houses she had seen every day for the last forty years, each with a different coloured front door. Marjorie lived at number 21 behind the green door, and Betty at number 35 behind the black door. She’d regretted painting it that colour because she had to wash it every day. Tom and Pippa had been living behind the red door, but moved away when their only son was killed in the Iraq War. Marjorie knew every member of every family that lived behind those coloured doors.
>>>>>
Pulling the wheelchair off him, her husband let out a groan. “Blimey Nora!” he said.
“Well, I do keep telling you,” she replied.
“But it’s so much fun!” He was sitting with a blanket over his thin legs. “And when you can’t feel anything anymore because your body has given up on you, it’s so nice to feel the wind in your face.”
Her lips turned up a little at the corners. “I suppose. Again?”
“Yes, please!”
~~~

Laura Besley

If you’d like to check out more of my writing, flash fiction and non-fiction, check out my  blog: Living Loving and Writing. Or you can follow me on twitter @laurabesley or connect on facebook Laura Besley Writer

 

 

>>>>>

>

Hot Potato! Short Story Collaboration #3 CJ Sullivan

10 Jun


Hot Potato

Welcome to Hot Potato!

8 writers over 16 weeks writing 1 short story

 The Potatoes: 

Ben Cooper, Gail Aldwin, Aksania Xenogrette, CJ Sullivan, AK Anderson, Laura Besley, Gwendolyn Salzman, Natalie Elizabeth Beech

Here’s the third fortnightly instalment of our collaborative short story, this time featuring potato/writer CJ SULLIVAN who is taking Gail’s ‘middle’ and continuing the story however she likes….

In case you need a reminder of how our story began you can find Ben’s beginning here and Gail’s ‘middle’ here.

_________________________________

Here’s CJ’s contribution:

>>

Chloe travelled the abandoned carnival grounds with tentative steps. With petite feet, she pranced around empty plastic bottles, untouched by time. She didn’t want to curse herself by making contact with the bottles. It was bad luck. Plastic-making was now forbidden; only reusing existing plastic was allowed. Plastic had been one of the reasons for the Great Exodus.

>>
Her daddy had told her many times the dangers of harming the world, from injuring trees to killing animals for sport, not to mention creating  waste. So much plastic garbage filled the land and oceans now that the growing number of humans had no choice but to escape to the stars. The small camps of people who stayed behind did the best they could to reuse what was there, to fix what had gone so wrong, but there was just so much of it.

>>
As she walked further into the carnival, Chloe’s eyes lit up. She imagined what this magical place might have been like with electricity coursing through it. Often she and her father came upon places that no longer functioned—places like this. Sometimes he would tell her how machinery used to work, and sometimes he would remain silent, almost sorrowful with his eyes so distant. During Daddy’s quiet moments, she didn’t want to make him angry with silly little girl questions. But that didn’t mean she wasn’t still curious.

>>

Passing the round ride with the tent and the horses, she traced the fancy painted word CAROUSEL on the side of it with her fingers. Dust collected on her hands, and she wiped it on her shoe. How did this ride used to work? She imagined the wooden and metal horses, their paint now chipped, had gone around in a circle. Yes, she could see the track just barely now under a film of dirt. How fast had the ride gone? Did the children laugh? Did they have a wonderful time in the Age of Electricity? Were the horses beautiful then, their paint vibrant and fresh?

>>
Then she heard it: a sigh.

>>
She jumped. Covering her mouth so as not to shout, she froze. Her heart pounded in her chest. The noise she’d heard—it had sounded almost human. Almost, but not quite. And it had come from behind the carousel, over there by the small building with the sign that said ARCADE.

>>
All but tip-toeing, she crept toward the building. A movement to her right made her jump again. Another rush of adrenaline coursed down her arms. Be brave, she thought. Be brave!

>>
She took one more step, and an ugly gray rat ran from beneath the carousel. Gross! 

>>>

Had it been the rat she’d heard before? She was sure it had been something else. Something that sounded like—

>>>
She heard it again: a humanoid sigh that carried a feminine tone, but underneath lay something metallic. It was coming from inside of the arcade; she was sure of it now. Carefully, she peered into the little building and gasped.

>>

On the floor beside one of the dusty, defunct games lay what looked like a woman. Only this woman, who was curled in the foetal position, wasn’t a real woman. She had her back to Chloe. Her head was missing a patch of hair. There, instead of a skull made of bone, were wires, flashing with  spurts of blue light, stretching across a plate of metal.

>>
She took another step closer and reached out her hand, readying herself to touch this strange robotic girl, to somehow rouse her from her slumber.

>>
“Chloe, wait!” her father cried from behind her.

 

Writer’s Biography

CJ is a native Texan who appreciates both the quiet simplicity of the state’s countryside and the exciting color of its major cities. When she’s not lost in the world of her angels (See her novel  Wing’s of the Divided), she reads every genre of literature, watches and re-watches cult classic movies and obsessively de-clutters and redecorates her house.  You can visit her blog to read book-related, personal and generally creative posts here:

http://cjsullivanauthor.blogspot.com/

You can also find CJ on Twitter: @cjsullivan53

 

>>>>>

CJ’s text was passed to potato AK Anderson on Friday. The next instalment of our short story will be on Monday 24th June. It will be great to see where AK goes with what CJ has just laid before us!

FYI: The writer’s are progressively taking up the structure of beginning, middle and end. The writers can take the story where ever they like.

>>>>

 

Flash Fortnightly #14

15 May

Words 2

Welcome to Flash Fortnightly!

Laura BesleyMy name is Laura Besley and I’m an EFL (English as a Foreign Language) teacher. Over the years I’ve met thousands of students of all ages from many different countries in the world. This job really suits me as I love meeting people and learning about different languages and cultures. After working in England for a couple of years, I moved to Düsseldorf, Germany, where I taught Business English for two years and now I’m living in Hong Kong. This small pocket of Asia is a perfect blend of East meets West and is rich in colour, noise and inspiration.

That brings me nicely onto writing. I’ve been writing on and off since childhood and did my degree in English Literature and Film Studies. When I was in Germany I started writing a bit more regularly and in Hong Kong I’ve really had the time to dedicate to my writing. In 2011 I joined the Hong Kong Writers Circle and a critique group which allowed me to start looking at my work with a more critical eye. On 4th May 2012 I embarked on a project to write one piece of flash fiction a day. I’ve always seen myself as a novelist, but actually I’ve found that I really love writing short pieces as it gives you plenty of room to experiment with style, voice, characters and settings. And each day I can write something new.

I hope you enjoy this ‘Flash Fortnightly’ entry and I’ll be back on Wednesday 29th May with some more…

___________________________

Desire for Belonging

>>>

They’ll never love me as much as her. She’s far prettier to start with, cleverer too, and a faster swimmer with three gold medals in the under-12s competitions.

When I was fourteen they sat me down on the red sofa, the squidgy one that’s hard to get out of, and Mum held my right hand and Dad my left.
‘There’s something we need to tell you,’ Dad said.

Is Stacey okay?’ That was my first thought. That something had happened to my little sister.

Yes, she’s fine,’ Mum said, and squeezed my hand. ‘She’s playing at Penny’s.’ I don’t like Penny and have never understood why Stacey does.

Sweetheart,’ Dad said, ‘you know we love you and always will.’ Oh God, I thought, have I broken something?

Mum just sat there with tears trying to escape from her small red eyes.

Yes?’ Was that the right answer?

You’re adopted,’ Dad said quickly, then let out a sigh and looked at Mum. Then they both looked at me.

It was as if the world stopped spinning. I suddenly noticed the hideous flowery wallpaper and how old Mum and Dad (if I could still call them that) looked.

Oh,’ I said.

You must have lot of questions,’ Mum said finally.

And Stacey?’

No, Stacey’s not adopted. She’s ours.’

Laura Besley

>>>>

If you’d like to check out more of my writing, flash fiction and non-fiction, check out my  blog: Living Loving and Writing. Or you can follow me on twitter @laurabesley or connect on facebook Laura Besley Writer

 

>>>>

Hot Potato! Short Story Collaboration #2 Gail Aldwin

13 May


Hot Potato

Welcome to Hot Potato!

8 writers over 16 weeks writing 1 short story

 The Potatoes: 

Ben Cooper, Gail Aldwin, Aksania Xenogrette, CJ Sullivan, AK Anderson, Laura Besley, Gwendolyn Salzman, Natalie Elizabeth Beech

Here’s the second fortnightly instalment of our collaborative short story this time featuring potato/writer GAIL ALDWIN who is taking Ben’s ‘beginning’ and continuing the story however she likes….. In case you need a reminder of how our story began you can find Ben’s great beginning here. Here’s Gail’s contribution: 

>

Sitting on the beach, the stones lumpy underneath her, Chloe took another lick of ice-cream. The Mr Whippy slid down her throat, cold enough to choke her. Dad pelted pebbles at the empty can. He said the first drink of the day always brought him luck. Clonk, clonk, clonk. Being patient wasn’t in Dad’s nature and Chloe realised she didn’t have long to finish the cornet. Twisting her tongue and swallowing focused her attention. When she was done, she rubbed the sticky remains from her fingers onto her jeans.

That’s my girl.’ Dad flung his arm around Chloe’s shoulders and gave her a shake so that her head flopped from side to side. She giggled, it was his way of being friendly. When the sun peeped around the clouds, Chloe enjoyed the warmth. It wasn’t often that Dad brought her to the beach. Sunday’s usually involved trailing after him as he did the round of pubs to see his mates. She got a packet of crisps at each place and by the end of the day, she’d tasted the whole range of flavours.

Can we go on the pier?’ She hoped to make the most of this good mood.

If you like. I’ll give you a ride on the dodgems.’

But I don’t want to go on that pier.’ Chloe remembered the last time. Dad had spun the wheel one-handed and driven the wrong way around the track. He’d collided with every other driver and Chloe was so jolted by the end, that her head ached and her legs wouldn’t work properly. ‘I want to go on the other one.’

No-one goes there. It’s all broken and it closed down years ago. Look at it, one big wave and the whole thing will go under.’

That means we should go now. I could find a gap in the fence. It’d be much more fun.’

Not likely.’ Dad took a second can from the pack and springing back the ring, it hissed. He took a few glugs then turned his face to the sun and he closed his eyes. ‘Think I’ll have a little nap.’ He flopped back onto the stones, and the beer spilt.

Chloe stared at the old pier, hunched above the waves and she listened to the rattle of her Dad’s breathing. It’d be hours before he was ready to move, so Chloe made a plan. Dad wouldn’t mind if she checked out the pier. He might even be pleased if she discovered a secret entrance. He couldn’t complain then. Not that he usually minded jumping over barriers. He did it often enough at the train station to avoid paying the fare. Turning Dad’s wrist, Chloe read the time on his watch. If she came back within the hour, he’d never know she’d been gone.

The stones crunched as she walked towards the promenade and she skipped along the path to the pier’s entrance. Squeezing between the struts of fencing, Chloe wiggled through to the other side. She took pigeon steps along the planks and headed for the first building. With the door swinging off its hinges, it gave a sort of welcome.

 
>>>

Writer’s Biography:

Gail Aldwin enjoys writing short fiction as relief from the slog of completing a novel. In What the Dickens? magazine, she has a regular column that answers writers’ questions. Thanks to a competition win, her collection of flash fiction titled Four Buses is available now. You can find Gail at http://gailaldwin.wordpress.com/ and @gailaldwin

>>

Gail's text was passed to aksania xenogrette on Friday. The next
 instalment of our short story will be on Monday 27th May. 
It will be exciting to see where aksania goes with what Gail has set up!
FYI. The writers are progressively taking up the structure of beginning,
 middle and end. The writers can take the story wherever they want. >>
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