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The Chains of Prometheus
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Joined: 01 Nov 2006
Posts: 401
Location: Beijing

Post The Chains of Prometheus Reply with quote
This is basically a result of this.

Red text indicates sections that I'm not too sure about. They convey what I want them to but could probably be more descriptive or interesting. Any suggestions are welcome.


| I. Arthur Hirsch
| II. Michael Van der Zee
| III. John T. Mazza
| IV. Raymond A. Abraham
| V. John T. Mazza
| VI. Arthur Hirsch
| VII. Michael Van der Zee
| VIII. Raymond A. Abraham
| ?. John T. Mazza

Last edited by mighty_manrock on Tue Nov 24, 2009 12:53 am; edited 14 times in total
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I. Arthur Hirsch

Lights. Motion. Pain – not pain exactly – distant, objective. A slipping feeling. Surreal, emptying. Sapped of blood. Lights and motion. A flying feeling. Sapped of meaning. Confusion but tranquility. Comfort. A falling feeling.

Stillness. Voices from above. Substantial blood loss, multiple abrasions and internal bruising. No I.D. that we can find – late teens, early 20's maybe. Found in a small clearing in B.R. Park. Stabilized at least. Strange. What? At first we thought it must've been assault; some of these wounds though, … they don't seem… right. Hard to say why. Brutal. This brutal, I can't imagine it was…. Got some guy fresh out of the E.R. here. Where do you – 429, right. Okay.

Twisting. Floating. Bars of light rolling overhead. Iron taste. Footsteps. Pulsing sound – vacuum womb. Dimming. Enclosure. Rest.

Art Hirsch, bound by his veins and sharing his life’s blood with something foreign, sank catatonically into a hospital bed. Abandoned, he struggled to wrap his mind around his surroundings – around anything. Did the ritual bear fruit; had he ascended? Were these the birth pangs of his higher state of being?

He dipped into his mind and returned with nothing. Was he now beyond sense?

Art stared thoughtlessly at a damp spot on the ceiling above him. A brown, insignificant speck in a desolate field of pearl – it was everything. He pierced it, assimilated it, became it. Nothing else. He was all.

Art’s eyes widened and he broke his parched lips to speak. “I am more.”



Arthur Hirsch felt compelled to open the window on that crisp, late summer morning – odd, as he had never felt like opening it before. The many people who had lived in his tenement apartment beforehand had apparently also never felt this sudden urge either, given the amount of effort it took to push the rusted frame free. Art gazed out, taking in the browning leaves, the calm of the streets and feeling a light breeze gently touch his long, sand-colored hair. The morning rush hour was over; Art himself was already several minutes late for work. Not that he was in any hurry to rush to his dead-end job as a gas station attendant, content – for lack of a better word – to stare out his window at almost nothing.

A year ago. Hard to imagine. She.... He cut his line of thought short. Fuck, better not think about things like that. Not interested in a repeat of the kind of shit I used to do. Art shivered even as his mind barely touched upon such thoughts. No. Go to work. Buy groceries. Go to therapy. Be a good boy.


Red. Engulfed in light – beyond, darkness. Numb, weak, deaf. Slowly the light fades. A vague figure stands so far away.

Swaying lightly, slowly at the foot of Art's bed now stood a person dressed entirely in white, flowing garments that, like their owner, seemed somehow unearthly. Not an inch of skin was exposed. The figure's face was hidden by a strange, featureless mask – thick, flat and much taller than its wearer's head.

Art felt himself compelled to reach out to this person. His body refused to respond; his mind, however, was suddenly snatched up.

Art Hirsch felt that he would burst from the pressure as countless voices rained down on him, chanting in perfect unison, “In your ignorance you have pursued nothing less than idiocy, and in your desperation you have committed all manner of nuisance.”

The voice of a young girl rose up alone, saying, “But we are here to allow you to see more. We know secrets that you cannot fathom. We can open your eyes.”

The chorus continued, “And yet you are not worthy of this. You pursue ends that are in and of themselves meaningless. You ought to burn with the rest of this world.”

The young girl retook her leadership. “We cannot but admit that there is a reason for you, that there is value in you.”

“And yet we do not know why. You are like a mangy dog that we would but spit upon.”

“But you are not.”


The figure stood there still, having not moved at all aside from its usual swaying. Art stared into the blank mask, unable to tell if an instant or an eternity had just passed. He suddenly found his vision and consciousness failing, and he gasped for air before plunging into the depths once more.



Art, with no lack of effort, pulled his window closed, hearing a disconcerting crack as he did so. {Description here could use further work.} Cursing briefly, he turned and grabbed up a light hoodie from the top of a pile of clothes sitting in the chair nearby. On his way to the door, he stopped by the table and poured his eyes over the books that had piled up there. No point in taking any text books, not with even community college tuition kicking my ass this semester. This one, might as well – actually, if today's a slow day, I might be able to finish it. Art put the book he had been reading – something by a French author called Whatever – in the backpack he still liked to carry and headed out the door.

A crisp, late summer morning – maybe a bit cooler than the day before it, but otherwise just like any other morning.

Last edited by mighty_manrock on Mon Nov 30, 2009 1:08 am; edited 18 times in total
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II. Michael Van der Zee

He had dealt with a lot of things in his few years on the force. Mostly it was from behind a desk. Mostly it was at a distance; he was an investigator, after all. That's not to say he had never shown his badge or drawn his gun, but he had the luxury of not having to see bad things as they happened.

Thus it was a perfectly new experience to watch this woman dive four stories to her death.

He wanted to help her. She didn’t want help. He told her to step away, that she could turn things around – all by the book. He told her she should stay for her child, the baby lying sleepily only a few feet away.

She didn’t listen. “I have nothing left to reach for,” she said. “You have no idea how powerless I feel,” she said. “The child will be better off without me,” she said.

Lieutenant Van der Zee didn’t even know her name when she flew away.

He made no hurry over to the edge. He felt a sinking feeling as he looked upon he crumpled form below, but strangely it was not as horrible as he had expected. Then he suddenly launched into a fit of coughing that carried on for several minutes. As he settled down, he stared at his blood-soaked palm. Then his eyes were drawn to the baby, who had fallen asleep amidst his hacking.


{Make shorter; highlight Van der Zee's unstable state of mind more.}
“Mornin', captain.”

Van der Zee, who had been staring into his coffee thoughtfully as he made his way to his desk, looked up as if waking from a dream. A police investigator in his unit – young, fresh – smiled at him from his own workplace, fingers idling over the keyboard on his desk.

“Hey. James,” Van der Zee said after a brief pause, as if he had forgotten the new guy's name.

James looked back to his computer monitor. “Looks like fall's coming on, eh?”

“Yeah. Sure. Getting cool,” Michael responded absent-mindedly.

James raised an eyebrow, turning his attention toward Van der Zee. “What is it, sir?”


“There something on your mind?”

“Oh, what, no.” Michael chuckled. “Just haven't had my coffee yet,” he noted, indicating his mug.

James grinned, going back to his web browsing. “I hear that.”

Michael nodded cordially. “Officer, before I forget, I need you to send me the files from that last case – the business Monday night up in Grenners. We'll be heading there today to have a look.”

“Yes, sir.” At that Van der Zee took a sip of coffee and began to walk away. “And the business tonight?” James laughed quietly to himself. Van der Zee stopped in his tracks, shooting the officer a confused look. “Alex's play,” James explained. “The whole unit is heading over to watch.”

“Oh!” Van der Zee laughed. “That! You're all sure you want to come?”

“Why not, captain?”

“Well, don't you guys have a city to keep from going to crap?” Michael mused.

“Hey, this Grenners thing is the first in weeks – of that caliber, you know. I'm sure the city will let us have one night to watch the captain's son on stage.”

“The captain's son on stage?” Michael repeated credulously. “It's just a school play, James; he's not premiering on Broadway.”

Captain Van der Zee and Officer James Ferris shared a moment's smile.

“Get me those files,” Michael ordered jokingly. “Get a good look at them, and be ready to head out around 9:30.”

“You got it, sir.”


{Work on making the dialogue here a bit more natural.}
Smooth ebony skin, painted up just right. A voluptuous body squeezed into a purple sequined dress. What had been a mischievous, vivacious face hung uncomfortably in silence as she stood staring down at him.

Finally she spoke. “You... you do realize what my job is supposed to be, don't you?”

Michael Van der Zee frowned angrily. “I'm not stupid, woman. When I read 'escort,' I know what that means just like anyone else.”

“Well, it don't seem that way, huh? Felicia can help you get off; she can't help you with goddamn mommy issues or whatever the fuck is wrong with you.”

“Your ad says – in so many words – that you like D.P. and you're open to waterplay and all sorts of weird deviant shit. Next to that, what the fuck is the problem here? Money's the same, isn't it?”

Felicia laughed heartily. “Oh honey, you really need to get out more, I'm thinkin'.”

Van der Zee ground his teeth. “If that's the way you'll be about it, fine. You can leave; that's all I want out of you anyway. But no money.” She averted her eyes from Michael thoughtfully. After a moment, Van der Zee asked, “Well, which is it?”

“Just to make some sense of this, honey, I have to ask two questions – just to make sure, now.” After a pause, Felicia asked, “You ain't a cop or nothin', right?”

“No, I'm not,” Van der Zee lied.

“And the money's the same – the same as if you wasn't some kind of fuckup at life and just wanted to ream the fuck out of me instead, right?”

“Cute,” Michael muttered, “but yes, that's right.”

After a moment's hesitation, Felicia sat next to Michael on the couch, taking his hand in hers.

“Alright, then. One hour of holding your hand like the little guy fell and got a real bad scratch after we took the training wheels off his bike for the first time.”

Last edited by mighty_manrock on Mon Nov 30, 2009 1:11 am; edited 8 times in total
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III. John T. Mazza

Guess I have plenty of time on my hands.

Name's John Mazza. I'm from Brooklyn.

Christ, this is stupid. “Write,” he said. “Help you clear your mind,” he said. What kind of bullshit is this? Fuckin' quack. Like an innocent man needs a shrink anyway.

Last edited by mighty_manrock on Thu Oct 22, 2009 9:09 am; edited 2 times in total
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IV. Raymond A. Abraham

Raymond Abraham, weary from the past days' events, could hardly muster any emotion at all as he stared at the marker. Its surface bore many characters, but only three that mattered: 林 Lín, 玉 Yù, 虹 Hóng.

Below this marker, behind the planks of wood he and his in-laws had just nailed up, sat an urn filled with his wife's ashes.

Yuhong had never spoken of the kind of funeral she wanted; after all, in Raymond's experience, it was not a topic the Chinese were very fond of at all, not to mention something worth bringing up while you were still young. But here he was, burying his wife four months after their sixth anniversary, barely a week after her 32nd birthday.

Three days after her murder.


{Make longer. Elaborate more. More dialogue.}
“How did you feel when you met her?”

Ray slooped over into himself, sitting tensely on what otherwise should have been a very comfortable couch.

“Well… I… When I first saw her, that feeling, I guess I can't lie and say I'd never felt that way before. She was beautiful. But she also immediately struck me as... very intelligent. Kind. Patient. Which was strange… to me.”

The good doctor coughed before asking, “Strange? How?”

“Well, at the time, I was going through a... stage, I guess. Wasn't very found of girls in general. Mean, cruel sometimes - I don't know. Seemed like the prettier they were, the worse it was.”

“How old were you then?”

“19. I was a shy kid, y'know - in high school or whatever. First year or so of college.” Raymond rubbed his hands together as if he were cold before adding, “The nerdy Jewish kid… and all that.”

“Mmh. She was older than you?”

“Yeah. Right before I met her was her 23rd birthday. She was a teacher's assistant; taught a few Chinese classes at my college while she worked on her Master's. I needed foreign language credit, and I guess I figured I'd be a masochist and take Chinese.” Ray chuckled nervously.


The Yellow River brought winds full of heat and rainclouds to Zhengzhou that day. Although it was almost nothing compared to the downpours a month before, it was raining hard on that August day, yet somehow it was also hot. With or without an umbrella, Raymond's pure-white suit would've been drenched either way, whether in rain or sweat. It looked like hell.

Ray looked idly on the other tombs as he left the graveyard. Elaborate or simple, grandiose or barely noticeable, the tombs there were kept well. Several of those interred here were receiving guests today. Not so back home – when Granny Dalia died, it was almost like everyone tried to forget she ever existed. Raymond remembered being scolded for even mentioning her name months afterwards.

Caught in the corner of Ray's eye stood a specter of a man, wearing a dark, long coat and a wide-brimmed hat, who seemed to be looking intently at him.

“You go home now?” Raymond turned to see that his father-in-law had sneaked up on him amidst his thoughts.

Raymond answered in Chinese. “Go home? I was thinking I would stay here and help you.”

He stared at Ray, his expression impenetrable.

“Well, uh.... I mean, I feel like I owe her that.” In his discomfort, Ray's eyes wondered. The man was no longer standing there… or had never been there at all.

The father of Raymond's late wife frowned angrily, still – as always – refusing to speak to him in Chinese. “That was not a question.”

And with that Raymond Abraham was left standing there alone.

Last edited by mighty_manrock on Mon Nov 30, 2009 1:06 am; edited 12 times in total
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V. John T. Mazza

But I really have nothing better to do. Smoke. Stare at the bars. Think about what I can trade for in the cafeteria. Need to get some duct tape - could come in handy.

All this started a couple of weeks ago. Just got back to my apartment (ground floor – pretty convenient) after stepping out for a bite to eat, and I found Victor waiting on me.

Said we had something to do. I asked him if it was about the collection money that had been hard to get. Turned out that had been settled. Wasn't too concerned - didn't affect me much anyhow.

Showed me a package, and said we were supposed to get this to Sig. Acciai. We had a laugh, musing how come the post office wouldn't do. We'd been around long enough to know how things work.

How normal shit works, anyway.

“Whatever,” I said. “Let's go. You drive, I'll eat this BK.”

Sig. Acciai is part of the families, but he also works as a “legitimate” attorney. He'd been staying late at his office waiting for this little gift, so we headed there. Victor told me to go on ahead and he'd come back around - this definitely wasn't a two-man job, and besides he had something to do. Whatever. Ass.

4G, that was his office. Entire floor dark except for a bit of light coming from his wide-open door. I still knocked first.

“Signore,” I said, “I'm supposed to give this to you.”

Stuck his head out. Shot his beady little eyes around. Practically pulled me in.

I didn't ask questions.

He took the box and thanked me. Asked my name. Started to kind of pet the box and look at it fondly. Sorta shaky too.

Odd little man, I thought. Didn’t think he was too weird before. But he wants his fix that bad, hey, whatever.

He looked back up at me angrily. “Now leave.” Whatever. Freaky-ass little man. Damn near slammed the door on me.

Headed back down to the street, and I decided to have a smoke. Me and Victor, see, we thought there would at least be more formalities than this. Searches, something. Wouldn't be a couple of minutes 'til he came around. Leaned back against a street lamp and had a smoke.

About three cigarettes later, I was tired of waiting. Wasn’t too long of a walk anyway.

Last edited by mighty_manrock on Tue Nov 24, 2009 12:32 am; edited 1 time in total
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VI. Arthur Hirsch

{Consider making this longer; put in more description.}
Hands stuffed firmly in his pockets, Art licked at his chapped lips and blinked against the cool wind. Weird. Supposed to still be summer. He looked around at the few people surrounding him, the few cars moving up and down the street, the metal bus stop bench he had never sat on. Better going to work when it's dead out. Getting chewed out, whatever – worth the peace. He drew his hands from his pockets and his eyes fell on them. Skin drying. Low humidity here this time of year. Not like back up north.


“Wake up!” a billion voices rang out in Art's head.

Art's eyes snapped open, and in a vague, swimming world he saw the figure standing, swaying before him still.

The little girl giggled briefly before continuing. “We know why you are here; we know how you have come to such a pathetic existence. Yet we have grown bored. Show us.”

Puppets tumbled down on a stage in Art's mind. An Art-puppet danced to the foreground.
“Lilly!” the Art-puppet called out as his dancing came to a halt. “Give me those!”

A rattle.

A Lilly-puppet danced out to meet him. Her dance complete, she began sobbing.

“Give them here,” the Art-puppet said, his voice having become quiet, comforting. The Lilly-puppet continued to cry. “Lilly, listen to me. This isn't what you want. We can pull through this.”

“That's what you always say! You don't understand!” the Lilly-puppet belted out between sobs.

“No, I don't,” the Art-puppet replied sadly. “But I can still help you.”


“I love you, Lilly.”


“No? Why do you push me away?”

“If you knew it would be like this,” the Lilly-puppet said before stopping to gasp, then continuing, “would you have ever loved me at all?”


“See, you don't want to answer!”

The Art-puppet sighed. “No, I don't. You don't need to be asking questions like this. That's what makes you start thinking, and when you start thinking like this....”

The Lilly-puppet's sobs died down.

“Lilly, come here. I want to hold you.”

A rattle.

The person in white swayed ever so slightly, and all sounds had died.

{Continue the first section and then think of more content.}

Last edited by mighty_manrock on Mon Nov 30, 2009 1:12 am; edited 8 times in total
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VII. Michael Van der Zee

“Mike, this is absolutely ridiculous!” Summervale Chief of Police Gregory Syles ranted.

{Think of a better, more descriptive way to approach Van der Zee's attitude here.} Lieutenant Van der Zee met Syles' incredulity with a strange mix of expressions – determination and yet remorse.

“Listen, I'm telling you one more time. That woman's death was unavoidable. It was in no way your fault.”

“Yes, I know that, sir,” Van der Zee affirmed quietly.

Syles paid him no notice, continuing, “There's no shortage of crazies in this world, lieutenant. And the kid, yes, that's tragic – sure. But he is not your responsibility; he becomes a ward of the state.

“And through normal channels you're not likely to be able to adopt a kid anyway. You're a single man and not even 30 yet, Mike. Your line of work is high-risk, not to mention your condition; you could be dead tomorrow – hell, Mike, you could be dead before the end of the day today.

“But one woman jumps off a goddamn building and leaves her little kid up there, and you feel so guilty about it, you – Christ, Mike!”

Michael Van der Zee looked at the chief resolutely. “I am a detective, chief. Under my watch this kind of thing isn't supposed to happen. I know I'm not omnipotent, but at the same time I could have done more, I could have prepared more.

“And yet it's not about guilt. I can't quite explain it, sir. For some reason I really feel like this makes the most sense. I know, maybe the kid could find something else ideal, but….” Van der Zee stopped.

Chief Syles furrowed his brow. “But what?”

“All I can say is that this is a burden I feel like I need to accept, sir. And I need your help.”

The chief of police stared hard at Michael and then sighed, reaching for the phone. As he dialed just the right number, he grunted, “You're insane, you know that?”


Holding the receiver to his head, Syles waited for the other end to pick up. Covering the mouthpiece momentarily, he asked, “Now you're sure about this?”

{Add something to illustrate Van der Zee and Alex; continue interaction between Van der Zee and Felicia.}

Last edited by mighty_manrock on Mon Nov 30, 2009 1:13 am; edited 11 times in total
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VIII. Raymond A. Abraham

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?. John T. Mazza

Lit up another and started walking. As I was passing the alley next to the office, a door closed. Looked over to see nothing under the service door light.

Four steps later I remembered you can’t open those from the outside. I began to feel like I was being watched.

Took a left at the intersection and started up another street. A few blocks up, noticed a big mutt chewing on some toy behind a fence. He looked up at me. Wagged his tail. Dogs always seemed to like me.

Got to the length of the fence and heard the dog growl. Glanced back to see the dog looking where I’d come from.

I kept on. The last guy who followed me ended up with a broken arm.

A bit farther on I heard a shuffle behind me. I whirled around, ready for a fight.

The sound came from under a street lamp, but nothing was there. The last guy who followed me I could see.

Increased my pace. Stuffed my hands in my coat pockets. I had to hurry home.

Once I got there I locked everything up. Almost stepped on the little dog that bitch left here. Never understood why she took everything else but left that damn Cheeto. But he might come in handy tonight, I thought.

Then I realized I'd dropped my cigarette.


Have to admit - writing in this, I kind of like it. Wouldn't hurt to do it again. For my own benefit, not some quack's.

So the next day I was still kind of on edge. I'd been up all night. Felt like talking about it.

Victor hadn't come by anytime during the night. Still couldn't get ahold of the bastard.

Next best person to talk to who would've cared was my uncle Nunzio. Kind of important in the families. Should've known better. Anyway, I call him up and ask him to come over.

Said he was busy for a couple of hours and he'd come by that evening. I tried to chill out some. I was almost tempted to call Gabrielle, and I'm glad I got past that shit. That's when things have to be bad, when I'd call that bitch.

But Nunzio showed up. Didn't waste time on formalities. I was a “soldier.” Not into all that. I told him about taking the package to Sig. Acciai and how I'd been shadowed.

He gives me this look I've never seen before. Sort of like shock and anger combined with a deer-in-the-headlights face. Gets up and leaves, not a word.

Something I said?

Middle of the night, my door's knocked down. I'm dragged out of bed. Look up and manage to see a uniform. Pigs. No rights, no nothing. No one says a word, and I'm half asleep.

Fuckin' Cheeto's a useless noisemaker.

Thrown in a cell. They told me there'd be a trial the beginning of next week, but not to hope for anything. I asked what I'd done. Sneers.

Turns out I murdered Victor. Not sure how he really died. Don't miss the asshole anyway.

Trial comes up. They lead me in, sit me down. All the bullshit starts. I try to speak up. I thought I was supposed to get a chance to plea here. This attorney looks at me like I just fucked his mother.

20 minutes later I'm given life in prison.

They're taking me back out. I suddenly smell something – a perfume like lilacs. Gabrielle. Sunflowers, the same blouse she wore the day she busted through my door with suitcases, a Pomeranian and a grin. Why today?

Sent movers. Didn't even come herself. And yet she comes to this.

So far I'd been putting up with this idiocy. Seeing her there, watching me be subjected to this crap. She had to get some kind of satisfaction from it. Pisses me off.

Stupid fuckin' whore.

Nunzio is standing on the street. He looks up as we pass by. “It's for your own good, kid.”

I start to yell at him, but one of the cops with me – the one big enough to do it – knocks the fuck out of me. If I weren't cuffed, I could've torn him in half. Hell, I could have anyway. Something in me backed down, and I was shoved into a patrol car.

Might as well end it there for today. Oh, got a package today from Nunzio - a book. Primo Levi. Se questo è un uomo. Pretty appropriate, I guess.

Eh, well, it's not so bad here. Can't really say the food sucks. I can get ahold of the stuff I need to shave my head. Got workout time. My... neighbors don't give me a whole lot of shit, and if they do, it's not hard for a guy like me to make 'em back down.

Not too bad really. No reason not to be pissed though.


Shared a cell with another big guy. Never said anything. So we got along just fine.

Two days later I had this weird dream. I was standing in a stretch of road – rural place, kind of overgrown. Bushes on the side of the road, and there seemed to be a forest far off on either side of me. I started walking. I thought I heard a rustle in the bushes.

I kept on and the noise seemed to follow me. Started to get louder. Started to spread around me. Soon I was surrounded. The trees seemed to creep closer. The bushes became wilder.

I broke into a run. I was pursued. The harder I ran, the more smothered I was. The dark, the noise.

A smell – lilacs.

I stopped. Quiet. I turned to see the sun rise.

Sunflowers watched the sun as it streamed across the sky – too fast. It dropped behind me. As the sunflowers looked toward me, I felt an even more ominous feeling than ever before.

I snap awake, and someone is outside the bars - someone telling me that I'm being transferred.

That was two weeks ago today.

So that's how I ended up here. Somewhere in the Midwest, I'm told, outside of some city called Summervale. Middle of nowhere practically. Why I was shipped out here, I have no idea. Seems like a waste of tax money to me.

I gotta see a man about some duct tape. Might write more later.
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