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Fuentarrabia, Spain, c.1895

The Haunted Hotel
Hostal El Cónsul, Los Camachos

A shepherd in his youth, Alfonso went
abroad, became a diplomat, made cash
working in Africa, the Ivory Coast.
Returning to his native town he built
a hotel tucked away upon a hill.
A curved room's at one end. It's painted red.
A tennis court with cypresses outside.

Eccentric, but a pleasant man, they said.
He sometimes wore strange robes from Africa,
something that's rare in a small mining town.
His nickname was El Cónsul in those parts.

On several nights he heard a person knock,
went to the door but no one was outside.
A few days later, his waiter went to work,
found everything shut up and called the police.
They broke in through a window, found his boss,
horribly murdered, lying near the bar,
sixty-three stab wounds, none through vital parts.
He'd slowly bled to death in agony.
There'd been a struggle, hair was in his hand.
His wallet was found outside with cash intact
two days after, some distance from the place.
The crime is still unsolved until this day.
The weapon and murderer were never found.
When ruins aren't squatted they say it is a sign
that something very bad once happened there.
Not unsurprisingly it's left to rot.
And psychics have held seances inside.
Vandals have daubed graffiti in red paint.
Messages claim that Death is in there now
tell visitors to leave while they still can.
I'd seen these pictures. Went to visit there.
Crawled through a gap in the wire fence around.
Entered the building. Held aloft a torch.
There's not much light. Most windows are bricked up.
Felt nothing much and heard no weird sounds
such as the mediums picked up from these walls.
Graffiti ask Alfonso where he is.
Another in Latin: I stabbed you. Fair game.
Everything else is Spanish on these walls.
A host of lovers' names who ventured here.
A pillar with pentacles and 666.
I only feel a little ill at ease
seeing a stairs on a diagonal.
All misalignments really bother me.

Back home I look at all my photographs,
including one shot in the dark. My flash
reveals part of my name upon a wall.
Pitt Moriras. Pitt you will die.
Yes, I will die as do we all at last.
I just intend to put it off a while.

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