Today I discovered my new favorite mystery – Rua da la Rosa, 3.

On the outskirts of town, the tall looming highrise apartment buildings give way to a strange tiny clump of large single homes in a misplaced neighborhood. The homes are huge, elegant, like something to be found in Naperville or Evanston. Even on the busy street, they are secluded, with high iron gates, tall trees, and dark windows. They are a mystery.

But Number 3 is different. The ivy and weeds have taken over a once well-kept lawn. The beautifully arched windows are broken and dusty. The padlock on the door has rusted through. The front gate is bent and crooked, and the memories of a child’s slide and swingset are barely visible through the undergrowth in the backyard. If anyplace was going to be haunted, this house would be it.

It is a picture-perfect ghost house, and finding it in Santiago just heightens these suspicions. In a town where growth and development run at a rapid pace, it seems extremely odd that such a beautiful house would stay uninhabited long enough to fall into such disrepair. Under the cloudy skies of a dusky evening with a cold wind, it almost comes to life, its history playing itself out in my mind. I have to find out what happened.

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