Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 18, 2017

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2017! #75

You'll Never Get To Heaven.

It's interesting how we recall things from our childhood years in a specific way and that there are things we internalize and carry with us for the remainder of our living days. There are other things we let go and don't ever think about until a smell, a sight, or a song triggers an infinitesimally small memory to reignite itself into our conscious world. Everything comes back just as it was from so long ago. For me, it was a photograph of myself at eight years of age.
With all that I recalled from that one photograph while looking at my childhood self, I couldn't help but wonder why I remembered everything with such an adult-like clarity? At the same time, that photograph reminded me of how more often than not, we as grown people become absent-minded in the way that we address our children or how careless we become in our conduct or language around them.

As a child, a restriction was placed on us when the adults in the house were having a discussion. We were all sent to bed for the night, and none of us were allowed to leave the room unless we needed to use the bathroom.

One would assume that these adult conversations would concern business, finance, or who was getting a divorce or who was with child. In my house, it always had to do with ghosts and who was possessed or whose residence was haunted. Once I realized that the adults were going to gather later for their private conversation, I would time everything perfectly so that the grown-ups would be clueless as to my hidden presence beneath the kitchen table.

I remember it was a Tuesday evening, which was my father's regular bowling night, but he had to call the league president and tell him that he had family matters to attend to. Sometimes the discussions became a bit loud depending on who was saying what. My parents would worry that we might be able to overhear their conversation and so they played records on the record player to drown out their voices. It was easy, too, because the record player faced toward the hallway where all of our rooms were, and the sound traveled and helped to mute out the adult's voices. The album of choice that night was the Stylistics. 

That Tuesday night way back in 1970 was the last time that I would ever be able to hide underneath the table because it was the night that I would receive the worst scare of my life, and it was also the night that my father would give me the most memorable beating ever. It's funny when I think about how the events unfolded that night, but you'll understand what I mean in the next few paragraphs.

The kitchen table was tucked nicely up against the wall opposite the sink, which gave me a place to prop myself up. Being small also gave me a sweet spot where no one's feet could touch mine, the table was also draped with an oversized crochet blanket that extended to the floor. It would never occur to any of them that I was there, all I had to do was keep quiet. The first story was told by Johnny Martin Sr. He was secretly in love with my mother, but my mother played dumb. Goodness forbid that my father, who was a golden gloves boxer in his youth ever found out because if he did, old Johnny Martin would never have lived to tell the story which he was now sharing.

He said that his cousin Maria who was all of nineteen years old, married a distant cousin from Hilo and that they were living in Kalihi on Machado street. It turned out that their home was haunted by Menehune who would trouble them nightly. The priest from the Holy Ghost Church was called to exorcise the Menehune from their new home, but that only served to increase the activity, the couple were forced to leave their home and were now living with Johnny Martin.

The next story was from Aunty Ruby, who said she'd been showering in the extension room next to our garage when the steam from the hot water began to take on an indefinable human shape that floated across the room and lingered just near the door. Aunty Ruby screamed, but no one came to her rescue even though everyone was home. The shape pointed at her and then pointed to her stomach. A short time later, she found out she was pregnant. The reactions around the table must have been unsettling because everyone's feet began to shift nervously.

When Kathy Medeiros began to talk about the shadow that sat in her mango tree, peering into her bedroom late at night, I noticed my niece, who was just a few years older than me, Donna crawl in backward and sat with her back facing me the whole time. I couldn't say anything for fear of being caught, so I nudged her with my foot. At this point, I must say that I am not sure if any of you have ever touched an animal or a human being that was absolutely dead? It's not cold or stiff, it's a feeling that whether it's human or mammal, you know that there is no soul in that body. That's what Donna's body felt like when I tried to get her attention by pushing her with my foot, it felt like her soul was gone. I pressed her several times, but she never moved. I didn't know what to think at that point, and so I stuck out my right foot and nudged her one more time, her lifeless left hand grabbed my left foot, and her head turned completely around to look at me while her body was still facing the other way. With her right hand, she reached around and tore the flesh from right above her upper lip, with her left hand still holding my left foot she yanked me toward her and stuffed that small strip of her own flesh in my mouth.

That's when I let loose with a blood-curdling scream and scared the holy shit out of every adult seated at that kitchen table. After the excitement had died down and my father realized that it was me under the table, he pulled me out and beat me with his hand, his belt, his slipper, and his hand again, all on my butt, of course. Usually, the other adults would intervene on my behalf, but they were the very ones who handed my father the slipper and other household items to beat me with.

 Please don't be horrified, I really did deserve it. 

It wouldn't be until the following afternoon that I would be given a chance to explain my behavior from the night before. When I did, I did so clearly and articulately just the way that my father would always tell me to. He was not one for baby talk, so he spoke to me like an adult, and I was expected to respond in kind.

After he'd heard what I had to say, he expressed no sympathy; instead, he said, "That's what you get for sneaking around and listening to dis kine, the ghost came under the table to teach you one lesson! Good for you!"

It would be a long while before I could ever listen to the Stylistics sing these lyrics on the radio, today it's no problem. But can you imagine the most beautiful music and lyrics playing in the background while you're going through one of the most traumatic moments in your young life as an eight-year-old? It was quite the childhood.

Mother told me always to follow the golden rule, and she said it's really a sin to be mean and cruel. So remember if you're untrue, angels up in heaven are looking at you...

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