English Short Story
May 2011 19
???News from China; China has confirmed the death of their leader Hon Toe Chong. The cause of death is still undetermined, but according to sources, it may be an act of terrorism??¦ More information will be announced when we learn more about this tragic situation??¦
???Now it??™s time for your sports blitz wit-???
Adoline switched off her favorite radio station, Rock 98.5. She was tired of such somber news. Why couldn??™t people just be good little citizens and support the work of our world??™s leaders The world would be a much safer place.
Coincidently, Adoline was driving to a Safe Sitters class. Being a baby-sitter wouldn??™t bring in much money, but for a seventeen year old trying to save money for college, to pay for gas, and to help with the family??™s finances every penny counts.
Adoline felt her phone humming. It was her mom, probably calling to make sure she made it to her class all right. She flipped her phone open.
???Hey, Doll,??? her mom replied using the nickname she had always used to call Adoline, ???Made to class???
Adoline??™s mom??™s English still sounded choppy and rough even though she had moved to America from Mexico more than twenty years ago. Here she had met a handsome blonde-haired blue-eyed man who became love struck for her exotic Spanish mother.
Their two very different appearances created Adoline??™s unique look. With bright strawberry blonde hair, dark skin, and deep brown eyes, Adoline didn??™t fit in with the crowd. She was given her father??™s height but not her mother??™s figure, so instead of looking like the models in magazine, she was gangly and awkward. Her height did give her potential to be an amazing athlete, but Adoline stayed away from the court. The sporty girls had made it very clear that she was unneeded, unwanted, and should keep far, far away. Instead she had acquired the skill of invisibility, and she used it everyday as much as she could.
???Uhm, almost. I??™m still on the road,??? said Adoline, and then she saw the flashing blue and red lights in front of her, warning her to hang up. ???Hey Mom, I have to go. I??™ll call you right back. I??™m about to pass a police car.???
???Okay, okay. Call if need me. Bye, bye Doll.???
Adoline heard the call end on the other line and snapped her phone shut before placing it back into her car??™s cup holder. But, before it slid into its rightful place, the car went over a speed bump. The phone fell between her seats.
Oh well, thought Adoline, I??™ll just have to find it when I get to class.
She let the thought slip from her mind and averted her eyes back to the road. The police car was just ahead after a stop light. The police car??™s red and blue flashers blinked beside an old Ford truck with paint falling off the side. The stop light switched from green to yellow, and rather to be safe than sorry, Adoline slowed to a stop. The cop was out of his car but so was the citizen. Adoline could make out that he was tall and fit with dark hair. His weathered leather jacket and torn jeans gave him a mysterious look. With mirrored aviators, he wasn??™t hard to look at. So, with nothing else to do, Adoline watched the boy and officer on the side of the road.
They were arguing, quite vigorously from the look of it. The boy chest bumped the officer. He may have good looks, but he??™s an idiot, Adoline thought. As the red light switched to green, a loud pop rattled the air, and the police man toppled over. Adoline screamed and slammed her foot on the pedal.
What do I do Do I call the police Dear God, what do I do I need to calm down. I??™ll have to call the police. They already have my picture from the hidden camera at the stop sign. What if they think I had something to do with it Oh God, I just saw someone murdered??¦ Calm down Adoline, just calm down!
Adoline calmed her breathing, but right as she passed the two cars the boy looked right into her eyes. The windows in her car are tinted, but there was no denying he was looking right at her. Her adrenaline started pumping harder when she began getting an overwhelming sense she would be seeing him again. She felt scared and threatened, and the first person she was going to call would be the police. They would protect her, or would they She had just witnessed the death of someone who had always stood for strength and invincibility. Of course she knew no human was invincible, but one of her town??™s guardians had just been slain. The safety she had always felt had been ripped away from her.
Adoline sped down the road for a mile, and then swerved onto the road to her left. She looked into her mirror to make sure nobody had followed her before veering to the side of the road. Adoline reached her hand into the cup holder for her phone but found it empty.
Shoot! Adoline had forgotten that her phone had fallen under her seat. She slid her hand down into the crack and fumbled around, but it was no use. Her phone was nowhere within reach, so she opened the car door and began to step out.
A large hand crammed a white cloth over her mouth. The cloth reeked of chemicals and made Adoline dizzy. It was just like in a movie, except this was not a movie. This was Adoline??™s life! She tried to scream and scream, but nothing came out, so she kicked and flung her arms trying to escape. There was no hope. The man was too strong, and the harder she tried to squirm away, the more tired she got. Soon dizziness swept through her body, and Adoline collapsed into the arms of her attacker.
__ __ __
Adoline woke in a room, but it was not her beach-themed den that she had gone to bed in and woken up in so many times. In fact, she wasn??™t even in a bed at all. A straw-stuffed flimsy mat was lying beneath her and a scratchy blanket was sprawled halfway over her body. She could make out a single window on the wall to her left. It was covered with a black curtain, but a ray of light still peeked through around the edges. The walls were moist, and the room smelled of mold. How did she get here And then she remembered.
She remembered the gunshot. She remembered how the policeman toppled over onto the ground. She remembered flying down the highway. She remembered how it felt to have your safety ripped away. She remembered looking for her phone. She remembered a hand coming over her mouth. Most of all she remembered him. She remembered the look she saw when their eyes locked. Everything else was foggy.
Adoline threw the blanket off, and sprung up. She had to get out of here, where ever here was. It was so dark, and then she saw the window. Adoline ripped the curtain away. Light enveloped the small room. With the curtain, fell the rod on which it hung on. It made a loud clang as it bounced against the cement floor. She froze, waiting to see if someone, anyone had heard. No one came. With the fear of getting caught she began to think faster and move quicker. A door, there has to be a door somewhere in here. Adoline jerked around until she saw the door. She ran to it, and clasped her hand around the door knob. Then she let go, and let her hand fall to her side. What if someone was out there waiting for her Adoline laid her head gently against the door as quiet as she could and listened for any sound that would tell her someone was on the other side. After what felt like an hour, Adoline slowly turned the knob, but someone else had decided to have a visit.
???Oomph,??? they groaned in unison, as their bodies hit.
They bumped into each other awkwardly as if they were in a high school just trying to get to class. She looked up, and saw his eyes for the first time. They were ice blue with green streaks coming out the middle. He grabbed her shoulders steadying her almost protectively. It was him, the boy from the police car. She screamed, and just like before Adoline kicked and punched the air trying to escape his grip.
The boy shook her, ???Stop it! Stop-???
???Why am I here! What did I do wrong! I didn??™t do anything! Let me go!??? Adoline screamed from the top of her lungs hoping for someone to hear her pleas.
???It??™s not what you think, just calm down!??? he roared over her. ???Calm down or else.???
???Or else what! Are you going to kill me I??™m innocent I swear. Are you going to knock me out like last time with that stupid cloth of yours Let me go!???
???Well if that??™s what you want,??? he said.
Adoline made a last final kick, and then she felt a pinch on her left arm. She whipped her head to see what it was. The boy had injected her with something. She glared at him trying to be fearless, but he could see the fear in her eyes. Soon her eyes rolled into the back of her head and fell shut. Adoline??™s body fell limp into unconsciousness. He caught her, and pulled her into his arms. This wasn??™t how it was suppose to be, he thought. He laid her onto the mat and covered her with a blanket. Then he went over to where the curtain was laying and reassembled it. The less light the better. When she woke up she would have a migraine like none other.
__ __ __
She woke up, but this time she wasn??™t alone. He was there sitting in the corner on a pull our chair that hadn??™t been there before. A book was resting on his lap, and for the first time Adoline saw a note of gentleness to him. She rolled over and took a look at him. His jeans were the same, worn and ripped. He had a plain white t-shirt on, but in the dark room it looked almost grey. Curly brown hair sat on his head, and reading glasses replaced the aviators he had worn outside.
He must??™ve heard the blanket rustle against the straw mat because he put his book down and took off his glasses. Adoline went to back away when he started to walk to her, but her head felt like someone had just banged it with a hammer. Before he reached her he back-stepped to the chair and retrieved a water bottle from behind the foldable chair. He must have seen her disgruntled face and hand holding onto her aching head.
???Here,??? he murmured. ???This will help the pain in your head. Some Tylenol is over there by my chair.???
He motioned his finger in the direction at which his chair was placed, signaling her to go get it.
Adoline glared at the boy, ???How do I know this water isn??™t going to knock me out again Or those pills, huh I bet those are some illegal drug that a partner in crime smuggled over here for you.???
He laughed at her remark even though Adoline hadn??™t meant it to be funny. His laugh wasn??™t a hard villainous cackle that Adoline thought her kidnapper??™s laugh would sound like. It was warm and inviting as if they were two old friends chatting away and having a good time within each other??™s company. When Adoline didn??™t laugh back an awkward silence settled in.
???So who are you anyway??? Adoline asked cutting the tension with a knife. ???I mean if you expect to keep me here until I die a cold, lonely death then I think I should at least know what to scream when I rue the day you were born.???
???You??™re a sarcastic one, eh I like that, but you have nothing to worry about. You won??™t be here forever, and you most definitely won??™t die here,??? he smiled. ???I have been called many things. The names Gabriel, Gabe for short.???
???Like the angel How ironic to have your kidnapper??™s name be one that used to be an angel??™s!??? Adoline hissed. ???Okay, Gabe, why am I here if you are just going to let me go???
???You, Adoline,??? Gabe said mocking Adoline, ???saw something that nobody was supposed to see.???
???I don??™t know what you??™re talking about, so you holding me here is a huge mistake on your part. I won??™t tell anyone you kidnapped an innocent girl or that you attacked me and knocked me out twice,??? and the she thought of her family. ???My parents! They have to be so worried since I haven??™t called them. They??™ll find my car, and then send a rescue squad out to find me. You have to let me out! If you don??™t the government is going to arrest you, and you will be put in jail.???
???No they won??™t. I don??™t exist to the government. Adoline, you saw a brutal murder of what looked like a town hero, but you don??™t know why he was killed. You??™re naive and know nothing of the world,??? Gabe let out a deep, exhausted sigh. ???Oh, and don??™t worry about your parents??¦ They have been called and told that you have a baby-sitting job that it requires you to stay over the weekend.???
???How do you know my name, and my parents number, and that I baby-sit??? whispered Adoline.
???Easy, I know your name from your driver??™s license. The numbers came from your phone, and baby-sitting is a very common job for teenage girls,??? Gabe replied arrogantly, and with that he turned away from Adoline and began to walk to the door.
???Wait, where are you going You??™re just going to leave me here???
???What Do you have a sudden fear of the dark I??™m just going to go get some food for you. I know you have to be starving,??? he said.
This time when he turned away Adoline didn??™t stop him. She hadn??™t realized it, but she was starving! Gabe pulled the door open and slid through to the other side. Adoline saw a glimpse of what was behind her jail cell. It was a hallway, but it wasn??™t dark and cold looking like her room. It had carpet, and pictures lining the wall. A table sat along the wall with books scrambled on it. The other side looked nothing more than a regular home. The door began to shut.? Adoline bolted to the door, but it was too late.? The door clicked? when it shut.? She pulled and yanked, but the door wouldn??™t budge.? She screamed from anger, fright, frustration, hate, and hopelessness.? All Adoline wanted was to be home and have a normal life again.
Home. Adoline hadn??™t once thought about her family or friends. Now, with it so far from reach, Adoline felt overwhelmingly sad. The first tear rolled down the side of her tanned face, rested on the side of her chin, and then tumbled to the ground. After the first tear fell, the others followed. What if she never got to see her family again What if Gabe and his friends went after them too
Not only did Adoline feel the loss of her family, but she also felt the loss of all the simple things she had never thought twice about. She wanted to feel her mother??™s warm arms wrapped around her and hear her warm voice comforting her. She wanted to lie in her queen size bed, not a straw one that poked her skin. She wanted the freedom to go and do what she wanted. She wanted to see nature like trees and flowers- the sky! Adoline felt selfish and spoiled for missing such things, so instead of mourning what she had just lost, she wiped the tears away.
Adoline heard a click indicating the door was being opened again. A breeze of fresh air blew through the room. She looked up and saw Gabe struggling with a tray of food in one hand and a foldable table in the other. A table cloth hung over his shoulder. Adoline never wanted to have to help him, but her food was at steak! She rushed to his aid and grabbed for the food.
???Here, let me help,??? she said.
???Uh, thanks,??? he said looking at Adoline quizzically.
???Sorry, it??™s just that a person wouldn??™t normally expect a hostage to help their kidnapper.? I was vulnerable??¦You could??™ve escaped,??? Gabe looked away from her.
???Oh,??? Adoline??™s eyebrows wrinkled together.? She hadn??™t even realized that was her chance. ???I guess I was thinking so much about how hungry I was and about that food you were bringing. It smells wonderful.???
Gabe dropped the table down on its side and pried the pour legs out.? The joints squeaked as if they hadn??™t been moved in awhile.? When he propped the table upright it still wobbled a bit.? Maybe one leg was made shorter than the other, Adoline thought.? Next, Gabe grabbed the table cloth off his shoulder and whipped it into the air.? Adoline watched it flutter down until it found its rightful place on the table.? Adoline slid the tray on the table, and then she felt something bump against the back of her legs.? Gabe was behind her setting a chair down.? After Adoline sad down Gabe slid her chair in for her.? Adoline tried inspecting her food, but it was too dark to make out what it was.
???Uh, what is this???? Adoline looked up and saw the hurt expression on Gabe??™s face. ???Sorry, I didn??™t mean it like that. It??™s just I can??™t see with it being dark and all.???
Gabe smiled with relied and strolled over to where the window was. ? He pulled the curtain aside and let the slight swallow up the room.? The light made Adoline wince, but she didn??™t care about her aching head once she saw the food. Steamed carrots, a loaded mash potato, and a chicken-cheese panini were decoratively displayed on a plate.? It looked just as delicious as it smelled.? Adoline inhaled the meal, and when she was done, Gabe laughed at her bad table manners.? Adoline looked up to smile back.? Gabe saw that her eyes were red and swollen.
???You??™ve been crying,??? he looked at her with concern.
???No I haven??™t,??? Adoline looked down to hide her eyes.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ???Yes, you have been.? You miss your family I presume??? It was more of a statement than a question. ? ???Tell me about them??¦ but just the good stuff.? It??™ll make you feel better.???
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Anger swept through Adoline. She defensively replied, ???This is getting weird. You kidnapped me! We shouldn??™t even be sitting here chatting it up like old friends. I don??™t even know if Gabriel is your real name!???
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ???You??™re right,??? he lifted his hands up innocently then leaned against the wall since Adoline was using the only chair there was. ???I??™ll start by telling you about my family.???
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ???That??™s not what I meant,??? Adoline rolled her eyes. She didn??™t care about his life!
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ???We lived in England mostly, but we moved all around. My dad left when I was born, and my mom just couldn??™t handle it. She was put in an institute when I was four. I was put in an orphanage with my older sister. One day a man pulled up to the orphanage and told us she had passed away.? After that my sister was the one who took care of me. She was always the one I looked up to.? Her name was Livey, and people could only admire her.? I don??™t think I remember a time when she was in trouble at the orphanage or with anything for that fact.? I was the one making a mess of things, and she could always manage to clean it up.?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ???Once she was old enough to live on her own she left the orphanage and found different jobs to do to make money. ? I remember her promising to come back to me when she had enough to find a stable home.? She did come back, but I wouldn??™t say we had a stable home.? Like I said we moved a lot.? Sometimes in between homes we would live on the street, but Livey never stopped trying to get us a better life.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ???Our last home was in London.? Livey had found some job there that paid well. She wouldn??™t ever tell me what it was even though I asked all the time.? My curiosity got the best of me, so one day I followed her when she left for work.? I think she had a feeling I was coming because ,instead of walking, she spent what little money we had to go on the subway.? She tried to lose me, but even when I would lose sight of her, my eyes would always catch her again.? She got on train number 311, traveling between King??™s Cross St. Pacras station and Russell Square.? I made sure to sit more than a couple of rows behind her so she wouldn??™t see me.?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ???Everyone on that bus that day saw something that no body else could imagine.? After everyone was loaded on the train a man named Germaine Lindsay walked down our section of seats and into the next.? He was on his phone. When he walked past me he looked out the window, smiled, and gave a thumbs up to someone.? I followed his line of vision and caught sight of England??™s very own prime minister. He was on his phone too, and ironically Germaine and the prime minister hung up at the same tame.? The train began moving.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ???Minutes later Germaine opened his coat to reveal a series of bombs strapped to his chest.? I looked around and saw the panicked expressions of everyone on that train. Then I looked a few rows up at my sister.? She was staring me straight in the eyes and mouthed three words. I love you.? A blast shot through the air and smoked filled the air.? Those were the last words I ever heard her say.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ???Don??™t ask me how I made it out of that attack alive because I don??™t know.? All I know is I am here and she??™s not.? I saw the prime minister that day give an okay to a terrorist. I had some people do research for me after that. We learned that most major terrorist attacks have been planned by the government,??? he inhaled a deep breathe and looked up at Adoline.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Her eyes were open wide, and her jaw was dangling open, ???I??™m really sorry about your family, but you can??™t really expect me to believe that the government planned to kill all those people???
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ???How do you think all the terrorist groups get the money to do all the stuff they do???
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ???Savings???
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? He laughs that warm laugh at her innocence, but his eyes are serious, ???No, the government provides what they need.???
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ???Okay??¦ Well, why would the government want to kill innocent people???
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ???Power, control over their people.? Look at it this way.? Why do people obey the law Because if they don??™t they will go to jail or get a ticket.? They??™re scared! Of course it??™s not one of those fears people have nightmares about, but the government comes off hard for a reason.? When things stop going their way they do what they think is best, use fear by terrorism. Pearl Harbor, 9/11, the 1920 Wall Street bombing, the subway bombing, all planned by the world??™s leaders in secret.? Well, there was an exception.? Ronald Reagan was against everything.? ???The government is not the solution, the government is the problem.??? Ever heard of that???
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Adoline??™s head was down, but she shook her head.? She kept listening.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Gabe continued, ???They tried killing him once but failed. The started another plan to assassinate him but, with people liking him so much, they thought it??™d be unproductive.? Anyways??¦???
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? He nonchalantly walked over to where Adoline was sitting.? He leaned over her to pick up the tray.? Adoline could smell the musky, wild scent of cologne and wilderness mixed with laundry detergent.? ? Gabe pulled the tray away, and that??™s when she noticed the pink petals of a wildflower setting on the tray.? She looked up at him, he looked at her, and she saw something she hadn??™t seen before.? She saw a glimpse of innocence, and for the first time she got an ever growing premonition that he wasn??™t who she thought he was??¦ life wasn??™t the way she thought it was! Then he blinked, and his icy blue eyes went back to having no emotion at all.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ???How do I tie into all of this??? Adoline asked.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? He set the tray back down, ???The police man that I shot, uh, he was part of what was suppose to be a terrorist attack.? The highway you were on, it??™s pretty busy during rush hour.? The police man was in the midst of attaching a bomb underneath a man hole. You were just at the wrong place at the wrong time.? I couldn??™t live my life knowing someone thought I was a murderer, so I brought you here. I??™m sorry.???
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? When Adoline looked at Gabe she knew he was sincere.? She felt awful about all the accusations she had made about him.?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ???You risked your life to save hundreds of people you don??™t know,??? Adoline said in awe. ???I was so wrong about you, I??™m so sorry Gabe. ? I didn??™t know???
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ???Don??™t apologize.? I??™ve put you through so much for my own self worth.? I didn??™t want to get caught with what I was doing. I??™m a coward,??? he looked away in shame. ???I vowed I wouldn??™t let the government abuse their power and eliminate innocent lives, but now I??™ve done the same thing.? I??™m so sorry Adoline. You can go home now that you know the truth. I??™ll take you there, but I understand if you??™re uncomfortable with that since I kidnapped you and all.???
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Adoline got up from her chair so that her eyes were level with Gabe??™s.? She placed her two hands on either side of his face.? It felt rough like maybe he hadn??™t shaved in awhile. Her hands felt indescribably soft against his face. When she looked him in the eyes she saw that they were sad.? He let his head fall, but Adoline caught it with her right hand and gently lifted it back up. There faces were close. Adoline could feel the mint fresh air streaming from Gabe??™s mouth.?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ???You??™re not a coward Gabe. You??™re the bravest man I??™ve ever met,??? Adoline whispered, and then she let their lips meet.? It wasn??™t a kiss full of lust or passion, but one filled with forgiveness and understanding. Their lips parted.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ???Let??™s take you home Adoline.???
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Gabe took her hand and led her to the door.? He reached his arm out to grab the door knob, but Adoline??™s got there first and stopped him.? He looked at her bemused.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ???I want to leave on my own free will.? If you open the door it will feel like I??™m a caged animal being released, and that??™s not how I feel anymore,??? Adoline smiled and opened the door. ? They walked through the door together.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? __ __ __
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Gabe drove her home.? She didn??™t ask how he knew where her house was because she didn??™t care.? They road in silence, Gabe looking at the road and Adoline admiring the trees, flowers, and sunlight she hadn??™t seen at Gabe??™s place.? Occasionally they would smile at each other. Sometimes Gabe would look at her.? She was glowing with the sunlight coming in through the window hitting her skin.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Adoline recognized the blossoming pear trees that lined her road.? Her neighbor was walking their many dogs, struggling to keep them under control. Her house was the next one on the left. While Gabe pulled into her driving both Adoline and his body jolted as the truck went over the bump that separated her driveway from the road.? Gabe got out of the truck and walked to the passenger??™s side of the car.? He opened the door and helped Adoline stepped out onto the cement. She took a deep breathe of familiar air.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ???Well, you??™re free to go!??? Gabe said smugly.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ???I??™ll see you later,??? Adoline replied looking straight into his eyes to make sure he got the hint. She had to get on her tip toes so she could successfully wrap her arms around his neck.? They hugged a long time.
???Be safe,??? Adoline whispered.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? He shook his head up and down, but she knew that it wasn??™t a promise.?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ???Goodbye Adoline.???
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ???Goodbye Gabe.???
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? Adoline walked through the lush summertime grass and up the stairs onto her front porch.? Before she walked through the door her eyes she turned around one last time.? Gabe was looking at her, and she looked at him.? So many unsaid words were passed between them in that one glance. She stepped into the safety of her home, and then he was gone.? She knew, just like the first time, that she would see him again.
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ???Doll!??? her mother popped her head out of the kitchen and smiled a more than welcome smile. ???How was job???
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ???It was??¦ a new experience,??? Adoline laughed at herself. ???But, I wouldn??™t change it for the world.???
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