Eyes Like Yours Episode 5 - The Monster of Sceana Park - Part II

by Knights of Bardicry

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about

When Demi and Jayden are caught by local authorities, their only hope may be a quirky scientist who doesn’t mind bending the rules… FOR SCIENCE! But can Atiyah be saved? Or is she the latest victim of the monster of Sceana Park?

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Episode 5 – The Monster of Sceana Park - Part II

DEMI NARRATION

Searching Seana Park is easier said than done. The place is swarming with cops!

Demi:
I should've seen this coming. Of course it's blocked off, they keep finding bodies in there! Dammit, Atiyah. Answer your phone. Tell me you're alright. That you changed your mind and went home.

Jayden:
I'm surprised you're so concerned. I was under the impression you didn't particularly care for those people.

Demi:
I don't.

Jayden:
Then why are you making yourself ill with worry over this girl, when she's the one who stupidly endangered herself?

Demi:
I'm not going to keep talking in circles with you. Just shut up and get over here. I think those guys are changing shifts. We could slip through quietly if we hurry.

Jayden:
You do realize whatever they're guarding is probably not a place you want to be seen, don't you?

Demi:
I'm not an idiot, Jayden. I know the risks. But I can't exactly tell the cops there's a manticore out there and my friend is in danger of being eaten!

Jayden:
You could always loosen the chains and allow me to—

Demi:
SHH! No, whatever you were going to say, no. Now c'mon!

[Scene change]

Younger Officer:
Another body... Cheese and rice! When will it end?

[Sounds of spraying]

Stokes:
Aha! As I thought. This one tests positive for the same venom. It would seem the victims were injected prior to the mauling. Intriguing... But then why would someone go through the trouble...?

Younger Officer:
To cover up their deaths? Make it look like a mountain lion was responsible?

Stokes:
Well yeah, but why use such an obvious toxin? Why not animal tranquilizer? Even a stab wound would make more sense, given the circumstances. Cleaner, more efficient, far easier to manipulate the forensic evidence to suit one's needs...

Senior Detective:
Hey, rook! Take a peek at what I found sniffing around the last crime scene.

Jayden: [venomous]
Let go of me...

Demi:
Officer, please! We can explain! Our friend's gone missing and we're really worried about her. I heard on the news that several bodies have been found in this park the last couple days, and I just wanted to make sure she's alright.

Senior Detective:
Yeah, yeah. Save it for your lawyer, alright? Trespassing an active crime scene is serious business, little lady.

Stokes:
Just a moment... My, my, but your eyes are odd. Such feline irises...

I look on in horror as the man in the labcoat and gloves cups Jayden's chin to get a better look.

Demi:
No, don't!

Jayden: [growling, sounding more animalistic]
I said... let GO OF ME!

In the blink of an eye, Jayden breaks out of the police officer's hold, pinning the labcoated man to the ground. He remains mostly in human form, but claws are beginning to sprout from his fingertips, and he takes on a wild, feral look. His teeth—suddenly pointed and long—glint as his jaw unhinges to take a chunk of flesh clean off.

Younger Officer:
[screams]

Senior Detective:
FREEZE!

Ravana!

Demi:
Jayden, stop!

Jayden freezes, shrinking back into his fully human form. For a moment I think he's responding to the officer and his gun, but as the officer instructs Jayden to put his hands behind his head, Jayden remains still. So it was me that froze him after all.

Senior Detective:
I don't know what the hell I'm looking at right now, but I bet those claws will match up nicely with the wounds our victims' got. You even look at me funny and I'll take your head clean off, got me?

Demi:
Officer, please! He can't move, I just ordered him to freeze!

Senior Detective:
Lady, what're you going on about?

Stokes:
Incredible!

Impossibly, the labcoated man slips out from under Jayden, smiling like a child in a candyshop, as if he hadn't been about to face a grisly death just seconds ago.

Stokes:
Remarkable. Truly fascinating! Oh, I must collect a sample. This demands further study!

Senior Detective:
Back away from that perp, Doc! It ain't safe!

Stokes:
Of course it is. You heard the girl. She told him to freeze, he obeyed. [to Jayden] What an impeccably trained creature you are, too. What is your genetic designation? How do you appear so human?

Jayden:
You reek of formaldehyde and rotting flesh, human. Cease your prattling, or next time she may not be around to protect you.

Younger Officer:
I think I'm going to faint...

Stokes:
Oh, do put down the gun, detective. You're making everyone nervous.

Senior Detective:
I'm making everyone nervous?

Demi:
Please! You can take me to the station and question me later. I'll give a statement, sign an affidavit, whatever you want. But my friend really is out there and we have to find her before the manticore gets her!

Stokes:
The manticore?

I can't believe I just told the cops there's a manticore out there and my friend is in danger of being eaten...

Demi: [exasperated]
It's a lion-like animal with bat wings and a poison barb on its tail. I know how crazy that sounds, but—!

Stokes:
Stars... the mauling, the venom... it's far-fetched but it certainly supports the data.

Senior Detective:
Whoa, doc, you ain't seriously buying this crap, are ya?

Stokes:
Admittedly, I'd normally be more skeptical. But after what we just saw with this fine specimen over here~

[BITING sound]

Stokes:
Goodness! [laughs] He nearly took my hand clean off. To be fair, he did warn me! I should know better than to go prodding without a sedative within arm's reach.

Doesn't anything scare this guy!?

Demi:
Please... if you have any idea where the monster might be...

Senior Detective:
Eh, that's police business!

Stokes:
Oh don't be such a spoilsport! My dear girl, if we knew where the creature was, we'd have it in custody by now. I'm afraid all we know is what you've told us. Apart from that, the only information of interest appears to be that the victims were all involved in drug trafficking.

Demi:
What?

Stokes:
Yes, up to now we thought this must have been the work of a rival cartel, but this manticore theory presents an interesting alternative.

Senior Detective:
Like hell it does. This ain't no knights of the round table. This is real life! The only monsters out there are scumbags like these dealers. There ain't no fairytale vigilante out to clean up the streets. Just us.

Demi:
They're all part of the same drug gang? But that doesn't make sense. Manticores aren't that intelligent. They wouldn't comprehend illegal drug trade and all that.

Stokes:
Then we are led unceremoniously back to square numero un. In any event, this was thoroughly enjoyable, but I believe you should go with the detective to the station now so we may continue our work.

Demi:
Unless... wait. Wait, what if we're looking at this all wrong? The manticore didn't kill them because they were drug dealers, they were there because they were drug dealers, and it got them all killed.

Jayden:
Heh. The difference between beasts and humans...

Younger Officer:
I'm sorry... I'm not really following where you're going with this...

Demi:
I'm saying maybe these guys were all in the same place, doing some kinda big... drug trade dealie... or whatever these kinda guys do. And it just happened to be the place where the manticore is hiding out. It's a territorial thing. Just the sort of thing an animal would kill over!

Senior Detective:
You saying they got a hide-out somewhere in this park? Well, that would make sense, they need a secluded place to keep the product before they move it. So the manticore makes its home there. Then the perps come back to pick up the goods and the manticore feels threate—ARGH now you've got me doing it! Dammit! There ain't no such thing as a manticore!

Stokes:
Perhaps. Perhaps not. What's plain is that we have a killer on the loose, and we may have just cracked their M.O.. But why here? What's so unique about this park?

Younger Officer:
The... maybe the old theater?

Stokes:
Hmm?

Younger Officer:
Well, Sceana park was named after the Sceana Theater: The Theater in The Park. It closed down and got abandoned a long time ago. No one goes near there.

Senior Detective:
Ehhh... perfect place to store the goods.

Demi:
And for a manticore to make its lair.

Stokes:
Oh how exciting! Two competing hypotheses! Lead the way, then! Consider this our testing phase! For science!

Senior Detective:
Whoa, whoa, whoa, doc! You ain't serious, here! These guys are civilians! We can't walk them into what could be a drug den turned killer's hideout!

Stokes:
I don't know about you, Detective, but for my money, I much prefer confronting a monster--be it a man or otherwise--having one of our own in tow.

Everyone turns to look at Jayden. Jayden glares at me.

Senior Detective:
Ugh... Rook, keep an eye on these wise guys. Me and the doc gotta have a little chat.

The detective pulls the labcoated man aside and argues with him in a hushed but firm voice. His partner, meanwhile, points his gun at us and tries to look intimidating. Instead, he looks like he's going to vomit or pass out at any moment. Maybe both. Sweat is beading up on his pale, clammy forehead and I'm not at all comfortable with someone so unstable pointing a gun at me. Or with anyone pointing a gun at me for that matter. Jayden leans closer to me.

Jayden: [aside to Demi]
I haven't eaten in days. Let me have them. It'll get them out of our way and we can go on looking for that friend of yours.

I can't believe he thinks that's an appealing offer.

Stokes:
There's no reason to be so paranoid, detective. You can't make an omelet without a large dollop of cheese. Besides, if we can't bend the rules from time to time, why have them at all?

Senior Detective:
I—that—does what you just said really make sense in your head, or are you just messin' with me?

Stokes:
Yes. Anyway, shall we go, then?

Jayden looks at me pressingly.

Demi:
Yeah, no thanks, Jayden. Let's go with the science guy's plan and work together on this one.

Stokes:
Please, call me Doctor. Dr. William Randalf Stokes!

Demi:
Doctor who?

Stokes:
I just told you. Dr. William Randalf Stokes.

Demi:
Yeah, sure thing, uh... Stokes McGokes.

Jayden:
[snerk]

Well at least Jayden thinks I'm funny. Ouch, that doesn't make me feel good at all.

Stokes:
A-ah... yeaaaah... right. Onward, then! To the Sceana Theater!

DETECTIVE NARRATION

We arrive at the decrepit ol' theater with the doc leading the way. The rook and the girl are panting behind him, winded from the hike, and I ain't exactly breathing easy myself. Where does the doc get the energy? Eh, regardless, I keep my gun drawn and my sights on that yellow-eyed perp as we approach. He doesn't even seem to have broken a sweat, and that information only leaves me feeling even more ill at ease. I don't know what he is or what I saw earlier. I do know that I always trust my eyes and my gut. And since I can't really believe my eyes right now, I'm gonna go ahead and stick with my instincts.

[The large double doors open. The space is eerily silent. The sound of Stokes flicking on his flashlight. It echos.]

Ey, this place is real spacious. In its heyday, it musta easily seated 500 people. But like a lot of this city, this place obviously ain't gotten any TLC in a long, long time. The heavy velvet curtains, once a lush red, are grime-caked and tattered, lookin' ominously like dried blood. A heavy layer of dust lines the abandoned seating, and tufts of stale and molding seat-filling are lying awkwardly on the ground. A film of dust fills the air, sending streaks through the thin beam of light the doc shines to and fro, giving the illusion of long and flowing locks. Heh. I always did think of theaters as dames.

Stokes: [whistles]
That's fantastic!

Younger Officer:
I would have said rundown, personally.

Demi:
I would've said a building inspector's worst nightmare.

Stokes:
Oh, come on! This is wonderful. Think of the history this place has, just teeming from its walls. All the performances this stage has seen, all the magnificent characters. The tragedies, the love stories—the laughter! This stage has seen more than a person could in a thousand lifetimes. How can you tell me that doesn’t give you even the slightest tingle?

Senior Detective:
It gives me something, alright. Feels a lot like indigestion.

Stokes:
It’s answers like that that make me wonder why I even bother. It’s really—

[A low growling begins to emanate from deep within the depths of the theater.]

Younger Officer:
W-w-w-what was that!?

Stokes:
Shh!

[Another low growl, sounding angrier]

Stokes: [soft]
Everyone stay together... It'll target anyone it feels is isolated, assuming its hunting patterns are similar to that of a lion...

Younger Officer:
S-similar to a lion? You mean... the manticore?

Stokes:
Don't jump to any conclusions. We will see.

The rook ain't the only one shakin'. The girl ain't exactly thrilled to be here either, hrm but she's keepin' it together, at least. Not bad for a crazy broad who rambles about monsters. The perp, on the other hand, looks like a cat tryin' ta find a good place to take a nap. Yeah, his calm is eerie, and I grip my gun tighter.

[a low growl]

Younger Officer: [softly]
Eep... I feel like... something is watching me...

[A sudden crack and crash]

Younger Officer:
AHH!

Demi:
The manticore!?

Stokes:
Where!?

Senior Officer:
Rook!

My partner's down, but it's no monster or man who did this. It looks like he chose the wrong thing to lean against. The rotted support beam gave way, and now he's lying in a pile of splintered wood, rusting metal, and chunks of concrete. I rush to his side and dig him out.

Senior Officer:
Speak to me, pal!

He's out cold. I pull out my phone to call for back up—

Senior Detective:
Dammit! There's no service down here!

Stokes:
Hmm... Let me see... Hmm... It doesn't look good. He needs immediate medical attention.

Senior Detective:
Can't you do anything!?

Stokes:
I can stem the bleeding, sure, but he could have internal injuries. I'm a doctor, but I'm not that kind of doctor. If our hypothesis is right, and there is a dangerous animal in here, then it thinks your partner is lunch. Someone needs to get him outside and call an ambulance now.

Senior Detective:
I'll do it. He's my partner.

I holster my gun and carefully sling the rook over my shoulder.

Senior Detective:
You all better come with me. It ain't safe here.

Stokes:
And miss the chance to study an as of yet undiscovered animal!? Have a heart, detective!

Senior Detective:
Uh... I'm not sure how to respond to that, doc. What about you, lady?

Demi:
My name is Demi. And I'm not leaving here without Atiyah!

Jayden:
And where she goes, I go. Unfortunately.

Senior Detective:
Eh, suit yerselves.

Now don't get me wrong! I wouldn't normally abandon my superior, a suspect, and a civilian woman. Thing is, I got my partner to think about. I never leave a man behind. I hurry out of the theater and don't look back.

DEMI NARRATION

We watch the officers go out the way we came. Then immediately, our attention is back to the theater around us.

Demi:
I don't understand. If the manticore is here, why hasn't it attacked us yet?

Stokes:
You know, these things usually happen right after someone asks a question like this—

[A loud THUMP and close growling]

Demi:
[gasps]

There it is. It had been hiding up in the scaffolding all along, watching us, stalking us like its prey. And now it's here among us, obscured in the shadows of the dimly lit theater, crouching, ready to pounce. What little I can see is still enough to make out its size. It's huge, much bigger than a lion, closer to the size of a horse. I bite my bottom lip to keep myself from whimpering as it stalks closer, its claws clacking against the wood of the stage.

Demi:
Th-the manticore...

Stokes: [weirdly calm]
Amazing... Strange, though. The lion part is right, but I thought you said it'd have the wings of a bat and the tail of a scorpion. This one has the rear body of a goat and its tail is...

[A hiss]

Stokes:
...a snake. Its tail is a snake. [aha moment] Ahhh! Of course! Snake venom often causes blood to coagulate! That explains everything! Another mystery solved, another potentially deadly adventure in progress. It's Christmas come early!

Demi:
What is wrong with you!?

[A loud ROAR]

Its roar shakes the walls, spittle flying in our direction. I panic!

Demi:
Jayden! Do something!

Jayden:
You're going to have to be more specific...

Demi:
I don't know! Attack!

Jayden leaps into the air, his clothes falling away in shreds as his true form comes bursting out. He tackles the beast, and the two roll across the floor, a flurry of claws and teeth.

Stokes:
My stars! Demi, what have you done? It wasn't attacking us. You just became the aggressor!

Sorry, Stokes McGokes, but time is of the essence. I can see why the manticore jumped down from the scaffolding as we drew closer to the stage. There's a door back there behind the curtains. It was guarding the entrance. That must be where it stores what it hunts. I rush onstage. The manticore sees me and charges, but Jayden once again sends it flying across the room. I don't have time to watch the spectacle. I fling open the door. A set of stairs awaits me, plummeting into the dark below. Without thinking, I take the plunge and race down into the darkness. Atiyah... please be alive.

It's soon too dark to see. I cling to the cold iron railing to keep my footing as I continue to run blindly down the steps. The struggle upstairs comes through clear as day, even all the way down here, shaking the walls, the stairs, and very air around me. I strain my eyes, trying to make out anything in the pitch black. Just as I start to worry I've made the wrong choice and contemplate returning upstairs, I see it; the bottom of the steps leading into a lit hallway. I keep running, my lungs burning from the effort, all the while telling myself not to give up. Atiyah is alright! She has to be!

I stumble as I reach the landing and race through the hallway into... an old but lush dressing room. The curtains and cushions are worn, but the dust has been wiped clean, and the bed still looks plush despite its faded colors. Most importantly is who is on the bed, lying still as the grave.

Demi:
Atiyah!

Atiyah sits up at the sound of my voice. She's unharmed!

Atiyah:
Demi! I knew you'd come for me!

Demi:
Are you okay? Are you hurt? What were you thinking!? You could've been killed!

Atiyah:
I'm fiiiiine. I had Kimmy to protect me!

Demi:
Kimmy...? Who's...?

Atiyah:
You didn't see him on the way in? He's been protecting me from those awful men out in the woods!

Demi:
What...? What happened?

Atiyah:
Well... I went out looking for the Otherfolk, like I said I would. And I came to Sceana Park. I'm not sure why, just had a feeling. Anyway, I started looking around the forest. Then this s-scary looking man found me... and said he was going to hurt me to keep me quiet! But then Kimmy appeared and saved me! He brought me back here, and has been protecting me ever since!

Demi:
Wait... You don't mean... Is Kimmy the manticore? But I thought manticores were man-eaters.

Atiyah:
Manticore? [laughs] Kimmy's not a manticore, silly! He's a chimera! They look similar, I know, but they're really very different creatures. Manticores hunt and eat humans. Chimeras are more... guardians, of sorts. They're used to guard sacred temples, magical treasures, or as a test against great heroes. Slaying a chimera is usually an obstacle to obtain some prized item.

Demi:
So... you weren't in any danger?

Atiyah:
Nope!

Demi:
Weren't you scared?

Atiyah:
Why would I be?

Demi:
I dunno... what if the chimera decided not to let you go?

Atiyah:
I wasn't worried. I knew you'd come and save me.

Demi:
How could you possibly know? I didn't even know I'd come for you!

Atiyah:
Because you're my best friend.

Demi:
Ah—Atiyah [mispronounced]... I mean... Atiyah [correctly pronounced]... you hardly even know me...

Atiyah:
I know you're a good person! And I... don't really have other friends. Most people think I'm annoying or weird. They don't give me a chance...

My face flushes with guilt. I'm one of those people. I immediately judged Atiyah on our first meeting, without even trying to get to know the smart, kind-hearted, quirky girl underneath the initial appearance of childishness.

Atiyah:
And... honestly? I did realize that you were getting fed up with me. I mean, who wouldn't understand when someone yells “Go away!” at you? I was... I was just being... maybe I was a little overenthusiastic? But... I knew we would be good friends... and... and... I thought maybe if I were really nice to you that... you'd like me... and I'm sorry... I'm sorry you got dragged into all of this... I didn't mean it... I didn't mean for this to happen.

Even as protests rise up in my throat, a realization dawns on me. I know how she feels. All too often, people see me as jaded and cold. They don't know about my sense of humor, that I'm pretty damn clever, or how caring I can be once you gain my trust. Except for Atiyah. She saw the good in me before I even tried extending it to her.

Demi:
Hey, you don't need to apologize. I'm technically the one that broke the universe or whatever. And as pathetic as this sounds, you're... sorta my best friend too...

Atiyah:
Really?

Demi:
Yeah.

Atiyah:
Yaaay!

Demi:
You really weren't scared? Not even a little?

Atiyah:
Nah. Kimmy's a sweetheart! Besides, chimeras are only vicious against thieves and other bad guys. Or if you attack first. Obviously. Self defense and all that.

Stokes: [flashback]
My stars! Demi, what have you done? It wasn't attacking us. You just became the aggressor!

Demi:
Oh no...

Atiyah:
What's wrong?

Demi:
Atiyah, who would win in a fight; a chimera or a Rakshasa?

Atiyah:
Probably a Rakshasa. They're really fierce. Why do you ask... [trails off]? Oh no. Demi! You didn't!

Demi:
I'm sorry!

Atiyah:
We have to save Kimmy! C'mon!

ATIYAH NARRATION

[Back upstairs]

Chimera:
[growls and roars]

Jayden:
[roars back]

Atiyah:
Kimmyyyyyyyy!

I run between them. Kimmy immediately pounces in front of me, protecting me from Jayden. I can see the deep claw marks in his skin, the blood matting his thick fur and mane.

Atiyah:
Oh, Kimmy, you're hurt! Poor baby... I'll protect you now, okay?

Chimera:
[mewls]

Jayden:
[makes aggressive noises]

Demi:
Jayden, that's enough! Back into human form, now!

[Jayden turns back]

Jayden:
What? Do you want to be eaten alive by this chimera?

Stokes:
Chimera?

Jayden:
I-I mean manticore.

Demi:
You... KNEW!?

Jayden:
[sighs] Manticores and chimeras smell very different. I knew the moment that we came to the park. But I was hoping—

Demi:
Hoping what!? That I'd be so worried about Atiyah that it would impair my judgment and you could use that to trick me into letting you go!?

Jayden:
Can you really fault me for trying?

Demi:
You are unbelievable! I could KILL you—

Stokes:
I don't mean to be a person who interrupts, but the police will be here soon. Since I can't say I've ever heard of something like this happening in recorded memory, I'm guessing we don't want to make our chimeric friend there available for public consumption. If you intend to keep it that way, you really need to be going.

Demi:
Huh? You mean... you're going to cover it all up for us?

Stokes:
I wouldn't dream of spurring the public into a panic. No, we'll chalk this up to drug-related homicide. The snake venom and the maulings were all staged by a rival cartel. Leave the forensic evidence to me.

Demi:
But what about the detective? He saw Jayden semi-transform and attack you!

Stokes: [amused]
What can I say? I was using several strong chemicals to investigate the crime scene, and he wasn't wearing the appropriate safety gear. Who's to say he wasn't affected by the fumes? I imagine the hallucinations were rather marvelous.

Demi:
Wow... that's... I'm sorry, why are you helping us?

Stokes: [chuckles]
I have my reasons. Just go on! You don't have much time!

Atiyah:
Thank you! Mister...?

Stokes:
Doctor.

Atiyah:
Doctor who?

Stokes:
Doctor Will—

Demi:
Stokes McGokes.

Stokes:
Huh!?

Atiyah:
Thank you so much Doctor McGokes!

Stokes:
Ugh... That's not gonna go away, is it?

Atiyah:
C'mon, Kimmy. You can come home with me! It'll be just like that time I brought home a stray kitty.

And just like the stray kitty, Wahid didn't let me keep Kimmy.

Atiyah:
[bawling] Kimmyyyyy nooooo I'll miss youuuuuuuuu!!!

I guess it was better this way. Kimmy is safer in the Other World. At least until this whole confusion with the police blows over. Still... I hate to say goodbye.

[Back at the Basilah household]

Hemsah:
Hey don't look so glum.

Sittah:
Yeah, he's not the only Otherfolk in town.

Hemsah/Sittah:
You can always visit Demi and play with Jayden.

Atiyah:
[sniffles, happy] Really!?

Demi:
What do you mean visit!? He's not a pet, he's a monster!

Atiyah:
We're gonna have sooo much fun! This is gonna be great! I'll come over every day to walk him!

Demi:
Atiyah, no!

Atiyah:
Oh come ooooon.

Hemsah/Sittah:
Yeah, come ooooon.

Jayden:
Don't I get a say in any of this?

Demi/Hemsah/Sittah:
No!

Atiyah:
Then it's settled!

Demi:
AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAARGH!

credits


Voice Talents:
Demi Diaz: Lucia Lobosvilla
Atiyah Basilah: Victoria McMullen
William Randalf Stokes: Matt Di Carlo
Jayden: Nick Eriksen
Senior Detective: Joel Williams
Young Officer: Tom Laflin
Mikael: Dalton Broback
Basir Basilah: Will Sherron
Wahid Basilah: Joel Williams
Ithnanie Basilah: Ryan Hoyle
Thalata Basilah: Kory Showman
Arebah Basilah: Nick Eriksen
Hemsah Basilah: Señor Pacman
Sittah Basilah: Señor Pacman
Seba Basilah: Lucia Lobosvilla

Music:
Kevin MacLeod (incompetech.com)
Lizzy Denning

Art:
Rebe García (892art.tumblr.com)

Written by:
Lucia Lobosvilla
Matt Di Carlo

Mixed by:
Lucia Lobosvilla

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license

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