THE AFTERMATH OF LUISA'S FATE PART 1 | By: RICHARD J OHANLON | | Category: Short Story - Despair Bookmark and Share


This is the story of the reaction of those people who were involved in actually seeing Luisa climb up on that tiki statue and vanish right before their horrified eyes and those days following this ghastly event when and how we all had to cope with the tremendous stress and shock from what we had seen! After we had all managed to quickly climb up that rocky pathway in the heavy rains of the tropical thunderstorm that was occuring right over us in Sacrifice Valley that night and managed to get back up to that open area where the tricycle drivers had left us all off earlier, we had to sit down, try to relax and overcome the indescribable state of physical exhaustion as well as mental shock which we were all in. The time was now 3:30 AM Saturday Morning October 31st 1998 Philippine Time. For a moment, we were all so out of breath& exhausted from that rapid run back up that steep pathway, that we all took refuge in one one of the thatched roof picnic huts which were located around this open area. Soaking wet and covered with mud, we tried to lie down on the ground and rest but the horror of actually seeing Luisa vanish right before our eyes was just too intense to allow us to close our eyes for more than a second so we just all lied down there and talked. Chris Deleon was crying out loud and occasionally vomited from the shock. I along with the rest of us had to cry in Rogelio's arms as I too just could not accept what had just occured to my filipino "daughter." Besides trying to comprehend this horror, thoughts were now flashing through our minds of the aftermath of this such as what & how are the Lota Family members were going to react when they hear of this unusual occurance(Especially Luisa's older sister Juvy Lota Federesso as she & Luisa wee very close to each other along with Michael Lota, who also deeply loved his youngest sister.) as well as being targets of skeptisism, ridicule, or worse yet, murder suspects or any other acts of "foul play" involving this 22 year old cover model! For the time being, we four men had to find a way of covering up what we had seen occur here tonight and "stall off" telling the truth until I was on my return trip back to America and the police had carefully commenced their investigation into this disappearance. The time was now 4:00 AM when we all decided to walk back down that lonely road which lead away from that open area and somehow get to the nearest village where we might be able to flag down a bus or get some type of ride back in to Manila. Just then we thought we could see some headlights out ahead of us. As it got closer, we saw that it was a farmer with a small truck load of fruits & vegetables. He was taking his produce from his farm to the local market in the small town nearby. He could see that we were exhausted by the way we were all staggering & walking slowly He stopped his truck and offered to give us all a lift into town. 67 year old Edwardo Castro asked what we here all doing and why we looked so exhausted. We simply told him that we had a disabled car up the road and we needed a lift to get to a bus station to get back to Manila. He took us to a Saulog Bus Station where we managed to catch the first bus for the day back into Manila. We finally arrived back at Encar's home in Paco at 7:00 AM. As expected, Mariamelda, Lorna, and Encar were very concerned as to what had happened to us when they saw us all wet & covered with mud. We made up an excuse that we got so involved in the "off track betting parlor over on Malabon Street that we forgot what time it as and when we tried to catch a cab back here that we had gotten soaked in the rain and splashed with mud from jeepneys passing by. Maria had prepared us a filipino breakfast of rice smoked fish & eggs but we were so exhausted that we ate only a little before heading back upstairs to get washed up and try to get a little sleep. Dozing off for a few hours, we kept waking up every minute as the horror scene played over & over again in our minds until the midday's heat & humidity in that upstairs bedroom prevented us from trying to sleep any more. For the rest of that day we just sat there and thought of what was going to happen from now on. What can we now expect, etc. By late that afternoon, Chris decided that he wanted to get away from here and go off to his parent's Spanish style mansion located out in Cavite City and try to get over this ghastly event. Before he left also, Manoy promised us all that he was going to immediately get started on what he called his most intense research project that he'd ever done or will do on the ancient history of what is now known as Sacrifice Valley and why events such as this and others had occurred in years past. By late Saturday night, I was so exhausted that I feel asleep but only for a few hours as my mind again popped awake around midnight as I could not get back to sleep again for several hours as the horror replayed again & again like a repeating film. It had now been 24 agonizing hours since the event and by 4:00 AM Sunday morning I somehow managed to doze off again but just for a few moments until the churchbells from a nearby catholic church began to toll for the first mass of this Sunday Morning, November 1st 1998. Later that morning, I felt as though I wanted to accompnay Encar Matuba to church as I felt that time with the Lord would help to ease this unusual pain of loss. Auntie Encar was so happy to have me accompany her to church. The mass was so beautiful with its singing & organ music but then I could feel the presence of Marialuisa's spirit as if she was sitting right next to us. Encar seemed to be somewhat of a comfort to me as she & I got talking about my life, my occupation back in America, my passed marriage to her neice, etc. but I could tell that she sensed that I was under mental stress about something but she did not say anything to me about it. When we had returned back to Mama Encar's home, Rogelio's wife Lorna had arrived here from their home in Munos. She had just recieved a telegram from Juvy Lota Federesso. Rogelio asked Lorna to hand him the message as he began to read it. The message to me read like this "THIS PASSED FRIDAY I RECIEVED A TELEGRAM FROM MY SISTER. SHE TOLD ME THAT YOU & HER WERE GOING TO BE COMING HERE TO SPEND THE WEEKEND WITH LITO & I AND THAT YOU'D BE ARRIVING HERE BY NO LATER THAN 8:00PM. LITO & I WENT DOWN TO THE VICTORY LINER BUS STATION IN ANGELES CITY AT 7:00PM SO WE WOULD BE THERE IN TIME TO MEET YOU BUT WHEN THE BUS ARRIVED, YOU & LUISA WERE NOT THERE. WE ALL WAITED AROUND IN THE STATION UNTIL MIDNIGHT BUT STILL YOU DID NOT COME. UNTIL NOW I HAVE NOT RECIEVED ANY MESSAGE OR HEARD ANYTHING FROM HER. IS EVERYTHING OK WITH LUISA? LITO & I ALONG WITH MY CHILDREN ARE GOING TO BE COMING TO MAMA ENCAR'S HOME THIS AFTERNOON AND HAVE DINNER. RICK, IF YOU HEAR ANYTHING FROM MY SISTER PLEASE LET ME KNOW SO I WON'T BE SO WORRIED. LUISA ALWAYS WOULD SEND A MESSAGE IF SHE WASN'T COMING AND UNTIL NOW,I HAVEN'T HEARD ANYTHING FROM HER. PLEASE RICK TELL ME IF YOU KNOW OR HEAR ANYTHING SIGUE, LOVE JUVY. When Rogelio read the message from Juvy he quickly put it in his pocket and then called me over into the next room as he wanted to talk to me in private. "Richard, I've got to tell you that we all have to be careful what we say now in front of the Lota Family. We have to be very careful about showing this message to anyone here now especially Chris or my sister. Chris & Maria do not know that you & Luisa had plans of meeting at a bus station and going up to spend the weekend in Pampanga with Juvy & her family. If either one of them finds out about any of this, then not only you but myself as well as everyone else who was up in Sacrifice Valley this passed Friday night when she vanished could become a suspect or something like that so we are going to have to be very careful what we say to Juvy or any of the Lota Family now." I immediately agreed. By 1:30 PM that afternoon, We heard a knock on the front door. When Encar opened it, Juvy along with Lito and the children came into the kitchen. After exchanging hugs of greetings and hellos with everyone, Juvy her children, Maria, Encar and Lorna all went into the kitchen to sit & prepare the dinner and chat away in Tagalog & Bicolese while we 3 men went into the living room and "shot the bull" for several minutes about everythng from horse racing to who was going to win the national collegiate championship basketball game this afternoon. The game was about to begin in a half hour and Rogelio & Lito were both eager to watch it. Little JohnMark & his sister Cecilia were both running around chasing each other through the kitchen and into the dining room while we all sat around to wait for the start of the game. Rogelio turned on the TV. A Billy Graham Crusade was just ending on abs-cbn channel 2 when we switched channels to PTV channel 4 which was supposed to have live telecast of the game between two national rival college teams: University of Manila vs The University of the Philippines. This was promising to be one well matched basketball game. For the time being, I as well as everyone else began to enjoy the afternoon and for the first time in the last 2 days, I relaxed, laughed and had fun but while we were all sitting around laughing, several miles away up in the mountains of Bataan, an elderly woman was doing a pilgrimege of prayer in Sacrifice Valley when she just happened to be looking down at the ground and in doing so, saw what appeared to be a strange line of "burned grass. She got curious and pointed it out to her husband. They both began following the burned grass down another pathway leading deeper down into the jungle. The basketball game was only a mere moment away from that first "jump ball" as the Philippine National Anthem brought everyone in the Manila University's Main gymnasium to their feet as the TV showed their colorful flag. Then the captains of both teams met out in the center of the basketball court to exchange handshakes and words of good luck to both teams as they got set to jump ball and begin what was this national championship game. The two men playing"centers" from both teams were set and ready to go. The referee held up the ball over their heads and threw it into the air as both centers fought to grab it and dribble down for the first score of the game. In those first few seconds of play, Manila University was on the scoreboard first with two baskets.Then the University Of Philippines immediately responded with a few baskets. The score was now 4 to 3 in favor of U O P. as the game became very quick and evenly contested as both teams were putting scores on the board with baskets as cheers rang out from the crowds. Rogelio Lito, and I were getting pretty excited about the game occasionally jumping up off the couch as one team would dribble down the court & score while a foul was called or shots were blocked, etc. these two teams were evenly matched! Meanwhile in the kitchen, Encar, Maria, Juvy and Lorna were all helping to prepare a full-course buffet style dinner for all of us which would be ready in a half hour. Lito reached into his pocket and discovered that he had several extra pesos which he had forgotten he left in the pocket of his pants but up in Sacrifice Valley another discovery was made. A very startling discovery! The elderly lady along with her husband followed the line of burned grass all the way down into that other hidden valley deeper into the jungle until she came upon a small mysterious open area in the jungle surrounded by acacia & coconut trees. Right in the center stood this tall strange looking statue made out of rock which no one knew had existed here! As curiosity got the better of her & her husband they walked closer to it. It was here at the foot of this mysteriously looking statue that they noticed a few things lying on the ground right at the foot of it. A white mariaclara gown that had dirt stains all over it, a diamond studded necklace, and a lady's panty & bra! Upon seeing the clothes she walked over and felt them. They had a strange feeling to them as if they had been charred! Walking back out to where she joined the other members of the pilgrimege, she informed them all of what she had discovered including the clothes. They immediately reported this to the police officer who accompanied them into Sacrifice Valley who in turn phoned his police headquarters back in Manila. Going back to the sight of that tiki statue again, the police officer took several pictures of the clothes as well as the strange looking statue. The report was then sent immediately to the crime lab along with to every news media. The score of the game was now 45 to 47 in favor of University of Manila as this closely fought game was now nearing "halftime" Rogelio as well as Lito and I were now getting quite hungry as for the first time in 2 days I had an appetite to eat. The aroma of fresh rice vegetables,egg plant, dried & smoked fish, etc. permeated the air from the kitchen, throughout the house. Dinner was just about ready to be served as the ladies were now setting out the pile of plates for all of us to come and take one & help ourselves to everything that was set out on the kitchen table.Meanwhile on TV, the half-time buzzer sounded as both teams retreated to the locker rooms in the gymnasium of Manila University's "olympic sized" Athletic center. Then in the news room of abs-cbn, The press reporter handed to the news director the teletyped document containing the news of the strange discovery in Sacrifice Valley less than an hour ago. He then motioned to the TV annoucer who was covering the basketball game to "brake in" with a "special report." Other radio & TV newsrooms throughout Metro Manila saw the same report come over their teletype machines as well as flash across their newsroom computer screens and followed suit with abs-cbn! Mariamelda yelled out" Halikana sa dinner ng dito" (Come on dinner is here and ready for you all") Getting up from the living room couch I along with the other men all walked into the kitchen and picked up a plastic plate and fell in line right behind Rogelio & Lito and began filling my plate with hot fresh white rice, followed by a few pieces of fried chicken, etc. Just as we men got up and left to go to the kitchen the "special report" flashed across the TV screen.We 3 men were out in the kitchen filling our plates full of food while little Johnmark Federesso remained there and watched the entire "special report" of the discovery of the clothes at the foot of the tiki statue. Not realizing just how closely related he was to whose clothes they belonged to, he came back out into the kitchen just as we men had returned to the living room with a plate full of filipino food. The brief news report had ended not seconds before we men came back in and sat down on the couch to enjoy this delicious food. The basketball game was now a few seconds into the second half of play when the news report had ended and the game coverage had resumed. Enjoying our dinner we all laughed as well as cheered Manila University score as they were now leading by 5 points. The score was now 65 to 60 in favor of Manila U. but while we were jumping & laughing in Encar's living room, several miles away in Cavite City, a glass of wine fell & broke when a now frightened Chris Deleon saw the "special report" and in panic, started searching through his list of telephone numbers for that of the Matuba Residence. He could not find it. Running for his other phone list, he tripped over his mother's glass end table knocking it on the floor which smashed into pieces. Meanwhile, in Quezon City, a housemaid, a roommate, a landlady, along with a cover model co worker who had last seen Luisa with me at the 80's Disco bar heard the news report while listening to her favorite FM radio station DWRR 101.9 and had copied down the numbers which were broadcast for anyone who had information on Marialuisa Lota's whereabouts to call in to the police hotline. The news of Luisa's disappearance was now spreading at an alarming rate! Back at Encar's home here in Paco, we had just finished dinner and had disposed of our dirty plastic plates into the garbage can which was rapidly getting filled up. It was at this moment that we overheard Little Johnmark Federesso mention to his mother,Juvy in Tagalog about seeing something on TV about finding clothes near a scary looking statue in the jungle. I could not understand everything that was being said in the kitchen since I am not good at understanding Tagalog but Rogelio who also heard it now had quickly become concerned as he knew now that our cover up of what happened just last Friday night in Sacrifice Valley was about to face its first of a series of tests! Almost immediately as if it were a coincidence, Juvy asked her mother if she had heard anything from her younger sister. Maria said that to this moment that she had heard nothing but then I heard Maria mention my name to her. It was here that I began to feel that something was about to happen. Rogelio now had a worried look on his face as Juvy came walking into the living room. she was holding her little daughter Cecilia in her arms. She first asked her Uncle Rogelio something in Tagalog before she then asked to speak to me. Tension was now on the rise. Here are Juvy's words, "Papa Rick I understand that you were with my sister Luisa on Thursday night of last week when she sent me the telegram that you & her were going to come out to Pampanga the next day.Rick, Please tell me what had happened? Why did you & Luisa not show up Friday night." It was here that Rogelio & I explained to her about our going to the bus station on Malabon Street and waiting around all night for her as well. "Juvy I was at the Victory Liner Bus Station on Malabon Street by 5:30 PM Friday afternoon because Luisa had promised to meet me there at that time as we were going to catch the 6:15 PM bus to Angeles City because on the night before I left her, Luisa told me that she was going to send you a telegram letting you know what time she & I were going to be arriving in Angeles City. Rogelio & Lorna came along with me last Friday Night. We waited around until 9:00PM and Luisa did not show up so we then came back here to Auntie Matuba's home and tried to find out how to get in touch with anyone who either worked with her or knew her. Rogelio immediately stopped me as I was just about to explain to her about Chris's phone call and what had occured from then on. Rogelio then said something to his niece in Tagalog but Juvy still wanted to say one more thing to me. "Papa Rick, has anyone here heard anything from my sister yet? I'm getting really worried now about her? Have you talked to Chris Deleon yet? Rogelio had now gotten worried as he had to stop Juvy's questions and gave her the best answer he could. Juvy then went back into the kitchen and continued talking to her aunt & mother. Rogelio called me into the other room and told me, " Richard, I can tell that Juvy is getting suspicious about Luisa's whereabouts. We had better not say anything more about this. I think that you had better not see her any more from now on. This is what I was telling you before. The Lota Family is going to get suspicious now about Luisa. I am really afraid now of what may happen when my nephew Michael finds out about what had happened to his youngest sister. Richard, we are going to do our best to stall this off until you are out of the Philippines and on your way back to America so we really have to be careful now. We'll have to tell them that Luisa is missing." At 7:00PM, Juvy & Lito along with the children left to go back to Angeles City. Rogelio stayed around to talk to me for another hour or so before he left to catch a jeepney back to Munos. Lorna along with Mariamelda & Encar left to go for a walk together down to a small park located not far from here. Physically as well as mentally tired I went back upstairs to go to bed. The time was now 10:00PM. I tried to sleep but the mental stress had returned now that Rogelio told me that Juvy was getting suspicious of our stories about her sister. I did manage to get a few hours of sleep before waking up about 4:00AM. The next day (Monday November 2nd went along almost uneventful but the thoughts kept playing through my mind of what could be the possible results of a murder suspicion by the filipinos of an American guy here. I now was getting stressed out about being involved in a possible murder suspicion. I then remembered what a few fellow sailors informed me of about being suspected of any wrong doings of an American by the filipino authorities and that is that you go right to jail here long before any trial begins and its been known to take months and even years before you can get to a legal trial and the conditions inside a Philippine Prison are FAR DIFFERENT from the fenced in "college campuses" which most American correctional facilities are. No game rooms, no lounges, etc nothing of that sort. A Philippine Prison is a virtual day to day survival in a human zoo! Chris Deleon explained to me that the average life of an American sent away to a Philippine Prison is not too much more than six-months before the unsanitary conditions as well as the bare minimum food rations that the guards slide under the door of your cell once a day is not enough to keep you alive and if somehow you were able to barely survive the food, the inhumane cruelty of the filipino prison guards to their prisoners here along with doing back breaking work in the hot & humid conditions of this tropical country would be enough to kill anyone let alone an American. I now had plenty of pleasant thoughts to occupy my mind in these last few days of my visit here. I finally managed to fall asleep by 10:30 PM on that Monday night. At 2:00AM Tuesday morning November 3rd I woke up out of a "troubled sleep" by a sixth sense which warned me that I was about to face a "major trial" in the next few hours. I managed to fall back to sleep again a few moments later only to awakened by a loud knocking on the door of Encar's house. When Maria answered it, there stood the manager of Rosa's Modeling Studio, A roommate named Josie Bienvenida, a coworker named Tessie Compuesto, Adella Puganan and Felicia Clemente the landlady of the apartment complex where Luisa had lived as well as a Manila Police Detective and 2 uniformed Police officers. They had recieved word that I along with two other men had followed Luisa off to Sacrifice Valley last Friday night where she was last seen. Mariamelda was shocked & furious beyond words! As soon as they had left, she came running up the stairs as fast as she could knocking on my door. Screaming at the top of her lungs she yelled, "RICHARD OPEN UP THIS DOOR I NEED TO TALK TO YOU NOW! When I opened up the door Maria stepped in still yelling, "YOU KNOW THAT THE POLICE WERE JUST HERE AND THEY TOLD ME THAT OUR DAUGHTER IS MISSING! THEY ALL SAID THAT YOU ALONG WITH MY BROTHER, ROGELIO, CHRIS AND A FRIEND OF HIS FOLLOWED HER TO SACRIFICE VALLEY LATE FRIDAY NIGHT WHEN SHE WAS LAST SEEN. YOU KNOW YOU AS WELL AS THEY ARE ALL MURDER SUSPECTS NOW! YES YOU ARE GOING TO GO TO PRISON HERE FOR MURDER NOW! Then Maria went on, "SIGUE WHERE WERE YOU EVERY NIGHT LAST WEEK?" I told her that I was with Rogelio at his place in Munos. She immediately screamed "LIAR! YOU ARE A LIAR RICHARD! I KNOW JUST WHERE YOU WERE GOING EVERY NIGHT LAST WEEK. YOU WERE WITH LUISA EVERY NIGHT WEREN'T YOU RICHARD? I KNOW ALSO THAT YOU TOOK HER TO A DISCO TOO AND SHE ASKED YOU TO STAY WITH HER ALL NIGHT! WELL DID YOU DID YOU SLEEP WITH HER? DID YOU & HER "MAKE LOVE" YOU JUST WAIT NOW YOU ARE GOING TO PRISON NOW! DONT TRY TO GO ANYWHERE NOW BECAUSE I AM GOING TO HAVE YOU ARRESTED NOW! SIGUE!" At that moment, she slammed the door and walked away. I just stood there for a few minutes just too afraid to move a muscle. I was expecting that at any moment now, the police would arrive to take me away in handcuffs. I had to think of something now but what? The minutes seemed like hours and the hours felt like days as I thought of every possible thing from running off alone into the jungle to stowing away on a cargo ship back to the United States or even climbing into the luggage section of a plane bound for anywhere out of here. Then in the early afternoon, I was home alone when the phone rang. It was Rogelio. He immediately asked me to pack everything I brought to the Philippines and meet him along with Chris at a small cafe on Roxas Blvd. by absolutely no later than 5:00PM or face the likelihood of being arrested. I was not to mention anything at all to his sister or aunt of this top secret plan. By 3:45PM I had my two bags packed and was on a jeepney enroute to that cafe on Roxas Blvd. It was raining very hard while I rode over to Roxas Blvd. and got off right on front of The Peyton Place Cafe where Rogelio told me to meet them. Chris was so glad to see me that he hugged me for support before explaining to me what had transpired during the last few days. It was true! Our worst fears had "materialized" as we were now suspects of murder.Chris & Rogelio then informed me not to make any more contact with Mariamelda or any of the Lota Family as the news had spread about the clothes being discovered at the foot of the tiki statue and the condition that they were in. Chris then told me that he had called a limosene to take him & I and Rogelio if he wanted to out to his parents home in Cavite City. When we got there, I was not to leave the confines of the mansion for any reason what so ever. I was to stay behind the fence which surrounded the estate until they would escort me to Ninoy Aquino International Airport not earlier than an hour before my flight back to America which Chris promised me that he was going to get me an e-ticket through his desk top computer as soon as possible. We asked Rogelio to come join us but he rather spend time with his wife Lorna back in Munos. just then the limosense pulled up in front of the cafe. I said farewell to Rogelio and thanked him for all he'd done for me and then Chris & I sped off towards Cavite City where we drove through the main gates and up to the arch of the main entrance by 10:35 PM. His parents mansion was a huge white marble Spanish-Style home with at least 20 rooms including a large elegant dining room along with a tudor style living room. The mansion was located on a hill overlooking some coconut trees with a panoramic view of the lights of the ships anchored in Manila Bay. Immediately after Chris showed me up the ballroom style stairs to my second floor bedroom. I relaxed on the huge canopied bed and fell asleep as soon as I hit the pillow! Finally I felt like I was out of danger from arrest! The morning sun shined brightly through the large statley windows of my second floor bedroom which overlooked a wrought iron fenced in balcony. The shimmering blue waters of Manila Bay could be seen off in the distance behind a lush green grove of palm trees. Looking around the well groomed lawn, with its golf course appearance a few patches of coconut trees surrounded by hedges of flowers dotted the lawn on front of the mansion. This estate had a classic Louis XIV atmosphere both inside and out. In the main entrance way a large glass chandelier hung above your head as you walked into the door. Chris then invited me out to a small porch which overlooked the jungle of the backyard which hid this mansion from the view of the public roads about a mile away. Over coffee and some sweet rolls Chris explained to me just how he was going to handle this case as well as get me out of the Philippines before the police would discover where I had been taken off to. By midafternoon, Chris had gotten a phone call from his friend Manoy that he had completed his intensive research project on the history of Sacrifice Valley and he had "dug up" some very interesting information about the ancient history of that area. He wanted to make his presentation to us just before I left to fly back to America. All that day Chris & I sat as his computer and looked up information on every flight that was leaving Manila for all American destinations. After a few hours of checking & checking, we finally found a seat on a flight leaving Manila for Hawaii at midnight tonight. The time was growing short as we had now heard that Michael Lota was now on his way back to the Philippines from Jeddah, Saudi Arabia on an emergency leave when he heard the news of his youngest sister's strange fate and vowed to bring to justice the men involved. Chris told me not to worry because as of now, no one knew where I was being kept. The phone rang again at 5:00 PM, It was Manoy. He was just outside the locked gate with his report on Sacrifice Valley. We invited him to stay and have dinner. Just then the doorbell rang as Chris went down to unlock the gates of the main entrance as he had everything securily locked tight and no one was permitted to enter unless he knew exactly who was there. Somehow Rogelio had managed to accompany Manoy out here. We had dinner and then Manoy went into what they called a recreational room (or den) and set up his overhead projector and screen. The room lights were darkened as we all sat around while he began his lecture on what he had researched about Sacrifice Valley. His findings were incredible! This is what he had found out. " Over 20,000 years ago, the Philippines was inhabited by several aboriginal tribes of people. One of their main communities was located in what we now know as Sacrifice Valley. (He then placed a map of the area under the overhead projector which was displayed on the screen.)Manoy went on,"These people worshipped a pagan God whom they refered to by the name of "Tapuyan." (End of Part One) continued
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