#9
FOOTPRINTS IN THE FOG – PART 1
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
BLACKWELL GRANGE – CONNECTICUT – JUNE 1926
 
The morning air is thick and humid. Fog wraps around Blackwell Grange and the lush green gardens sprawl before it.
 
At the Swimming Pool, Nurse Irene Silver and Fivel Dove relax in a warm spot where the fog has thinned and the sunbeams shine. Nurse Silver sits on the edge of a poolside lounge chair braiding her thick golden hair.
 
Fivel stands ankle deep on the shallowest step into the water. A large rubber ball floats in the center of the large, long pool.
 
Surrounding the Swimming Pool are pillars and statues of Greek Gods and Goddesses – in contrast to the Roman Gods and Goddesses that decorate the Ballroom.
 
“It’s cold,” Fivel says, splashing his foot around in the water.
 
“I told you it would be.” Nurse Silver says, “Let’s wait until midday when the sun has warmed the pavement and the water.”
 
“Mother said it’s going to rain.” Fivel says, “If I don’t swim now, then I’m not going to get a chance to until after the weekend is over.”
 
“It’s going to rain all weekend?” asks Nurse Silver
 
“The Colonel was talking about a large storm moving up the coast,” Fivel says
 
Nurse Silver shrugs, “Then I suppose you’ll have to get used to the cold water.”
 
Miss Brenda Dove and Miss Vivienne Scarlet walk along the path from the Fountain.
 
“Darling, get out of the water before you catch a cold.” Miss Dove orders.
 
Fivel sighs and comes over beside Nurse Silver to dry off his legs.
 
“Honestly, the fog is so thick we can hardly walk in it.” Miss Dove scolds Nurse Silver
 
“Dr. Black had to postpone the little tennis interview with Mr. Clay until the fog lifts.” Miss Scarlet says, “We were going to cheer on our men.”
 
Miss Dove chuckles, “I’m excited to see Hugh on the court. I’ve never seen him play tennis.”
 
“I’m sure Edward would make him look like a fool.” Miss Scarlet says
 
“I’m sure.” Miss Dove says, “That’s why I wanted to be there to see.”
 
Miss Dove and Miss Scarlet laugh together.
 
“Can’t I play in the shallow end?” Fivel looks up at his mother
 
“Absolutely not!” Miss Dove says firmly, “You really shouldn’t even swim until July or August.”
 
“It’s warm enough.” Nurse Silver says
 
“Did I ask for your input, Nurse Silver?” Miss Dove turns to the young woman
 
“No, ma’am.” Nurse Silver lowers her head
 
“Go see if Mrs. White and Fraulein Bloom need any help in the Kitchen.” Miss Dove says, “You are dismissed for now. I’ll take Fivel with me.”
 
Nurse Silver glances at Miss Scarlet, who returns a glare superiority and authority.
 
“Run along, dear.” Miss Scarlet adds in
 
“Vivienne, it’s been delightful chatting with you.” Miss Dove says, “But I have to get myself and my son dressed for breakfast.
 
“Of course,” Miss Scarlet says, “Have you seen Colonel Mustard? I was hoping to get a chance to speak with him.”
 
“Check the Billiard Room or the Lounge.” Miss Dove says, “Both rooms have an open bar.”
 
“It’s barely seven in the morning.” Miss Scarlet says
 
“When you get to be the Colonel’s age, anytime is a good time for a glass of brandy.” Miss Dove says
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
In the Kitchen, Mr. Ash , Mrs. White , Fraulein Bloom , and Yvette bustle around the room quickly preparing the final sides for breakfast. Mrs. White is very frantic, as one can observe by her quick, squirrel-like movements.
 
“I was thinking of dying my hair a dark chestnut.” Fraulein Bloom says
 
“I think the red hair suits you.” Mr. Ash says
 
“I thought it might be fun to change things up.” Fraulein Bloom shrugs
 
“Why does everyone think there needs to be change?” Mr. Ash sighs, “I like things the way they are. Besides, dye isn’t good for your hair.”
 
“Yvette, get the marmalade jar with the gold lid.” Mrs. White calls out over the noise of sizzling grease and fat on the frying pan, “It should be next to the bottle of laudanum.”
 
“Do you want me to take the tray?” Mr. Ash speaks from where he is putting together a plate of food.
 
“The guests need you.” Mrs. White says, shaking her head, “I’ll take the master his tray. You can bring the master medicine.”
 
“Be careful how loud you call him the master.” Mr. Ash says, “What if Dr. Black hears you?”
 
“He knows how I feel about this hoax of a living arrangement.” Mrs. White says softly, “Take care of all the pre-breakfast arrangements. I’ll slip upstairs and back down before anyone notices.”
 
Mr. Ash finishes preparing the small tray of food – eggs, bacon, sausage, fried mushrooms, toast, and oatmeal. He brings the tray to Mrs. White and gives her a knowing look. She holds the tray out as Mr. Ash walks her through the pantry and to the back stairwell.
 
“He’s been feisty.” Mr. Ash says
 
“I saw him early last week, remember?” Mrs. White says, “I know how the master’s temperament gets.”
 
Mrs. White climbs the creaky wooden stairwell. The back stairwell goes through all the floors of Blackwell Grange straight up to the attic, which is where Mrs. White continues to climb. Once at the top landing, she unlocks the door to the attic stairs with her large key ring.
 
Mrs. White carries the steaming food past sheet covered furniture, Christmas decorations, old trunks, and a moth-eaten wedding gown on a wooden mannequin. At the far end of the attic is a door. She sets the tray of food down on a cleared table by the door. She takes her large key ring and nervously turns the lock.
 
She enters the room to see a frail, elderly man sitting in a wheelchair staring out the large, circular window at the peak of Blackwell Grange’s tallest tower.
 
“It’s strange.” The man speaks in a dry, but proper tone, “A small finch comes to my window every morning. Rain or shine. He hides in the dry safety behind the bricks.”
 
The old man points to the spot where the bricks create a small alcove on the other side of the window pane, “But when it’s foggy like today the Finch can’t find the mansion.”
 
“Sir Benedict,” Mrs. White places his tray of food on the table near his bed, “Fraulein Bloom made your favorite mushrooms.”
 
Sir Benedict Black the Fourth , rolls himself over to the table in his wheelchair. The long-thought dead patriarch of the Black family smiles fondly as he sees the breakfast, “I love the way she makes mushrooms. She’s the new cook, yes?”
 
“Yes. She’s been here for a while, you remember, don’t you?” Mrs. White says, pouring him a glass of water from the crystal pitcher on his dresser.
 
“I was worried they were keeping you away from me. I haven’t seen you in a few days. Have you spoken to Peter or Nurse Silver?” Sir Benedict the Fourth asks
 
 “I try to stay out of the Professor’s business.” Mrs. White dries her hands on her apron, “Shall I light a fire?”
 
“I like the coldness that lingers on a rainy summer morning.” Sir Benedict says, “The rest of the day will be sweltering hot. Is Mr. Ash coming to see me today?”
 
“Mr. Ash will bring you your medicine.” Mrs. White smiles
 
“I don’t want it.” Sir Benedict says, “I don’t like how it makes me feel.”
 
“You’ll sleep easier with it.” Mrs. White says, “He’ll be up later this afternoon. We can’t have you making any extra fuss up here. The guests don’t need to be drawn to the Attic. It’s bad enough that we have Parlor and Trophy Room on the third floor.”
 
“Tell me,” Sir Benedict changes the subject “Is my son getting better? Is Ben improving? I know they had a breakthrough with that motorist and that cop, but that’s the last I’ve heard.”
 
“I will let both Nurse Silver and Professor Plum know that you are thinking about them.” Mrs. White says, “I haven’t seen Ben in decades, you know that.”
 
“I’d forgotten.” Sir Benedict says, “I just can’t help but think about him laying there in that hot, damp, crypt on these summer days.”
 
“The afternoons are no hotter than they were last year or the year before.” Mrs. White says, “Still, you’ve kept your experiment alive.”
 
“And what do you think would have been best.” Sir Benedict pushes his teeth so tightly together they hurt
 
“We should have poisoned him the night before the trial.” Mrs. White says
 
“How do you feel about keeping me alive up here?” Sir Benedict asks, “Do you wish Brunette would’ve found me – cut off my head? Or do you wish that you would’ve poisoned me before I was put up here?”
 
“You still have your sanity.” Mrs. White says, “Ben has spent half his life a vegetable and the other half begging to kill something – anything. Your son is a killer. He doesn’t crave blood, he craves the idea of drawing the final breath out of someone and watching them die. He killed his nanny, he killed his mother,” Mrs. White begins to unbutton her collar, “Do you want me to show you the scars from the lashes across my chest from when you found him slashing me up?”
 
“He’s on the way to tranquility. It looks like he’ll arrive at freedom before my true requiem.” Sir Benedict smiles, “Hugh told me that everyone prefers the idea of me being dead. Do you?”
 
“You are already dead, Sir Benedict.” Mrs. White buttons her collar back up, “We can’t even imagine what it would be like to see you in the Library or the Dining Room again. It’s as if…”
 
“… I were truly dead?” Sir Benedict finishes her sentence
 
“I’m sorry.” Mrs. White says, “It’s just, sometimes I pretend that my Winslow is locked away in another room up here. I even imagine Beatrice and Margaret. In my own twisted mind, Heaven is the Attic of Blackwell Grange. No one is ever really dead. They are just waiting up here for their tray of food.”
 
“I did this for Hugh.” Sir Benedict says, “Brunette would have found me, killed me. Then seen Hugh and realized the terrible mistake he made. Then he’d kill Hugh and leave whoever is left to deal with the horrors that took place in France. Their lives would be shattered. We’ve tried so hard to keep the beast locked inside its cage, we only release the beast when the urge to kill becomes too strong to bear…”
 
“You did something that no father could ever be expected to do. You gave up your life so that Brunette would stop hunting.” Mrs. White looks up at the Black Coat of Arms above Sir Benedict’s bed, “Your beast may be caged, but your sons all carry that thrill of murder. Professor Plum, Dr. Black, and especially Ben. Rose may have actually been cured when you sent her away as a child.”
 
“The brat was speaking for the devil, using his powers to tell the future.” Sir Benedict says, “An asylum was the best choice. And now Hugh has told me that Rose has come home.” Sir Benedict face twists in a look of anger
 
“She has settled in nicely with the guests.” Mrs. White says, “Madame Rose is still a little wonky, but that’s to be expected from someone who survived a Turkish Madhouse.”
 
“Madame Rose?” Sir Benedict snorts, “Ha! That’s the title she’s brought to this family? She’ll lead Brunette to us. You know that.”
 
“Brunette has no reason to follow.” Mrs. White says, “Rose doesn’t know you are alive, why would Brunette?”
 
“Rose knows more than any of us are comfortable admitting.” Sir Benedict says, “I didn’t send her away because I think her psychic predictions are garbage. I sent her away because I’m afraid of what her psychic energies will pick up on.”
 
“Brunette isn’t here.” Mrs. White says, “He’d have shown himself by now.”
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
In the Conservatory, Professor Peter Plum paces back and forth. He is clutching a heavy Wrench . Most of the window panes in the Conservatory are opened and the sound of ducks clucking fills the room. Lord Alfred Gray sits watching Professor Plum with a notepad in his hand.
 
“Chapter Three,” Professor Plum speaks slowly for Lord Gray to write along, “Now to My Amazing Life, by Professor Peter Plum –”
 
Lord Gray glances up at Professor Plum with a raised eyebrow speaks
 
“— Devices come in all shapes and sizes. Mine happens to screw onto human skulls,” Professor Plum pauses, “… to evict certain contents, we shall say, are – negligent. Strike the right nerve and you may possibly incapacitate your hostage to do, well, anything really.”
 
Lord Gray stops writing.
 
“Are you planning on selling this as fiction?” Lord Gray asks
 
“It’s an early draft of my life of testing research.” Professor Plum says, “I don’t intend for my literary fame to sweep the nation until after my time. I wouldn’t wish the nation to read my findings and still be alive to answer questions. No, I want my book to ask you the questions. My readers will go out and find the answers.”
 
“Perhaps you are putting too much faith in science.” Lord Gray says
 
“Ah, that’s the beauty of it.” Professor Plum says, “Science isn’t about faith. It’s about unwavering fact. It’s about trial and error.”
 
“We could argue politics and philosophies all day,” Lord Gray says, “I don’t think you should include these methods. Blackwell Grange has already had too many impediments by law enforcement. Go clean up the goddamn Crypt before one of these nosy guests waddles down into it.”
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
Mr. Thallo Green shaves the stubble from his neck over the sink in his en suite bathroom. There is a light knocking from inside his room. He wipes his face and quickly rushes through his empty bedroom to open the door. Miss Emily Peach stands at his door with a surprised look on her face.
 
“Whoops!” Miss Peach gasps, “I’m at the wrong room. I was looking for Sgt. Gray.”
 
“One room over.” Mr. Green points to the room to the right of his.
 
“Thanks, sugar.” Miss Peach smiles, “See you at breakfast.”
 
Mr. Green shuts his door and turns around to see Monsieur Alphonse Brunette standing behind him near the bedroom window.
 
“Jesus, Al!” Mr. Green gasps, “You nearly gave me a heart attack. What are you doing here? I thought you were leaving Connecticut after our little meeting yesterday?”
 
“Rose Black gave me a reason to stay.” Brunette says, “I didn’t say anything before because I saw you traveling with her and wasn’t sure if she was nearby. What exactly were the two of you doing together?”
 
“She’s a Black. I provide liquor to all members of the Black family. We are purely old friends,” Mr. Green says, “No loyalties.”
 
“She’s a madwoman.” Brunette says, “Crazy gibberish flies out of her mouth all day.”
 
“Madame Rose is a little nutty, but I wouldn’t go as far as to call her a madwoman.” Mr. Green says
 
“She was the love of my life for four years,” Brunette admits, “We were put together by a certain Prince.”
 
“So that’s where you hid.” Mr. Green chuckles, “How was Tangiers?”
 
“Rose shot me about a week and a half ago.” Brunette lifts his shirt to show the wound, “She couldn’t remember who I was or what we shared together. She just came home one day and shot me. That’s when I realized something wasn’t right about her upbringing.”
 
“What did you find?” asks Mr. Green
 
“She had a twin brother. Benedict the Fifth. He died at a young age after a complicated mental collapse that resulted in him butchering two people. Worst of all, Rose let it slip that he’s still alive. In fact, there’s a homicidal maniac living in the Crypt just outside.” Brunette says, “I didn’t get inside the Crypt but what I heard from outside indicates that they did tests on him and let him out. He’s been running through the woods chasing woodland creatures ever since. He’s a halfwit.”
 
“Jesus,” Mr. Green takes out the Revolver
 
“You brought protection? Good!” Brunette notes, “Can I have it?”
 
“This isn’t mine.” Mr. Green says, “Someone pinched my gun.”
 
“Do you know who?” Brunette asks
 
“Dr. Black’s fiancée, Brenda says someone broke in.” Mr. Green explains, “I figure that someone is you?”
 
“Indeed.” Brunette nods, “She saw me in her bedroom.”
 
“Then one of Dr. Black’s guests took it.” Mr. Green sighs
 
“Someone else has a gun?” Brunette scratches his head stressfully, “What if it falls in the hands of this homicidal maniac?”
 
“Where are you hiding at?” asks Mr. Green, “I need to know so I can come hole up with you if things aren’t safe.”
 
“I’ve been staying in the loft above the Stables.” Brunette says
 
Mr. Green hands him the Revolver. Brunette checks the bullets and securs the firearm in his right hand.
 
“Take this and kill that maniac if you see him. Take any shot you can, even if one of the guests is nearby.” Mr. Green says, “I don’t need any nonsense going on here. I have enough to handle with Brenda and Dr. Black.”
 
“You have a history with Miss Dove?” Brunette asks
 
“I’m Fivel’s father.” Mr. Green says
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
In the Upstairs Hallway, Miss Peach knocks on Sgt. Gray’s door gently. He opens the door with a surprised, but happy look.
 
“Emily… Miss Peach,” Sgt. Gray smiles, “What a pleasant surprise.”
 
“I was wondering if you would mind taking me out to the horses before breakfast.” Miss Peach blushes a bit, embarrassed by the childishness of her request, “You can call me Emily. Miss Peach is my Aunt Honey’s name.”
 
“Horses?” Sgt. Gray crosses his arms, playfully leaning against the doorway, “You like horses, eh?”
 
“Well, I noticed the Stables yesterday when I arrived.” Miss Peach says, “I only assumed my father keeps horses in there.”
 
“Already playing the father bit, are you?” Sgt. Gray teases her, “Come on, I’ll show you the Stables. He’s only got two horses right now, but there will be another one soon.”
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
Through the large metal door, adjacent to the Carriage House are the Stables. There are six stalls on one wall and six stalls on the other. The sliding door to the Carriage House is open. Bales of hay are everywhere. A bare tool bench stretches alongside a broken, run down carriage. There is a wasp’s nest in the back of the carriage.
 
Miss Peach brushes the fur of a golden horse, “She’s beautiful.”
 
“She’s pregnant.” Sgt. Gray motions to the dark brown stud in the next stall, “They should be a wobbly legged little fellow in a few more months.”
 
“It takes almost a whole year for a horse to be born.” Miss Peach states, “I’ve always wanted to have a horse of my own.”
 
“This stable can hold a dozen horses.” Sgt. Gray says, “Dr. Black has always talked about spending the money and filling this place, but no one here has the passion for loving and caring for horses.”
 
Miss Peach’s chest warms up, “Blackwell Grange seems a lot nicer and more inviting during the daytime.”
 
“It strange you say that,” Sgt. Gray says, “I’d never admitted it to anyone, but I’m always nervous around the mansion after dusk. It’s beautiful during the day, but it’s so ominous and endless at night.”
 
“The hallways go on forever.” Miss Peach says, “The corners are so dark and the shadows are so big.”
 
“You would think with wonders of electricity that Blackwell Grange would be lit up like a Christmas tree all the time.” Sgt. Gray shakes his head, laughing at the mundane issues of the massive mansion near them.
 
“Has my father always had just these two?” Miss Peach asks
 
“Dr. Black used to have a racehorse as well.” Sgt. Gray says, “That horse won so many races it bought him his Mediterranean Villa. There are trophies on the third floor near the front of the mansion.”
 
“I had a question,” Miss Peach is coy
 
“I might have an answer,” Sgt. Gray smiles
 
“Do you know anything about my uncle, Professor Plum?” Miss Peach says, “He hasn’t been exactly warm and inviting. From what I’ve experienced, he gossips a bit too.”
 
“He is a bit pesky.” Sgt. Gray says, “He used to ask me to have tea with him every afternoon that I would patrol Blackwell Grange. I only accepted the invitation a few times out of guilt and a feeling of obligation.”
 
“How did it go?” Miss Peach asks
 
“He never shuts up.” Sgt. Gray laughs, “He’ll just drone on and on about the most boring topics as if he knows everything in the world. He just comes off as conceited and showy.”
 
“I saw him coming out of the Crypt last night and the night before.” Miss Peach lowers her voice, “What do you suppose that’s all about?”
 
“The Crypt? That’s odd. Maybe he was paying respects to a relative.” Sgt. Gray shrugs, “Professor Plum is a confusing and complicated man. I’m not sure if half the things he says are real or made up to make him seem more commanding and influential. I don’t see the reasoning behind that, but he is a little off.”
 
“Did you see the way he acted last night when Mr. Green and Mr. Clay brought up his past?” Miss Peach asks, “I was nervous even though I wasn’t involved.”
 
“Some people don’t like their past being brought up.” Sgt. Gray says, “I could sense that Mr. Green was bullying him a bit.”
 
“I want to take a look at the Crypt?” Miss Peach says suddenly
 
“I doubt he’ll be in there.” Sgt. Gray says
 
“I just want to see how big it is and how many relatives are down there.” Miss Peach says
 
“Are you sure that’s a good idea?” Sgt. Gray says, “We should at least ask Dr. Black’s permission. It is the burial site of five generations of the Black family, after all.”
 
“I’m part of the family, aren’t I?” Miss Peach says, “Come on, you know if we ask, they’ll just make up some generic excuse as to why we can’t.”
 
“If you already think that we can’t, then I’m almost certain we shouldn’t go.” Sgt. Gray says
 
“Don’t be that way.” Miss Peach takes him by the hand, “Sometimes you have to break the rules.”
 
“I’m a policeman.” Sgt. Gray says
 
“You are off duty.” Miss Peach says, “Besides, you aren’t gonna arrest a pretty girl like me, are you?”
 
Sgt. Gray is led out of the Stables by Miss Peach
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
In the Crypt, Professor Peter Plum finishes putting all the medical equipment, tools, clothing, and broken wood inside of the otherwise empty casket marked ‘SIR BENEDICT BLACK IV’. Professor Plum closes the lid and forces it down tightly. He begins to nail up the coffin with the Hammer. After he is done, he moves the long metal table to the back of the room. He flips the table to its side and pushes it against the back wall, hiding the straps, rust, and blood. He throws an old dust cover of the large wooden electroconvulsive machine and wheels it over to a dark corner underneath the concrete stairs of the Crypt. He pulls some loose crumbled concrete and weighs down the cloth covering the machine.
 
With a long sigh, he looks around the room to see it returned to its former, bare, vaulted monument of sorrow. He picks up the Hammer from the floor near the empty coffin of Sir Benedict Black the Fourth.
 
The door of the Crypt slowly opens, casting light down the staircase into the bare room. Professor Plum smiles at his impeccable timing, looking up to see Miss Peach and Sgt. Gray descend the staircase. Their eyes adjust to the torches lit on various places around the room.
 
“He’s down here.” Miss Peach loudly whispers to Sgt. Gray
 
“Can I help you?” Professor Plum turns around, rolling his eyes
 
“Are you visiting your father?” Miss Peach asks
 
“I didn’t get to spend much time with him in life, so I like to talk to him in death.” Professor Plum says, stepping a few feet closer to his father’s empty coffin.
 
“I didn’t think you believed in that sort of thing.” Sgt. Gray says
 
“Faith,” Professor Plum chuckles, “I’m beginning to warm up to the idea of putting my faith into something.”
 
“And what’s that?” Miss Peach asks
 
“I’m putting faith in the hands of the powers that be.” Professor Plum says, “Call it God. Call it Death. Either way, death is certain. Perhaps when I pray, I pray to Death himself, begging for the chances to accomplish certain tasks before my days come to an end.”
 
“But it’s what comes after your death that matters.” Miss Peach smiles with clasped hands, “Eternal life.”
 
“No,” Professor Plum closes his eyes, “This is where we disagree. Eternal life is what I make of myself here on this earth. Eternal life is becoming someone who is known and praised even after death. That is how men become gods, Emily.”
 
“Uncle Professor,” Miss Peach reaches for Sgt. Gray’s arm
 
“Yes?” Professor Plum sighs deeply
 
“I must ask,” Miss Peach looks down at Professor Plum’s right hand, “Why do you have that Hammer?”
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
Miss Scarlet enters the Billiard Room to find it empty.
 
“Colonel Mustard?” Miss Scarlet calls out
 
“It’s almost time for Breakfast,” Yvette says from the Hall, attracting Miss Scarlet’s attention
 
“Have you seen Colonel Mustard?” asks Miss Scarlet
 
“He might have gone out for a bit of early morning hunting.” Yvette says, “I’ll check zee Lounge to see if one of zee Shotguns is missing.”
 
◄♦♦♦►
 
Colonel Michael Mustard walks outside in the woods outside of Blackwell Grange, but he does not have the Shotgun. He is standing around the same place he was when he was attacked while talking to Miss Peach. He looks around, alone in the fog. The silence is deafening. Not a single insect or bird makes itself known.
 
As Colonel Mustard proceeds around the woods, his nostrils are greeted by an unpleasant smell. The smell gets worse as Colonel Mustard gets closer. The sound of buzzing flies alerts Colonel Mustard to stop. On the dirt and grass is a decapitated rabbit. It is clear that an animal didn’t do this.
 
Colonel Mustard’s eye flinches as he remembers the rabbit he kept at Blackwell Grange as a childhood pet. He looks up and around for any indication of what might have happened. There are no tracks or footprints at all.
 
Colonel Mustard turns to leave the forest and is struck forcefully from behind by Ben Black the Fifth with the Lead Pipe . Colonel Mustard groans and grabs the back of his head.
 
Ben Black wields the Lead Pipe again, hitting the top of Colonel Mustard’s hand. Colonel Mustard tries to grab the Lead Pipe but is still dizzy from the initial strike.
 
Ben Black hits Colonel Mustard hard, crushing his ear against his skull. Colonel Mustard collapses onto the grass and dirt.
 
 
TO BE CONTINUED