Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 20, 2017

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2017! #73



It was typical of this kind of story, I saw her from across the room a few times but only at a glance. I really didn’t get a good look at her until I nearly ran her over after exiting the men’s bathroom. I remember I apologized and I said that I should have been more careful and I apologized again. My friends and I were enjoying a few after work drinks and pupu’s; for me, it was as many dirty martinis as I could stand.
Earlier, I consumed three containers of Hanalei Poi so by the time I had already put away three of the anti-James Bond libations, the ancestral Kalo was well settled in my system. I got a nice buzz but that was all, I drove to this bar in one piece and I intended to get home the same way. When I got back to our table, Roland was still bemoaning the fact that his girlfriend wouldn’t let him get the car he wanted because she wanted something more practical. Carmichael, which really wasn’t his true name, it was Michael but we called him ‘Carmichael’ because his mother gave birth to him in a car; he was the one who listened and offered sage advice after.

While the conversation continued I glanced over again at the woman I almost ran into who sat across the room with two of her friends. Their evening was coming to a close as they all opened their purses and removed their credit cards in preparation to pay their tab. I was lucky enough to catch the eye of their server and waved him over.

“I’ll take care of their bill, but please don’t say it was me okay?” I patted him on the shoulder and also slipped a twenty into his apron pocket. By this time Roland was throwing popcorn at me while trying to get my attention. “What do you think?” He shouted. “Should I just say screw it and get the car I want?”

“If you get the car you want you’ll be screwed, you have to buckle down on this one Roland and take it like a man.” I learned from watching my parents that as long as my mother was happy, the household was happy. My father had his moments but ultimately my mother’s peace of mind was always more important. My mom recognized that and she would repay my father in her own way; ‘I’ll have something like that one day,’ i told myself.

While Carmichael validated my point I felt a tap on my shoulder and turned to find the woman I bumped into standing right there. “Hi, thanks for paying our bill! That was nice of you but I’d like to pay you back so that we don’t owe each other anything you know? So, it doesn’t get weird and all?”

She was one of those, I was about to let my insecurity get the best of me but I decided to let it go and not make a big deal out of something that was probably nothing. “It’s just my way of apologizing that’s all, I had no expectations of anything.”

“Apology accepted, how much do we owe you?” She was insistent and it was obvious she wasn’t going to let it go.

“I didn’t ask really,” I replied as I reached into my shirt pocket to retrieve the receipt and handed it to her. She looked it over for a second and then handed me eighty dollars in cash, “That should cover it,” she said. “Keep the change.”

Carmichael got hot and jumped off of his stool and inserted himself between me and the woman.

“This is the nicest most decent guy anyone will ever meet, when he says he did something with no expectations then that means he did it with no expectations. If you have a problem with someone being genuinely nice, then that’s your hang up that you have to deal with. Don’t take it out on him!”

One thing that Carmichael couldn’t stand was unfairness and outright stupidity, I had to turn him around and return him back to his stool. I wasn’t even listening to the song that was playing at the moment but I took this woman by the arm and escorted her to the dance floor for her own safety. Once Carmichael got started it was hard to bring him back, I felt it was easier just to remove her from the situation.

Long ago and oh so far away I fell in love with you
 before the second show...your guitar, it plays so sweet
 and clear, but you're not really here it's just the radio"

“You can give me the money now and just take the long way out the door, sorry about my friend,” I spoke in her ear because even though it was a slow song the volume was up high to accentuate the mood.

“It’s okay,” she replied. “I like this song, I can wait.….I’m Dara by the way.”

“Hanson.….” I leaned closer so she could hear me. “My friends call me Boy.”


It had been three years since Crystal died and my focus was anywhere but in the direction of another relationship. That’s how it happens though when you least expect it; that was Dara. I held on to her forearms while she rested her hands on my belt with her thumbs inserted into the loop. We had our heads down and we looked in every direction except toward each other.

Loneliness is such a sad affair and I can hardly wait
  to be with you again...what to say to make you come again,
 come back to me again and play your sad guitar..."

By the end of that song and through the beginning and end of other songs we held each other closer and gazed at each other. We hadn’t noticed that our friends left without us when the bartender bellowed for the last call, but we both apologized at the same time and I asked her if I could walk her to her car. There was a hug at her car and that was it, I made sure that she got into her car safely and I made my way to leave. “Your friend was right,” she called out from behind me. “You really weren’t expecting anything, you were really being nice.”

“Yeah,” I nodded because that was a fact, I felt bad and I thought I’d make up to her.

“Even now when you had me at a disadvantage, you didn’t take that opportunity to kiss me or anything?” Her head tilted to the right as she sat behind her wheel with the engine running.

“Yeah, it’s just the way I was raised I guess...I can’t say really..” I shrugged my shoulders, not sure what else to say.

She cut the car off and got out and slowly walked toward me, “What century are you from? You can’t be real.…you can’t.”

Even before I could confirm or deny, she kissed me for what seemed like forever, but that’s how it is when you’re caught up in a moment like that. Time just seems to stand still and everything moves in slow motion and nothing else in the world exists except for yourself and the one you’re holding onto. That person not only presses their body up against yours but they become one with you, you find yourselves breathing in unison.…at least that’s the way it seems when you’re young.



It was a beautiful time but two years later I would be called to my task as the head of our office, now it’s twenty years later and I’m standing at the same bar looking at an older Dara from across the room. This time it’s not because of the throes of a rekindled romance but because she’s become possessed by something horrible. The old bar is empty except for me, Uncle Ivan, Uncle Tiny, Aunty Rita and Tabby; it’s actually Tabby’s call tonight but we’re all here to offer our support. Really she doesn’t need it but there’s safety in numbers. It’s quite the coincidence but in her possessed state, Dara doesn’t even recognize me even though she’s looked into my eyes twice. Yes, you are reading this correctly. I’ve allowed Tabby to come into her own since exorcisms have always been her expertise and this case was a very last-minute call and the owner of the bar needed someone right away. With our support Tabby is doing well, during a moment of clarity Dara confirmed to Tabby that she did indeed want the exorcism and so the rituals proceeded. We all age of course but Dara looked as if she had aged threefold, I wasn’t sure if it was the thing that possessed her or just life itself?



We were living in a condo off of Lihiliho street and life was as good as it was ever going to get. Her parents and siblings always came over on the weekends to watch movies and I always prepared Dara’s father's favorite barbecue just the way he liked it. On most Saturdays, we were hiking or biking somewhere and in the evenings we were out on the town or just taking long drives. You can imagine how happy we were when Dara found out she was pregnant; at that moment fulfilling my duties to the office was the last thing on my mind. I called Uncle Ivan and informed him that he and Uncle Tiny were probably going to have to find someone else, Dara was hapai and I had to prepare myself to start my own family. To my surprise, they gave me their blessings and said that the office would make the needed arrangements to find someone else to train. Dara was four months along when she was taking our clothes out of the dryer and bringing it downstairs to fold. Fate would have it that a dryer sheet floated out of the laundry basket and unfurled itself on the stairs. She slipped on it and took a bad tumble, I got the call from the emergency room later and I rushed there from work. Sparing you the details and me the task of having to remember the experience again, I’ll say that when I got there Dara was inconsolable. She wouldn’t talk to anyone, not even her own family when they would come over just to sit with her and make sure she was okay. She would call me to bring her food or water but that was all, she wouldn’t talk about anything else. One day, she was gone and I never saw her again. I remember going to see Uncle Ivan and I told him that I was ready for the office but he told me I wasn’t. He said I needed to heal first, I needed to mend and become whole otherwise I would be useless to the office.



Dara’s body contorts and her bones crack, the thing that possesses her is trying to suck the air out of the room so that we all suffocate but Tabby is already prepared. She removes a life-sized mirror from a keyboard case and holds it up in front of Dara. A million voices in different high pitched agonizing screams fill the bar and the sound would be deafening for anyone normal, except that Tabby has readied herself and us by passing out earplugs to wear beforehand. The evil thing cannot stand to look at the truth of what it is and begs for Tabby to stop. Tabby demands that the sinful entity take its place in the mirror or she will show it more of its own self. It releases Dara’s body and pours itself in the mirror, whereupon Tabby takes the mirror and places it back in the keyboard case. Removing a mini sledgehammer from her backpack, she proceeds to take the mighty hammer to the keyboard case and shatters the mirror within into a million of shards of glass. At the same time, we all can hear the sound of an infant child crying in pain. I tell myself that it’s the demonic entity trying to gain sympathy for itself in the hopes that someone will release it. Later, we will take Tabby to tie two heavyweights around the keyboard case and dump it into the deepest part of the ocean never to be seen again.

Dara is cured of her demonic affliction and I hang back and let Tabby and my aunty and uncles help clean her up. They have sun made tea and hot onion soup ready for her and she expresses her gratitude and thanks. It was a lifetime ago when I last saw her, but any trace of the Dara that I once loved was no longer in that body. If it was, it was buried way down deep inside her heart. Maybe leaving all those years ago was the only way she could cope? My coping mechanism was to throw myself into my work at the office, but here was the old wound festering after so long. I send a text to Uncle Ivan to let him know that I am heading home and if they would give Aunty Rita and Tabby a ride? Now you know the story of how I came to the office and why I have never been in a relationship since that time. I’d sure like to hear Dara’s side someday..……someday.

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