Strange Horizons, February 2, 2015

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Strange Horizons, February 2, 2015

“The Ticket Taker of Cenote Zaci” by Benjamin Parzybok

Reviewed by Stevie Barry

Benjamin Parzybok‘s “The Ticket Taker of Cenote Zachi,” is a beautifully creepy tale about the titular cenote. The eponymous ticket taker, Eduardo, begins to realize that not all of the tourists who enter the cavern that houses the cenote come out again. They’re supposed to return their ticket stubs when they exit, and as time goes on, he finds that the discrepancy between tickets issued and stubs returned is growing.

He and a co-worker find two of them have simply fallen asleep, but it doesn’t explain the others who are never found. He reluctantly comes to the conclusion that something far more sinister is at work.

The prose is descriptive and the story eerily effective, but none of the dialogue uses quotation marks. In some places it works, but in the more dialogue-heavy passages it begins to grate, and distracts from the flow of the narrative.