λ-wave. A horror novel

지난달

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Original by @f3nix

"Ride the wave, thanks to the new cortical dissemination of improved lambda waves!"

The milky light of the 110-inch holographic screen radiated in the living room. On the floor, an empty cup of Nixio Instant Noodles and some crumpled napkins looked like an archipelago in a parquet sea.

"Subscribe to LambdaX today and you will benefit from our new and advanced 50-channel dissemination program. You’ve never seen such a broad offer and the first month is free! Enjoy and improve your performances with us. LambdaX: the wave, your wave. "

It was three o'clock at night and the holo-vision fired in a loop the lambda networks spots, which had progressively monopolised the media. Between one advertising and the other, Grace noticed her own firm grip on the bag's handle. Two small puddles were forming on the carpet from her heels. Even if she did not see him from that corner, she managed to perceive the deep breath of her husband. He had fallen asleep waiting for her or, perhaps, simply watching till late one of his favourite programmes.

Drenched by the persistent rain of an unusual September, the woman stayed between the holo-vision and the sofa, unsure whether to lay her hand on Damien. She lingered as long as a new advertising crashed against the threshold of her indecision, shaking her. It was late and tomorrow - or, more correctly, today - the family lunch would be held at Damien's parents' house. It was also the weekend, though, and she had every right to rebel against the schedules as best she could.

She turned her back on the husband, pointing toward the stairs. A drop of rain fell from the sleeve of her trench and landed on his shirt, welcomed by the upward and rhythmic movement of his chest.

Silence. Damien raised his head cautiously.

From upstairs, a murmur had fell upon his ear a few times, probably the residue of the week’s agitation, channelled into a troubled nightmare.

A laptop appeared from under the sofa cushion, warm and inviting like a slice of fragrant bread just out of the toaster. It seemed to him that the lambda waves of his premium account called his name through the earphones. While biting his nails’ remains, the face lit by the dissemination restarting, a rapt smile widened at the blossoming fractals.




"I'll take some more casserole. Sorry for my arm, hubby. "

"Go ahead." Damien said, suffocating a yawn.

He noticed that despite the heat of that Saturday morning, Grace wore a long-sleeved sweater. There were only six of them to celebrate their parents' 50-year wedding anniversary: three of the five brothers had not even bothered to find a plausible excuse.

"It's good, isn’t it darling? We bought it at the rotisserie around the corner, the new one," Mrs. Lundgren, the couple's communicative member, hastened to say.

"Bought. You would have cooked it, once." Mr. Lundgren snapped.

Damien could not help himself.

"Even on your anniversary day! Please, dad. Smile. Raise the edges of that mouth, everything's fine. You see? Me, little Mikey and our wives are here to celebrate you. The table is set, we are all fine. Smile at least today, if possible."

His father's jaw shut like many times before, while a new kind of silence fell on the table. His gaze, clouded by the years, was now that of a shark while accelerating towards the prey.
The eldest son waited for the shock-wave of the paternal explosion triggered by his words, which did not come. For once, the old man had managed to control himself.

Damien had eaten almost nothing, his lips bent by invisible ties in a smile. His head was thumping and he just wanted to go home. He turned his gaze to Grace, who chatted nonchalantly with Mickey's wife in a perfectionism competition. Mrs. Lundgren had found in her youngest son, the favourite one, an easy target for her own river of words. Everyone, apart from his father who had disappeared in the kitchen, seemed so eager to enact their bourgeois hymn to appearances.

"How's work, Mikey?" Damien asked.

"Getting better. Someone upstairs have introduced this dissemination program with free lambda waves for every employee. It is known that it increases efficiency in the workplace. Certainly not an economic service, though".

"I couldn’t say." Damien said, fiddling with a low look on a bread crumb.

"Well, you should try it too." Rose's shrill voice, the younger brother's wife, caused a twinge in his head.

"My Mike has really improved at work thanks to the dissemination program," she continued. "It's a company benefit for the best employees. In your case, Damien, you would have to pay out of your own pocket, but I guarantee you that the benefits would far outweigh the subscription's cost".

"I'd like to know what it feels." With his thumb, he crushed the breadcrumb ball against the tablecloth.

"Well, I use the waves too, so I can tell you that they make you feel more focused. It is as if everything becomes lucid, sharp. Among other things, it is also pleasant to listen and see them. You know, Damien, maybe you too would find a job if you used the waves."

"You sound exactly like the advertisement, Rose," Grace blurted out. "My husband already has a job, he’s a writer."
"Anyway," she insisted, "with what I gain, we do not have any trouble buying that stuff, if only we wanted to."

Damien noticed that his wife was clutching the napkin as if she wanted to cling to a rope. Her fine and tight lips could not be cleaner, however, she still carried the piece of cloth to her mouth, waving it in a convulsive gesture. The polish of the short nails was chipped.

Mrs. Lundgren broke the tie proposing to taste the dessert. "Are you going to get the cake, Mickey? Also, check where dad is finished."

As Mike got up from the table, Damien's attention was captured for a moment by a dark spot, which seemed to have created a rigid area on his brother's shirt.

"Mike, did you enjoy the pie so much you got dirty under your arm?"

The brother’s only response was a weirded-out gaze. For a fleeting moment, something terrified and lost flickered in that look, but Mike managed to banish away that note from his convivial mask. He faded out in the kitchen's direction without saying a word.

Damien would have sworn that the stain was dried blood. In other circumstances he would have insisted on the matter but, right now, every cell in his body just cried for going back home.



That Friday night, Grace had managed to return earlier just because the CEO had been forced into an urgent conference call with the Kobayashi delegation. He had not wanted anyone with him: the Board of Directors meeting postponed until a later date.

The muffled moan from the upper floor came at the same time as the tinkling of the keys thrown onto the alabaster rack. Grace's greeting died instantly in her mouth.

There was nothing strange about the empty apartment and everything strange at the same time. The silent holo-vision and the excessive order had no other effect than to have her slip off her shoes and accelerate her steps upstairs.

Grace walked quietly to the only source of light from the bathroom. Now, she could clearly distinguish his altered sobbing. Something in the woman's mind wriggled, a mass growing and pressing against the skull from inside. On the carpet of the corridor, her own steps seemed to sink into a cold slime as the lamentation, now rhythmic and obsessive, became more distinct.

She opened the door. Time bent around them as they looked into each other's eyes.

The tub was imbued of his blood. Sitting, completely naked, the earphones well planted in the ears, Damien was devouring shreds of his own flesh. He cut them from the left side of his torso, moving the razor with jerky movements, and carried them convulsively to his encrusted mouth.
In front of him, the laptop projected the modulated fractals of the lambda wave.

"Gr-ace.."

"No.. no, no, NO, NO!" She screamed as if she wanted to rip out her own throat. The details of the horror arose like dark lumps on the surface of a pond of dead water. That mass in Grace’s head was now slowly opening the skull, a suture line at a time.

"Grace.. I have tried. I cannot stop." Tears now dripped along Damien's face, mixing with partially coagulated blood.

The woman staggered in front of the tub, mauled by invisible fangs. Then, she pulled her trench coat off and let it drop on the floor. Her jacket and shirt followed. She unrolled the dirty bandages.

Her arms were almost completely skinned from shoulders to wrists.

"What have we become, Damien?" She stammered, trembling, watching the horror in her husband's eyes as he recognised his own mutilations in her body.

"Grace, I.. We’re finished." He managed to say, now overwhelmed by desire and staring at the screen as he carried a shred of dripping meat to his mouth.

Her eyes stuck at the sinuous fractals, Grace slowly approached and sit on the edge of the tub. She unplugged the jack from his laptop and the lambda wave, widespread at high volume, began to wrap both of them.

Then, she slip the razor out of his grip.


The End



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This post was submitted for curation by: @cyemela
This post was given a rating of: 0.9962172356942635
This post was voted: 100%

Congratulations on receiving a curie vote for your terrifically horrific story F3nix! (Though, between this and the butterflies, you'll understand why I'll be declining any invitations to your home for dinner, right? 😉)

I think that, with a couple of additions to some scenes, your story would be welcomed in an anthology of horror collection. Are you thinking to submit it?

The family dinner was, in my opinion, as unnerving as the flesh eating bits. The strained family dynamic, the pasted smiles, the missing brothers (who I think were probably having a selfie snack in their homes 🤢), the father's antagonism, the mother's favoritism, and everyone pretending that they're "happy, happy, happy" (instead of taking you are what you eat to an EXTREME), all of these details did well to build the world around the couple. You gave us quite the showing, in a subtle way, of how others were being affected by the waves.

Hm... I'm pretty flattened by the story. I'll have to read it again to get it right.
... I feel very repulsed by it. First of all I must get over my disgust, because in fact it seems a crime to me to eat my own flesh. In this context, I keep asking myself whether the forms of absolute horror really have to be... All in all, the film and literature scene seems to be very fascinated by the extremes. What does that have to do with? Is it because we want to feel something very deep? ... Is it the pleasure of the horror? But if we were to witness such a scene in real life, we would be anything but comfortably shuddered. I once heard that a dose, if it's used to it, has to be constantly increased in order to achieve the usual effect.
... Personally, I stopped doing that and reduced the dose of horror for myself. To the extent that I notice that even lower doses are enough to get me into a feeling that makes me think or reflect. I don't need it as much as I did before in my life. This may seem like a very unjust criticism to you, but it is deeply subjective and expressed on the basis of my feelings.

On a completely different level, I can go further away from what is happening in the bathtub and look at it metaphorically. The scene is a representative of what people basically do to themselves and how far they go to feel something. In fact, there are people who carve or cut themselves and let blood flow. I don't need to be afraid of it or condemn it. It is an expression of a possible desperation and a distance to oneself ...(or a fascination, curiosity??)

... Is it that someone hopes to attract attention by causing visible scars? And what if this happens in parts of the body that are covered by clothing? Someone will find out at some point. People's reactions are still important for someone who cuts themselves. In our culture of hygiene and under the aspect of health doctrine, such symbolic acts seem to be of the greatest possible deviance. And yet they were probably not so special in archaic or prehistoric times.

Altogether we would agree probably predominantly that this action adheres to something morbid and nevertheless there is a voice, which brings up for this a certain understanding. It is only through the actions and feelings of others, which surpass our own strength, that we know how to classify ourselves. If all people were the same to me, I would not know how to assess myself.

I have to read through the subtleties of the details and the dialogues again, because I was distracted by the scene at the end. The last surprise in your story is that the woman herself was familiar with the act of cutting flesh.

In any case, you have created a very captivating and carrying work.

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Uhm, interesting points.. let me start from the end.

I have to read through the subtleties of the details and the dialogues again, because I was distracted by the scene at the end.

I tend to agree with that but I don't want to sound conceited (but since you wrote it..).
Mainly this short story may and should be read as an allegory. What I described is already happening in a more subtle but equally material way.
This is the beauty for me of the horror genre which is capable, through fiction, to convey signals of alarm about the true and deepest horrors of every day life.
You can see that my piece, that is only apparently based on a couple's dynamic, is not strictly finalised to "shock the reader with a higher level of sensational" but instead is aimed to the opposite: reveal in a fiction piece the abyss of addiction in which we're slowly falling. Other themes were inspired by Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut, the correlation between a private and a cosmic tragedy (the fractals symbolise this), the sense of horror coming from belated recognition. On another note, consider that @dirge gave us a theme around which develop the story. Again, the theme is not taken from a contemporary b-movie but from the Sparagmòs Dionysian ritual. Furthermore, eating yourself symbolises not only a consumption coming from the outside but also - and primarily - from the inside of our darkest nature. In general, I always avoid to write horror for the sake of disgusting/impressing someone: I consider that quite an empty exercise (but if this story remained glued to your skin like an unpleasant ooze, then I cannot help to declare myself satisfied).

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@f3nix

... through fiction, to convey signals of alarm about the true and deepest horrors of every day life.

My teachers of Taijiquan has told me this on several occasions. Fiction in general. It is a way to get to the subconscious mind without having to tell or get someone to see the "truth." He has me reading different fictional works at this time.

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Your martial art teacher must be a valuable person. I like his holistic approach, not stopling to the mere practice. I'm a karateka and know that those rare moments enlightment, may come in many different ways.. Fiction for me is never just fiction, a bit like dreams are never just like a sequence if images.. Thank for your interesting contribution!

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:) Please, do that, because that's what you've achieved.

I was probably mad at "you" because I felt sad and horror reading this story. Of course, this is not directed against you - you know that, don't you? Give me some credit as I was trying to manage to distance myself from what I've seen. I was hesitating the bathroom because I was afraid of what could happen there. lol.

I did acknowledge though, what else your story was causing and how one also could give further interpretations and personal thoughts to.

Can this story of yours be understood as a critique towards the extensive usage of media and how people fall for it to get over their pain and become addicted to distraction and self betrayal? Is it a form of a dystopian future vision, where the masses are dominated by a single media corporation?

Reading the story again, I would like to acknowledge your use of words and how you mixed them together, like in this scene:

A laptop appeared from under the sofa cushion, warm and inviting like a slice of fragrant bread just out of the toaster. It seemed to him that the lambda waves of his premium account called his name through the earphones.

It is that you have interwove devices with human emotions and their physics.

The dialogue at the table and the body language of the family members you captured really well as to tell the reader: Look, that how it feels and looks like when people are not authentic. You observed their facial expressions and included all these little hints to perceive uneasiness and being not aligned with one another.

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I'm grateful for your sincerity and I give you lot of credits, my friend. I know you're not mad at me and don't worry, I'm a really easy going guy overall 😉 I think that I shouldn't have talked so much of this little piece, though. I'll add that yes it's a dystopic .. present. I mean.. it's happening imho. Also, I liked to put this in a sort of twisted Eyes Wide Shut. But let's divert from the story.. here's an interesting article: the emerging crisis in critical thinking.

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Exactly what @cyemela, she wrote so many things :-))) (I really am curious to know with what part you were agreeing).

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First of all it took a couple of readings to figure it out. There's always more to your writing than a quick read through. Got to find the threads and look for meanings and such.

Like this story deals with the media. However, it could also be about addiction. At the end she takes the knife. She doesn't want him to cut himself; she wants to cut herself.

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Thanks bud, I didn't mean to insist but I was curious..let me go and read yours!

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I really like your response, @erh.germany. Very thoughtful and deep.

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Thank you, @tristancarax - call me "deep thought" - lol!

After a lot of reading and watching series or movies, I consider myself not easily scared by horror scenes, but this time happened!
The descriptive accuracy is such that it completely sucked me into the story and made me feel bad about the final scene.

A story in which I recognize, among other things, disguised as horror, some themes of which I have heard you speak more than once. Dinner with old sour parents, the theme of depersonalization "to increase productivity at work", the computer that sucks you time, which drives you to lose pieces of yourself ...

Bravo e basta!

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Yes Marco, you definitely know me well. I have quite a focus for certain themes.
The mid scene was particularly difficult for the amount of protagonists and the risk of a too hectic change in the narration point of view. I tried to maintain that of Damien and at the same time give some depth to the other characters through his eyes.
Mr Lundgren wasn't difficult to portray, as he's my father LOL.
I have to say, most of all, that if it's true that the story impressed you, then I'm more than satisfied! Thanks for such a great comment.

Just as I imagined a story from the great ole @f3nix would produce, and some more. I must say, yah outdone yerself here - even if we include the two @curie comments here and the such. To be quite frank, I can't upvote and resteem this enough. Yet, let's see how @dirge will treat yah.

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Thank you matey, your constant support deserves Ashley and Nixon flying together on a broom over your head and dumping a giant pretzel on you.

This story made me a little queasy. He tore of his own flesh and started eating. Barf!!! I don't have a bag so my computer is not ruined. Thanks, pal. 8-)

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I agree with you. At least, he should have had it roasted, first.

Wow, real nice story! I was just reading another scifi piece and I'll say what I said there: writing well-rounded and concise scifi is a hard thing to do! I think the most common mistake is precisely in concision. Most beginners (me included) often add and add elements to an universe and then can't find what to do with them and the story gets abandoned or falls apart due to lack of consistency. But you managed to created a nicely defined small universe - adding horror to it nonetheless!

If I had a hat on, it'd be off by now! haha Looking forward to read more from you! : )

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Resist to the temptation of explaining stuff to the reader.
Thanks for your meaningful comment, why don't you join the @bananafish contest and discord? Something tells me that you would enjoy our write's heaven 😉

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That's great advice, thanks!
Also I'll be sure to check that out :)

All the time I thought.. What's going to happen, what's going to happen? But you got me unprepared! This was pretty much disgusting I must say.. and the reason why I don't watch horrors :) But I thought that when I read about it I will not be able to imagine it in such a detail.. well, I was.. unfortunately for me :D

Very well written. It was all so mysterious throughout the story that the reader just couldn't think of how it will end.. or at least I couldn't :)

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Your feedback is very important for me. Yes, it had to be disgusting beyond, unexpected and sick, and something that sticks on you like an obscene ooze and doesn't want to go away. That's horror for me :-) Thanks for leaving your sincere comment @delishtreats.

Hi f3nix,

This post has been upvoted by the Curie community curation project and associated vote trail as exceptional content (human curated and reviewed). Have a great day :)

Visit curiesteem.com or join the Curie Discord community to learn more.

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"Not one but two curie votes. Ha ha ha" - That Vampire Count master from Sesame Street.

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Thank you @curie, as always, the lighthouse of all us writers.

Outstanding piece of horror! I loved it. Congrats on a well-deserved Curie.

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Thank you so much, Zoe. It's always a satisfaction to receive the appreciation of a fellow writer. Allow me to invite you to the Bananafish Realms, a heaven for writers and poets around our two contests 😉

  ·  지난달

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Brought to you by @tts. If you find it useful please consider upvoting this reply.

This is a Short Story. Classic. Dense with detail. Clearly defined characters. Suspense. An arc.

The story begs for development. You can go forward or backward. You can mine the unsavory father, the unassertive mother, the failed writer. Or, you can go backward, then forward. And finish it. Show a world addicted to lambda waves.

Really, really well done. Worthy of the curie, and more. Congratulations.

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You know what? I really love your straighforward comment. Most of all, it's interesting that you see it as a classic..in fact I don't think it's particularly shocking. Allegoric, yes. Being as straighforward as you, my core idea was to develope: "looking at each other - You too? what did we do? - we're lost forever". Which could also work in a story about a couple of drug addicts where she's a bit more conscious than him (or viceversa).

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I thought, as I read (and I printed it out so it would be easier to read as a unified piece), that you showed such story-telling skill, the way you described the family scene, pregnant with history. And of course, the addiction, the weakness, the struggle, the couple separate and coming together. The exact nature of their self-mutilation--of course it's shocking, but not gratuitously so. It's a horror story in the best tradition of horror stories. I have no patience for pointless violence--Quentin Tarrantino movies are unwatchable, for example (to me). No depth. A cartoon that uses blood and gore to distract. Not what you do here.

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I think that fiction is a powerful tool for understanding reality. Thanks again.

Hi f3nix,

This post has been upvoted by the Curie community curation project and associated vote trail as exceptional content (human curated and reviewed). Have a great day :)

Visit curiesteem.com or join the Curie Discord community to learn more.

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Okay, but seriously: is this a holy blessing or what?

This is brilliant and shocking. The whole piece has a nightmarish feel to it, like being lost within a fever-dream. The characters feel trapped in their everyday lives. The media and technology and commercialism feel intrusive and oppressive. And yet the reader can always sense that there’s something even worse lurking beneath the surface. And when that something is finally revealed, it hits hard. Those final images are absolutely hellish.
Congrats on the well-deserved curie upvotes! And thank you for the nightmares and for giving me my entire daily dose of horror in one sitting! Awesome! :D

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The entire dose! That's huge @ediblecthulhu 😉 You've been able to catch exactely that feel which I tried to transmit through several details along the story.. Everything had to be like a smily rotten face with loads of makeup on it. Sometimes I get a bit sick for my own stuff.

Wow!!! It is so catchy! I read it in a minute not being able to take my eyes away :)

A drop of rain fell from the sleeve of her trench and landed on his shirt, welcomed by the upward and rhythmic movement of his chest.

I really like how you paid attention to all the details, so that the story is so alive and vivid!

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I always try to look for the perfect alchemy in the detail level. In this moment I wanted to convey the idea of her not even caressing him and moving so fast toward the stairs that her dress drips over the husband. In fact, she was already addicted to the wave and heading to her laptop. Thanks for your appreciation Val :-)

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In fact, she was already addicted to the wave and heading to her laptop.

That makes me think how humans sometimes believe they love someone, but actually, they love something in him/her or around him/her.

The reader gets the impression that she is in a hurry to find her husband, when she is in a hurry to find her laptop (next to him) :/

Just got me thinking :)

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believe they love someone, but actually, they love something in him/her or around him/her.

Or else, they love something that they believe to see in him/her but, instead, that something is only a projection of their illusions..

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Wow, interesting and intriguing story, @f3nix!! Quite a mixture of science fiction with fantastic story. You keep the rhythm and the suspense in a masterful way. From the first moment, the climate of the story leads us to imagine that something sordid is going to happen. That first part reminded me of 1984 and A Happy World. I think that as the story unfolds, we perceive the tension not only between some characters, but also between the characters and reality. And that unpredictable, carnivorous ending of how we can be manipulated by the media. An ovation for you! Thousands of hugs

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What an amazing comment. Tip!

we perceive the tension not only between some characters, but also between the characters and reality.
Yes! Behind the characters there's a part of the story that we don't read but it's unfolding: the whole world is lost. There are hints about this when the meeting is postponed abruptly by the CEO (he wasn't going to meet with anyone, just running home for a lambda wave dissemination).
Having time, I should have built this progression much more slowly but i'm still fine the way it is now.

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Hi @nancybriti! You have received 0.1 SBD tip from @f3nix!

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