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Devil Touch - Chapter One

by SushiSashimi333


"She has the Devil's Touch."

Not many parents wanted to hear those words after having their first child.

"No, that can't be right. She's just a baby, the signs of Touch don't show until adolescence." Her eyes were wide, tears threatening to fall from her face.

"I am just as surprised as you are, but I can assure you that she has Devil Touch. All the signs are present: no heartbeat, Heterochromia Iridum, and black hair." The doctors face was calm, but it was clear he was doing his best not to kill the child then and there.

"That can't be right! Our child couldn't be cursed, she's our first born!" The woman on the bed was sobbing now, cradling her child gently in her arms.

"The fact that she is your first born changes nothing, but there's really no need to worry. You'll be allowed to live with her for eight more years, only then will we dispose of her, by usual means of course."

"You can't possibly mean that! You would let us raise our child for eight years only to have her burned at the stake? What kind of heartless person are you? She's not the one who's Devil Touched, you are!" The woman cried.

"Dear," a new voice interjected, his voice quivering as he spoke, "stop. Please. It's painful to watch you like this." These words struck the woman, so much so that all she could do was nod.

"Good, now that this matter is settled would you please get that, 'thing' out of here? It's contaminating the air."

*Sushi**Sushi**Sushi**Sushi**Sushi**Sushi**Sushi**Sushi**Sushi**Sushi**Sushi**Sushi*

Cerys watched the blue and white flames lick at the stars, the light of the fire dancing within her blue and green irises. She hated her eyes. They were a constant reminder of the monster she was, never letting her forget what had happened seven years ago. It was the night of her eleventh birthday when her parents were burned at the stake. Seven years ago when she had lost her home along with everything she knew. Seven years ago when she found out she was Devil Touched.

Now that she knew, it was pretty obvious why people treated her the way they did. The people of her village always avoiding her eyes, and never talking to her directly. Even her parents seemed distant to her. They never held her close like other parents did with their children. They didn't even get mad when something happened, all they did was say, "It's okay, it wasn't like you meant to do it, right Cerys?"

Eventually she fell into depression, trying to get the people of her village to accept her. She spent her days outside bathing in the sun, hoping the black pigment would bleach from her hair and that her pale skin would tan up a bit. Nothing worked. It took a year for her to finally crawl up from the emotional ditch she had created for herself. Her attitude changed almost completely. She snapped at every little thing that didn't seem right or people who looked at her strangely.

It was ten years ago when the third and largest sun had finally begun to set. The shadows appeared long and menacing, like a forewarning of events to come. Outside of her family's small, rundown, cottage a crowd had gathered, chanting and holding protective charms above their heads. A large figure towered over her. A white sun, the symbol of purity, adorned his enormous tunic and beads of prayer hung from his fat neck.

"It's okay Cerys, all you need to do is stay put while I go get things ready. You're going to meet your creator soon." The priest's voice seemed kind, but something bothered her. Was it the frightened look on her parents' faces, or the growing crowd outside? Whatever the reason she knew something bad was about to take place.

"Mom, there's something wrong with that man. Why should he bother acting nice if he doesn't like me?" To her astonishment, tears fell from her mother's eyes.

"Not to worry little one, I must go prepare your ceremony to meet your creator. Stay right here, make sure you don't move a single step." Okay, now the priest was just mocking her.

Who said I had to do whatever you told me to? Cerys thought, making the most evil faces she could manage at his back. It wasn't until the priest disappeared into the crowd that her father gripped her firmly by the shoulders and shook her violently.

"You little bitch! You're a curse you know! You're mother and I never wanted you in the first place." Cerys' eyes widened. What was happening? First the priest and now her father? "Just get out of here Cerys!" She didn't move. No. She couldn't move. Her father had just rejected her completely. But something stumped her, why did he look like he was about to cry?

SMACK! Her cheek burned where her father's hand made contact. She didn't think, no, she couldn't, all she could do was run, so she ran. Running far away, afraid that the anger would burst, along with other negative emotions. As she left the shelter of her small home elbows of villagers jabbed her and people bumped into her. It was a wonder that the crowd hadn't noticed her fleeing the cottage. Maybe it was because a small eight year old wasn't very noticeable in a riot. Maybe it was because no one even cared to remember what she looked like. Whatever it was, it didn't really matter anymore.

Hours passed, or so it seemed, and Cerys remained trapped in the neverending crowd. It's a bloody village, how many people can it possibly hold? Cerys thought. No matter how hard she tried to remain straight, there would always be something to turn her around. Numerous times she found herself jostled by elbows and run into by clumsy people. So help me the next person who hits me is going to get it!

Angrily she ground her teeth and hoped that someone would hit her, just so she could get her anger out. She was so busy hoping for some unsuspecting villager to bump into her that when a cold hand gently settled upon her shoulder she jumped.

"Don't make a scene." The voice whispered in her ear. It seemed strangely familiar to Cerys, but for some reason she couldn't quite put her finger on who it belonged to. Silently she allowed the hand to move her through the crowd, dodging people as best she could. She never understood why she followed the voice's instructions, it wasn't like her, but for some strange reason she decided to trust it.

The next thing Cerys knew she was just outside the village boundaries. She was just about to thank her savior when an orange glow caught her eye. Near the center of the village, a single pyre blazed, engulfing everything within its reach.

Her vision seemed to zoom in on the gruesome scene before her, clarifying each and every detail down to the hairs on the villagers' heads. She wanted to run, but there was a strange nagging feeling in the back of her mind telling her to stay, to watch, to enjoy.

Nailed to a single crucifix, her parents cried out in agony as they were slowly consumed by the inferno. She wanted to turn away just to prove that she did care, but her eyes remained transfixed on their burning corpses. She couldn't explain it, but her vision seemed to have changed. Suddenly the night wasn't so dark anymore, and the pyre wasn't so far away. It seemed to zoom in on the blistered, festering skin of her parent's. She could see the steam rise from their eyeballs until they dried, and crumbled to ash.

"Those two were always naive, but to think they would end up caring for a Devil Touched." A voice spat. Cerys froze. "We even told them that when she came of age she would be cleansed of sin." Devil Touched? The phrase sparked her curiosity, tempting her to find out more.

"Thank you Night." Cerys muttered under her breath, glad that she was cloaked in the darkness as she inched closer.

"What really surprised me was the fact that the girl didn't even know what she was. I mean, wasn't the little brat even the slightest bit curious as to why people hated her so?" Another voice questioned. It was nasally and grated on her nerves, but Cerys remained silent.

I couldn't possibly have Devil Touch. This is all just someone's bad idea of a joke. Any second someone's going to come out and say "Gotcha!". That's it. But no matter how hard she tried to believe what she thought, no one came. She was in denial, and she knew it, but the worst part about denial, was that you denied it.

Cerys clenched her jaw, trying desperately to grab and put together the fragments of her memories. She remembered a sharp sound, like bone snapping, she remembered the burning, and then she remembered the bodies. Suddenly the memories came flooding back to her, like a switch had been flipped. The cracking sound of the nasally man's neck, the priest's blood burning her skin like acid just because he had God Touch.

Cerys shook her head violently as if trying to shake out her sin. Not the sin of taking the lives of those two men, but the sin of enjoying it. She was a curse to everyone living around her. People would die if she got too close to them. She was an illness that could not be cleansed, not without bloodshed. She was a monster.

The sharp snapping of a twig brought Cerys back to reality. Hurriedly she scrambled to put out the fire. Someone was coming.


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Fri Mar 14, 2014 8:52 pm
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TheShauzer wrote a review...



Hi Sushi (almost typed Cerys there :D), Shauzer here reviewing,
Just want you to know that for the most part the writing was excellent, grammar perfect, but there were some things I didn't like. The first thing that springs to mind, why did the priest lead her out of the village? Why didn't he just kill her? He certainly seemed disappointed she still lived. Second thing, why did she kill him and the nasally guy? She didn't seem angry in the paragraph before that one, was something said to provoke her? I didn't see any, but this was probably due to a lack of reading back over so it's not too bad ;) Also, in the very last paragraph, where you leave us in suspense, wanting to see what's going to happen - nice way to end a paragraph, kudos - where did the fire come from? Did she build it? You could have said 'Hurriedly she scrambled to put out the fire, the fire containing two unlucky bodies of a priest and his nasally partner.' Every little helps, I would recommend going back through this and focusing solely on adding bits and pieces in where you see the opportunity. Because, in my opinion, there are a few instances where it is lacking in that department. :)
I very much preferred this to the prologue, and apart from the few storyline mistakes I pointed out I really liked it. Very good imagination on you sushi! Should celebrate, buy yourself a cake! :D Can't wait to read the rest, seems really good! Hope my review helped, you could try and read over it and see where you think it doesn't sound right, I found a few occasions where this was the case. Not many, just a few. And the main piece of advice I would give for chapter one is explain a bit more and describe a bit more. Thanks for a good read :)
Keep writing,
Yours in ink,
TS.






Yes! This definitely helps me XD I can tell I caused quite a bit of confusion, I'll focus on those parts, but because I'm evil, I won't clarify. I'm actually going to do a total makeover of everything that I have so far, and it's going slowly, but I'll tell you when the revised version comes out ^^ Thanks so much! Every little bit helps, be nitpicky XD



TheShauzer says...


:) no problem



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Wed Jan 01, 2014 6:44 am
JayBlu wrote a review...



Tragic and sort of vicious creation of a chapter you have here and I gotta say I love it lol. I'm not big with grammar nor do I pretend to be so never expect my words to include any of that so sorry beforehand.

Anyways, she killed eh? I suppose if I was treated that way I'm sure I would have dusted off a few of my enemies like that without remorse, but then I'm not like everyone else. Everyone is unique to a certain extent.

She however, her eyes the way you described them, they sound beautiful, and curious to learn more about what exactly the Devil's Touch truly holds, and it's true powers and what it's capable of.

Later




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Sun Aug 25, 2013 10:46 am
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StefanosVorkas wrote a review...



Hey there!

I really liked this, you introduced at least one of the main abilities of a Devil Touched person very nicely, and you showed us a part of the main character's tragic past. I am curious though, as the chapter ends, is it still in flashback mode, or is it someone interrupting her from her thoughts in real time?

You could have explained it a bit better though, what being Devil or God touched means. You threw the terms out there, and everyone seems to know what they are, except your readers. Maybe put a small paragraph that explains where the terms came from, in the form of the character thinking or something similar.

As far as grammar goes, I haven't got any big complaints, it all seems fine to me.

I would love to see an explanation on where we are time wise. Is it a village in medieval ages, or when guns were discovered, or a village in modern times? Getting burned at the stake points towards medieval times but I would love an explanation, maybe showing us the village lifestyle a little before going into the action of the chapter.

I loved it overall, I will read the rest of the chapters you posted, I just have these few issues with it, some of it may be explained in later chapters, but I believe should have been explained here to make a reader familiar with what they are reading, not left wondering what's going on and where the hell are we? :)

Well that's all I have to say, carry on!






Thank you for the review! Actually, I have no idea what time period this is because it takes place in a completely different world with different times, so there could be a mixture. I like the think in medieval times, but that's just me. I really wanted to leave that part up to the readers to decide for themselves and make them think and sorta feel like they could be in here.



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Thu Aug 22, 2013 10:12 am
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Noelle wrote a review...



Hi there! Noelle here to review as requested!

I was going to comment on your prologue, but it seems everyone else had already said what I was going to say so I'll start with chapter 1.

I feel like the beginning of this chapter could very well be the prologue. It at least seems more like one than your actual prologue. You introduce characters, setting, and a major issue all in the first nine paragraphs. I like it and think it would work well as the prologue. But obviously your actual prologue is important to the story, otherwise you wouldn't have written it, so I guess it has to stay. My suggestion is make the first part of this chapter into the prologue.

I have to say, I'm very intrigued by this Devil's Touch. It sounds interesting (in a bad way XD) and it obviously causes a lot of drama in the community. But you haven't even described it in this chapter. I want to know more about it. The only information I have is that everyone is scared of it. What I don't know is why. What great power(s) is the Devil's Touch that these people need to be burned at the stake? Just take a little time to explain this Devil's Touch and I think this will be a much better chapter.

I will take a look at the rest of the chapters when I get the time. My college is keeping us out of our dorm and in meetings and doing activities and such so I'm away from internet a lot (you know that cause you commented on my status). But anyways, I will try to get your reviews done as soon as I can.

Keep writing!
**Noelle**






Thanks for the review! I am so glad that you understand the importance of my prologue, that's actually a really big deal in this story, bigger than you think it might be. I agree that the first part would be good to add, but it doesn't fit at all with my original prologue. I guess you'll all see once I finish this story..... this will take a while. Thanks again!



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Mon Jul 15, 2013 7:46 pm
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EloquentDragon wrote a review...



I'm back, as per request. *Rubs hands together with a sinister grin.* (Well, okay, maybe not "sinister")

I'm diving right in here without further ado. I hope this helps. Sorry for the length.

“She has the Devil’s Touch.”

Not many parents wanted to hear those words after having their first born child.


Forewarning: I am very picky when it comes to first lines, so don't take this personally. ;)

The first line of dialogue is brilliant. It is mysterious, yes, but not ambiguous because "devil" is invocative here in the west and the reader surmises. "Ooh." they say "That can't be good, I wonder what it means?" Thus they keep reading. In other words.... *hearty applause here*

However, the second sentence kills the suspense almost as fast as the first creates it. It seems to be passive and rather weak, also cliché. I can't help you as far as the cliché thing goes, but don't worry too much about it, the parent-cursed child thing, while well used, can still be used cleverly and originally if you put some thought into it.

In the meantime, I would suggest revising that sentence there... make it immediate, present, and cut the awkward verbiage. "After having their first born child." Maybe "their first child born" or "after having their first child" but "first-born child" is just a little odd.

I think that you shouldn't even use this sentence though... think about it. "Not many parents wanted to hear that" is rather broad and general and ho-hum. I would have personally chosen to jump right in with THESE parent's reactions to the news. But then, that's just me. It's ultimately up to you.

“No, that can’t be right. She’s just a baby, the signs of Touch don’t show until adolescence.” Shock, pain, fear.


Ahah, here are their reactions. Again, they seem rather general and ho-hum. Adding in "shock, pain, fear" at the end doesn't help either. Trust me, this isn't stylistic, this is just "telling" us and not showing, and ends up rather cheesy. I know that fragmentation was your goal here, but there are other ways to achieve that. Short sentences in rapid order. Word choice. Etc. "Listing" isn't a good technique here though, I think.

Story-note: How would these parents, whom I'm assuming are just common, ordinary folks, know all about the "signs of the Touch" and when they appear and so forth? It seems a bit contrite and a bit too convenient, in my view.

“I am just as surprised as you are, but I can assure you that she has Devil Touch. All the signs are present: no heartbeat, Heterochromia Iridum, and a scar, from the Devil’s making contact, covering her left breast.”


You need a dialogue tag here. Who is saying this? The parents? The doctor? The baby?

There are three things that truly matter in this world: Love, Power, and Touch. Love is the amount of people who care for you in your life and would willingly give anything to save you. Power is any otherworldly strengths you possess in your being. Touch is what spiritual entity allowed you to be born. God Touch, Angel Touch, Demon Touch and worst of all, Devil Touch. Devil Touch was a rare case, God Touch as common as the air in which we breath.


This section right here is rather jarring---it seems removed from the narrative prose and serves only as a paragraph of exposition. Is there a more clever way to get this information across to the reader? Keep in mind that you don't have to reveal everything about your story all at once. Some things can be revealed piece by piece, other information can be saved until a more relevant time. Consider what is truly necessary to the reader now, and save the rest for later.

“That can’t be right! Our child couldn’t be cursed, she’s our first born!” The woman on the bed was thrashing now, enraged by the almost impossible statistics.


I'm a bit confused here... does being the first born normally exclude one from the curse, or was this just worded in a way you hadn't intended? I would suggest revising.

Problem two here is "enraged" doesn't seem to fit as a verb. It seems a bit unrealistic that she would react that way, and gave me a very odd mental picture. Also the thrashing. She should be more careful (and tired) after just giving birth. xD

Also "impossible statistics" are probably not the words you were looking for. Try "absurdity," "improbability" or something along those lines. Just saying, those would probably work better.

“The fact that she is your first born changes nothing, but there is really no need to worry. You will be allowed to live with her for eight more years, then we will dispose of her by usual means.”


The dialogue here seems a bit flat/"stagey." I think t's just the "But there's really no need to worry" thrown in that seemed off. I know I would still be worried! Try a simple "however" or "but." If you're trying to make him (at least, I think it's a him, there are still no dialogue tags. Grrrrr) seem cruel, than there are other ways to make that come across. Maybe throw in a "because we are merciful/understand your situation" or something along those lines for irony. Right now, the "but don't worry" just makes his cruelty come across as cheesy. (If I'm guessing right about this, that is)

“You can’t possibly mean that! You would let us raise our child for eight years only to have her burned at the stake? What kind of heartless person are you? She’s not the one who’s Devil Touched, you are!”


Argh! Still no dialogue tags! While they aren't entirely necessary, they are nice to have one or two somewhere in here.

Now, I would suggest reading this sentence here out loud. Why? Because it doesn't sound natural. It sounds like your "forcing" information into your character's mouth... either to repeat/reiterate something that has already been stated, ("Our child be raised for eight years,") or to "insult" another character ("You're the one who's devil touched!") This is telling, this isn't showing. Right now your characters are speaking and reacting like those bad actors you see on TV shows---try to lend some realism to them and their characterization. They're characters, not actors.

“Dear,” a new voice interjected, tears staining his face, “let’s just raise her. Let her live a happy life while she has the chance. She doesn’t have to know, don’t you at least want to see our child happy?” These words struck the woman, so much so that all she could do was nod.


For such an important point in the story thus far, this has a rather dead delivery. Brainstorm... how can you make this original, dynamic? Phrase this in such a way that it becomes unforgettable to the reader. Don't reach for the automatic, cliché, static voice. Define your own. Allow yourself some freedom with your words. Don't be so rigid that all life is sucked from the prose.

“Good, now that this matter is settled would you please get that, ‘thing’ out of here? It’s contaminating the air.”


Uh... this is the government regent/doctor/stranger dude speaking, yes? Again, dialogue tags are invaluable in this case. Please let us know who is saying what.

*Sushi**Sushi**Sushi*


This was the most interesting "scene break indicator" I think I've ever seen. Lol. You could just use a simple line, that must have taken some time. ;)

Cerys watched as the blue and white flames licked at the stars, she was eighteen now.


"She was eighteen now." This is dull, and it is telling, not showing. Try to visualize this... how can you show the passage of time without being obvious about it? Subtlety is key. I'm going to suggest that you make this into two separate chapters---the section with her parents as a prologue, and start here with chapter one. That's more natural for a reader, and less "sudden" of a transition.

It had been ten years ago her parents had burned at the stake. Ten years ago she had lost her home. Ten years ago she found out she was Devil Touched.


Nice use of repetition, by the way.

Why, however, is Cerys remising about the past at this specific moment? Is there any good reason besides that you want to cover her back-story? Because otherwise this whole entire flashback scene which you delve into, to be brutally frank and honest, is a waste of time.

A story is what happens to a character as they try and get something they need or want.

While flashbacks are a great way to provide insight into how a character thinks and why they act the way they act (what makes them tick) they should be used with extreme care and with a great deal of reserve. Sparingly.

Not to mention that, as a first chapter or scene, a flashback is one of the worst choices to go with. There is nothing there to hook the reader... what has happened is already done and over with. Not to mention that here, specifically, all the events Cerys is remembering happened TEN YEARS ago... so for her to think back now would be strangely random and slightly redundant in regards to her character.

Not to mention that an eight year old has remembered all of the events of "that day" with stunning clarity. Does the devil's touch grant an incredibly sharp memory? If not then I would suggest sort of crafting this flashback scene in a sort of "haze," pick only the details that an eight year old Cerys would have remembered. The mind works in strange ways. I think you could work with this section here and really turn it into something great.

However, as I said before, don't have a flashback as the first scene. It's bad form, good man, bad form.

Other than her mismatched eyes and black birthmark, she was just like any other villager when it came to appearance.


Black birthmark... I'm sure everyone who read this got a different mental picture. Try to be perhaps just a tad more specific?

Her glossy black hair was common in many of the villagers and her decently tan skin was natural for all the time she spent outdoors. Her build was perfect for climbing trees, nimble and fairly well muscled. Despite everything that was normal about her, all the villagers seemed to care about was how she was different from them.


Now, for quite the same reasons for not putting a flashback in the first scene, you should try to avoid adding block-paragraphs of character description in the first scene as well. In fact, avoid all block-paragraphs of character description. It is telling, not showing, and unless it is relevant to the story itself, isn't relevant to the reader. (Trust me, they're not going to remember what color her hair/eyes are by page five.) Avoid lists of information. Try to convey things more subtly, camouflaging bits of information within the events of the story itself. (BTW that goes for the flashback as well.... you can break it up over the course of the story.)

-----

I'm going to mostly skip the flashback sequence, since I already commented on that.

However...

“It’s okay Cerys, all you need to do is stay put while I go get things ready. You’re going to
meet your creator soon.” The priest's voice seemed kind, but something bothered her.


Something is bothering me too... if I am not mistaken, this story is by no means set in modern times. In that case why is a priest (nonetheless) using the very modern "okay" here in his dialogue?

There are other ways to convey a "falsely soothing voice" than just using placating words. Try changing/experimenting the way you structure your phrases... switching word order might help.

For example, compare:

“It’s okay... stay put while I go get things ready. You’re going to
meet your creator soon.” The priest's voice seemed kind, but something bothered her.

With:

"It's alright child. Today is your big day, there is no need to be frightened. Soon you will return to your creator." the priest spoke softly, but she was bothered by the way he turned his words up at the ends.

Now, that's just the way I did it... find your own way of putting things. But note two things.
1. I was much more ambiguous. You shouldn't know exactly what anyone is thinking just by what they say. He isn't saying what he means.

2.I tried to juxtapose the "calming" against the stark reality of the priest's task. "No need to be afraid" against "Soon you will meet your maker." Juxtaposition is a wonderful writer's technique, I would suggest that you experiment with it. Who knows, you might have some fun!

“Mom, there’s something wrong with that man. Why should he bother acting nice if he doesn’t like me?” To her astonishment, tears fell from her mother’s eyes.


Another modern usage of "Mom" here. Also... how does she know the priest doesn't like her? What gave that away? Is she a mind reader? You forgot to add in the "detail of the betrayal" (what gave his sinister intentions away) in order for this to be believable. IF she is aware that he is malignant, that is. Remember she's eight, she might not notice everything!

“Awe! How sweet, the little devil thinks thinks I’m the untrustworthy one. Don’t be stupid, just stay here and I’ll give you a treat if you behave.”


An unbelievable turn of nastiness here, and a bit over the top. Also, "Awe" is an actual word, not a vocal sound. ("Aww") He seems to lose his threat though, when he talks like this. Too trite, perhaps.

“Cerys, listen,” his voice was hushed and panicked, sweat beaded his brow. “I need you to run as far as you can away from here. Avoid the village at all costs. Your mother and I will be right behind you, I promise!”

With a quick glance over his shoulder, he nudged her to a concealed hole in the floor, then turned to help her mother.


Somehow this seems to fall a little flat as far as a last goodbye goes. You are sliding in and out of omniscient and 3rd person distant POVs here... you could just take full advantage of that and allow a little more time to characterize the mother and father. Show their struggle over letting her go. Expression is key. You have to be original and specific when dealing with emotion like this. It's a very personal thing. Don't rush through this.

Cerys had always wondered why they had a tunnel leading to the end of the village under their house.


And I'm wondering too. That's a fairly large detail to just suddenly throw in there. It seems sort of random. Maybe give it a bit more time... show more of the tunnel, show Cerys' personal connection to it, etc. Or maybe brainstorm a bit. A tunnel is pretty noticeable, it's surprising no one from the village had discovered it. Are there any other ways she could escape? Allow yourself to be creative here.

Ew! What if I just touched an animal intestine! Ugh, I bet there are a ton of dead bodies down here.


Believe it or not, both 'Ew' and "Ugh" are very modern sound effects. And I don't know about you but I don't know many people---even kids, who "think" using words like these. What I would suggest doing it overlaying strong verbs with emotions to convey her sense of disgust or fear. Don't just tell... show.

"Oh great. I’m not even outside the tunnel and I’ve already been spotted.


"Oh great"--- another modern usage. Plus, I know quite a few eight year olds, actually, and they generally don't say/think this when they are disappointed/surprised.

Remember, Cerys is only eight here. You have to keep her in character.

“I think I see her!” The voice cried. Her breath caught in her throat. “Over there at the top of that tree, that’s her!” This came as a surprise to Cerys. Why would someone of the village try covering for her? As far as she knew everyone hated her.


This is rather confusing in here. I had to read through it a couple times before I got what was actually happening. Considering re-wording this, or better yet, change the action around so that it's clear... without "telling"... what is happening.

Cerys recognized her savior, a young boy named Finn.


Does she know Finn's name? If not, you could just leave it as "a young boy." Otherwise it becomes unbelievable.

“Holy Devil!”


Another rather modern usage. Not to mention... would she have recognized immediately what that orange glow was? She's only eight after all, she probably hasn't seen an execution.

The fear clearly shone on her face then changed to something different, something more sinister. Blood lust.


This should happen after we are shown her reaction to her parent's death, not right away. It's less predictable that way.

“Those two were always naive, but to think they would end up caring for a Devil Touched.” Hearing the voice, Cerys crept inside the shed, silently closing the doors behind her.


What shed? The magically appearing shed? And why is there a shed next to a church yard? Don't just add details at random. Is there something else she could hide behind?

“We even told them that when she came of age she would be cleansed of sin... What really surprised me was the fact that the girl didn't even know what she was. I mean, wasn't the little brat even the slightest bit curious as to why people hated her so?”


What really surprised me is the fact that Cerys seems to feel very little after just having witnessed her parent's gruesome death. This isn't realistic. It isn't believable.

Also, why do you have the priest, via talking to "himself," reveal all about what Cerys is to her? Isn't that a bit too convenient? Is there another, more creative way that Cerys could come to the realization of what she is?

The present Cerys clenched her jaw trying to remember what had happened that night.


This isn't a very good re-transition. It is telling, not showing.

Suddenly images came rushing to her, like a flip had suddenly been switched.


I think that I've already mentioned this... but why now, out of all times, is she remembering the events of her past? It's disconnected, and the reader has no real emotional connection to her... the present Cerys, so they don't really care about the past Cerys. You need to establish a bond between protagonist and reader before you start to reveal clues about their pasts.

It wasn’t that all blood scarred her when she made contact with it, just those that were God Touched.


Now THIS is interesting. It's not something I've seen before, to be sure. I want to see you do more with this idea. That being said, I have to say... chapter one really has no connection whatsoever to the prologue. It appears as though you cannot decide which idea you want to go with here---the elementals, the body-changer, or the Devil's Touch. Let me give you a word of warning here: beware of too much "magic" in the same book. Simply put, the reader might buy some stuff, but once you force them to believe that Santa exists, and then throw in aliens at his shop in the north pole... you start to lose credibility as an author, and the reader loses interest. Now, it is possible to craft a world where all these different things coexist, like Tolkien or Rowling, but it's a challenge to pull off, and needs to be done with a certain measure of subtlety and reserve.

What do I mean by that?

Well, to me, elementals invoke an Asian or Greek based fantasy realm, whereas "body changing" seems like supernatural creepiness or sci-fi, while the devil's touch is all classic "high" fantasy. Melding them all together might work, but it might also come across as shabby and "patched together," filled with holes and other nightmares.

Just a warning. Carry on though. Explore all three of those ideas.

Cerys cringed remembering her past. She didn’t like it, but it was necessary. She needed to remember that she was a curse. She needed to remember the sins she had committed. She needed to know why she even bothered living. I will find the devil that cursed me, and when I do -. The sharp snapping of a twig broke Cerys from her rage.


Ah, so this is why she is remembering this now? No offense, take this lightly, but a monologue in the woods isn't very compelling. And WHY does she think she's a curse? What forced her brain to blame the devil himself instead of those "God-touched" or other humans? Show, don't tell. And don't throw all your cards out on one hand. Choose wisely when revealing details about a character's past. A slow revelation of how a character ticks is always better than soliloquies or lists.

Shit! Cerys scrambled to put out the fire, someone was coming.


*Another modern usage, might I point out.

Also... your character is hanging in a white void. All I know right now is that there are trees and it's night. I didn't realize at first that she was staring into a fire, nor do I know why that fire happens to be blue. Details. Craft us a detailed, believable world where your real characters live and breathe. Make them come off the page. Use words to your advantage.

(has been completely edited according to all reviews/comments)


Now, this right here bugged me the most out of your entire chapter here. Editing grammatical and spelling mistakes is fine, but as for the rest....

Take EVERYTHING, and I mean everything, with a grain of salt. Don't just accept whatever it is your reviewers are telling you to do. If you disagree with them, find out why. Don't accept what they have to say as truth, process everything. I'm sure that everything everyone has said so far is perfectly correct and will go very far in helping you to improve... but don't blindly change things at their (and my) suggestion. Go back and look it over for yourself. They're only suggestions, after all.

You can't be writing for someone else, you have to write for yourself.

Anyways, I basically just threw the book of all the advice I know at you here. Sorry that it took me so long to get these reviews in.

This is really very good, especially for a first draft. It needs polishing and refining, but it has promise. I'm definitely curious as to where you are planning on taking this idea of yours.

Good work, keep writing.
PM me if you have any questions.
-ED






Yeah, actually the prologue won't come in until later. The flashback believe it or not actually helps me kind of characterize and show what Cerys has been through, since it will help build up to something. Um, about where this takes place, I put some clues in there to show that it wasn't earth and is instead some other world. The times are modern so that's why she talks like that, although I admit I have trouble thinking like an eight year old XD. There are several string to this story that are slowly being tied together, so I guess you'll just have to see the end then be like, awe, so that's why she did that. Also I am a girl XD. I will try going back and editing and all, but I don't know if I'll be able to consider all of your advice, considering how much there is... I must work on dialogue definitely and many other thing. Thank you for the review!





Well, obviously, don't follow ALL of my advice... it was rather excessive. If this is a fantasy world set in modern times, then perhaps you should make that a bit clearer in the set up. Besides the dialogue, there are no other indications of a time period. (Technology, clothing, etc.) Just try and be more descriptive.

Writing a flashback to help with characterization is fine, in fact it's great. I do it all the time. What I was trying to say to you was that characterization should come across naturally to the reader, without clunky passages of backstory. Don't put a flashback in the first chapter. Just, don't...

Read this, she says it better than I ever could.





Thank you for the link. This info is pretty helpful. ^_^ I think I might have put something about there being three suns in there, so I thought that might have made things a little more obvious as to this being a fantasy world. I actually needed this so that I could set up the rest of the story. But now that I think about this, I might need to change my whole draft for the third chapter. *O.O*



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mystogan wrote a review...



The still need to be two major changes. The time skip is still quite confusing. The start is good where you make it clear that there is a skip but then the transition from her eighteen year old self back to what happened when she was eight had no marking. It simply just began explaining what happened when she was eight and I had to read several times to understand.

Also you talk in 2nd person i think but then you show me her thoughts which are in 1st person which just muddles things up. You should make it clear it is her thoughts by using italics or put it into 2nd person as well.

Also i would proof read your work, a few minor mistakes and some punctuation missing.

The good part is that the emotions are more real. Her reactions are more thought out and realistic. There was also enough description and detail of things.






Oh darn! I was a little confused about the italics part until I realized that they didn't show up. Better go edit that. Thanks for the double feedback! I shall smooth the transition and edit grammar accordingly. :D



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MTBassiony wrote a review...



Hey sushi,

the title you gave your story is catchy, it gives an impression of magic and adventure.

after the first part of the chapter, in wich crey's parents are informed of the touch and that part, it gets even more interesting.............SUPERNATURAL.

{At first Cerys hadn’t realized what was happened until she saw the fire burning outside.}
I think it should be "has happened" not "was happened".

{As Cerys ran her speed slowed until she finally came to a stop.}
You should put a comma between "ran" and " her speed", or someone would read it: "As creys ran her speed".

{Because the priest had been God Touched his blood was like acid to Cerys’ skin}
*First, you should put a comma between "God touched" and "his blood".
*Second, how could he be god touched even when you said:
{when her family had been visited by a demon in the form of a priest}
then how could a demon be god touched. Excuse me if I am wrong.
*Third: Where did his blood come from? Did she kill him?



Other than that, the story is very good. I like the idea of being devil touched, angel touched and all of these touchs. The appearance of the elementals in the story would make it a real original supernatural story.

hope you get it published,

best regards.






Thank you so much for your review! I have many things I need to fix don't I? This chapter will definitely be updated asap, so thank you very much for the help. :) It would be cool if it got published wouldn't it?



MTBassiony says...


yeah, it's got a good chance to be a best seller.



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Hannah wrote a review...



This is nice. I like all the categories you give your living characters. It matches up nicely with the categories of the characters in the opening. I also like that they have different characteristics, and the way you presented those made them feel really real. The gold ichor, especially, was a beautiful, realistic, and yet fantastic touch.

Now, then.

When Cerys could no longer recognize her parents she turned away, unable to bear the cruel reality of their deaths.


This was a little unbelievable to me. She watched every single moment of their death? At eight years old? And thought to herself that she was unable to bear the cruel reality of their deaths? I need to know how this kid got smart enough to avoid capture and getting burned herself after her parents died, especially if she was standing right there in the place where the mob had been and burned them. What on earth made her think it was okay, and if she had a reason for that, how'd she avoid being recognized?

I'd like a more realistic description of this scene: moment by moment so we follow her and learn about her movements and intentions. I also have to say that although I like the old man, what he says is very cliche. Some mumbling old man that the main character listens to intently, sure to catch every word, and then it turns out he's saying some kind of prophecy. Plus she puts stock into it. If we saw a mumbling old man on the street, we would try not to even register what he's saying, so why does she?

All in all, still a pretty strong start, and I'd like to see where it's going.
PM me if you have any questions or comments about my review, please.

Good luck and keep writing!






You're right, the old man is pretty cliche isn't he? I shall get to work on that right away! And thanks for the review :)



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Sins wrote a review...



I hath returned! Like in my prologue review, I'm not going to bother you with nit-picks and instead, get straight into my overall opinion. I'll not what I think is good about this first, which I doubt will be a difficult task, and then get onto the gritty stuff and begin with my critiques and suggestions. Also, I'm not actually going to read your previous reviews this time as you've edited since they were posted. That way, you can see if your edits have been successful because if I bring up the same issues despite me not reading previous reviews, then it's a sign that you may need to edit some more.

So I really do love your idea and concept. I knew you'd have an original and interesting concept after reading your prologue because that in itself was unique and intriguing. I think you've done an even better job in this chapter though because you've really shown us readers int a new world where everything is, of course, a lot different to the world we live in. I really liked the harshness of this and the way you made us readers face the harsh reality of this world where they burn people alive! It's just a really cool concept, I think, and so I applaud you for being able to achieve something so interesting and unique. We haven't seen many characters in detail or anything yet, but what I've seen of Cerys so far is promising. I like how she has inner turmoil and what not, so well done. Also, one more positive:

Cerys watched as the blue and white flames licked at the stars...


Cerys is a Welsh name and I'm Welsh, yay!

Haha, but anyways, now onto cirtiques. Maybe this is just me, but I can't help feeling that this chapter's a little rushed and everything sort of feels like it's happening at once. Think about it, you've got a lot of important stuff going on: Cerys is born, she's revealed to be Devil Touched, she's suddenly 18 years old, she remembers back to when she was eight, her parents told her to run away, she ran away, she ran back, she saw her parents' death, she discovered she was Devil Touched, she finds an old man ranting about stuff, she learns about said stuff, and the old man is killed. That's a lot of events, right? There's nothing wrong with the events themselves, it's just that it feels like so much is going on in a single chapter that it ends up feeling a bit cramped. Maybe you could split this into two chapters? Or take out some of the detail? Or just elongate it so everything doesn't seem like it's happening in a flurry?

Something else that bothers me is to do with the content of this, and that's the scene where little Cerys is told to run away and so she does so. Moments earlier, you note how there's a crowd outside, and for Cerys to be able to leave, she has to go outside... So how come they didn't go crazy and start chasing her in an attempt to slaughter her? Maybe she left through the back door or something, but you don't specify that, so I can't be sure. Even if she does leave through the back door or something though, surely the Priest guy who was there to take her or whatever would have alerted the mob outside so that they could chase after her. I mean, he definitely would have seen her as he was in the house with her. It's just something for you to think about, I guess.

On a similarish note, I find it so bizarre that Cerys hadn't realised before all of this happened that she was Devil Touched. You note the three typical symptoms of it at the beginning of this: heterochromia, a birth mark, and no heartbeat. Call me crazy, but if I had all three of those things then I think I would have noticed at some point. If Cerys had no idea of the existence of the Devil Touch thingy, then okay, she might not have realised. She obviously does though because she even notes that she does towards the end of this by naming all the different kinds of touches. Plus she understood exactly what those people meant when they revealed she was Devil Touched.

What I find especially weird about this is that Cerys has never noticed she doesn't have a heartbeat before. I mean, come on, that just makes her seem kind of stupid. If she had the other two symptoms, which she could not possibly have not noticed, then surely she would have checked if she had a heartbeat in fear of being Devil Touched. If I had two out of three symptoms for something, I'd certainly check for the third. Besides, everyone notices their heartbeat at some point or another. When you're in a silent room, when you've been running, when you're out of breath e.t.c. As a result, I just find it incredibly bizarre that Cerys has never checked hers, or noticed that she doesn't have one before.

Now something else I'd like to mention is the old man at the end of this, bless him. He actually relates to something I mentioned in my previous review when I talked about the Element children just randomly disappearing because this old guy just randomly dies. Like I said with the Element children's disappearance, it feels like you're done with the old guy's part of this story and so now you've just killed him off because you don't need him anymore. As a result, to me, he just comes across as a plot tool to inform Cerys of everything. He's just there to give her, and the readers, information. But remember, he's more than just a carrier of information, he's a person! This is very picky in fairness, but it just bothered me a little that all he's here for in this novel is to give Cerys information, and so you kill him off to not have to deal with him anymore.

Sticking with the concept of the old man, I find Cerys' reaction to him really strange and rather unrealistic. He seems pretty crazy, not going to lie, but Cerys is watching and listening to him as if he's having a perfectly normal chat with her. Sure, she thinks he's crazy and doesn't believe him and all that, but she's so... calm. I mean, heck, if some guy was like that with me I would be pretty freaked out and either run away or avoid responding to him in any way, both verbally and physically. Yet if I didn't know any better, I'd think he was just a slightly insane friend of Cerys' or something. Plus the poor guy's going mental, and Cerys responds with:

“Hey, Old Timer!”


This makes it sound like they're old friends or something, and he's not some apparently deranged lunatic preaching to her. I guess I'm just saying how odd I find Cerys' friendliness towards him, I mean, he could be very dangerous for all she knows. I'd think she'd be very wary of people after what happened to her parents as well, so the fact that she's so calm around him is odd. Plus where she closes his eyes at the end of this, he could still be alive and kill her then and there for all she knows. He's also just had an arrow in his neck, and not being funny, but that's kind of a sign for Cerys to get the hell out of there. She doesn't even really acknowledge it though. It's just like, "aw, he's got an arrow shoved through his neck, bless him. I'll close his eyes."

And now finally, I have one grammatically sort of critique for you, and that is paragraphing and dialogue... or to be more precise, dialogue paragraphing! What I noticed is that you'll have some dialogue, and then that is followed by a big chunk of writing unrelated to that specific dialogue. Now dialogue paragraphing can be tricky in fairness, but the simplest way to remember it is that whenever someone begins speaking, or a different person speaks, you have to start a new line/paragraph. Once that dialogue is then over with, you have to again start a new paragraph. Basically, dialogue has to be in its own line/paragraph, and the only non-dialogue that can be with it are dialogue tags i.e. said Simon, Simon said as he stroked the cat, Simon stroked the cat as he said e.t.c. Err, does that make sense?

Negatives aside, I really do love the concept of this. There are things that could do with some tweaking and editing, but none of the critiques I've mentioned above are too difficult to fix, so I think you'll do just fine. Some of the critiques are also a bit opinion based, so if you completely disagree with them, that's fine. They're only suggestions. This is a very promising novel overall so far, and so I'm definitely intrigued to find out more. I hope I've been helpful and as I said in my previous review, just let me know if you have any questions or comments with regards to this review.

Keep writing,

xoxo Skins






Yes, your review really does bring to light some things I forgot to mention or accidentally deleted while editing. This review will definitely be used when I edit and when I continue on to the next chapter. Thanks much!



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Omnom wrote a review...



Here to review again, Sushi, because you asked!

My name is Aquestioning, and I will be reviewing this no doubt wonderful piece for you. So, without further interruptions from my incompetent mind, let's get to reviewing!

So, this is longer than your prologue, so time to bring out my quotes!

“She has the Devil’s Touch.” Not many parents wanted to hear those words after having their first born child.


So, I'm all for having paragraph breaks to cause tension and lure the audience in one important areas, so I suggest you do it here. For example:

>>"She has the Devil's Touch."

Not many parents want to hear those words after having their first born child.<<

See? This could be spiced up even more if you add some more detail and suspense to the first line. I'm not going to help you with that unless you ask, though.

All the signs are present: no heartbeat, no umbilical cord, and heterochromia iridum.”


So, two questions here: One, how would no umbilical cord be a symptom if it's usually figured out that a person has it long after the umbilical cord has been cut? Just a simple kinda error that you might want to replace for something more viable all throughout life. Two, you should capitalize herterochromia iridum, to make it more important and just that more mysterious.

Our first child couldn’t be cursed, she’s our first born!”


So, you really don't need first child on there, just child. It makes it flow smoother ;)

*Sushi**Sushi**Sushi**Sushi**Sushi**Sushi**Sushi**Sushi**Sushi**Sushi**Sushi**Sushi**Sushi*


Haha! Just a thought, if you were going to publish this, remember to take that out.

erys watched as the blue and white flames licked at the stars, the memories of her eighth birthday surfacing with the smoke. Ten years ago her parents had burned at the stake. Ten years ago she had lost her home. Ten years ago she found out she was Devil Touched. Before then her parents had done their best to keep her away from mirrors, birth records and themselves. It wasn’t that they hated her or felt she was cursed, they just didn’t want her to realize she had no heartbeat.


So, I'm reviewing this as I go along, and I'm extremely confused at this part. How old is she? Ten? Eighteen? This is really confusing, maybe try to smooth this out a little bit.

Who were these celestials? As far as Cerys knew there was only, God, angels, demons and The Devil.


I'm literally shaking with excitement right now! I have never before read about a mixture like this. If you pull this off right, you will have a great story and a mesmerized audience.

So, I've finished reading this and the only complaint I can make is that the setting is hard to grasp. If you put more details to balance the dialogue, this would be one great story!

Well done!
Quest






Wow! I never noticed that part about the umbilical cord! That shall be changed pronto. I also shall improve upon everything else you said except the paragraph breaks, but that's only because I didn't understand what you were saying. (I tend to be really dense) I'm so happy that my story is original, I was so worried and so bored that I decided to play off of what I wished could happen. (No burnings are included in my wishes) Thanks for the review! :D



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Yazi wrote a review...



Hey, so I read the prologue to "Elementals" and I really enjoyed it so I thought I would continue on.
To begin with, I must say that it's a good start to a novel and it's a story with potential because it hasn't been told yet. Your style of writing is well appreciated and very exercised and you will do well continuing on as you do.
However, apart from the eyes of the character in the chapter, I am having real trouble picturing the character and I think there should be some kind of description of her physique.
I also believe that there should be some kind of description of what kind of world and society she used to live in and what the superstitions are based on.
I enjoy the graphicness of the chapter because it made me cringe. The character is portrayed in such a way that I can sympathize with her and that's definitely a good quality.
I do wonder where the arrow came from though. The way it killed the man was sudden and kind of uncalled for and I am really interested in knowing where it has come from.
I also believe - although it's only a suggestion and it is possible that you have this in a later chapter - that there should be a description of all the types of "Touch" early on and there should be a definition of the relationship between the "Celestials" and Cerys.
As far as grammar goes, it is really good. :)
I sure hope you've posted a continuation or another chapter.
Have fun writing the rest of the novel!
:D






The Celestials are actually a really important part in this piece that will probably come in a little later. Now that I think of it, even I have no idea what Cerys looks like, I shall definitely improve on that. The arrow is for chapter two, it allows me to keep the plot flowing just a tiny bit better than if he hadn't died. I shall surely focus on the points you brought up, I appreciate the review greatly and hope you aren't disappointed when I post chapter two. (that will take a while though :) )



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Ary wrote a review...



He-llo! Here to review captain! *salutes you*

First off,I can see this will be one of the greatest stories I've ever read but I felt like you were rushing it here. And because of it most of that greatness is blurred. It's okay to take your time and put details in this chapter because that way the reader will get a better understanding of the flashback and of Cerys current situation. You don't need to go overboard on the details, you just need to describe it a bit more so that the Chapter may flow smoothly from flashback time to present time.

Second is grammar....zero commentary here. You got that nailed down.

And lastly would be the meaning of the story itself. I find it a very intriguing plot, and like I said before it looks like a great-story-in-the-making if you get what I mean. And I really am curious *whispers* "Maybe slightly obsessed" in reading more. But you must delete the confusion so that the reader may understand this better.

I think me got all of it covered now. Zee you later!...no, wait...write you later! :D






Thanks for the review! I shall definitely work on having this story make more sense. I kind of was rushed since I tend to be an impatient person when dealing with myself. This was very helpful and I shall take every bit into consideration. :D



Ary says...


I get it; I turn to be impatient myself, sometimes. :)



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mystogan wrote a review...



I agree that this is raw, it needs proof reading. Some the sentences don't make sense. I think some more character development is required. For example, the main character runs away way too easily. And I think some more description of the location would be nice. At the end it starts to get really confusing. She asks the old man whether he wants to crash here, what does that mean. Does she even have a home at that point and I was very surprised at here casual conversation tone. How can she be like that when her parents just died? Plus there was no response from her for the two dead people. Usually those kind of things can be quite traumatic and requires some kind of response. I think you tried to cram too many things in one chapter or that you need to extend bits by adding development in them.

Now to the good things. I like the pace of the story. Yeah it needs more development, but it was once again concise and to the point. The concept and ideas are still very intriguing. It only makes me want to find out more. This is one of those times I am actually very excited to read more. The idea of the touch, the crazy society and rituals, it all paints this very different world. The amount of plot threads is endless in this world right now, so I am not going to try and guess how it will go from here, but I hope you do continue writing. I like once again the references to the villages. Although at this point it seems like they are insignificant to the whole story. I look forward to how you bring them in.

Also I noticed how you named the planet or country they were in by her saying what in Orbis. I picked up on that immediately. Its a very clever way to put in information without having to describe too much. I advice you to smooth out the rough parts, but by all means do continue writing this. There is a very interesting concept beneath this. Notify me when you have made corrections or post the next chapter. :)






Oh, I guess I really should clear things up, that was actually a flashback, but now that I think about it a very unclear flashback. This really helped me pinpoint where I need to fix things, I shall definitely get to work. Thanks again!
Sushi:D



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Thu Jun 20, 2013 9:55 pm
SushiSashimi333 says...



I did not mean to "like" my chapter. I was trying to see who liked it and accidentally pushed like. I don't like my chapter. Well, in the button sense.




mystogan says...


ha ha, I know only too well what you mean. The same happened to me hence it looks like i have liked several of my pieces





Just found out, if you push the "like" button again you can "unlike" it.




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