Ghost Train 3
As she made her way down the two-lane highway, Logan was still fuming about the minor accident she just had and for being sent out into the middle of nowhere to inspect property her company was planning to develop into a resort. Alex Rodriguez should have been handling this business deal, but he was supposedly attending his Grandmother's funeral. She still couldn't believe her business partner had believed that excuse, considering he has had five Grandmothers' die over the last three years while he had worked for the company. She made a mental note to speak with her partner in regards to Alex's future employment with their company.
Scanning the roadway, she spotted a small gas station coming up on her right. As she pulled in, she read the sign proclaiming it to be 'Bob's hunting and Roadside Supplies' and parked the car. "I sure hope Bob knows where I am heading and what's wrong with my car," she mumbled as she exited the car and stretched her aching limbs. She scanned the place, which looked almost deserted and walked into the small store.
"Hello, my friend," a man said from behind the counter, startling Logan.
"Hi, I was wondering if you could help me? I had a minor mishap down the road with my car and something is wrong with it. It's making a horrible screeching noise and I'm afraid to drive it any further. I would appreciate it if you could check the car over for me."
"Well, I'll see what I can do with her ma'am." He answered cordially and smiled.
"Oh, you don't have to be so formal. I'm Logan." She answered with a smile and blushed from his polite comment. "Aah, I'm looking for Solana trail as well. Could you tell me where to find it?" She asked after an awkward silence.
"Ah, you be meanin' Freeman's pass," he said as he moved down the counter to stand in front of her. "Some developer a few years ago came up here and bought all the surrounding land and started changin' the names. You won't find their fancy names on most maps of this area." He explained, as he looked her up and down, noting her uneasiness. "Are you okay Miss? You look a little shook up." He asked with concern.
"Oh, I'm fine. I bumped my head in the accident, but other than that I'm not injured." She answered with a smile and waved off the notion that she was shaken up.
He looked at her skeptically and shrugged his shoulders. "You must be headin' out to Freeman's pass to hike since you don't look like a hunter," he questioned.
Logan had learned the hard way about saying anything as to why she was in a particular area after a squatter who didn't like the plans for the lakefront property her company proposed had chased her off some land. "Yes, I heard about some of the trails up this way and thought I would take a look at them before they are no more," she said to cover her true motives.
"Well, if you be headin' up the trails, I should tell ya the Legend of the Ghost Train then," he said in a sad voice and a look to match his tone.
"The Legend of the Ghost Train?" She asked, hesitantly and wondered if the guy was telling her the truth or pulling her leg.
"Yes ma'am." He answered surely, and stared deep into Logan's green-eyes, losing himself in them. "Oh, aah sorry." He apologized for staring after Logan arched her brow in response to his presumptuous look.
"Okay, well I guess I should hear about the Legend of the Ghost Train then." She answered with a smile, insinuating he should continue.
"Well, many years ago a prominent member of this community, Madison Brown and her lover Laine, were making a cross country journey together by train for a project Madison was workin' on. Ya, see Madison was a famous photographer and Laine was a wealthy businesswoman." He explained and intently looked at her with an apprehensive expression trying to judge her reaction to what he said.
"I can't believe they were gay? Were they vilified by the town seeing as how taboo a relationship like that would be at that time?" Logan queried, more interested in the story since hearing there were two romantically involved women in it. 'Ooh, I like this story already.' She thought excited and waited for the man to continue.
"Well, people was talkin' about the two women behind their backs naturally, but Madison was such a wealthy and powerful woman, that no one dared to cross her∑to her face that is." He emphasized with a knowing grin. "Besides, thems' backstabbers needed the money they gave to their businesses and charities. So, they smiled to their faces and gossiped behind thems' backs. Of course Madison didn't give two hoots about what they said. She lived her life happily and proudly with the woman she loved." He explained and smiled warmly as he reminisced about the women. "They's were two fine women who were very kind and generous to me." He told her in a shaky tone indicating to Logan that he cared about them. He shook the memories away and looked up at her. "Now, where was I? Oh, yeah well, Madison's trip was big news around here and the two women were looking forward to the trip together, but they was never able to make that journey." He added solemnly and looked down at his hands, absent-mindedly rubbing his thumbs against each other.
"Are you okay?" Logan asked softly, concerned by his silence.
"Ah, oh yes." He stammered and was snapped into the present after Logan placed her hand on his, comfortingly patting it. "Madison was on the train waitin' for her partner to arrive who was famous for being late to everythin' and she wasn't there when the train was to depart. Madison had thems' hold the train longer and when the conductor informed her that they had to leave, she agreed. Ya see she was figurin' that Laine would be meetin' up with the train at the next station and adjourned to her private car with her secretary, Matty." He explained and took a deep breath while staring at the attractive woman.
'Kind of sounds like me in fact, I'm probably going to be late to my own funeral!' She quipped and chuckled inwardly.
"Laine saw the train pull away as she approached and sped her car towards the train station down the road, tryin' to beat it so she could be meetin' Madison." The man informed Logan and looked up at her then added, "Unfortunately, there was a drunkin' tanker truck driver headin' in the same direction as the train. Witnesses tried to stop him, but couldn't. He continued speedin' and weavin' down the road and barreled head on into the comin' train. He killed himself and just about everyone aboard except Madison's secretary, Matty, who was nearly killed as well. The doctors didn't think she would make it, but she eventually pulled through after a long stay in the hospital and was left here to tell about that horrible day on the train. You'll pass her house along the trails by the way." He informed her, his voice shaky with emotion.
"That is awful. He caused so much pain for those poor people on the train. How terrible." She exclaimed aghast at the story and felt sad for all the people involved in the grisly crash. She felt drawn to the two women whose lives had just dramatically change, feeling as if she knew them somehow.
"Yes, it was a dreadful day for all." He added somberly as he lowered his head down and looked back up at Logan, staring deep into the her emerald green eyes before him. "That is the reason for the ghost train."
"Why do they call it the ghost train?" She asked, curiously.
"Because each day at the time of the accident you can hear the train whistle, the chug of the locomotive and the screeching of the wheels as it stops. The legend says that it stops cause it's waitin' for someone to get on and many say it stops cause of the accident. I tend to believe it's Madison's way of saying she's waitin' for her partner so she can be with her." He indicated with a slight smile, thinking of the romanticism of that scenario and stared at her with an arched brow.
"Me too." Logan added with a grin, sharing in his sentiments. "Well, thank you for telling me that story as horrible as it was, but I need to head out before it gets dark." She said with a smile and turned to leave.
"Be careful outin' that way miss. I'll try to get that car of yours fixed as soon as possible." He replied with concern and smiled, waving to her as he watched her walk away.
"Thank you, I really appreciate it." She answered looking back and turned, exiting the store. She descended the stairs and stopped, thinking of the story he had just told her and wondered why it had affected her so deeply. 'Wow what a horrible story. I can't imagine how I would feel knowing my partner died like that and how lonely of a life it would be not being with her. She thought sadly and started her trek down the dusty road.
He stepped onto the porch and watched the blonde walk down the road. 'Good luck.' He thought and turned his attention away from her. 'Fix the car huh?' He quipped with a chuckle.
Logan walked down the deserted road and got an eerie feeling from being alone. 'I certainly hope there aren't any crazed people out here with shotguns!' She thought with a chuckle and looked behind her to ensure she wasn't being followed. She walked past a thick area of vegetation and saw a dilapidated house. 'Hmmm, that must be the secretary's house he mentioned.' She thought looking at the ragtag home. 'Don't these people ever fix their homes and business' up?' She questioned as she looked the house over, surprised by how run down the places in the area were. She picked up her pace and headed onto the property she was to inspect.
After thoroughly inspecting the property she began to head back when she heard what she thought was a faint sound of a train whistle. She looked up and around, but didn't see anything then chuckled thinking, 'It's just my imagination from the story that guy told me.' She reasoned and continued to walk towards the road. She stopped in her tracks after the whistle sounded louder and she heard the chug of the locomotive growing louder. She felt the ground shaking underneath her and heard the wheels screech. 'This is not happening.' She thought nervously and wasn't sure what to do. She tentatively and slowly turned after feeling a whoosh of air against the back of her neck. 'Maybe I should just run?' She suggested nervously and decided she wanted to see what was behind her no matter how terrifying it might be. 'I'm just imagining that the train is there because of what that fool told me.' She inwardly rationalized and looked up, then opened her eyes to the shock of her life. The train was before her. "Shit!" She screamed terrified and turned to run. She tripped over a large rock and fell to the ground in a heap. She struggled to get on her feet and felt them slip out from underneath her each time she attempted to stand from the loose gravel. 'I've got to get the hell out of here.' She thought petrified and turned back to the train when she heard the door open. She rolled over defeated and sat on the ground with her arms behind her, giving up on her feeble attempt to escape. She was transfixed on what she saw through the cloudy steam before her and was no longer frightened. She squinted her eyes and moved her hand in front of her face to move away the steam for a better look. 'She's beautiful.' She thought in awe of the vision before her. She was enchanted by the tall, striking figure standing in the doorway. She was drawn to the woman and stood up, unafraid of the consequences as she walked closer to the train. She hesitated briefly as she moved through the steam and felt an overwhelming sense of calm sweep over her.
Logan ascended a couple of steps and looked back over the property, wondering if she was ever going to see it again. She turned towards the steps and didn't see the woman who had been standing there. "Hey! Where did you go?" She asked intrigued by what was taking place. 'The guy never told me that anyone had actually gone on this train before. Maybe I'm dreaming this is happening.' She rationalized as she stepped onto the train and looked to her left, then to her right seeing the woman standing a few feet away. 'Well, here goes nothing. Let's hope this ghost is friendly.' She mused and began to walk towards her. She stopped when she saw a flash of this woman lying in a bed, smiling and reaching out for her. 'Whoa! What was that?' She questioned surprised and shook her head, then looked up at the woman who waited patiently for her. She took a few more steps and saw a flash of them kissing passionately. 'Alright, what the hell is going on?' She nervously asked and looked around, seeing no one else, but the tall, dark-haired woman before her. "Who are you?" She called out, inhaling deeply and exhaling to calm her rapidly beating heart.
"You know who I am." She flirtatiously answered and slowly walked towards her.
"No, I really don't. Who are you? Is this some kind of a trick the guy at Bob's and you concocted to scare me?" She asked anxiously, growing agitated by the fact that the man may have set her up.
"Laine, I know you haven't forgotten me?" She stated softly as she drew closer to the frightened woman.
"No, you've got it wrong I'm∑" She nervously attempted to answer and stopped after she realized what the woman had called her. She looked into the deep blues of the woman standing before her and furrowed her brow at the familiarity of them. She felt an instant calm as she stared into them and smiled slightly. She saw a flash of her laying on top of this woman staring into her hypnotic eyes. She allowed the vision to continue, which showed her making love to her. She gasped for air and blinked her eyes rapidly, bringing her thoughts to the present. "Madison?" She asked in a whisper as it slipped from her lips.
"That's right Laine. I knew you could never forget me." She answered happily and smiled delighted, that her lover was standing before her. Logan held her hands up in front of her defensively as she tried to discern what she was feeling and seeing. She wasn't exactly sure what was going on. She was torn between her feelings for this woman and the fact that she thought someone was pulling a trick on her. Having such strong feelings for a stranger confused her. "I've waited so long for you." Madison softly told her and smiled warmly.
"No, I∑aah∑" Logan stammered, trying to make sense of what was happening and lost herself in the warm blues before her. She had a longing for this woman and felt a deep love for her, but didn't know why. Her attraction to her was undeniable and her heart told her to act upon her feelings, but her head told her otherwise. 'She's dead and you're not. You're dreaming this, it can't be.' She inwardly reasoned and looked away from the woman's hypnotic stare. "I have to go." Logan told her anxiously and stepped back, then stopped when Madison grabbed her hand.
"No, I can't be away from you anymore my love." She pleaded desperately and moved closer to her.
'What the? She's a ghost!' Logan stated frightened by the fact that this woman touched her. She panicked and pulled her hand away, then quickly moved away from her. "I'm sorry, I'm not who you think I am!" She apologetically answered in a frightened tone. She turned towards the stairs, quickly scaling them and turned back to see Madison step into the doorway.
"You are my love. I vowed to never cross over into eternity until I could do so with you!" She called out as Logan walked backwards from the train.
"No, you're confusing me with someone else that looks like your lover. I'm not her!" She shouted back in a fearful tone and turned to run away. 'I've got to be freaking dreaming this. I'm sleeping I know it!' She kept telling herself, hoping she was right, as she ran faster across the property.
"You're Laine. Search your heart and open your mind, then you'll remember our life together. Especially how much I loved you!" Madison shouted out and watched as the shorter blonde was nearly out of sight. "Please, don't leave me." She pleaded sadly as she could barely see the fleeing woman and heard her call out.
"You're wrong!" Logan shouted frightfully and quickly ran to the safety of the road. She walked in circles trying to catch her breath and discern what just transpired. "What in the hell just happened? Why does she think I'm Laine? Oh, this has to be a dream, but why can't I wake up?" She fired off questions anxiously and quickly walked towards 'Bob's'. She desperately tried to figure out what was happening as she briskly approached the store. "I'm not dreaming! This is reality, but how can that be? Someone is screwing around with me and I think I know who it is!" She angrily commented and ran towards the porch of the store. She scaled the stairs and hurried into the store. "Hey mister! Where are you?" She called out agitated. "Hey, come out here!" She shouted angrily and searched the gas station, finding no one there. 'Damn!' She silently cursed as she exited the store and placed her hands on her hips while she stood on the porch looking around. 'Think Logan. How can this be? Where is my car and that guy?' She wondered and looked around, trying to make sense of everything. She closed her eyes momentarily, trying to calm her pounding heart and saw a flood of memories flash before her of her life with Madison. 'No, it can't be. I'm just confusing her and I as being together from what that guy told me of the story, but they are so real.' She thought in an attempt to figure everything out and saw a flash of her with Madison again. They were standing in front of a mirror and Madison had her arms wrapped around her, kissing her neck. She was shocked at the vision as it showed her, only in older looking clothes. 'I've got to find the secretary and see what Laine looked like. It's got to be that I'm projecting myself into these memories.' She reasoned and jumped off the porch, heading back down the dusty road.
She walked towards the house at a brisk pace and approached the open door hesitantly. "Hello! Hello! Is anyone home?" She called out as she cautiously stepped inside the house after no one answered her. She looked around the room asking, "Is anyone home?" and stood upright with a smile when she saw a woman walking towards her from a back room. She stepped away from the door and faced the woman. "Hi, I'm Logan. I apologize for bothering you, but I'm looking for the gentlemen at the store up the road from your house. He was going to do some repairs on my car and now he's gone. Do you by any chance know where I could find him?" She queried with a smile and wasn't sure if the woman was Matty or not. She scrunched her eyebrows together wondering why the woman was staring so strangely at her.
"No, I'm sorry I don't know where he might be." She stammered as she looked at the blonde and smiled.
"Okay, well thanks anyway." She answered disappointed. 'Maybe she knows where I can find Matty.' She thought hopeful and was intrigued to find out more about Madison and her connection to her. "By the way, he told me about the Legend of the Ghost Train and I was wondering if you might know Madison Brown's secretary? He mentioned she lived here." She rambled uncertainly and was stunned by the way the woman continued to stare at her.
"What do you need to know about the Ghost Train and Matty?" She questioned suspiciously and moved closer to her.
"I think that guy was playing a joke with the story he told me and well, I was wondering if you have a picture of Madison Brown and her partner Laine?" She asked, anxiously and paced back and forth.
"Well, yes I do. Have a seat and I'll get one for you." She offered with a warm smile and stared at her briefly, before walking to the desk at the other side of the room.
"Thank you so much." Logan answered with a smile and watched as she walked across the room. She glanced around the room and noted the old furnishings within it. 'There are some beautiful antiques in this house.' She thought impressed by the dĄcor. Her distraction with the furnishings vanished and her thoughts returned to her encounter with Madison. She felt her heart quicken and she leaned her forehead in her hand that rested on the chair, trying to calm it from the events that were happening to her. 'This is not happening. It can't be. There is no way that could have occurred. I was imagining it.' She reasoned and looked up at the woman who stood before her.
She sat in the chair next to her and held the picture out to the frazzled woman. "Here you go." She smiled warmly and watched as Logan took it.
"Oh, my god! How can this be?" Logan asked stunned by the picture as the woman in it looked exactly like her. What is going on?' She inwardly questioned aghast by the whole thing.
"It just is honey. It's your destiny to be here. You've come home." The woman calmly told her.
"No, but I've never been here before. Are you saying that I'm Laine?" She asked desperately. She stared at the woman before her and blocked her from answering when she continued, "I just can't believe this. I mean it's just incredible and very hard for me to accept." Logan answered and stood up pacing the floor anxiously. She realized from the look on the woman's face and the tone in her voice that she was convinced she was Laine. She had another flash of memories, one of her hitting a tree with her car. Then saw another flash of a newspaper and the large bold headlines about the accident. "That bastard! Wait, I'm not sure what's going on here, but I just saw the headlines from a newspaper saying that the guy from the store was the trucker who caused the accident. It showed a picture of him to. Oh, all of these things that are happening don't make any sense." She nervously informed her as her voice trailed off while trying to piece together what was taking place.
"That's right. He was the one who caused so much death and destruction that day. He has been waiting to make amends for his misdeeds in that lifetime and lead you to Madison." She explained and stood up, approaching the fretful woman.
"I am so confused right now that I just don't know what to think. I mean, I saw a flash of me being in a car accident with a tree, of me being with Madison and then I see the newspaper article with the man I saw earlier. I had an encounter earlier with a lover from another lifetime who is a ghost. How could all of that be?" She questioned confused and scared, looking at the woman for her answer.
"Because it's your time to be with your partner Madison for eternity. She has been waiting a long time for you to join her." She explained soothingly and touched her hand to comfort her.
Logan stared at the woman and repeated the words, 'partner for eternity' in her head. She flashed back to being with Madison and remembered professing that to her, and then Madison promised the same to her. She blinked her eyes repeatedly and snapped back to the present, staring at the woman before her. "How can I be with Madison when she's dead? I'm not dead. Am I supposed to just stay here until my death?" She asked confused by what she was trying to tell her.
The woman smiled briefly and stared deep within her bewildered greens. "Honey, you have passed on." She quietly told her and patted her hand comfortingly.
"No, no you're wrong. What is up with you people around here? This is some kind of a sick joke that you are all pulling on me." She answered, aggravated and disturbed by what the woman just told her.
"Think about it Laine." She attempted to answer and was interrupted.
"No, I'm Logan. I can't be Laine." She answered stubbornly, refusing to accept what the woman was telling her.
"Logan was your sister's name. You are Laine sweetheart." She told her and stared briefly at Laine who furrowed her brow as if she were trying to remember her sister, then continued, "Think about it, how can you not be dead, yet you have had contact with so many dead people? You said yourself that you touched Madison and I."
"Yes, I did and I touched the guy, but you're not dead. So, maybe those other encounters were some kind of a fluke." She answered with a nervous laugh, trying to discern the truth. The woman reached behind her on the table and lifted the newspaper clipping from it. She handed it to Laine who looked at it and turned to her with an astonished look on her face. She read the obituary and looked at the picture of the woman standing before her. "You're Matty∑and you're dead too?" She asked softly when she realized the woman was in fact Madison's secretary and saw a flash of the car accident she was in on her way to the property. She looked up at her, "I was on my way here to check the property when I had a car accident. I must have died then." She explained tentatively as she tried to remember the last details of her life. "I remember that you weren't expected to make it after the accident and I visited you in the hospital, but you were on a respirator and couldn't speak." Laine replied as her once foggy memories were becoming clearer now.
"That's right. I was incapacitated for quite some time. When I was released I came searching for you as I had a message from Madison for you and I found out that you had moved away. I tried to find you with no luck obviously and I passed on shortly after that. I decided to wait here until you finally arrived so I could give you that message." She explained and smiled, regretful that she was unable to find her.
"I'm sorry I didn't leave any information on my whereabouts. After Madison was taken from me all I wanted to do was fall off the face of the earth and try to recover from the emotional toll her death took on me. On that day, I was late meeting her because of a stupid business deal that my partner could not attend and I just had to deal with it before we left. The guy I was to meet with was late and I waited for him for too long. I should have known better as Alex Rodriquez had done that to me many times before. I should have just gotten on the train and left it up to my partner to deal with later." She explained with a regretful tone for not being there and continued, "I felt so guilty for not being with her at the end and I couldn't bear the thought of seeing so many reminders every day of our wonderful life together by staying in this town. So, I moved as far away as possible without the love of my life and never allowed myself to love someone as deeply as her. Just recently I heard that this property was going to be developed into a resort and I couldn't allow that to happen. I never had enough courage or strength to come back until I heard about the resort plans. I decided it was time to return and try to find some peace with the place were Madison died. I wanted to create a memorial here for those who lost their lives that fateful day and I was on my way here to meet the developer's representative to try to purchase it when I had the car accident. As before, I didn't make it." She answered solemnly and chuckled at the irony.
"Well, unfortunately you can't change the past and you had a different path in your life to fulfill." She replied warmly and patted her hand comfortingly seeing the distress in her eyes. "I've been waiting all of this time to give you a message that Madison asked me to relay just before she died. If I survived, she wanted me to tell you that she loved you with all of her heart and soul and that she would wait there for you until you would join her. I had hoped that by delivering it to you, it would have given you some sense of peace in your life knowing that she was thinking of you at the end." She explained and smiled sincerely.
Laine smiled exuberantly at the message and felt the warm tears streak her face. She was deeply touched knowing that she was the last person her dying lover thought of. All of the memories of her life with Madison came rushing back to her. She remembered everything about their life together and the love they shared. She felt her heart beat rapidly, not out of fear, but of excitement. "I've got to get to Madison. I don't want to be away from her anymore." She anxiously told the woman and stood up, turning towards the door then looked back. "I really appreciate the fact that you waited to give me the message." Laine replied wholeheartedly and smiled gratefully.
Matty smiled graciously and suggested, "You better hurry before the train leaves. She's been waiting a long time to be with you so don't make her wait another minute." She chuckled happily when she saw the radiant smile on the young woman's face.
"Thank you so much!" She exuberantly answered and ran out of the house.
Laine hurried across the field, hoping she would make the train this time. She heard the whistle, signaling the train was going to leave and ran faster. She ran along side it as it began to slowly move and grabbed a hold of the railing. She jumped up onto the side of the train and inched her way to the opening of the car and stepped inside. She walked down the aisle and saw a familiar figure standing by the window staring out with a forlorn look. "Hey, been waiting for me?" Laine called out as she walked towards her and smiled when Madison looked up at her, in shock.
"I've been waiting a long time. What took you so long?" Madison asked with a wry smile and stood before her shorter partner.
"You know me, I'm late for everything, but eventually I make it and I am so glad that I finally did. I missed you so much baby." She tearfully told her and wrapped her arms around Madison's neck, melting into the familiar embrace of her lover. She smiled as she snuggled her face against Madison's neck and reveled in the scent of her lover she missed so much. "Thank you for waiting." She softly replied and looked up at her. She lovingly smiled and passionately kissed her partner.
Madison held her tighter and lifted her up in her arms, deepening the kiss. She broke the kiss and leaned her forehead against Laine's. "I have missed you so much Laine. I'm so ecstatic that you are finally in my arms again honey that my heart is beating uncontrollably and it's hard for me to breath." She answered and smiled lovingly.
"Me too Maddy." Laine answered and stared into the blue eyes that expressed their love to her. She placed her hand over Madison's heart and lightly rubbed it to calm her lover.
Madison lovingly stared at Laine and allowed the tear to roll down her check unchecked. "I've missed hearing you call me that my love." She admitted softly and ran her fingers through Laine's blonde hair.
"You will hear it quite frequently honey and now we can finally be happy living our life in eternity, side by side, just as we promised so long ago." Laine answered with a smitten smile as she gazed upon her beautiful lover.
"I wouldn't want it any other way my darling." Madison answered with a playful smile and kissed Laine's lips briefly, then engulfed her in a warm embrace. She gasped as she tried to control her emotions that fought hard to consume her and gave into them, crying against Laine's shoulder. She had waited for so long to have Laine in her arms again and the feeling of having her there overwhelmed her. She inhaled deeply and exhaled, feeling a catch in her heart when Laine clutched her tighter and kissed her cheek.
Laine broke the hug and looked at her regretfully as she wiped away Madison's tears. "I'm so sorry for not being there with you my love. I∑" She tearfully attempted to explain and was stopped when Madison placed her finger on her lips.
"Don't be darling, it wasn't your time." She answered softly and lovingly stroked Laine's cheek with her thumb. "All that matters is that we are together now and for eternity." Madison said with a loving smile. Laine smiled widely and kissed Madison deeply. Madison reciprocated and deepened the searing kiss. She sighed happily through the passionate kiss that the love of her life was once again in her arms and knew deep in her heart that they would never be parted again.