The Mail Eater

adorable, animal, black-and-white

He watches and awaits by the front door, listening as footsteps go up and down the street. He growls as he hears the mailman approach and a shuffling of papers. The letter flap is fluttering and it’s raining inside the house. He jumps, catching white and brown papers which he rips and throws about. He snatches the last few out of a hand he can’t see and tears the letters up.

Afterwards, he sits, tail wagging and tongue lolling, his task of defending his home and family complete.

The Wizard’s House

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I rang the door bell of the mansion and stood on the step waiting. Struggling to control my excitement, I looked at the letter in my hand. The script was large and loopy, almost rushed so that the words blurred together, but I could still make out what it said; the world’s most powerful wizard had hired me to be his cleaner!

My mind rolled with all the things I might see in his house. There’d be a library for sure! Books and books lining the walls. There’d be a lab for making potions, comfy rooms to rest in, kitchens to feast in and spaces to amaze guests in. Oh, it’s going to be so wonderful!

Slowly the door creaked open, light and darkness met in the middle.

‘Hello? I’m Henrietta. The wizard’s new cleaner,’ I declared.

The door got thrown backwards, banging against the side and a loud, booming voice said, ‘Of course you are!’

I felt my heart and stomach jump. The wizard was standing before me! He was very tall and dressed in a bright blue robe with a large pointy hat on his head. There were yellow crest moons and stars on the hat, as was tradition for someone as high up as the wizard. Most of his face was covered in a white curly beard, which was actually shorted then I’d thought it be. Nice blue eyes stared back and the face look youthful.

Suddenly there was a flapping of wings and a large brown bird that had been siting on his shoulder took off and flew past me. I gasped as feather brushed my cheek.

‘Blast! Adrastos! Come back!’ the wizard shouted.

I glanced over my shoulder but the bird was gone into the early afternoon.

‘Was that an owl?’ I asked politely.

‘Damn right it was! And the last I’ll see of him! Took me years to capture and train him! I knew giving him that name was a jinx!’ the wizard yelled.

‘Oh….I’m sorry….’

‘Do you know what Adrastos means?’

I shook my head.

‘Not inclined to run away,’ the wizard answered, ‘and look what’s happened!’

‘Maybe you could tempt him back?’ I asked gently.

The wizard fell to muttering and ignoring me. Peering about and around him, I saw there was a large toad at the wizard’s feet. The toad was croaking but didn’t seem interested in escaping.

‘Well,’ I said, ‘at least your toad stays. Does he have a name?’

The wizard snapped back and looked down to where I was pointing. He scooped the toad up and held it close to his chest.

‘Don’t be silly! Toads are not worthy of names. Now, come in before anything else gets out!’ the wizard snipped.

Nodding, I followed him inside. The hallway was cluttered with coats, shoes, umbrellas and contraptions. A number of kites were on the floor tangled together as if they had just fallen from the sky. Wires dangled down with things attached to them and there was a whole stack of cardboard boxes to my left before the towering staircase.

We went into through a door to the right and I had to stop as the room was jam packed. There were so many things, it was hard to describe them all. Furniture poked out from piles of books, papers, paintings, shinny objects and bric-a-bric. I saw the wizard placing the toad in a cloudy bowl of water then shuffling through a mountain of paper on his desk.

‘Oh my,’ I uttered.

‘I don’t have time to show you around the house,’ the wizard spoke, ‘I’m too busy.’

He waved me away and sat down with a little puff on a stool.

‘Well….where should I start?’ I asked.

‘Where ever you like! But remember when you move something always put it back where you found it! There are some things in this house that are very dangerous,’ the wizard explained.

Without further words, I left and began picking my way through the house. Ever room and hallway was full of stuff, dust and dirt. The place hadn’t been cleaned in decades! How could the world’s most powerful wizard live like this?

Finally, I found the library, the place I had dreamed about and it was nothing like I wanted. Most of the bookcases were empty and the books were scattered on the floor or on the desks and chairs that were dotted around. Dust and spider’s webs covered everything and it seemed no one had been in here in years!

Deciding it would be the place to start. I got down to cleaning. Somehow though, I had a feeling this job wasn’t going to last.

In A Corner Of The World

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I’ve no idea how I ended up walking through this field. But here I am surrounded by long grass, wild flowers and the calling of birds. It’s a warm afternoon, but I can’t see the sun above me and the sky is a strange off blue color.

There’s a cottage ahead. The yellow thatch roof rising through the green leafy trees and tall bushes. There’s nothing else to do but go over and see if anybody is home. The field leads me to a small brown fence over which is a short carpet of grass. Bright flowers dot around the cottage and a wire washing line is stretched in the garden.

I go to climb over then stop. There’s an old woman beating a green rug on the washing line with a wooden tennis racket looking thing. Her white hair is piled up on top of her head and she’s wearing many skirts, a grey blouse and a pale blue apron. I can just about hear the thwacking sounds.

Climbing the fence, I walk slowly over, hoping that she spots me before I have to call out. Luckily, she does and she stops her work long before I reach her.

‘Hallo!’ she calls out and waves the tennis racket thing.

‘Hi,’ I answer back with a wave too.

‘Nice day for a walk,’ she adds.

‘Yes,’ I reply.

I come to the end of the washing line and look up. There are many green rugs hanging down…actually….they are strips of grass….

Puzzled, I look across the garden and see strips of dirt close by. There’s also a small red wheelbarrow, a spade and a large black bucket.

‘I’m just dusting my lawn,’ the old woman says, cheerily and as if that’s a perfectly normal thing to do.

I open my mouth, questions popping, but no words come out.

‘It can get quite dusty you know. And yes, there are other ways to do it but I prefer the good old fashioned method!’

She shows me how by beating a strip of grass. Only, she does it lighter then before.

I nod and slowly say, ‘how does it get dusty?’

‘Oh! Heaven knows!’ she cries and throws her hands up to the sky.

I glance up, half expecting to see a pig flying by.

‘Do you some time to spare? I’d be ever so grateful if you could help me,’ she asks and nods towards the dirt strips.

I look around, shrug and reply, ‘why not?’

‘Good. Then start digging, deary!’

Still puzzled, I walk to where the last dirt strip is as the old woman takes up beating the grass again. Looking down, I see how she’s cut the strips out and then I pick up the spade and start with the next one.

It’s actually easier then it seems as it appears the grass is use to being cut up. I slice the spade in and make my way around. It’s like a knife through butter. The smell of fresh cut grass and unearthed soil floods my nose. The grass strip comes up and I put it into the wheelbarrow. I start on another and quickly cut that strip loose too.

I look up as I place it into the wheelbarrow and I see the old woman taking down the first strip of grass. I watch her replace it into the lawn then return for the second piece.

‘This is so weird,’ I mumble.

Returning to my task, I dig up more pieces of grass and when the wheelbarrow is full I drive it over. I help the old woman take them out and hang them up. She begins beating the first one and dust raises off it.

‘How long does this take you?’ I ask her.

‘A few days,’ she answers.

‘And how many times do you do this?’

‘Oh, three or four times a year!’

‘Really?’

‘Grass gets very dusty in the summer, deary,’ she explains.

I look at her, but her face is just that of a plain woman in her early seventies. Her cheeks are fat and wrinkled like the rest of her skin. Her eyes are a warm blue, shinning with knowledge and happiness. Her white hair is long and tightly held back in a bun. Around her neck is a string of white pearls and there’s an old wedding ring on her finger.

‘Don’t you have anyone to help you?’ I ask aloud.

‘Sometimes, I do,’ she replies with a mysterious tone to her words, ‘it’s mostly just me though. I don’t mind. Keeps me busy.’

I nod and hear a shrill whistle sounding. Looking, it seems to be coming from the cottage and there’s smoke now rising out of the chimney.

‘It’s time for tea. Do you want to join me?’ the old woman asks.

‘Okay…’

She hurries off, leaving the grass strips on the washing line but taking the tennis racket with her. I follow and go through the small blue door after her. It leads straight into a kitchen. I stand in the doorway and look around.

It’s a very old fashioned farmer’s wife like kitchen. There’s a huge black wood burning stove against the far wall. A large oak table and chairs in the middle, a metal sink and draining board under a netted curtain window. Sky blue cupboards and work surfaces line another wall.

The old woman rattles around cups and things. Humming to herself. I pull out a chair and look down to see a fat old ginger cat curled up on it. I pull out another chair instead and sit down. I hear a clock ticking somewhere and the warmth of the kitchen hugging me like a old friend.

‘Here we are,’ the old woman says and sets down a tea tray.

There’s a tea pot wearing a tea cosy, milk jug, sugar cube bowl, a plate of biscuits, two pattern flower china cups and matching saucers.

‘Thanks,’ I reply.

We have tea and it’s good. I nibble at a biscuit and look around the kitchen. There’s not much else to see though. I want to talk, but I don’t really know what to say. Finally, the old woman breaks the silence.

‘I must get back to keeping my corner of the world tidied now and you should be getting home.’

‘Home?’ I say aloud.

‘Yes. It’ll be dark soon and the woods can be a dangerous place. Even for yourself.’

She pats my arm and gets up.

‘But….I don’t know the way…I found myself in that field. I don’t even know where I am!’ I cry.

The old woman tuts at me, ‘just head back the way you came, deary.’

I move my tea cup away and get up.

‘Goodbye,’ she says and gives me a little wave.

I don’t wave back, but go straight out the door, too confused to speak.

In the garden, the grass is still hanging on the washing line and there are dirt strips in the lawn. The sky is turning a dark blue and the birds are still singing. I walk off, feeling like that’s the only thing I can do. I go back over the fence and through the field. I look back at the cottage, smoke is still coming out of the chimney and the old woman has gone back to beating the grass again.

I turn, take a step and stumble. My legs go out from under me and I land face first in the grass. My eyes shut. I take a deep breath and open then again…And I am no longer in the field.

My study comes to life before my eyes. I blink and the rest of the long grass is gone, replaced by the bookcases, my desk and a fire crackling of the fireplace. I sit up in the deep plush chair, disturbing the book that’s slipped down on to my lap. I pick it up and read the title; Maps Of The Old Worlds.

Flight

aerial, airforce, falling

He wanted to do some daring to start the new year off with. So, he jumped out of plane with nothing on his back.

Oh, Christmas Tree!

The Christmas tree had gone up and now the old people’s home smelled of pine. Betty stared hard at the large tree in the corner of the day room from her wheel chair. She wrinkled her nose and decided that the tree was crooked. There was too many decorations on one side, in fact there were just too many decorations all together.

‘That tree needs sorting,’ she muttered.

With a quick glance around the room, Betty slowly wheeled herself forward. Avoiding two men playing chess and the jabbering madness of Mrs Peterson, who seemed to be talking to a fairy king about the lack of flowers in the garden. Ignoring the TV and the crowd around it, Betty came to a stop before the tree.

Reaching up, she begin to take the decorations down and place them in her lap.

‘What are you doing, Betty?’ a croaking voice called out.

Betty turned to see Margo totting over with her walking frame.

‘I’m fixing the tree,’ Betty said, ‘it doesn’t look right.’

‘Oh…how you going to reach the top?’ Margo asked.

Betty followed Margo’s eyes and looked up. There was no way she could reach any further up then she had all ready gotten.

‘Ladies. What are we doing?’

Both old woman turned to see a young nurse coming towards them.

‘Nothing,’ Margo answered, ‘I was admiring the tree. So pretty and fresh smelling.’

The nurse came over and quickly saw the tree had lost half it’s decorations and that most of them where in Betty’s lap. The rest had fallen on the floor.

‘I’m fixing it,’ Betty explained, ‘it was crooked.’

‘Okay. How about we put all these back and go and make some paper chains?’ the nurse spoke out.

‘No, thanks. My soap is all most on,’ Margo said and she started shuffling away.

‘Right then. Let’s put these decorations back on the tree.’

Tutting, Betty helped the nurse put the decorations back. Soon the tree was looking well dressed again.

‘It doesn’t look any better,’ Betty said as they were nearly done.

‘It looks fine to me. Now, let’s get you busy doing something else, shall we?’ the nurse said.

She took the handles of the wheelchair and moved Betty away.

‘I’ll be back for you later Christmas tree,’ Betty whispered under her breath.

Postcard #28

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Greetings from the middle of snowy nowhere!

Of course, I can’t tell you were I am because that has to stay a secret! Let’s just say I’ve been made to feel at home by a married elderly couple who love the color red and children. They also employ a lot of ‘short people’ in the making of toys and gifts.

The couple have their own farm with the normal animals, but also a few special ones. I was out there the other day helping to feed the deer and brush their coats. The wife breeds animals, mostly puppies and kittens because of the high demand for them, but she has a soft spot for bunnies.

I’m still not sure how long my stay here will last, but the old man has said he’d give me a lift home on the 24th, if I still need it. I’m keen to take him up on that. Lord knows the trek out here nearly killed me! But it’s such a wonderful and beautiful place. I can really understand why they choose to live out here.

I’m out of space now, so give my love to everyone and I’ll see you all soon!

Hector.

Anomaly

colours

Anomaly; something that deviates from what is standard, normal, or expected.

What was that thing in the sky? Dream paused and stared harder across the vast, empty landscape. Against the pale blue sky was a beam of multicolored light. She frowned then pulled out her telescope from her belt and had a closer look. Still though, she could make out nothing further, but the colors looked brighter now.

‘What is that?’ she spoke aloud.

‘Your big butt!’ a voice shouted at her.

Dream rolled her eyes and tutted. Putting the telescope away, she twisted her head, so she was looking back down the ladder. A glow of light showed the way and at the bottom waiting was a figure grinning up at her. Dream snatched a small rock from the surface and dropped it down.

‘Ouch! Watch it!’

Swallowing a laugh, Dream pulled herself out of the pipe and climbed down. Her feet hit the sand and rose a dust cloud around her. Making sure her mask and goggles were secure, she began walking in the direction of the strange light beam.

Minutes later, she was joined by a tall, red haired young man. He punched her in the shoulder then raced off. Dream stopped and rubbed the spot, though her leather padded jacket had taken much of the impact. Muttering revenge, Dream watched him slow down as he saw the thing in the sky too.

‘What do you think that is?’ he called over his shoulder.

‘No idea, Link,’ she replied, ‘I was on my way to check it out when you interrupted me,’ Dream answered.

‘I’m sorry your Royal Highness. Please continue!’ Link mocked and give a fancy bow.

Dream stormed passed him, trying not to hit him as she went. He came to her side moments later and in a awe silence, they walked towards the beam of colors. The landscape rose and fall around them, the yellow sand all that could be seen for miles. The only sound was their footsteps and the wind shifting the fine grains against each other.

‘We’re never going to get there!’ Link broke in after awhile.

Dream came to a stop on top of a large dune and looked across at the beam. She could see it better now, but it seemed to be fading.  The colors were arching up from the ground to the sky were they disappeared into the blue.

‘It looks like a path into the sky,’ she mused.

‘Don’t be stupid!’ Link snapped, ‘I don’t care what it is. Let’s go back. It’s getting too hot.’

‘You go back if you want. I’m going to find where it meets the ground,’ Dream responded.

‘Are you crazy?’

Dream didn’t reply, but walked off. The loose sand give way under her and she half skidded down the side of the dune. At the bottom, she found her feet and carried on walking. From behind her came the sound of Link half running half tumbling to join her.

‘Dream! Stop!’ he shouted.

She ignored him and picked up her pace. Breaking into a jog, she went around another dune and found herself in a maze of sand hills. Taking in a few deep breaths, she scrambled up the first one and looked down.

There below her was the source of the multi-colored light beam. Thanking her luck, she went down and towards it.

‘Dream! Where are you!’ Link yelled.

‘Over here!’ she shouted back, ‘I’ve found it. It’s some kind of crystal!’

Dream knelt down and looked closely at the clear cut rock that was half buried in the ground. Beams of light were shinning off it as the sunlight was touching it. Dream slowly reached out to touch it.

‘Don’t!’ Link gasped as he came to join her.

She looked at him, but couldn’t fully read his expression behind his mask.

‘It’s just a crystal. Like the ones you dig up all the time,’ she said.

‘It might be from the World Before. We shouldn’t touch it. We know what it is now, let’s go,’ Link spoke.

Dream looked at the crystal, tempted by it’s beauty. Link was right though.

‘It could be important,’ she thought aloud, ‘and if we leave it, it might not be here later.’

‘I don’t like it,’ Link muttered.

Dream shrugged and put her gloved hand onto of the crystal. The beam of light disappeared. Dream curled her fingers around the rock and picked it up. It was smaller and lighter then it had looked. She opened her hand and straight away the colors came back and danced around the surface of the crystal.

‘How weird,’ Dream uttered.

‘Can we go now?’ Link demanded.

Dream closed her fingers over the crystal again and got up,’sure. Maybe someone back home will know what this is,’ she added.

 

Story inspired by Sue’s prompt at https://scvincent.com/2016/11/03/thursday-photo-prompt-anomaly-writephoto/ – click to read the other stories.

Thief

Squirrel Eating Acorn

George looked out of his window, ready to admire the birds flocking into his garden. A twitching of a tail caught his attention and he saw a red squirrel. The little fiend was scampering along the branches towards the cage of peanuts.

George tapped on the glass, cursing loudly. The squirrel stopped, watching him with beady black eyes then with a tail flick, the creature attacked the wired bird feeder. The squirrel snatched a nut into his mouth and before George could open the back door, had vanished into the tree top.

Cold wind, blew into his face and George felt the chill setting into his knees. He yelled loudly, but of course it was too late, the thief had gotten away again.

Autumn Blues

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Summer had only just gone and Autumn had arrived via stormy weather in the night. Sammy got up and out of bed to see this. Seeking out a warm jumper and a cotton skirt with thick tights from her wardrobe, she dressed. Then with longing looked back at her still warm bed.

Fighting the urge to crawl back in, she went into the her flat’s tiny kitchen. The rain tapped against the window as she ate breakfast with the dull voice of the news reporter filling the living room. A loud meowing made her turn her head and there was Boris at the window.

‘You can’t go out. You don’t like the rain,’ she reminded the black cat as if he was a child.

Still Boris sat by the window yowling, till she got up and let him out. He walked into the empty flower window box then came back in, shaking water from his coat and leaving little brown paw prints on the windowsill.

Sammy sighed as Boris looked at her is if it was all her fault he was now cold, wet and muddy. Muttering under her breath, Sammy gathered her things and left. It was windier then it had seemed and she was almost swept back into the door of her apartment block. Hurrying to the bus stop, she prayed that the bus wasn’t late.

Love Don’t Bother (Part 1)

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Dropping the towel from my still wet body, I peer nervously into the full length mirror. All my life I’ve hated reflective glass of any kind. Not even the mirror mazes of my childhood made me laugh. I avoid mirrors like people avoid food they’re allergic too. Now though, I’ve decided to stare the cold hard truth about myself down.

Pressing my lips together, I see my face; the flush chubby cheeks, up turned small nose, large olive eyes, the wrinkling forehead and my fair brown hair. Is that actually me? I know it is, but why did my consciousness ended up in this body? Why couldn’t I have been someone else? Then I might not have been Marcelen Potts, but…Taylor Swift or someone else rich, famous and pretty.

I’m not pretty. My face might just been passable but the rest of me…. I drop my eyes and see my huge boobs. They are round and soft, but hang down too much. I slot my hands under them, rising them up to where they stood be. Now, if they stayed like that, things would be okay, but it wouldn’t make much of a difference, I’d still be a threat to chest high people, just without the aid of a bra…In fact, I’d probably still need one to keep my boobs stable.

Just below them is my non-existent waist. It’s just a round doughnut like roll of pink flesh. It actually reminds me of one of those inflatable swimming rings you put around children to keep them afloat.

I squish the front of it together, trying to imagine myself being flat and able to see my ribs. It’s a pointless task really. I’ve no idea what slim me would look like and the images come from seeing all those zero size walking stick girls.

Isn’t it true that most of the women you see in photos have been made to look that way by editing software? So, what everyone is seeing is actually unachievable anyway? And you hardly ever see fat women! They are all shunned into a corner and society finger points and says no one can look like that. Fat can’t be beautiful, only bones can be!

Dropping my hands, they brush against the sides of my stomach. I stare at my overhanging belly in the mirror, I jiggle it. The warm, damp skin ripples and keeps going like it would never end. I pick it up, pinching the areas either side of my bellybutton and stretching the flesh. I could easily hide a small child underneath me. Or someone could use me as a parasol and stay in the shade.

I try squeezing my stomach all together and seeing if I can get it flat. However, it acts like Flubber and just wobbles away, bulging at the sides. I drop the whole thing and let my hands rest of top of stomach. I will myself to imagine what it might look like flat, but I can’t picture it.

Moving on I do the last part of the inspection; arms and legs. My fingers, hands, feet and toes look good, they are long and thin. My wrists too are slender and my low arms are okay, but then I get to my upper arms, which look like tiny wings. My legs are the same, but are more like chunky tree trunks. And that’s it, staring at my body is complete until I dare to look again.

I turn away, picking up the towel and wrapping myself in it. Though it barely fits around me and I poke out down one side. I leave the hallway and the mirror which is attached to the wall close to the front door. The mirror was there when I moved in and I don’t know who is responsible for it. I should ask my two flatmates if they know and maybe get it removed.

I go up the narrow stairs, which my stomach and upper arms almost touches and arrive at the first floor. To my right is Amelia’s room and to the left is the bathroom, though it’s not the one I use –unless it’s an emergency. Moving past them, I come to the foot of another staircase, which twists back on itself before it reaches the second floor. Two more door sit on the other side of the stairs, leading into the kitchen on the left and the living room on the right. They are joined in the middle by another door.

Clutching my towel, I hurry up the stairs. My footsteps cushioned by the thick pattern carpet. At the top is a small landing and three doors. The middle door- the second bathroom is half open and mist is still hugging the walls. I go in and open the window. Cold autumn air rushes in and the hair on my arms rise. I dry off again and stick the towel on to the rack. I shut the door behind me and go over to the right door, my bedroom.

Opening the door, I hear a creaking behind me and glance over. The opposite door which leads to Darcy’s room, is slowly moving. Ignoring it, I go into my room, put on the flannel Pjs I left on the bed and try not to think any more about my body. Grabbing my hairbrush, I start brushing, but a loud squeaking pauses my hand.

I go out and see Darcy’s door has opened more now. Sighing, I go over and look inside. I’ve been in her room before, ages ago now, but it so didn’t look like this. There are clothes, shoes, soft toys, books and other things scattered over the floor so that not an inch of the carpet can be seen. Her bed and desk look just the same and things are spilling from her wardrobe as if it’s just been sick. I close the door on the chaos and go back to organised.

Everything in my room has a place and it always gets put back there. Sinking on to the bed, I pick up my diary and flick the pages. I stop on today’s date, grab a fountain pen and begin writing. My mind wonders faster than I can write though and soon I’m reflecting on why I decided not to go out tonight. The excuse about working on the research for my PhD was all because I didn’t want to see Amelia and Darcy with their boyfriends. If it had been a girl’s only night I’d have been fine, but playing the third wheel has never been for me.

I stop writing and look up, hearing something outside. There’s a window in the wall next to the head of my bed. I get up, leaving off mid-sentence. Sweeping back the netted curtain, I open the window and stick my head out with my hands pressed hard to the sill.

The late evening sky is dotted with stars and a perfectly thin crescent moon. Below me is the cobblestoned alleyway that leads to my flat and also the flat opposite. Bins nestle against the walls and I think I see the flickering of a shadow. Then laughter rises from somewhere and I hear voices. They wouldn’t come back so soon, but still…

I close the window and the curtain falls back into place. I cross my room, open the door and go downstairs with heavy thuds echoing behind me. I fast walk into the living room, not turning on the light and go to the window. I pull the net curtain slightly back and look down upon a Victorian styled high street.

Lights shine from the few pubs, bars and takeaways onto the large flagstone pavement. Small groups of people are slowly walking around or standing in doorways. I see the thin trails of cig smoke rising from two people at the entrance to The King’s pub. Laughter and voices drift through the thin glass and I can just about smell pizza.

I drop my head, scolding myself for my stupid panicking and the lingering memories of last year. Letting the curtain fall, I go back stairs and climb into bed. I spot the time as being a little past nine, perhaps too early for sleep, but it’s the only thing I want to do. I finish up writing in my diary, avoiding the parts about looking in the mirror before and my depression over being single.

Then placing it back inside the top draw of my bedside table, I turn out the lamp and fall into the darkness.

To Be Continued…