Charles Pendelton
       2008 Marty Langdon
Chapter 25

                The Hedgehogs are here


As I began to contemplate these new surroundings, I saw an astonishing thing. Every single tree
which encompassed the area was suddenly very much alive; as if nature had gone on to evolve
without us. I wiped my eyes as an abandoned tot would have to find that upon waking, he had
been cast into a caricature from a whimsical book! A book I remember oh so vividly as a child.




Little faces, extracted from the canvas of a Salvador Dalí painting incorporated themselves
within the plethora of leaves and bushes of the surrounding area. The very aspect of their
appearance was constructed of dreamwork, (not pertaining to this realm of time) and their arms,
hyperextended from bony branches that seemed to be watching our every move with the utmost
detail! Their eyes were distinctly slanted, "never round" and while they truly had a gremlin-like
demeanor, every one of them appeared to be wickedly smirking, as if they knew something
I didn't. This scenario would serve as the catalyst, to a wild evening drenched in hallucinatory
phantasmagoria. A predetermined course was already planned and set by the hands of God
for the wayfarers to endure on their flight of imagination. Reality had now become the illusion.


These ghastly figures, comprised of legions were all but laughing at their frightened host who
stood before them in awe. There were so many species of these mutant tree dwellers, I could
not count for they were innumerable, and how flagrantly they mocked my character! From my
standpoint, they appeared to be laughing, but it was in such a diabolical way, that I perceived
it as being somewhat demonic. Like they were waiting for the exact moment our blood would
be spilled, to rejoice. From the corner of their eyes they observed me, as if desperately trying
to undermine my stability. In this discriminating order, we were outnumbered a billion to one.


It felt like I was being watched by a thousand hyena's just waiting for their opportunity to rush in
and make the kill. At close proximity, however, I in turn studied them. Such fascinating creatures
I thought, as I gazed into the eye of another world. An arid breeze helped motivate their limbs and
allowed them to move unrestrained, exaggerating my predicament. Full of life and charged with fury
that would never cease, they continued their assault on me with persecution. Poised in a premeditative
stance, they snickered insidiously to one another, and I cringed as to what their intentions might be.


I would not be brought down by these leviathans, hiding in obscurity of their own doubt! All they
can do is peer out at me from lighted shadows cast down to earth from a dusty sky. They could in no
way harm me, though they certainly looked menacing enough. To a complete novice standing in these
shoes, he or she might find that this world had indeed become maniacally demented! Cloaked in an
attentive gaze they beckon misfortune unto all, and with piercing eyes they made each of us feel as
though we were being slowly dissected. But Peter, who could be found muddling sluggishly around
in the dense dark gloom of never-never, trying to figure out why we'd wrong him to such a degree.

In truth, those wicked eyes were beginning to haunt me.


                                                                         Pg 119
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Like silent waves through gleaming steel on the down side of a razor sharp combat knife;
or the malevolent oculus of a freshly carved Halloween pumpkin, with a growing stare so
ferocious it cuts deep into the wafer thin layer of the child's own imagination to torment
him throughout the night. The mind knows something is clearly amiss when a simple object
begins to have its own point of view, and you know without a shadow of a doubt, that the
object gazing back at you has its own little agenda. . . And the agenda is concerning you!


On delicate wings, what appeared to be a pterodactyl flew over the tree line directly
above and released a screech. I was not alarmed by this, for this is what I expected.
The sane entering the mind of the insane, only I did not expect it to be this real.




The cartoon strip was alive, and I was in the big leagues now.

Just remember one thing, if anything at all. . .
"Be very careful captain; people get lost in here."


The demonesque forms all around me began chattering in a whisper tone, and they were
talking about us. I was so keenly intent on hearing what they had to say, that I attempted to
listen to sounds above human levels. Filtering in all the acoustics of my surroundings, I would
process and expel any earthly movements, tree rustling or obligatory remarks unrelated to or
negating my cause. Under no circumstance, whatsoever, would I let on that I was doing this! 




In a state of continual disquietude I was troubled, but with great temerity and unyielding
perseverance, I was able to endure those groping eyes! Eyes which festered in a guise of
mischievousness, and went way beyond that of being satirical. I then tried to imagine how
an artist could paint such a surrealistic picture, before realizing it was humanly impossible.

 
Then it happened!

In the vespertine stillness of the cool night air, one spoke aloud while relaying the message
down the line that stretched well into this urban jungle. I heard one of them say to the other,
the Hedgehogs are here. Then suddenly, like a bolt of lightning through the forest, a brooding
silence fell over the area, and it seemed as if the whole of Staten Island had just gone into shock.


John wandered about studying points of interest, and things only he could interpret, while Pete stood
alone; unwavering in his seclusion. Like an enemy of the state who had just returned from the draft
with mental health issues. Whilst I, was now faced with this terrible and dreaded situation. My mind
was controlling my emotions, but my emotions were flooded by so many partial thoughts, I could do
nothing but watch myself fall deeper and deeper into an abysmal void of profound recourse.


Like a base jumper without a chute,
or a cellist
in the middle of the Sahara desert
playing a song for the sun. . .
We were losing.



My emotions were now on a steel burner
and apparently, running themselves.

Suddenly, I was shy
Then it was time to fly!
Where would even go?
Nowhere to even know.

Thoughts spawned like efflorescent flowers in an ephemeral field that covered the mind,
while a mystique was brewing from within to make the outside world change into that it was
not, by giving it options it had not before. Everything now appeared to have a very cynical
motive. Even the shadows produced by the soft lambency of far away planets tried earnestly
to learn our objective. As thought patterns shifted and illusions became real, emotions were
nothing more than a light flickering in the darkness of a long abandoned movie theatre.


                                                                         Pg 120
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One wrong move through the branches and we could easily end up with a very serious
laceration to the eye, but one mistake on the tracks and that could prove to be the end
of everything. I tried not to think of these things because these things, we knew from
the start. The dangers of the outside world. Now if we were in the middle of an archery
field perhaps or a bad section of the city, for that matter! That would be cause for some
dire concern, but I wasn't in any direct danger from other people. It's kind of hard to lose
the common sense you're born with, so long as you don't gloat on the absurd for too long
a period of time, (((and))) you have the ability to divert your illuded perception, when it
begins to string you along. I found it necessary to talk to myself for awhile, just to remind
myself where I was and how careful I now needed to be. I would say things to myself like,
nice and easy (or) watch your step over there (or) Just follow my lead. It was kind of like
learning your abc's, I thought.


Always Be Careful.


And in the end we wind up laughing about it because everything is normal
again, but how funny was it when we were there and had to pray for the higher
power to save us? Don't think God isn't watching you at all hours of the day
and night, because he is. Believe in him if it suits you, but one day you will
learn the truth. . . Only a fool goes off to war, without first praying.


Everyone in a gang hurting people. . . GET OUT!
Everyone addicted to drugs. . . GET STRAIGHTENED OUT!
Everyone doing everything they shouldn't be doing. . . THINK!

What people cannot seem to grasp is that the world around them is nothing
more than a big recording device. The only way that recording can be erased
is by prayer. Even the most ruthless of men pay homage to the lord when
passing a church. Something as simple as pulling the wings off a butterfly
will eventually come down to something being destroyed in your universe,
and no, it will not be fair, and yes, you will cry. I can almost guarantee it.
Whether it be the fire that tomorrow brings, or the life that the living gives.



So pray now and pray earnestly, that you may somehow escape a fate in which you have been
predestined to follow, because the window that is open today may be sealed shut tomorrow.



Everything you do in this life
is not without its consequences,
if it is done for the wrong reason. . .


But who listens to old fools?
What do we know anyway?
We were only you once; take it for what it's worth.

No, it wasn't the world around me that drew cause for any real concern. It was the strange goings
on inside, which caused me to hesitate and wonder, the why's and the woe's of my own existence.


                                                                         Pg 121
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In fact, it was all a play. A play that had gone terribly wrong.
Who is on the string now my puppeteer, said the marionette?



Trying to put my thoughts in order was like trying to untangle an algorithm,
it just couldn't be done. I was not at any time filled with devils, I was simply
trying to solve an endless riddle. Like waking up in the middle of the night
and opening the bathroom door to find you're on stage. Oh, but such
soliloquy from this dry mind, left gazing in a vacuous stare! Where voices
down in deep dark chambers utter secrets. They've long upheld their end
of the bargain. This action, I found to be my conscience gloating. 


All time had stopped during this moment of reckoning, frozen still.
That split second of wonder. That discernible flaw which tends to
challenge one's own rationality, had, in fact, become the emotion.
That splendid awe is now all that is left of the young man who awoke
too soon. The mind becomes stuck in a threshold as the world pulls
itself apart, leaving only you to fix the mess. Like a blind man on the
moon, I was trying to put a puzzle together with no pieces. There was
no reason or reasoning to be found anymore.
I was, in fact, insane.


I heard passages being read from the so-called 'book of truth', by the bride
to her train bearers, who were both dressed better than she was. Glowing
with the acumen of life's rich reward, I watched as the book cascaded away
along rooftops of lakes and into the pristine shadow of the illuminated quarry.
Like a deceitful manifesto reclaimed by its rightful owner, I could see far
beyond that of knowing. Tossed out like a tattered old scarf was the much
coveted book of truth, and no it was no Bible, and now it has drowned.



                   Score one for the conjugal mind!


When the subconscious mind plays host unto itself creating labyrinths of
fear ladened in torment, it serves us wisely to observe and to note, all the
rules of the game,
for this game is unlike any other. In this game, you are
the pawn moving across the chessboard, and every good player knows the
pawn cannot win the game. That twisted agenda is Satan's promise. In this
world, there is nothing worse; than of that. So play the game correctly
and go home with a medal, or would you prefer the alternative? 


What now, said the man in the vortex unable to see his legs?


At this point in time, I exist without existing. I can feel my body both grow and die
at the same time. In this strange acronym of life, we're living on the edge of reason.


I had to open that box. I had to see with my own two eyes, what was inside it.
It seemed so harmless, it was only a little puzzle box, but now it's so much more.
The real humdinger comes when you finally realize that instead of opening it,
it is in fact, opening you.




                                                                         Pg 122
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I then began to think of the hippies and their love nests. (Communes)
Pinko freaks basking in the same sun as our young men going off to war.
People with white picket signs telling you to make love, not war,
while flower power and electric Kool-Aid tests fueled a generation
toward groovy music, utopian writing and brain-numbing decadence.

                                                  http://picosong.com/ffNs




In the late nineteen sixties, kids were dropping sugar cubes as fast as they
could get their hands on them. The craze for mind expansion was only
an excuse to throw the word freedom around, because I was a witness to
the magic and the madness of (what would become) the me generation.



The very last thing we need in today's society are hippies. When a world full of normal
people becomes psychologically impaired, it's only a matter of time before the persistent
usage of mind bending hallucinogen's creates a fraternity, rather than an organization of
chosen leaders. A non-working society of social misfits who make up their own rules as
they go along, eventually become deranged lunatics running off the cracker into the soup!

                                                    http://picosong.com/4NV7




The neuronal wiring which comprises the human brain is delicate,
and that was now being tampered with from an unknown source.

I was allowing myself to be manipulated by a foreign substance,
while my brain was transposed to that of the will of another.


You could spend your whole life traveling the globe and still not see the wonders
I've witnessed in a single night. Then you could ask me if it was all worth it, and
I would tell you no. Should you ask me why, then I would explain it to you. It is
because a normal functioning human being was never meant to be burdened with
such terrible afflictions. The likes of which have already been imparted unto the
damned. There is a power that comes from seeing into the minds of deranged
men, a certain lunacy which is to beheld when hanging on the threshold of sanity.


So how do I solve this dilemma? Could I live the rest of my life in this condition?
Certainly not, bolstered the timely old fellow in the far right corner of my cerebellum!
If you try to solve it logically, you will go mad for there is no logic in it. The only logical
thing to do would be to run, but to run away from monsters is foolish, because they
always get you in the end. Some monsters only exist to confound wisdom! This world
I have created for myself is not real. Neither is it logical. A pastime perhaps to dwell,
but why? To reflect on nothing-matters is a foolish game. They are everywhere, in
every-thing, and they are not going home yet. Do you know anyone who has ever
succeeded by running away from a problem? Maybe someone in a witness protection
program who has been relocated to another state. That just might be your only
exception! You could run forever, but you can never hide from yourself. So why try?


I knew it would change me, and yet I did it anyway. I know the danger all too well, only
this time I thought it would lead me on a strange and wonderful path to enlightenment, but
I was just not ready. Those damn regrets seem to follow me around like ravenous wolves.


                                                                         Pg 123
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If you think of trying to cope with a problem as you would prior to ingestion, you would
have quite an awakening for the thought
process changes so rapidly in here and to such a degree,
that in the very end, we're all left to re-examine ourselves. When the demon steps out of the
shadows to greet you in the wheatfield, you had better be ready to face your darkest hour,
with sword in hand, or you just might end up having to stay in the dream a little longer. 

Did you ever hear of the young man who took too much LSD in the 70's and
turned into an orange? No one could touch him for fear that his skin may
bruise, thus turning his pulp into orange juice. Food had to be left by his
bedroom door, and no one could be in the same room with him. He was
eventually committed to a insane asylum where he will live out his days.




When something potentially helpful is used for all the wrong reasons, nothing good can ever become of it.




Never become careless in disregard for the things that have the most power in this world
are the things that cannot even be seen. Be good in life and be honest in your affairs, and
in return, the Good Lord will help you with what you need to succeed. So long as you put
forth the greater effort! Rectify your wrong doings and establish a motive for living. Give
of yourself if you can, and give unto those who have nothing. Life in itself is relatively
easy, so long as we follow the basic guidelines dictated within our society to co-exist
amongst each other. Handed down from nature are a set of rules which even the animals
must follow to ensure proper living. When they stray from them, they are devoured.


I knew now what needed to be done.

As I stood there contemplating this belief, it was imperative
that I move quickly, for I sensed the spirits were getting restless.
When there is nothing but confusion in a sea of total calm,
the improbable skirmish will account for the last detail.


I extended my arms in an outward manner, whereby trying to exemplify matters by baring
my emotions to the wind. Be not alarmed by us, I said aloud in my head, for we are only here
but a moment, and then we shall leave. Please forgive the intrusion into your world, and be
not angry with us who now see your true face. We mean you no harm. We are lost and tired;
we are confused and weak. . . Have pity on us that we may join you in your serenity. It is all
we hope for. Then like a ray of sunlight through a cloud, all was made well in our new found
place! They began conversing peacefully to one another, as if we weren't even there, for a
bond of trust it seems had been formed. No longer were we considered a threat to them, and
it appeared, they now accepted us and even seemed to enjoy our company. I felt as though I
had made peace with an entire world! I soon said farewell to the tree demons for it was time
for us to move on. This journey would take us well into the morning hours, for as dazed and
exhausted as I was, I had the motivation to go on without stopping indefinitely.

                                             http://picosong.com/f8wf


                                                                         Pg 124
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Inkpop reviews for chapter 2
5

Beautifully Inked - Very detailed, very pictoresque. The way you write
it rather unique, haven't seen it before, actaully. It makes me picture a
guy sitting on a rocking chair looking at the world around him with great
analization and really just taking it all in. Bravo and well done, mate.

BlakeUrban - This is what I aspire to. Ya got an undeniable gift my man.
Good, Great, Grand!

Drowning.Silently. - Wow your literary style is one of the most unique I've
seen here. It's like I'm in a tunnel of swirling colors and images come flying
toward me..but yet I ghost on through to something else more chaotic or
serene. I do agree that this is a wonderful piece of work, regardless if the teen
community accepts it or not. You described something of this madness and made
it into something tangeable but yet when you reach out, and almost grasp that
tangeability, it falls away and corrodes into something even more brilliant. You've
done an excellent job with this, as well as protraying the mind of the insane.
Awesome, awesome work :)

G G Anderson - Dang your imagery is amazing- really really cool- I will
continue to read and definately will check out the middle chapter- reAlly REally
REALLY good- like I have said before- you are gifted-

Heather Marie Tumbleweed - omg your imagry is so beautiful, but playful,
check out my poem i will leave happy or broken harmony

isabella2296 - The imagery is absolutely, 100% gorgeous. It's also really
incredibly playful with a lightness I just can't put into words (although, judging
by how amazing this is, I bet you can!) I think my favorite line is the very last,
about flickering in the darkness of a long abandoned movie theatre. Just
absolutely incredible, really.

Leigh Fallon
- You bring poetry to a completely different level. There is so
much to love here. Every line is a literary masterpiece, full of beautiful imagery
and the deliciously selected words. If I had to name a favourite "Eyes which
festered in mishcieviousness" jumps out at me. I love the playful lightness of
this. Truly gorgeous, our numerous poets on Inkpop will have both an education
and a delightful experience when reading your work. Good luck. Leigh

(The above comment from Leigh was solely for page 120)

Leigh Fallon - This all reads like an out of body experience. You truly have
the most exquiste literary style that just oozes knowledge and experience. Its
slightly bizare too, sort of like falling down the rabbit hole if you know what I
mean, I just never know whats going to pop up next. I get the impression that if
I was reading this after consuming half a bottle of an lushious french red that I
might just be on the same wave length and be able to appreciate it more... do
you get me? Honestly, I don't know if you're going to get the readership you
deserve on here. Its that little bit highbrow and literary, not that teens can't be
high brow and they would (we all could) learn so much from your writing, but I
fear you won't get the praise you deserve. Have you tried posting this in book
form on Authonomy? It might get the recognition over there. But I don't want to
lose you from Inkpop either. Your work is nothing short of brilliant.... I think I'll
open that bottle of wine now, I can then ponder the "efflorescent flowers in an
ephemeral field" while shouting "The hedgehogs are here!" Talk to you later. Leigh

LorynMarie - I LOVE how descriptive you are about the trees, giving them a very
imaginative persona. It really drew me in on the first page. (I also like how you split
them into pages, that's pretty cool) I haven't read the rest of this book so I really
don't know the entire plot or anything, but this chapter is very well written. There
were a few places that you could have tightened up the sentences a bit and the
book title in the beginning should start with caps I think. Other than that, very
well written! -Loryn

Macrae by Nature - I think this is great, one word of advice, maybe thin out
all the adjectives, especially like the word 'delicate' before wings and the words
'efflorescent' and 'ephemeral' While I love people with a good grasp on
vocabulary, I think sometimes a message can be killed by overcluttering it with
adjectives. This is just a beautifuly written page. I think that you are incredibly
talented writer.

MIC - "With a growing stare so ferocious it cuts deep into the wafer thin layer
of the child's own imagination, to torment him throughout the night"---ooo, now
this is really cool!!! Look at me ... I'm already drooling over your work, and it's
the first little bit ...

"The sane entering the mind of the insane"---love it

"Then it happened!"----yes! This is so great!

"One spoke aloud while relaying the message down the line that stretched
well into this urban jungle"---so great!!!

"It seemed as if the whole of Staten Island had just gone into shock"---
Loving this!!!

"My mind was controlling my emotions, but my emotions were flooded by so
many partial thoughts ..." ---so great ... and the rest of the line is so great, too!

"Like a cellist in the middle of the Sahara desert"---hah! So clever!

"emotions were nothing more than a light flickering in the darkness of a long
abandoned movie theatre"---so cool

Every line is crafted so well!!! I am LOVING this!!! There's not an empty spot in
here, so full and moving, and fascinating, captivating ... yes, I could go on. Your
writing is so intelligent ... I love to really think ... and your writing does that for
me. So many clever moments!!! This is great! ~Morgan :)

(((Morgan was the "Top Pick" on inkpop for the month of Jan 2010.
Her book "Shadow Watchers" was recently
flagged with a star
and has been reviewed by the Editorial Board of Harper/Collins.

Her work is exceptional and can be labeled, Adventure, Science
Fiction/ Fantasy, Romance.
Seventeen year-old Clara Reynolds
has always known someone was watching her. Then the doctors
diagnosed her as delusional.)))


Mirka-Celeste Jamie Branzanti Velasquez - Well done. It's very good but
personally I think that you use too many really big and complicated words.
I did understand them don't worry , but if you want to reach a greater audience
try to think of everyone. Which includes people whose vocabulary might not be
as great as mine or yours. Other than that I think it was a brilliant piece of work
and I think I would definitely buy this book in a store. Great job.

raeofsunshine56 - The imagery is simply superb! You have truly out done yourself!
As always, I bow down to you sir!

Rebecca
Ryals Russell -
Charles, You have an interesting premise here, but
it is so buried in words it got lost for me. I've edited the first few paragraphs
to give you some idea of how to simplify but say the same thing. Take this as
you will, it is simply a critique. My style is spare and to the point, like Hemingway.
Parts of this reminded of Poe, so to each his own. Aren't plants and trees already
alive? Maybe you need to describe what is 'alive' about them instead of telling us
they are 'alive'. Where the Wild Things Are needs caps. I wiped my eyes...-this is
very confusing imagery and too long with too many ideas. Try breaking it into 2
or 3 sentences. ...painting incorporated... no comma between. Try this revision:
Hyper...branches they seemed....detail. As if they all knew something I didn't they
appeared to smirk wickedly despite their gremlin-like demeanor. (remove the eyes
part - not needed) Paragraph 3 is way too wordy. Try this rewrite: Legions of these
ghastly creatures all but laughed outright. How flagrantly they mocked my character.
Innumerable species, these mutant tree dwellers observed me surreptitiously waiting
for blood to be spilt. I was outnumbered a billion to one. I stopped reading there but
noticed hyenas has no apostrophe and leviathans are giants. I hope this helps or
gives you some ideas on how to edit to be less redundant. You want readers to get
your ideas so don't weigh them down with words or they'll stop reading. BTW, don't
educe the number of 'big' words you used. Make your audience come up to your level.
If the ideas are good enough and the presentation simple, they will read it.

Sofia Araya - this is defenitly very unique! i enjoyed the imagery and could
picture everything that was happening. you're style is very different, but i am
glad that i read this because i enjoyed it. i do have to agree with Leigh Fallon
though about not having the correct type of readers here on this site, meaning
that this isn't something i would normally see in the YA section of a book store. -Sofia


Miscellaneous reviews for chapter 2
5

Daniel Schumacher
- Beyond that which should be sought after

Kevin Miller - What kind of writing is this. I really like where it is taking me.

Janis Yan - This is the level of writing which I call the genius stage.
It is as profound as it is unattainable (to most of our society) and
usually the individuals who possess it do not even know where to begin.

Brook Parucci - I can not tell you how many times I have read this chapter!
To be able to put something like this together does not even compute in my brain!
It is so far ahead of its time! Aliens from space could probably match wits with you!
Hey, you don't mind that I've copied this chapter do you? Thanks!

Charles Pendelton - How do you know I'm not from outer space? *(LOL)*

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If any image on this site is considered to be offensive, it will be removed. If it has been copied without
proper consent, please contact me immediately and the image will either be removed, or credit shall be
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PG 119) Where the wild things are by Maurice Sendak - http://tinyurl.com/5n5d5p

PG 120) Pterodactyl
screensaver - http://tinyurl.com/2j4dje

PG 120) Terra Lontaine
screensaver - http://tinyurl.com/qxuf8kt

PG 120) The project sets for operas by Rossini's Journey to Rheims
by Rafał Olbiński - http://tinyurl.com/5s6vy6

PG 121) Prahlad
praying to Vishnu while in the fire by Unknown

PG 121) Revelation by Jason Engle - http://tinyurl.com/kwlos3c

PG 122) The usurper
by Jeff Christensen - http://tinyurl.com/klussdo 

PG 122) Voracious
by Leah Palmer Preiss - http://www.leahpalmerpreiss.com/

PG 122) Manhunt
by Tetsuya Ishida - http://tinyurl.com/ykkbz67

PG 123) Make love not war poster,
circa 1967 - http://tinyurl.com/kevoe7z

PG 123) Trick with the tail #2
by Alexander Sasha Spivak - http://tinyurl.com/lgtxxes

PG 123) Saints preserve us
by
Martin Wittfooth - http://martinwittfooth.com/

PG 124) Scourge
by Esao Andrews - http://tinyurl.com/2b9t7aa

PG 124) An optical illusion -
http://www.moillusions.com/