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Seeking Souls - A Short Horror Story

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Chapter Two: Cold Curse

POV: Anabella

Anabella got a piece of bread, ate it slowly, chewing while thoughts flew through her head, then went upstairs to check on Trenton. She opened the door and it creaked softly. “Trentie?” Anabella whispered. She spotted him sitting on his bed, his back turned to her.

“No, Hoppy! I can’t do that, I can’t hurt my sisters. What?” He paused. “No, no, I love this house. I can’t! Hoppy, no, I just - can’t!” Trenton began to sob, pleading with Hoppy to side with him. “Y-you’re sorry?” Trenton repeated, hiccuping. “It’s okay. We all have our moments. That’s what Anabella says, anyway.”

Anabella walked into the room, shutting the door firmly behind her. Jess didn’t need to hear this. . .conversation. She’d totally freak - she already was starting to break. “Hey, Trentie!” Anabella said softly, sitting down on the bed. She looked at the frog - Hoppy - and almost gasped. His eyes were very, very dark and large. Unusual. Hoppy definitely wasn’t a normal frog.

“Hi, Anabella.” Trenton said, wiping his eyes. His nose began to run, and he wiped the snot off on his sleeve.

“I have a question for you, Trenton, and I need you to be honest, okay, sweetie?” Anabella asked, and Trenton nodded. “What did Hoppy just tell you to do?”

“H-he wanted me to hurt you and Jess. Then he wanted me to turn on the stove at nighttime while you guys are asleep.” Trenton calmly set Hoppy in a box, and smiled down at him.

“Oh,” Anabella said. She wasn’t worried, she trusted her brother, but yet. . .

“Hey, Trentie, but you know better, right? You’re not going to do that, are you? Just because Hoppy told you to?”

Trenton looked Anabella in her eyes, he was nervous. “Well… I mean, n-no… But, Hoppy is my best friend. But you guys are my sisters.” Trenton grumbled and wiped a tear that was running down his face.

Anabella’s eyes widened. “Hey, Trentie, the ice cream truck is coming - here, go get us all some ice cream, okay?” She handed Trenton a few dollars, and his face lit up as he sprinted downstairs.

Now it’s time for me to see if Hoppy is possessed. Anabella grabbed the frog from the box and rushed to her room, slamming the door shut and locking it.

Anabella stared at the frog in disgust. “What have you done to my brother?...” She mumbled to the frog. The frog blinked it’s eyes twice and continued to give her a death stare. Anabella sat the frog in a box she had laying around, the box had dried blood stains from past, “subjects” she likes to call them. Though she never told Jess about this hobby of hers. She grabbed her crucifix and held it up, pointing it towards the frog. “DEMON BEGONE!” She yelled out, staying relatively silent. The frog just sat in the box, adjusting its legs into a comfortable position. But nothing happened. She shrugged, then tried it again. This time the frog made a loud croak. She smiled, but her smile faded once the frog did nothing. She picked up the frog and was about to smash it against the wall, before her door knocked. She grunted and sat the frog back into her box. She unlocked the door, then opened it. Jess and Trenton were waiting outside of her door. Trenton had tears in his eyes, while his nose was running. “Erh.. What’s wrong?” She kept her door mostly closed to avoid Trenton seeing the frog. The frog croaked and she looked back in annoyance. Then looked back at Trenton and Jess.

’Trenton’s sad because he can’t find his frog.” Jess said, patting Trenton on the head.

Trenton pulled her hand off of his head and screamed, “HOPPY!! His name is Hoppy!” Trenton bursted out crying again and fell to the floor. Hitting it with his fists. Anabella sighed, she had never seen Trenton this sad.

The last time she saw someone this sad was when... She paused. She looked at Jess, who was staring at Trenton who was laying on the ground still. “Never mind.” Anabella looked back into her room. She couldn’t tell, but she hoped that the stupid frog was still in the box. “I have unfinished business to attend to.”

Anabella went to close her door, but Jess stuck her foot in the door to prevent that from happening. “You don’t happen to know where Hoppy is, do you?” Jess said, already thinking that she knew the answer.

“Who, me? No, not at all. I’m just as sad as Trenton. Now, if you’ll excuse me..” Anabella finally closed her door and turned back to the frog, which was now sitting on her pillow, staring at her. Anabella knew what she had to do. “You ruined Trenton, you frog!” She said, eyes ablaze. “Can’t you see what you did to him?” She picked the frog up, squeezing it tightly so Hoppy couldn’t escape. She opened her window, and chucked the frog out. “See if you can beat that!” Anabella yelled, slamming the window shut.

She sighed, rubbing her temples, then went downstairs to eat breakfast. Trenton sat at the table, now happily eating Cheerios, and talking to Hoppy.

Wait - Hoppy?

It couldn’t have been Hoppy, Anabella swore she’d just thrown him away moments ago. But, when Anabella looked into Hoppy’s eyes, she somehow knew it was him. It had to be him.

Anabella squinted at the frog, how was he alive? She threw him out of the window. She could’ve sworn he would’ve died from the fall. But - he didn’t even have a scratch on him, not a single mark. “I see you found Froggy!” Anabella said in annoyance.

“Hoppy! His name is Hoppy! How many times do I have to tell you! Gosh, you girls can just be so dumb!” Anabella’s and Jess’ eyes widened. Jess was standing at the stove flipping pancakes for herself.

“What did you just say Trenton?” Jess had turned on her “Strict-Mother-Mode.” Something she only activated ever so often.

“I called you guys dumb…” Trenton moved his spoon around in the few Cheerios and milk that he had left. He picked up some milk and then dumped it back into the bowl. Continuously doing that. He mumbled something to himself - Or was it to that stupid frog of his?

“Trenton! What is wrong with you? Why are you suddenly so bratty and rude!?” She grabbed Trenton’s arm and pulled him out of his seat.

He yelped and she grabbed him. The frog croaked as it watched. “HOPPY HELP!!” Trenton screamed, trying to kick Jess, but failing. He bursted out in tears, but the frog just stared. Jess continued to drag Trenton to his room. Leaving her with a wide opportunity to get that frog, and hopefully kill it once in for all.

Back in her room, Anabella had grabbed Hoppy again. This time the frog was making low sounding grunts, almost sounding like an old man. She throws the frog on her desk, and it makes a loud sound. She grabs duct-tape and tapes the frog. She grabs the kitchen knife that she had stored for later experiments. She cuts off the limbs of the frog, one by one. Then she cuts open the frog, and examines the insides of the bleeding frog. Her door bursts open. - She forgot to lock the door - She drops the knife. “ANABELLA!! WHAT ON EARTH ARE YOU DOING!?!” Jess pulls Anabella away from the decapitated frog. Anabella remains silent. Her eyes directed towards the bleeding frog. She smiles, then giggles. “ANABELLA! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU!?” Jess releases Anabella, pushing her to the ground. Anabella eyes the knife, and reaches for it. But Jess kicks it away from her. “ANABELLA STOP! GET A HOLD OF YOURSELF!” Anabella sighed and took a deep breath. She sat up, tears were streaming down her face. “Eh-h-hey… Are you alright?” Jess sat down next to Anabella and held her hand. Disgusted she wanted to pull away from the blood that was on her hand now. “How are you feeling… Anabella?” Jess pulled her hand away from Anabella. She crossed her arms and held onto her knees.

“I… I don’t know.” Anabella looked forward at the wall. Her eyes were red from crying.

“How… How about you go take a nap, alright?” Jess stood up. “I’m going to go wash my hands. Wash yours, then get some rest, alright?” Anabella nodded, and followed Jess to the bathroom. The two of them washed their hands, then Jess went downstairs, and Anabella went back to her room. She laid down on her bed and let out a long depressing sigh. She closed her eyes, and fell asleep almost instantly.

Anabella’s chest tightened as she watched her father stand up, gather his things, and leave. She began to cry, along with her mother. Jess was still confused about what was even happening. Anabella held Jess’ hand as she watched her mother plead for her father to stay. But it didn’t work. He left them, and he continues to try to come back to them. Even though it’s far too late. Jess looked at Anabella, she was probably confused on why Anabella was crying. “Why is Mommy crying, sissy?” Anabella looked at Jess with a sad expression. This was exactly a memory she never wanted to remember. “Dad is leaving.” Anabella said plainly. “Is Daddy going to the store?” Jess smiled, hoping he was going to get her chocolate milk. “No, dad is leaving. And he isn’t coming back.” She stared back at Mom, who was now on the ground sobbing. He yelled at mother. Anabella screamed, “DON’T HURT HER YOU MONSTER!” His focus was now on her. He picked up a bottle from the ground and slammed it towards her face. She threw her hands in front of her face, protecting herself.

Anabella woke up in a cold sweat, it’s been forever since she’s had a nightmare like that. She tries to forget him, but somehow, in some way he always comes back in different ways. She lifted her heavy hands and directed her attention towards them. They were shaky and sweaty, but she had never been shaky. At least, not from her knowledge.

She decided to get up, seeing as how she couldn’t go back to sleep, and took a cold shower to wake herself up and push her mind back to reality. Once she was dressed, she went back downstairs to find Jess sitting at the table, notebook and pen in hand, sighing.

Anabella sat down next to her sister. “Oh, uh - hey, Anabella, how are you feeling?”

“Good, thanks for asking, Jessamine. What’s that?” Anabella asked, meaning the notebook.

“Oh, this is nothing. I’m going to have to work another shift and so will you if we want to continue living here and being happy. . .”

Anabella rubbed her eyes. She’d always known there’d come a time when they couldn’t live off of just themselves, under the age of eighteen. But she nodded, not letting Jess see her momentarily sadness. “Okay, that’s alright, Jess.” She stood up as she watched Jess scribble something in the notebook. “I think I’m going to take a walk - to, uh, clear my mind.”

Jess didn’t look up but nodded, still writing furiously in her notebook.

As Anabella exited the house, she wondered where Trenton was. Once outside, she breathed in the fresh air and smiled. She began to jog down the road, passing by familiar faces and big trucks.

It reminded her of her past, when she used to move her arm around to get the large trucks to honk their horns. But… One of the trucks got into an accident when she did that. Which caused her to never do it again. It was good at times, seeing the joyful smiles spread across their faces. It was good. It was bad. What even was it anymore? Just a roller coaster of emotions just waiting to be sprouted?

Shaking her head to clear her mind, and trying to forget her thoughts, she turned swiftly around and raced back to the house. So much for clearing my mind, Anabella thought, and opened the front door, out of breath. Jessamine still sat at the table, on her third notebook. Anabella shook her head, and went upstairs.

She knocked on Trenton’s door. “Hey, Trenton, buddy?”

No response.

“Trenton, I know you’re in there, and I know I messed up. I just - I don’t know what came over me! I’m really sorry, Trent.”

No response.

“Listen, I’m coming into your room in ten seconds if you don’t answer me.” She waited, then began to count down. Ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, for, three, two, one. . .zero.

She opened the door, and saw Trenton’s window open, his Paw Patrol curtains blowing in the wind. Hoppy’s box sat, upside down, on his bed.

Anabella turned around - and screamed.

Hoppy sat there, and smiled at her. An evil, terrible smile. Filled with white, pearl-like teeth. Yes, the frog had teeth. And Hoppy looked terrible - he had his own blood smeared all over him, but was still alive.

“JESS! TRENTON’S MISSING, AND HOPPY’S STILL ALIVE!”

But when Anabella looked back down, Hoppy was gone, and Trenton was still gone.

“What? What happened?! Oh my -″ Jess began to immediately sob uncontrollably. “This is all your fault. You killed Hoppy, you’re insane!”

“Wait - me? No, Jess, Hoppy is still alive! He was right there!”

“No, no, this isn’t right. Why would Trenton run away? BECAUSE YOU KILLED HIS FROG, ANABELLA!” Jess screamed and stomped her foot.

Confused, and embarrassed, she blurted out again. “HE WAS RIGHT THERE! THAT STUPID FROG WAS RIGHT THERE!” She sighed, and took deep breaths to catch her breath.

“You…We...I KNEW THAT YOU HATED THAT FROG - HOPPY! BUT WHY WOULD YOU ACTUALLY KILL HIM?! WHEN YOU KNEW TRENTON LOVED THAT FROG!” Jess fell to the ground, she held her head and began to breathe heavily.

Anabella touched her shoulder and Jess gasped in fear. “DON’T TOUCH ME!” Jess managed to say in tears.

Anabella backed away from Jess and crossed her arms. “I didn’t kill the frog. I… I never would do that to Trenton.” She blinked over and over; something that meant that she was lying.

“Ughh! I know you would!” Jess got back up and wiped her tears, only to have tears run down her face again.

“HE KEEPS COMING BACK ALIVE! HE- IT WAS STARING AT ME! DEAD WIDE EYES AND A LARGE SMILE!” She bursted out in laughter. “IT WAS A POSSESSED FROG! AND ALL THAT IT WANTS IT TO POSSESS TRENTON!” Anabella screamed in tears.

Jess gave Anabella a concerned look. “Are you doing drugs, Anabella? That… That doesn’t even exist. Possession doesn’t exist.”

“Oh, but it does,” Anabella said miserably. “I wish it didn’t, I honestly do, but, Jess, it’s real, and you need to believe me! I think Hoppy had something to do with Trenton’s disappearance.”

Jess stood, trembling. “I’m calling the police. They’ll start a search party. And you - you need to stay out of it. You’ll only make things worse.”

And, so, Jess went downstairs to phone the police and inform them that her little brother was missing. Two officers, a male and female, came inside after a short waiting period. “Hello, Jessamine. When was the last time you saw your brother?” The female, named Sara, asked, concerned. She wore bright red lipstick, and it was smeared on her teeth.

Jess filled them in, on everything she thought she knew, leaving out Anabella.

Meanwhile, upstairs, Anabella was in her room, packing a bag full of supplies. She was going to find Trenton, no one else would, but her. Anabella put in a flashlight, extra batteries, a compass, a knife, a Spirit book, Spirit box, EMF Reader, and a thermometer, a first aid kit, and extra clothes, and of course her crucifix.

Sneaking downstairs, bag slung over her shoulder, she stashed non-perishable food into her bag, all that would fit. Beans, instant-ramen (She never cooks it, and just eats it as a whole.), canned fruit and vegetables, and then her bag was full.

She placed down her bag in her room. She decided to wait until night, where it would be better for her to sneak. Once night struck she jumped out of her window. She was breathless from the fall, but she quickly regained her breath once she remembered what and who she was doing this for. Trenton, and Jess.

At first, it took a minute for Anabella’s eyes to adjust to the lighting, and then, she got out her flashlight and began north, where Trenton hopefully would be.

She shivered as the breeze blew, like whispering a secret into her ear. She hefted her bag up her shoulder and quickened her pace, hearing a wolf howl in the distance.

Anabella knew there would be wildlife, though the sight of watching a wolf howl on the hill on a full moon would be a sight to see. She couldn’t get distracted. Her brother and Jess were the only people that kept her moving. She wasn’t going to stop believing that Trenton is alive and well without putting up a fight for him. So, she went on.

She finally reached the abandoned mall. Her feet hurt, her back ached, and her brain was tired. So, when she went inside, she ate a can of peaches, then found a bench, and lay down on it. Her eyes closed, and she slept for a long, long time. She resumed the dream she’d had the night before.

“I do what I want,” he said, breathing heavily. “No one changes that. Get out of my way! Stupid dog!”

When Jess and Anabella were younger, they owned a small collie, and his name was Ollie. Ollie whimpered, wanting to be scratched behind the ears, but he only pulled his hand back and slapped the dog. Anabella and Jess screamed in fury. Ollie meant the world to the twins. And he knew that.

“YOU ARE A CRUEL, CRUEL MAN.” Anabella screamed. “YOU’RE WICKED!”

He whipped around, his eyes ablaze with fury. He was a little tipsy, Anabella thought to herself. “SHUT UP! SHUT UP, SHUT UP, SHUT UP! I DON’T NEED A LITTLE GIRL’S INPUT! ESPECIALLY FROM YOU!” He started towards Anabella, hands shaking. He went in for the punch - but her mother stepped in front of her. Her mother was the one who had the punch that dislocated her jaw. Her mother was the one who loved Anabella so much she had to save her. Her mother was the one who shouldn’t have died such a cruel death.

“LOOK WHAT YOU’VE DONE!” Jess said, speaking up. She was crying so hard she hiccuped. “GET OUT! GET OUT! NOW! AND NEVER, EVER COME BACK!”

He widened his eyes, seeing what he’d done. “Now, wait a second, girls -”

Jess lowered her voice, and she was obviously so close to losing her cool. “Maybe you didn’t hear me the first time. Get. Out. We don’t need you. We’ve grown up without you. We’ve learnt how to do everything a father should teach his daughter. And you weren’t there to help. And we don’t need you here to help either. You’re a nuisance, and you make us all unhappy. So, I’ll say it once more before I phone the police. Get. Out. And never, ever come back.”

Anabella looked at her sister, impressed. He threw another bottle, but then he left. And he didn’t come back.

For a while, at least.

Anabella’s eyes flew open. She’d heard a noise. A clattering noise. Like someone dropped something. Then, she heard a croak. She sat up and turned on her flashlight.

Hoppy.

Hoppy, it couldn’t be. He was gone. Wasn’t he? “Of course you came back. What? Are you going to kill me?”Anabella’s lips were so chapped that they were cracked and bleeding. “JUST DO IT! You already took away my brother!” She paused as tears rolled down her face.”You are a monster! A stupid little frog… How did you get away from Jess?” Though she was crying, she was angry.

Filled with rage. Every part of her was tense and ready to kill something. “I hope you burn. You monster.”

Hoppy croaked, his eyes never blinked once while she spoke. Anabella sighed in pain. “Go away.” She was breathless, her thoughts ran through her head as she thought about everyone. “Trenton… Jess… Mom…” All of the people who cared for her. Who actually loved her. All were gone. “I should’ve stayed… Why did I leave Jess…” She looked around for Hoppy, and to her surprise. He was gone. Anabella shook her head. “I have to look for Trenton. I’ll worry about that stupid frog later.” She searched every corner, every small nook and cranny. Nothing, no Trenton. She went to the storage room.

A rotten smell filled her nose. “Blood…” Anabella hurried to the only door she could see. The handle was rotting, and on the ground. There was dried red liquid. “No… It can’t be blood.” Anabella held her breath as she opened the door. Her eyes widened.

She screamed, louder than she ever has. The sight of a corpse, one that had long decayed was in front of her. Behind it she heard giggling. Giggling from a little boy who was having so much fun. “Hoppy is my best friend… You are a monster… You hurt Hoppy…” Low whispering came from the person behind the corpse. “TRENTON! Trenton snap out of it!” Anabella held out her crucifix. “Who are you! What have you done to Trenton!” Anabella cried out. “I am Trenton. But I am not who you should worry about. Jess is in great danger. I will kill her. I will kill her. I will kill her.”

Anabella quickly realized who it was. “HOPPY! YOU DEMON!” Trenton giggled. “I am not Hoppy, I am Trenty.” Anabella grabbed Trenton, she had no longer cared or feared the rotting corpse. “You monster…” Trenton laughed, and before Anabella realized. He was gone.

Anabella ran out of the room, out of the mall. Straight to home. She cried out for Jess and Trenton. But it was no use, no one was near.

Once she made it home, her feet were bruised, and were in pain. But she didn’t care. She ran to the door and opened it. The door was unlocked.

“JESS!! TRENTON!” She looked around. Her head felt like it was about to fall off. She ran into the basement. It was where she heard the muffled cries… from Jess. As soon as she opened the second basement door. She saw Jess tied up to a chair. And as she expected… “Trenton” stood in front of her. Jess was pleading, but she couldn’t speak. All that could be heard was the sound of her crying.

Anabella shook her head and rubbed her eyes, trying to believe what she was seeing. “Trenton, I know this isn’t you, please, let Jess go!”

Trenton did not respond, he stood there with a wide smile. “Trenton!” Trenton faced towards her, his eyes. His eyes were familiar, but… They weren’t Trenton’s eyes. They were Hoppy’s. “Hoppy! Let go of Trenton! He did nothing wrong to you!” Anabella was frozen in fear. She feared if she made a move Trenton would hurt Jess, or even worse. Kill her. “She will be like me. Perfect.”

Behind Trenton was a frog. It was just like Hoppy. Unusual. “Don’t touch her!” Anabella screamed, she lunged for Trenton, but missed just by a few inches. No regular human can dodge an attack like that. It was obvious Trenton was a demon. Anabella always read about demons, but never once thought that her own brother would turn into one. Anabella lunged behind a chair and grabbed her book bag that was still latched securely onto her shoulder.

She grabbed her EMF reader and her knife and tried to make sure she was right. Maybe Hoppy was a demon, maybe Hoppy was a spirit, or a ghoul, or maybe even a ghost.

Anabella tried to remember how to kill a demon or get rid of one when a bright red light flashed upon her and the next thing she knew, her ceiling was torn away while Trenton cackled.

Anabella shook her head and thought back to earlier that year, when the twins’ father tried to come back and raise them, and then Trenton had just started crying because Richard was so tall, and he kept muttering something about demons.

That’s when Anabella realized what had happened.

Richard was Hoppy.

Richard was Hoppy?

Richard. Was. Hoppy.

Anabella screamed in anger and stood up, fists clenched. “Richard! Why- why would you even think about possessing Trenton? He’s not even your son! In case you forgot, YOU WALKED OUT ON US! WE ADOPTED TRENTON! NOT. YOU!” Anabella screamed, throwing a shoe at Hoppy/Richard. Hochard.

Anabella watched in amazement as Hochard croaked loudly and grew into her father.

Hochard had an unpleasant smile, a smile that sent chills up Anabella’s spine. Rubbing his temples. “See, dear, this was all part of my plan! You think cancer killed your mother? Oh, please. Your mother was a very healthy person.”

“No.” Anabella said shakily, her body trembling.

“Oh, but yes, dear! I killed your mother. Not cancer. Then I killed Trenton’s parents so he could go to the orphanage, and I made sure you and Jessamine would choose him from the orphanage.

“Including the fact that your mother was dead and you and Jessamine had adopted Trenton, I began to pay off the house for you guys. What? You think that you could have paid it off by yourself? Flatter me. How in the world could you two have done that?” Hochard laughed, a wicked laugh.

Anabella, shocked, confused, angry. It felt as if she was every single emotion but as one. “But… But how were you a frog?! I know this world is twisted in its own way! But… You monster! You won’t get away with all of the crimes you have done!” Anabella kept her distance, she had no clue what her monster of a father was capable of. If she should even call him her father.

He laughed again, a psychotic laugh. “How will the police find me, darling? What if I tell you this is all in your mind. What if I tell you: I’m not even here?” He chuckled and turned his back to her, fiddling with something he was holding.

Anabella stood still and thought. “You’re lying! You are just trying to play these little mind games! I know how you are! Just like you tricked mother into loving you just so you could kill her!” Hochard stood there, not saying a word. Perhaps he didn’t expect Anabella to be so smart. “You’re just as smart and beautiful as your mother.”

“Uhh…” Anabella resisted the urge to puke. The sickening feeling spread throughout her body, as if she had just been dipped into a pool of blood. “Shut up…” Anabella murmured to herself.

“What was that sweetheart?” He smiled a soft, father-like smile.

“I SAID SHUT UP! I HATE YOU! I WISH YOU WOULD HAVE DIED AND NOT MOTHER!” Anabella threw her crucifix as her father. “I hope you burn in hell.” Anabella smiled.

“W-wait!” He pleaded. It was too late, just as the crucifix hit the ground near her father. It was over for him. He fell to the ground, pleading. He was burning up into a pile of ash. He screamed in pain, Anabella didn’t care though.

She laughed like a maniac. “Revenge burns, just like the flames that will surround your grave you demon.” Demon. He was a demon, a pure demon. “You… Why would you do this to your father?” He managed to cry out, tears running down his almost gone face.

“You aren’t my father…” Anabella laughed and continued to stare at his dying body. “You are a monster from hell.”

Anabella carried Jess upstairs and gently set her on her bed. It was all over. She had already put Trenton in his bed. She didn’t want to take him to the hospital. The doctors and nurses would’ve thought of her as crazy. Our demon father was disguised as a frog!! It already sounded stupid. After she tucked the two in their beds, she went to her room and flopped over onto her bed. She instantly passed out.

Ever since that day, Trenton was different, Jess was different, Anabella was different. Jess finally believed Anabella wasn’t crazy. Trenton hasn’t come out of his room besides to eat. Anabella stopped with her rituals. They were finally going to start a new life together. They were all going to try to forget the past. To live a new life, avoiding all of the souls that seek vengeance.

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