Archive for July, 2014

Podcast with short fiction reading

Here is the podcast with my reading. Enjoy!

Categories: Writing

Interview at Horror Addicts

Fun interview of Yours Truly at Horror Addicts. Thank you, Emerian! Check out the podcast too, where I read a new short story. Podcast goes live tomorrow 7/12/14.

Categories: Writing

Taking Readers Out of Their Comfort Zone for Fun & Profit

I discuss how horror, thrillers and erotica all push you out of your comfort zone in this guest blog on Dark Nexus Fiction. Thank you Sean Lusher for the guest spot.

Categories: Writing

Chapter Twelve of Mermaid Steel

Sten hit the water a lot harder than he expected and pain lanced through his ribcage. He tried as hard as he could to hold his breath in, but the spasm was too much and his air jetted out of his mouth. With no buoyancy, the heavy ropes dragged him down like a stone.

Chielle was waiting for him, knife in hand, as he had hoped. He held still and let her cut his arms free until he could pantomime that he had no air. She grabbed him by the face, sealed her lips around his, and breathed into his mouth, filling his lungs. Her breath was sweet, but also somehow stale. She then freed his legs.

He motioned for them to leave underwater. He pointed up and shook his head no, hoping that made it clear that he wanted the men to think he had drowned. She smiled and nodded, then grabbed him under the armpits and swam away. He winced as his ribs protested against the strain, but he managed to hold onto his breath.

The air she gave him did not last long, but he wanted to be far away from the pier before they surfaced. She must have felt his struggling because she looked down at him and nodded toward the surface. He shook his head no. He pointed up at the bottom of a boat sailing by. He expected her to keep swimming, but she let go of him and swam down.

In a few seconds she returned carrying a hideous creature with a coiled shell on one end and a mass of wriggling tentacles on the other. He could not imagine what she had in mind to do with it. She held it up and let it go, at which it started to dart away. She caught it and motioned to him that it floated. She pulled the tentacles to one side and showed him a gap next to the edge of the shell. She puckered up and indicated that he should stick his lips into the gap.

He thought about this as long as he could with his lungs burning. It floated, so it had air inside. She couldn’t mean he was supposed to suck the air out of the shell.

She must have read his expression, because her reaction was to nod yes and push it up to his face.

He raised his eyebrows and hoped she appreciated the trust he was putting in her. The creature was reaching and grasping angrily at her hand with its tentacles. He was not usually squeamish, but this pushed him right to the edge. He grabbed the shell, blew out his remaining air, pressed his lips into the gap and sucked hard. The gap popped open and he got a lungful of the foulest smelling air he had ever inhaled. He held back the urge to cough, held on to it tightly, and felt his lungs ease. It was good air even if it did smell bad. She grabbed him under the armpits and raced off again. The poor creature tumbled from his hands and sank.

He faced her stomach when she swam with him like this. He wrapped his arms around her hips below her dorsal fin, hugging her in her tunic, wanting to make it easier for her to hold him yet not get in the way of her tail that was propelling them both. Her muscularity and athleticism were impressive and tantalizing.

She brought them to the surface as Sten saw the bottom come up shallow beneath them. He had not seen any boats for a while. He poked his head up and took a much needed breath of fresh air.

They were at a narrow beach that was backed by a cave. He swam in and stood up in the lapping surf. He looked around and saw only ocean. “Where are we?”

She kneeled on her folded tail next to him. “Around the point to the south of town, facing west. A rocky reef runs right in front of here,” she said with a wave of her arm. “Boats can’t come near this place.”

“Very nice,” he said absently as he looked around. “By the way, will that shelled creature be all right? It dropped once I stole its air.”

“Yes, it will be fine. It makes the air naturally inside the shell. So it will be floating again by tomorrow. I used to suck the air out of them for sport when I was little. I never thought I would use that trick in an emergency like today. So you want everyone to think Captain Boole killed you?”

Our Constable refuses to punish anyone until a crime has been committed. Boole is stirring the whole town against the Merrow. If we are ever going to move toward understanding and peace, then Boole has got to go.”

“So you’re not going to go back?”

“Oh, I’ll go back, and Boole might not be tried for murder, but he has shown everyone what a madman he is. For that Blaine will keep him locked away.”

The two of them walked out of the surf and sat on the beach while they talked.
Chielle seemed troubled. “I don’t understand how waiting helps things. If you go back, you can testify against him.”

“Jacio ran to get Blaine. Boole’s own men were horrified when he threw me over. I want to give them the chance to testify against him. If his own men turn against him, he will lose credibility with the whole town.”

“But you don’t know if they will.”

“I’m willing to give them the chance to do the right thing.” Sten laughed out loud. “Sweetheart, look at us. You , the Merrow, are wanting to take action right away, while I, the human, want to wait and let things run their course. Isn’t that backwards?”

She squinted and sniffed. “Are you laughing at me?”

“No, not at all. I think it means we’re rubbing off on each other.” He scooted over on the sand and put his arms around her. “No, Chielle, I am not laughing at you.”

She finally put her arm around his waist. “So how long are you planning on staying away? You could borrow you’re friend Norn’s boat and stay on it anchored to this reef. No one would ever see it.”

“Well, I don’t want to put Norn on the spot with a secret like that. Yet I can’t just borrow it without asking, as that would be stealing. Besides, he’d come looking for it. This cave is pretty, but not much of a home. So maybe I’ll just stay away for a day or so.”

He lay back on the warm sand. “I will welcome a day of quiet. Today has been probably the most exciting day of my life, and the most exhausting.”

“How are your ribs feeling?”

“Bad, like everything’s come lose. I’ll rewrap it when I get up. Right now I’m just going to soak up this peace.” He closed his eyes for just a moment, but they stayed shut as he fell fast asleep.


Chielle made plenty of noise unpacking the net bag of jars she had brought from home, hoping the clatter would wake Sten. She finished setting up the meal and he still hadn’t stirred. “Sten. Sten?” She jostled his shoulder. “Sten, wake up. We have to rewrap your broken ribs. I also brought dinner for us.”

He finally roused. He blinked and rubbed his face with both hands. “Hi.” He sat up and asked, “Did you say something about dinner? Oh, wow. Look at that.”

She sat back and let him take in the spread of prepared plants, fish, and other meats she had laid out on some rocks on the beach.

“This is beautiful, Chielle. Thank you for going to all this trouble. It all smells great too. I’m famished. I guess we haven’t eaten since breakfast.”

“You made breakfast, I made dinner. It was something I wanted to do for us.”

He got up and kneeled in front of the food. “You’re going to have to tell me what each of these are, ‘cause I actually don’t recognize any of this except for the fish slices.”

She scooted in next to him. “Okay. This is roe; it’s the eggs from this really big deep water fish. This is sea urchin. This is shark meat, which you eat with this spicy spread made from sea grass. This is abalone, which is the foot from this big flat snail like creature. That’s my favorite. And this a pickled kelp.”

He picked up a leaf. “It’s lacy, pretty. “He took a bite. “It’s crunchy…tasty too. Not as salty as I expected.”

“So do you want to re-do your bandages first, or eat first.”

“Are you kidding? You lay out this wonderful food and ask me if I want to wait?”

“You’re right,” she chuckled. “I’m pretty hungry too.”

He picked up a slice of abalone. “So this is all raw, and it’s all right for me to eat it?”

“Absolutely. Everything was harvested this afternoon. It hasn’t had time to go bad.”

“You know, this morning I was griping about how I can never keep food fresh for more than a day, and how I was spoiled in winter with the snow that I could stockpile all different kinds of food. Your village must pick and catch and prepare food constantly to have everything fresh, since you don’t dry or cook anything. How do you keep up with that?”

“There is always plenty to do, and Rorra provides whatever we need.”

He took a bite of the abalone. “That’s delicious. It’s chewy, but I like it. It tastes a lot like clam chowder, only richer. I can see why it’s your favorite.”

“What’s a chowder?”

“It’s a soup where you cook meat in milk with potatoes to thicken it up.”

“Sounds…interesting. I’m not sure I will ever understand the thinking that goes into cooking food.”

“Well, I love what you did preparing this. Everything is so clean and neatly sliced and stacked. I want to try all of it.” He handed her a slice of abalone. “Here, dig in yourself.”

She did enjoy the food, but she enjoyed watching him explore it even more. It was another way for her to share her world with him. He had proved that at best he would only be able to make short visits. This was a way for her to bring it up to him. As she explained the dishes to him in between taking bites herself, she realized what she was doing, and wondered at how she wanted to share. Of course she wanted to, she was giving her heart to him, and he to her.

After he had sampled everything and she had answered all his questions, they turned while finishing the meal to watch the sun going down in the west. The ocean was calm, the usual afternoon breeze was mild, and the sun was warm even as it sank. She cuddled up next to him and he put his arm around her.

“That’s a beautiful sight,” he said softly.

“That’s Rorrapanga. The sea of love.”

“Does she have different names for her different moods?”

“Yes, she does. She’s a goddess. It takes a lot of names to describe a goddess.”

“I think that’s true of all women. That’s certainly true for you.”

She looked up at him without taking her head off his chest. “Do tell.”

He looked into her eyes and she looked into his. He didn’t look away, and she let herself get lost in his loving gaze. “Let’s see. There is Chielle the Daring, Chielle the Inquisitive, Chielle the Capable, Chielle the Inspiring, and I mustn’t forget Chielle the Assertive. There is also Chielle the Caring, Chielle the Generous, and Chielle the Loving. Then there is also Chielle the Exotic, Chielle the Beautiful, Chielle the Fascinating, Chielle the Sensual, and lastly, Chielle the Captivating. It’s that last one, Chielle the Captivating, who can perform real miracles, like turning a blacksmith into a poet,” he said with a wink.

She wrapped her arms all the way around him and rubbed against his bandages. “Oh, we need to rewrap these or you’re not going to heal right.”

“Ah, now? I wouldn’t want to…break the mood.”

She sat up and started unbuttoning his shirt. She grinned mischievously and said, “Not at all. This way I get to put my hands all over you.”

“Okay, if you put it like that.” He got up on his knees and pulled the shirt tail out of his trousers. He sat back down and pulled the shirt off.

She found the bandage end, pulled it out, and started unwinding it. “This is pretty nasty after two days. I’m going to want to rinse it out before we put it back on.” She got down to the last couple of layers and started to expose skin that had been covered. “Oh, my,” she muttered as she worked.

“What is it?”

“Colors. Purple and red mostly. Oh, yeah.” She wrinkled her nose at the sight as the last layer come off. “Some of this is fist impacts, but a bunch of it looks like your ribs bled inside when they broke.”

“I think it looks worse than it is. There’s a lot of loose blood, but I don’t feel that injured. My body will soak it back up over the next couple of weeks. You’re going to see some amazing colors when that happens. It changes from red to purple to green to yellow.”

Chielle was not convinced. She caressed his bruised ribcage and said, “You need to slow down and take it easy for a few days.”

“Your hands feel really nice on my skin. Let me see,” he said as he took one of her hands in both of his. He stroked the palm of her hand and felt the webbing between her fingers. “Your hands are so soft and smooth. Your webs are so strong yet so flexible.”

“You like that?”

“Yeah, they feel great, especially after having cotton fabric scraping against me.”

She resumed gently rubbing him and her hand wandered around onto his back. She felt his scars and hesitated.

“Um, right,” he said. “I assume you saw my scars when you wrapped the bandaged while I was out.”

“Yes. I wasn’t going to say anything.”

“Aren’t you curious?”

“Of course I am. Mrs. Bilboa said you must have done something really bad to earn those. I think it’s not my place to dig up your past. Whatever you did, you paid the price. That was then. I only know you now.”

“That means a lot to me, that you trust me like that. A lot of people assume once a criminal, always a criminal; that if I was capable of a heinous crime before, then I must still be capable now.”

“I don’t see you as dangerous, if that’s what you mean. Do you think your crime shows that you are dangerous?”

“It was revenge, driven by a lot of passion and not a lot of thought. The whole ordeal taught me a lot about justice.”

“You’re still passionate about justice. Otherwise you wouldn’t have taken up the Merrow cause.”

He smiled and nodded.

“Passion is good. Maybe it makes us dangerous. It certainly moves us to do things we wouldn’t otherwise.” She ran her fingers through his chest hair. “Like this.”

He stroked her neck and arms. “I love touching your skin.”

“Is that so? ‘Cause I’m starting to really appreciate all your body hair.” She squeezed his chest and shoulders and then gently ran her hands over the curves. “All these hard muscles covered in soft furry curls.”

His hands wandered over her tunic, gently massaging her sides and back, all the way down to her dorsal fin which was planted in the sand behind her. “Oh, damn. I wanted to get you some cocoa butter so your skin won’t dry out.”

“Actually, I brought some.” She reached over to the net bag and pulled out a jar. In reaching over she stretched out across his lap. He took the chance to start massaging her back.”

“Mmm, that’s nice. It works even better with this,” she said as she handed him the jar over her shoulder.

“I can’t use this with your tunic still on.”

“Well then do something about it.”

He ran his hand up her tail, lifting the hem as he went. He slid the cloth up over her fin and up to her shoulders. She heard the jar pop open and then she felt his hands, greasy with the butter, sliding and squeezing up and down her back muscles. She moaned, relaxed over his legs and wrapped the end of her tail around his back, hugging him.

She reveled under his strong hands. He worked up and down her length, and seemed quite taken with her fin. He also spent some time massaging her hips, behind, and the top of her tail. She knew she was built differently there than he was used to, and it felt good, so she let him rub her there if he wanted to. Then she noticed a distinct bulge pressing against her side that wasn’t there before in his lap. She was glad he was enjoying this too. She rolled over and swept the tunic up over her head and off. She sat up halfway, wrapped an arm around him, and started stroking and kissing his chest.

He held her up with one arm while caressing her ribs and fondling her breasts with his other. “Oh, the sand is sticking where I used the butter.”

“That’s all right. There’s nothing back there that sand will hurt. Just don’t get sand on my front and we’ll be fine.”

He seemed to take a minute to think about this.

She realized why. “That’s right. With her legs spread, you can enter a woman from behind. I noticed you were examining my backside. Sorry, I’ve only got the goods up front.”

“I’m fine with that,” he said as he slid his hand down over her tummy.

She reached up and pulled him down to kiss his lips as he rubbed around her opening. He tasted good, like a Merrow, after eating her food. She caressed his cheek and decided two days of beard would be too scratchy for a proper kiss.

He massaged her hip bones and the muscles of the top of her tail, again exploring how she was built and giving her great pleasure at the same time. She waited for him to slide his hand into her. She surprised herself getting so aroused in the anticipation.

She kissed him with vigor and slid her tongue into his mouth, licking his teeth and palate. He surprised her by capturing her tongue with his lips and gently sucking on it. She was thrilled by the sensation just as he slid his fingers inside her. She moaned into his mouth and involuntarily tightened her grip around his back with her fluke.

He released her tongue and grinned. “I guess I won’t be needing any more butter. He slid his fingers in deeper and suddenly stopped. “What’s that?”

She blinked and frowned. “Let me explain.” She reached down and extracted a handful of round stones. “After our attempt the other night, I thought maybe there was something I could do to help things along.”

“You’ve been stretching yourself with stones? Chielle, have you hurt yourself?”

“No. It was a bit painful at first, but mostly it’s just been sore up in my abdomen.”

“You didn’t have to go to such extremes.”

“You said yourself, we are makers, and we can find a way to make things work.”

“I kind of thought… the solution we came up with the other night…worked fine.”

“That was a lot of fun. The truth is, for all your hairy, lumpy, sharp edged self, I want you inside me.”

He scooped her up in his arms and hugged her to his chest. “I’m not going to argue with you.”

She hugged him back, but then slipped her hand down between them. “You, sir, are overdressed.” He released her and she unbuckled his belt.

He leaned back on his folded legs and raised his hips so she could slip his pants off. His manhood sprang out in all its glory as she pulled them down.

She reached around behind her and grabbed the jar of cocoa butter. She smiled up at him. “My turn.” She started rubbing her hands over the muscles of his stomach and then the bones of his hips. She kept eyeing his swollen member, knowing that he wanted her to work on it, but she made her way around it and down onto his thighs. She reached around and squeezed the taut domes of his buttocks. His shaft was almost in her face when she squeezed, and it jumped, as if begging her to suck on it. Finally she ran her hands up his inner thighs and caressed his sack. What a strange place to put them. Again his member twitched. She smiled up at him and his face was aglow with anticipation.

At last, sliding and squeezing, she ran her hands around the hairy base and inched her way up to the head. Altogether it was longer than the widths of both her hands. She knew how long it was. She had sucked its entire length into her gill channels the last time. She wondered how much of this she was going to be able to get up inside her, even with the stone stretching. She swirled and squeezed up and down its length, it swelled under her touch, and his breathing deepened and quickened.

When it was as big as it was going to get, which was kind of daunting, she rolled back onto her tail, pressing her pelvis up as fully as she could. She looked down and her opening was standing wide. “Your turn.”

He leaned forward over her and hesitated for a second. He looked at her position, folded back at an extreme angle, and must have been alarmed at how alien she looked. He spread his knees and positioned up against her. He slid himself up and down across her opening and let the head dip in. Everything was slippery and the motion was effortless. She felt his size stretch her open and probe for depth.

She held her breath waiting for the pain of him hitting bottom. He rocked his hips with small thrusts, each one a little deeper. She hadn’t even noticed, but she had wrapped her pelvic fins up around his bottom and her hands around his waist. His rocking and pushing was as much her pulling him in.

He noticed her holding her breath, “I got this,” he assured her. Finally he pushed and could get no further. He pulled almost all the way out, then pushed all the way in, seeming to measure how mush stroke he had. “Yeah, this is fine.” He ground out a rhythm, slowly at first.

She was taken with how gentle he was at the bottom of each stroke, clearly not wanting to hurt her. She looked up at him and he smiled back so lovingly, she felt like she would melt under his touch. She looked down and guessed he was getting about halfway in. He seemed pretty happy with that. She was ecstatic. She finally felt like they were really mating.

For all of the attention she had focused on length, she still wasn’t feeling much for width, which was key for her pleasure. “Can I try something a little different?” She slipped her tail out from under her and rotated her pelvis to the side. This let her bend herself more open to him.

He watched as she squirmed into position, then nodded his agreement. “Sideways,” he commented. He grabbed his member to guide it, and she gasped at how his lifting pressure rode right along her inner sides where she wanted him. He rolled his hips and pushed it up into her, smiling at the fit. His width finally was hitting her sides right. She reached around and held him, though at an angle, with her pelvic fins.

He sped up his stroke, and she could feel the muscles of her pelvis squeezing against him inside her, caressing his length, sucking him in with each hastening thrust. Her breathing quickened as did his pumping.

She let go of his buttocks with her fins and let him take over the now frantic pace. He was sweating all over, and his skin glistened in the orange light of sunset. She was amused how he smelled musky in his exertion, like seaweed. He breathed in short, forceful blasts through his nose, while she found herself gasping for air through her mouth. She felt powerful, rhythmic waves of tension roll out of her hips and down her tail. She loosened her hands around his waist, grabbed him by his powerful shoulders above her, leaned her head back, and just let him take her.

After what seemed a blissful eternity of flailing abandon, he grabbed her pelvis hard and pushed one final deep thrust. Suddenly she felt a flood of warmth rushing up inside of her. She wrapped her fins and arms and tail around him and held him tight, savoring the muscular pulsing. He held his breath and twitched his whole body against her.

The waves down her tail mellowed to ripples. She took a deep, shaky breath and smiled up at him. “Told you we could make it work.”

He scooped her up in his arms and leaned over her in a long tight embrace which she returned eagerly. He held her there for a long moment while she reveled in the sheer joy.


Chielle opened her eyes and looked up at the clear blue sky. She was lying on her back on solid ground. The air on her face and in her lungs was freezing cold, yet her body was warm. It was also covered in clothes. She held her hands up and saw they were in sleeves and wearing gloves. Heavy, fur-lined gloves…with fingers and no webs. She blinked and frowned and blinked again. Oh, a dream.

She turned her head and realized she was wearing a hood, that was attached to the coat with the sleeves. She thought about this for a moment and deduced that her tail was probably legs in this dream. She wasn’t sure she wanted to see that, but curiosity got the better of her. She sat up, and although she had anticipated it, it was still shocking to see two legs in heavy britches, wearing bulky fur boots on her…feet.

She looked around and saw she was sitting in the middle of a field covered in white fluffy powdered ice. Snow? She grabbed a handful and it compressed in her hand into a lump. The dream quickly went from alarming to fascinating.

She considered what it would take to stand up on her feet. She had no pelvic fins with which to balance herself. She bent the legs and tested how the knees only bent in one place. She lifted herself up with her hands and scooted her legs around and under herself. Okay, kneeling. Now to press up. She leaned forward and steadied herself with her hands as she straightened her legs. She was very pleased to find this dream body knew how to do this, and she found herself able to straighten up into a stand. Standing, on her feet.

As soon as she thought about walking, she found she was doing it. It felt really strange, but really good at the same time. It felt like falling forward onto the next step, over and over. Her steps compressed the snow but it held her weight. She liked the rhythm and the smoothness of the motion.

She looked around to see where she was walking to. The field was actually the space between several hills. Off in the distance she saw stands of trees, all laden with snow. She hiked up a hill and looked around. She spotted a group of buildings with smoke coming out of their chimneys. A destination.

She struck out and found a pace that worked with her swinging arms, her pumping breath, and her trudging legs against the snow. Just out of curiosity she tried running, but found the force drove her feet too far into the snow and she lost all her forward speed. She couldn’t really tell how far away the buildings were, with everything smoothly white. So she settled into the pace she found worked.

She covered the distance in less time than she expected, and soon saw the buildings were actually a village. A village would have people. She pulled off a glove, tried not to be alarmed at her pink-skinned, webless hand, and felt her face to see if she was human there too. Her nose was too big and her eyes were too small. She had hair on her head instead of gills. It was too short to pull forward and see, but it was definitely hair. So she looked human. That would make things a lot easier.

The buildings she first saw were just the end of a street of shops. As she approached, she saw there were houses nestled back in the trees all around the main street. She walked down one side of the street, looking in the shops. There was no one else out on the street, but there were plenty of people inside. One shop had cooking pots, another had wooden furniture, one had shelves full of bottles and jars. About halfway down the street she found the public house, with lots of people eating and talking. She knew she didn’t know anyone, but she felt drawn to go in and see the people who lived here.

She pulled open the door and a wall of warm, sour-smelling air hit her. She stepped inside and immediately felt too warm. She pulled off the gloves and stuffed them in the coat pockets, then pulled down the hood and unbuttoned the coat. She was pleased to find she was wearing a heavy red cotton shirt under the coat. No one paid her any attention, which was fine with her. Most of the people were men standing or sitting around tables in groups of three and four. There were a few women, all with a man. She saw no families or children. From where she had seen the sun, it was late afternoon, and she wondered why so many men were not working. Maybe they were done with their daily work.

Being in a warm room, she realized she was chilled inside. She stepped up to the bar and caught the barkeep’s attention. “Do you have anything warm to drink? Like cocoa?”

The man smiled and shook his head no. “No, lassie, I don’t serve cocoa. I do have a glogg that’ll warm you up.”

She had no idea what a glogg was, but she figured this was a dream, so why not go where it was taking her. “Sure, I’ll try a cup.”

He set down a glass jar filled with a dark red fluid. It was steaming hot and smelled powerfully of spices and alcohol. The taste was even stronger than the smell. She wasn’t sure how much of this she could drink. On the other hand, it was warm, both in temperature and in flavor. She swallowed and the warmth went all the way down with it. It felt good. “You’re right,” she told the barkeep. “Can you tell me, what is the name of this village?”

“Nathanson. You ain’t never heard of Nathanson? We’re famous for our maple syrup. There’s even a touch of it in that glogg you’re drinking.”

“Really?” She took another sip. The flavor was easy to get used to, and the warmth was seductive. A few more sips and she started feeling lightheaded. She never wanted to get drunk. She objected to the whole idea of getting drunk. Yet she wanted more of this drink. It made her feel like everything was going to be all right. She felt sleepy, which made no sense, since she knew she was in a dream. Yet she couldn’t hold up her head and leaned over onto the bar. It felt hard.

In fact, it was uncomfortably hard. She opened her eyes and it was dark. She heard surf, and Sten breathing. She lifted her head and could see by starlight that she had rolled over onto the rocks she had set up for their dinner. She moved back off the rocks onto the sand up against Sten. She laid her hand gently on the bandages she had rewrapped around his ribs after their lovemaking. She was glad to have her tail back.

She tried to make sense of her marvelous dream. Had Sten described his life in the snow so well that she could piece it together in a dream? He had never mentioned the gloves, or the boots, or the crunch of snow, or the glogg. It had all felt so real.

She was still pretty tired, so she curled up and in no time fell back asleep.

Categories: Mermaid Steel, Writing
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