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Alec Enriquez moved into a haunted house. He was unaware of its ethereal nature at the time because he wasn’t an omniscient narrator. Nor did he read a recounting of his experiences written by said narrator, though that would be pretty freaky—for him, at least. No, Alec paid an extra $250 per month to move into a two-story townhouse on the corner of Lejeune and Bird Road because he figured it’d shave 20 minutes off his daily commute to Downtown. Then the pandemic struck, making the whole commuting point moot, though he was still stuck paying the extra $250 per month. De madre.

The evening Alec moved in, heat and humidity smothered the city like a lead blanket. An oppressive sheet of clouds covered Miami, unsure if it wanted to drown its inhabitants in torrential rain or simply hang menacingly overhead. Slivers of a crescent moon pierced through occasional gaps in the steel-gray firmament.

Alec lay prostrate on a couch in his living room. Boxes spilled his life’s accumulated detritus across the tiled floor—high school trophies, pictures with former partners and deceased family, an employee of the month award. He’d stripped to his boxers as the air conditioning sputtered against the heat. An episode of Community ran on a laptop propped on a laundry basket, but Alec had dozed into a fitful, feverish sleep.

Static cackled across the monitor. The computer went dead.

A thin, silvery voice glided into the room. Barely audible, it lay somewhere between reality and creeping madness.

“Come closer…”

Alec’s eyes fluttered open. He did not so much awaken as ascend one level above delirious unconsciousness. A lamp set on a bare side table—the room’s lone source of light—flickered, casting dancing shadows across the wall.

“Come closer…”

The voice was soft yet irresistible. Alec rose blearily from the coach.

“Come closer…”

He stumbled through a haze into the hallway. The living room lamplight barely illuminated the basement stairwell—though Alec had never seen those stairs or their terminus before.

“Come closer…”

The stairs seemed to stretch infinitely below. No bottom was visible, just an absolute, impenetrable darkness.

“Come closer…”

Alec stared awhile into the abyss when he was struck by the creeping realization that something stared back.

“Come closer…”  

A masklike, blank, disembodied face rose slowly up the stairs.

“Come closer…”

The mask was pale white, with no mouth, no nose, but eyes exactly matching Alec’s.

“Come closer…”

The mask rose out of the stairwell, dragging darkness behind it like a veil. It moved to within a foot of Alec’s face.

“Come closer…”

Alec tried to wet his lips with a dry tongue. He swallowed hard, opened his mouth, and said, “Man, fuck this gringo ghost bullshit!”

He walked right out the front door, called his friend Eliseo, and within 20 minutes, they finished despojando the entire goddamn house. Alec never saw the mask or heard that voice again porque, coño, cubanos no tienen la paciencia para esas comemierderías.

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Andrew OtazoAndrew Otazo

‘Miami Creation Myth’ author Andrew Otazo has advised officials on Cuba policy, worked for the Mexican president, fired a tank, and ran with 30lbs of trash.

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