Peter is down on his luck but that is about to change due to a Fairy Godmother and a plastic pail of candy!
Disclaimer: This is fiction. All the characters and events portrayed here are fictional, and any resemblance to real people or incidents is purely accidental and unintentional.
Warning!!! Due to this more or less being finished at the last moment this hasn't received the usual vaccinations versus my poor use of grammar. I'm sure that I'll find out about each shortcoming very soon!
This was going to be my original entry for the contest, but Erin threw us a curve ball about no recurring characters or established universes. Since my very first stand alone story was written for BC two years ago also for Halloween, I just had to continue my little series about feisty Fairy Godmothers, and wishes that end in Happily Ever After. :) Enjoy!
The Witch’s Cauldron
Rocking back and forth, Peter tried to relieve the tremendous discomfort that was threatening to finish driving him insane. His head was full of cotton, but his skin felt as if he was wrapped in electrified barbed wire.
Here he was in the psycho ward because stupid him had opened his big mouth. He really had needed someone to talk to, but without thinking, he’d said exactly the wrong thing. Peter had been hurting so badly inside, he’d just wanted the pain to go away, but that was not what he‘d should‘ve said. Maybe he’d been suicidal, but sitting here in a ‘I love me’ jacket and locked in a padded room going crazy wasn’t helping him one bit.
If that wasn’t enough, they had doped him to the gills ignoring his pleas that he always had strange reactions to medications. What was supposed to make him sleepy, would have him bouncing off the walls or some other weird reaction. Sure enough, just as he feared, what was supposed to calm him down and make him sleepy, had the opposite effect. So he sat, too wired to sleep and so agitated he just wanted to scream. Not that it would do him much good in this place.
That was when he noticed the small glowing ball of light that had wandered into his padded cage. It came up to him hovering in front of his nose before popping like a soap bubble revealing a Barbie doll sized Fairy.
Rationally, he evaluated his situation. Flying in front of his face with her gossamer wings buzzing was a small female dressed in an emerald silk grown. Let’s not forget the miniature wand leaving a trail of sparks behind it that she carried.
“All right that’s all folks!” Peter thought. “I have officially lost my mind and gone nuttsy-koo-koo. Game over folks. Elvis has left the building!”
Smiling, the Fairy said to him, “No my dear you’re not insane. Just hurting from all your years of denying your true self. But first things first.”
Waving her wand like right out of Harry Potter, she popped him right on the nose!
Startled, he yanked his head back, bumping it on the padded wall. He was going to start screaming, but found all of his maddening discomfort was gone! Peter let out a deep sigh, free of the maddening sensations and feeling better than he had in a very long time.
Well at least his Fairy Godmother was useful to have around even if he was crazy as a loon.
Rolling her eyes at his stubbornness she scolded him. “No. I’m not your Fairy Godmother and yes, I‘m reading your mind. That title goes to someone else and quite frankly they’re not doing a very good job. Otherwise you would’ve already worked out your issues and wouldn’t be in this dismal place.” She said looking around disapprovingly at his surroundings.
Giving up sanity as a lost cause, Peter answered his buzzing delusion aloud. “Whether you’re a figment of my imagination or not, thank you for whatever you did. It was about to finish the job of making me lose my sanity.”
The Fairy Godmother bobbed politely in mid-air, “You’re welcome.”
Peter continued, “However, if you’re not my Fairy Godmother, why are you here?”
The small flying fairy smiled, “Oh I knew you were one of the smart ones. And not a word about my saying it’s your denial that has landed in here either.” She shook a finger at him.
Peter blushed red, having a real good idea of what she was talking about. It was his darkest secret that fear and embarrassment had prompted him to bury within himself as deep as he could. But no matter how he hard he tried it always came back, and as much as he would like to claim his little problem had no bearing on his current crisis, he couldn’t.
Even now with this figment of his madness buzzing in the air before him, he couldn’t say it. It would just have to be a fairy to come here to visit him. During his childhood while the other boys were playing ball, he was dreaming of pegasis, fairies, and other fantasy creatures. He soon realized that although the girls wouldn’t let him play with them because he was a boy, he was more like them in his heart than the hyperactive, aggressive boys that loved to torment him so.
Fear of what his hard working lower income parents would do if they found out scared him half to death. How could he expect them to understand when he didn’t get it either? Feeling like he had no choice Peter tried to make his feelings and yearnings go away. The harder he tried, the more he found that it was wasn’t just thinking and feeling like a girl. He wanted to become one with all his heart and soul, and that could never be. Peter took after his Dad who was huge, towering over most other men at over 6 and half feet.
As he grew ever taller Peter dreaded every inch and although he'd never reach his dad’s height he was still counted as a tall man. A man and not ever never the woman that lay within his heart and soul. Determined to finally rid himself of his folly he resolved to be what everyone could plainly see what he was, a man.
Never mind the unexpected desire to touch that soft dress, or the sad envy he felt seeing a mother holding her child. Guiltily, he decided if he couldn’t be a mother then being a father would have to be good enough.
However that didn’t work out too good for him either with his rare relationships with women spectacularly crashing and burning. The one long term one he did have ended with her wanting things other than a family and children. One of the biggest reasons he was in here to begin with was his trying to recover from her leaving him.
The flint-eyed Fairy Godmother popped him on the nose again to regain his attention. “Tonight is Halloween. Forgot that did you? It’s going to be a very busy night for me, and I need some help. This the deal. Two deserving children here in the hospital have wishes coming to them. Since wishes comes in threes, if you deliver one wish to each child the last one is yours, young man.”
“This wish can only effect you. You can’t wish for all those who share your condition to be set right or for anything involving more than a single person. It’s only for one,” she said in a no non-sense tone. “I would hope that your experiences in this dismal establishment will motivate you to use it wisely.”
Peter didn’t have to think about long. “Well since I don’t have any future pressing engagements, I ‘m willing to consider your proposal, but right now, I’m all tied up. What’s more I'm pretty sure my current hosts would object to me checking out early.”
The doll sized Fairy Godmother shook her head at him as she flicked and swished her sparkling wand. With a sound like the wind sighing, the straitjacket fell in a heap at Peter’s feet.
“As for your hosts’ objections, a little Fairy glamour will take care of that quiet nicely. To everyone tonight, you’ll appear as if you belong here, but remember, like all such it will only last till midnight. Does that answer all of your questions?” She asked.
Peter carefully stood, expecting to have trouble after sitting for so long, but whatever was in that Fairy Dust was some really good stuff. He felt more clear headed, relaxed and generally better than he’d felt in ages.
He turned to look at the buzzing figment of his imagination just as she blasted a torrent of sparkles at his feet! “Whoa!” Peter exclaimed, dancing out of the way quickly.
Striking his discarded restraint, the burning embers caused the canvas straitjacket to shine so bright it left spots in his vision. Blinking them away, Peter saw that his jacket was gone and all that was left was a cheap looking black plastic pot vaguely resembling a cauldron and a black disk that suddenly popped up into a peaked witch’s hat.
“Tut, tut,” she admonished him as he looked sheepish at overreacting so.
“The hat has the fairy glamour cast upon it and will let you leave this place. Then all you have to do is take this cauldron down to the children's ward downstairs and pass out the candies inside. The rightful bearer of the wish will find it instead of a treat. There is no need to tell the child of the wish. They will know it is special as soon as they touch it. Don’t be concerned about receiving your wish. When your task is done the magic of the cauldron will let you know and you’ll find one last piece within with your payment.
“Since this is Halloween, watch out for Mischievous Spirits out and about on this night. The magic of the cauldron will protect you from malicious intent by any of them. However that won’t stop them from trying to cause trouble.”
Peter picked up the hat and the cheesy looking plastic bucket. Feeling foolish he settled the tall hat upon his head. Trying the door he found it unlocked and opened. Awkwardly he had to duck while leaving to keep the tall hat on his head.
Calling after him the Fairy Godmother reminded him. “Remember you’re the same as you’ve always been. The glamour will make everyone think and see that you belong where you are. Also it only lasts till midnight, but you should be finished long before then. Now be off with you!”
Peter muttered to himself. “Yeah, I know. Have fun storming the castle.” Cautiously he walked down the corridor heading for what he hoped was the exit. Coming to a junction, he was unsure which way to go. Why was it these places seemed like mazes?”
Uncertain, he was nearly pulled from his feet as the cauldron dragged him to the right! Startled he addressed it. “So the way out is this way?”
Again it pulled him to the right.
“All right! I get it. Does this get any better? First I’m talking to Fairy Godmothers and now I’m being led by the nose by a plastic tub. Do I dare ask what’s next?” Peter protested.
He admitted he was frightened. Scared this was all a dream and terrified it wasn’t. To finally after all these years of hurt and pain to be able to stop fighting himself. Just to achieve some measure of inner peace and tranquility would be a priceless gift. Madness or not this was one rabbit hole he’d no choice but to blindly enter.
A chill of fear flashed though him as he passed the nursing station, but no one took any notice of him as he walked by in his surgical scrubs style PJ’s bare footed. Peter almost swore as his magic cauldron impatiently tugged him towards the doors. Without a second glance Peter was buzzed though, and he was free!
Walking thought the lobby in bewildered shock, he wondered which way to go now? “Well Pot, where to now?” he asked.
“You could just leave you know.” An edgy voice spoke behind him causing Peter to jump.
A denial of wrong doing was on his lips but died as he turned.
At first sight she looked liked a human perched among the planters and greenery along the wall. Even as he stared at her in disbelief, he couldn’t deny the truth of his eyes. Maybe it was the fairy glamour upon the tall hat he wore that let him see the too sharp angles that composed this creature of dreadful symmetry. From her pointed ears to the sharp claws tipping her long fingers she, it, wasn‘t human.
Languorous, she unfolded herself stepping toward him, uncaring of his flinching and backing away from her. “You’ve three precious wishes there. Why share any of them? That buzzing annoyance said it herself that she wasn’t your Fairy Godmother or was concerned about anything other than the favor you could do for her. All she offered was just one stingy wish. You don’t owe her anything, so why not take them all?”
Scared speechless, Peter had no idea what to say. He did know that the fairytales of his youth were full of examples of those who’d tried to outsmart the ‘Little People’ and come out the worse for it. Maybe some of those story’s heroes had succeeded, but he was under no illusions that he was any type of hero at all. Hell, he wasn’t even a he even if he looked it.
Trying to still his fear he replied, “I gave my word. Because she trusted me enough to ask me to do this task for her, I’m free. Now excuse me, but I have some candy to pass out tonight.”
Holding his breath and praying his trembling legs didn’t betray him, Peter walked around her. He was all too aware of the hostile stare from her inhuman eyes and the angry tilt of her sharply pointed chin.
Not daring to look behind him, he quickened his pace to put as much distance between them as he could. The magic cauldron guided him right to Pediatrics. Peering into the first room and seeing all those ill children, he hesitated. Maybe it was stage fright but he found himself rationalizing reasons not to go in. Was it even safe for them to have candy when they were suffering from so many different kinds of illnesses?
The plastic pot twisted in his hand, banging hard against his knee!
“Ow!” Peter exclaimed. “Hey stop that!”
Again it smacked into him. He got the definite feeling that the thing was annoyed at him and put out over his cold feet. Considering he hadn’t seen anything bad come from that Fairy Godmother, he guessed the candy would be okay for even these sick kids. It was magic after all.
Taking a deep breath and still feeling odd running about dressed in only PJ’s and a witch’s hat he bent over to let all 6 feet plus of him and hat though the door. Not sure how to do this, Peter walked over to the first bed and said, “Trick or Treat.”
The little girl looked up at him and smiled as she saw his witch’s hat. “Isn’t that what I’m suppose to say?”
Peter found himself returning her smile and gently knocked on the wall by the bed. “Did you knock on my door this Halloween night? I think Not! So which is it going to be tonight, a trick or a treat?” he asked presenting the cauldron for her to draw from.
Reaching in the offered cauldron, she pulled out a sweet. She giggled, “A treat!”
The other children had noticed what was going on and the eager brightness in their eyes gave him a feeling of happiness that’d long been empty in his life. Moving to the next bed and then to another, he passed out the magic candy. One young boy his head bald from chemo and sickness touched him so deeply he wished he could help somehow.
Peter knew however he’d only the one wish. A part of himself was angry that every child couldn’t be helped. Sighing, he knew that wasn’t the way the world worked. He should be thankful that even a few children were being granted wishes.
He found his first wish recipient soon thereafter. The girl’s face glowed in happiness as she pulled the disguised wish from the pail. “This is the very best treat of all,” she said knowing somehow it wasn’t an ordinary piece of candy at all.”
She plopped the sweet in her mouth and closed her eyes. Peter felt something even if he didn’t know quiet what. The child had made her wish and just as strangely he knew all would be well with her now.
Opening her eyes she beamed brilliantly up at him. “Thank you Nurse.”
Even as he said “You’re Welcome,” a thought came to him that perhaps he could keep his dearest desire to be true to his heart and help these kids too. If he wished to be the very best kind of nurse or doctor as well as the woman he was always meant to be, he could satisfy both desires.
Soon all the candy had been treated out, and last but not least the 2nd wish had been delivered. Feeling happy and content Peter began walking out the ward.
“I’m certain she didn’t mean to forget you. Surely there is one more treat within the witch’s pot.” A familiar voice said.
A softer one asked, “Please, do you have a treat for me?”
Not wanting to look, Peter turned seeing that inhuman creature who’d tempted him before sitting next to a child where before he’d been sure there’d been none. He wanted to leave thinking it was trick, but his cauldron gave him a mournful bump. With a sinking heart, he feared the trick had already been done.
The malice in her unblinking eyes told Peter the truth. His cauldron had protected him as promised, but it couldn’t guard the entire ward. The cunning spirit had simply hidden the last child from him until the second wisher had been found and the candy all gone. Now, only one last treat lay within the cauldron. The one promised to him.
Peter wanted to turn away. This wish was his. For so many years he’d hurt and endured a pain few could understand. It was a promised end to that torment. It was his compassion that was his undoing as he saw the raw emotion in the child’s eyes. After seeing the happiness in so many of the other kid’s eyes tonight, he just couldn’t leave this one with such pain in theirs.
The nasty sharp toothed grin upon the fell creature’s face as she rose told of her victory, as he approached. Brazenly taking joy of the pain she caused, she danced away.
Peter sighed wearily. He’d once heard a friend complain that if he’d inherited forty acres of pumpkins, they’d cancel Halloween. No matter how good his luck, it always seemed the bad that followed it was twice, thrice, as worse.
At first he thought the child was a girl until he glanced at the chart. Not with a name like William. The boy looked small for his age of 13 lost among the blankets and sheets, but the restraints on his arms confirmed the charts saying the child was on suicide watch.
Sitting next to the so pale child, Peter didn’t have a clue what to say to this troubled child. For a long moment they were both silent. Softly he asked the boy. “Can you tell me what happened to you?”
William not meeting his eyes said so softy he’d could hardly be heard. “I tried to make myself right. My parents died in accident so long ago I can barely remember them, and have at every foster home I’ve been with tried to make them understand I’m not what they think I am.”
Shaking his head sadly the boy was almost sobbing. “Then my voice started changing and growing hair where it shouldn’t, and I couldn’t take it anymore. I took a really sharp knife but they stopped me.” William couldn’t talk anymore as his tears came.
Peter felt such a combination of shock and anger as never before in his life. He’d cut an irate look the way that foul spirit had departed. To use a child. To use this child against him in this way was a despicable act.
Peter bit down on his temper. William needed many things but never ever anger. His heart went out to this child. Softy he said, “I understand.”
William unable to wipe his tears buried his face in his pillow. “No. No one understands!”
Peter gently guided William’s face to look at him with one huge work roughened hand and lifted his glamour hexed hat from his head with the other.
The boy’s eyes grew wide as the glamour faded. Peter set the hat back firmly on his head hoping the illusion wasn‘t broken and would return. His fears eased as William’s soft voice asked, “Was that real? You’re really a man?”
Now it was Peter’s turn to fight tears as he nodded. “William. I am telling you the truth. I understand what you’re going though.”
Without thinking he gently hugged the child as they both broke down in tears over hurts and pains that could only be shared by those who’d walked those same paths. Peter’s heart ached ferociously over this little one’s pain. To lose his parents, and trying to deal with growing up wrong at the same time was too much to ask of anyone.
But how could he help, Peter asked himself helplessly. He’d only the one wish and the Fairy Godmother had made it plain that he could use it only to affect one person. Perhaps, he could use it as he was thinking, to change himself into a woman doctor and try to adopt William. However that could take years given the foster care system and William’s history.
The boy was already going into puberty and the window for the most successful transition was already closing. Hormone blockers needed to be started now and that just couldn’t happen given the circumstances. William was a small child now, but Peter knew from personal experience how fast that could change. More to the point no matter what was done, William would never bear children or have any of the other blessings of being born a woman.
There was only one way William could do that and Peter’s soul cringed at the thought. Give the boy his wish. But being honest with himself, he’d never felt so alienated and desperate that he’d tried to correct his deformity himself. In a way he’d done worse. Peter had tried to deny what was truly was in his heart. Everyone had expectations from him based on how they saw him. Like his father he’d went into construction because that’s what they wanted of him.
Never did he reach for his dreams. Because he never could achieve his most precious one of really being herself, he’d never tried for any of the others either. Peter had survived but at a cost that’d caused him to end up locked up in the psycho-ward. He didn’t want that for this child in his arms who’d already been though too much.
Taking a deep breath, he let William go and made himself smile. It was the right thing to do. Maybe it’d always been too late for him, but this child still had his, her, entire life still to be lived. Peter remembered that the Fairy Godmother had said the wish could only be grasped by the one it was meant for.
Reaching within the cauldron, he found it. “William,” he said. “I can’t wave a wand and make everything all better, but I do have this for you.”
Peter had seen how unlike all those stories he’d heard of Genie wishes going bad and causing horrible troubles that each of the wishes of the two kids had turned out well. It’d be best to trust the magic. “I’m giving my treat to you.” He said hoping all turn out well placing the wish within the kid’s hand.
William had just enough play in the straps holding him down to put the candy in his mouth, but he stopped with a puzzled frown upon his pale face. Looking at Peter’s cauldron and then to the peaked witch’s hat, he asked, “This was for you wasn’t it?” as his eyes went back to the sweet that promised dreams long denied would come true.
Feeling a curious mixture of sadness and pride Peter replied, “You need it worse than I. Besides this is what adults are supposed to do kiddo. When a child needs help she should get it with no reservations. Don’t worry about me. I’ll be fine. I am an adult after all. Now enjoy your Halloween treat and have nothing but the happiest of dreams. Bye William.” Peter said leaving.
He couldn’t bear to look back, because there was just too many different emotions pouring though him. Some were sad, but most weren’t. All of them were intense beyond belief. Peter found himself at the entrance walking by the guard who still saw nothing but the Fairy glamour.
Peter stepped outside and looked up at the night sky. He could see only a few stars with the lights of the city so bright, but he was still free at least until midnight. It would probably be better for him to just go back to that padded cell, but he couldn’t make himself do it. Seeing a bench in the small garden in front of the hospital he walked to it.
Undoubtedly all hell would cut loose when they realized he was gone, but until then he just wanted to sit for while under the sky. It was unseasonably warm and quite comfortable out here. Placing the cauldron that now was nothing more than a plastic tub beside him, he found himself thinking about his future.
Peter really wasn’t all that old, so he could start over. He’d realized that no matter what he’d believed, he had to be true to himself. Grinning, well he certainly didn’t have to worry about getting someone to pay attention to him now. Listening to him perhaps would be another matter, but that would be up to him to make them.
Checking his feelings like one would a missing tooth, he found no bitterness about giving William his gift. At least this way he knew his sleep would be undisturbed. Stretching his long legs in front of him, he wondered what the orderlies would think when they found him here with that hat still upon his head and the cauldron beside him. Hopefully nothing bad.
Looking back up at the misty stars above, that Disney song echoed though his memories, “When you wish upon a star.” He didn’t fight the sleepiness overcoming him. A last thought floated in his consciousness as the music played, “Please not a boy, but a real live girl would be just fine.”
With a sad smile Peter faded away asleep.
“Mummy, Mummy!” an excited shout woke Virginia from her sleep. Opening her eyes she tried to make sense of what she was seeing. Next to her bed a dark haired girl dressed in a pink Alice in Wonderland nightgown stood bouncing up and down jubilantly.
“It worked! It worked!” the little girl all but shrieked.
Wendy, her scrambled brains supplied. Her daughter. Her daughter? Virginia set up suddenly alarmed and confused. Wendy was still jumping up and down giggling in happiness. Trying to sort out her thoughts, she searched her memories.
Her name was Virginia, and she was a doctor specializing in pediatrics. She’d just gotten to bed after working a long shift Halloween night, taking time to pass out some candy in the children’s ward.
Blinking her eyes, she also remembered being Peter, and a different experience with passing out the treats for the kids. Particularly for one named William. Slowly she asked her daughter, “William?”
Still happily dancing the little girl laughed, “That’s me, but now I’m Weeenndy!” as she spun around in a circle!
Virginia found herself grinning as broadly as her daughter. Looking down at herself, she was still tall but not as much as Peter had been. Taking her new self in, she decided she was attractive if not a beauty queen. She’d dark hair, and Wendy and she definitely looked like mother and daughter so closely did they resemble each other.
Their eyes meeting Wendy explained, “I wished with all of my heart that you could be my mother and I your daughter. It came true. It really came true!”
Virginia held out her arms and Wendy flew within them. Joyfully they hugged each other lost in memories old and new. Brushing her daughter’s hair from her dark eyes, she said, “This isn’t going to be easy you know. Being a doctor, won’t let me spend as much time with you as either one of us would like. Plus,” she said giving Wendy a good look, “You look as if you’ve lost a couple of years, You’re certainly not 13 anymore.”
Wendy answered, “I’m 10 now, and I think you’re younger too. It doesn’t matter how hard it is. I have a Mummy again, and I know you’re going to be the best one ever.”
Sighing happily Virginia couldn’t disagree. However it was getting late and a memory came to her of a promise to take Wendy out on a special day because she’d had to work on Halloween. “I seem to remember a promise I made to a certain little girl about having a big day planned for tomorrow, so it’s off to bed for both of us.”
Wendy’s enthusiasm had begun to fade but perked up again as she too remembered. She smiled and started to leave but hesitated asking. “Mummy, can I sleep with you tonight?”
Virginia unable to stop the warm glow with her heart every time she heard that term of endearment smiled back. “I think that’ll be alright, but just for tonight. You’re a big girl now.” as she lifted the covers for her daughter to slip in.
Snuggling next to her mother, Wendy muttered back sleepily, “But not that big” making clear this wasn’t going to be the last night she would be sleeping with her mother.
Together, mother and daughter happily found beautiful dreams and began their new life.
~ ~ ~
Unable to restrain her own smile and maybe even a tear, the Fairy Godmother swished and flicked her wand. “Done, Done and Done!”
As always it seemed Halloween was one of her busiest days. All the children at the hospital had been deserving, but Wendy was a special case. Even a wish could only do so much and the troubled child needed to be, not only her true self, but needed an exceptional mother as well to help her pass the horrors of the past.
Just as vexing, there were always more, desperately needing the help only a wish bring and too few of those precious miracles to go around. Taking a huge risk she brought in Virginia to help. Having a huge and compassionate heart, she was perfect for Wendy, but still the Fairy had only one wish. By giving the wish first to Virginia it somewhat attuned itself to her. It’d been an gamble that the she would pass the wish on to Wendy, but with a little help it’d worked out perfectly. Speaking of which.
“YOU tricked me!” the shrill voice of the Spriggan accused her. You knew that would happen.” The malicious spirit stalked towards her.
Ignoring the angry tone the Fairy Godmother replied serenely, “No, but I had hoped. For your information, I tricked no one. It was you following me about looking for some chance to cause mischief that tricked yourself. If you’d looked within Virginia’s heart rather than at that shell she wore, you would’ve seen the probable outcome.”
“I thank you for your help even if it was entirely unintended. Now be gone! And trouble these two no more.” The fairy Godmother said raising her wand meaningfully.
The Spriggan snarled, but backed away. “You’ve gone too far this time, but there is always next year. I will remember, I promise you that.” And with that she was gone.
The Fairy Godmother gave the departing creature a hard look, but had to smile when she looked back at the sleeping mother and child. As anyone who truly gives from the heart knows, the more a gift is valued by the giver the more precious it becomes. The sacrifice that Virginia made and the unselfish wish that Wendy made for Virginia to be her mother had added enough oomph to the single wish to do the job for them both.
The two them still had enormous challenges to overcome, but now they would face them together with their heart and souls being unfettered by being trapped in the wrong flesh. All in all a nice piece of work and if that creature wanted cause trouble it would find her ready. But there one final thing to do. Bringing up her wand one last time she chanted, “May they both live happily ever after!”
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