Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 22, 2017

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2017! #71


The day was filled with clients who would not see reason and insisted on the downfall of either their fellow workmates or family members, and all for childish petty reasons. Someone accidentally bumping into someone else at a cramped state office without offering a ‘Pardon me’ or ‘I’m sorry’
festers as a grudge with no grounds to cast a curse. A family member who is upset at another for being successful felt that he was ignored and not properly thanked for having a hand in that person's success, and on and on and so forth until it filled the entire day from morning until just a minute past two in the afternoon.
Ivan, Tiny, and Rita head out to pick Tabby up from school and to stop for a bite to eat. Boy stays back at the office in order to decompress. Before he knows it, he has fallen into a short slumber at his desk. The sound of the office door being opened rouses him from his nap and he sits up and stretches his arms out and yawns loudly. Hopefully, Uncle Tiny remembered that he didn’t want any peppers or jalapeno in his sandwich. Boy has gathered his senses and is surprised that the office is empty and that his uncles, aunt, and niece hadn’t returned yet.

“Boy..” the voice comes from just in front of him. He turns and sees Dara sitting in a chair on the other side of his desk. It’s a surprise because Dara was not on the list of people to be seen today, if she was, Boy would have stricken her name from the list and scolded Aunty Rita after. He picked up the phone to the intercom downstairs, Kealoha was not doing his job and he was about to get an earful. “No need to call downstairs,” Dara reassured him.

“It’s dead,” he said to himself more than to his present company.

“This is your dream Boy, that’s why your family isn’t here and it’s why your doorman isn’t answering.” She wasn’t the Dara from 1997 but the Dara that he saw a month ago after she’d survived her exorcism at the old Martini bar; who knows what it was called now. “You don’t return my phone calls and e-mails and so it turns out that this is the only way to reach you.” Boy just looked at her and said nothing, Dara was a part of his past that he let go once he realized that she didn’t want to be found. “You’re not the same person from way back when your face has matured and it’s so seriously burdened by whatever it is you’ve been through.……I saw you that day at the bar. I caught a glimpse of you just standing off in the shadows.…even when that horrific thing was trying to destroy my body, I had a moment of clarity and I saw you.……and it dawned on me that you were in charge of the exorcism even though Tabby was giving it. That’s how I knew you were no longer the Boy I used to know.…but can I ask you why you decided to save me after.……after.…”

“It was Tabby’s call, I didn’t know it was you.” Boy’s reply was cold and his tone was indicative of someone who felt his time was being wasted.

Dara took a moment to look at the man sitting in front of her and she wondered if it was at all worth going on any further, if she didn’t it would only be a loss for her and it would mute her desire to move on. She had to tell him even if he didn’t care, it was the only way she would be able to release the weight that she’d been carrying for the past twenty years. “Losing my.…….losing our baby...I blamed myself...I couldn’t stop going over the details of that day.…if I had been more careful, more aware...that dryer sheet would not have been on the steps and I wouldn’t have.……..I wouldn’t have fallen down the stairs. I couldn’t stop thinking that there had to be something inadequate about me that made me careless that day.…..or maybe.…maybe it was my body? Maybe something was wrong with my body, should it have been strong enough to have taken that fall down the stairs? Why.…why did I hold on to that damned laundry basket and not use my arms to protect the baby when I took that fall? I know now that I only drove myself crazy going over the details of that day over and over again.……….and everything in our condo reminded me of that day. I couldn’t take I had to leave because no one could understand. Not my family, not you, not anyone.”

No response was forthcoming from Boy, he just stared at her with a slight smirk on his face. He didn’t even blink, he simply looked right through her even if it was his dream derived from a short nap. “I shouldn’t expect you to understand or say anything but.…….that’s been the course of my life. Blame myself, blame my body, find some kind of value about my body by sleeping around. In the course of time since we’ve seen one another I’ve had two other miscarriages.…just wasn’t meant to be I guess. So, you could pretty much figure out the turn that my life had taken when you saw me in that bar, possessed by that thing. Don’t know what it is, but for all the incarnations that old bar went through, I always ended up there.….glutton for punishment....” Dara’s tears reddened her cheeks and she looked away from Boy for a second. “Tabby said it’s because of my state of being that I became susceptible to this thing that haunted my condo. You know, that building across the street from the Humane Society? Yeah, it got me when I was having yet another one of my breakdowns.”

“So you’re here for forgiveness... absolution?” Boy’s remark was a shadow away from being sarcastic but it’s what Dara expected and couldn’t blame him for.

“How could you forgive me after all this time? It’s too much to ask for but it’s just something I needed to tell you so that we can both move on and heal. Me now, you may be later on.” She felt the burden slowly lifting and she looked him in the eye and smiled.

“So, you told me,” Boy shrugged his shoulders. “Now what?”

“Now what? This is where I tell you that even though I didn’t want you to find me, there was always this secret hope that you were out there somewhere still on a quest to locate my whereabouts. You were always honorable and chivalrous, always the hero who came to the was something nice to wish for even though I knew you’d given up.….in three minutes your Aunty is going to wake you up and your uncle forgot to ask for no jalapeno in your salami sandwich. It’s not his fault, your Aunty purposely distracts him so he’ll forget, she gets a kick out of seeing him getting scolded from you. Two last things, your family will also have some bad news, you have to tell Tabby it’s not her fault. The other thing is that when you were at the old bar before, you didn’t notice that the old jukebox was still there. If you ever happen by, play B-17.”

Everything slowly became blurry and Dara’s voice sounded like it was a faraway echo down a long dark tunnel. “Oh and that thing about controlling your subconscious so that no one can send a nightmare curse to you in your dreams? You kinda slipped there for a second...”


Aunty Rita woke her nephew by nudging his arm, “We got the sun tea that you liked and Tiny has your sandwich.” Tabby helped uncle Ivan with the food packages and began putting everything on Aunty Rita’s desk outside where they were going to have their meal shortly. Boy opened his sandwich wrapper and upon parting the wheat bread, he carefully removed all the jalapenos. Uncle Tiny saw this and slapped his own forehead, “Aiya! I forgot to tell the girl no put dat kine pimentos!”

“It’s okay Uncle, next time you and I will go. Aunty Rita has a habit of talking too much, it’s kind of distracting.” Boy smiled at his aunt who gave him a slap on his arm in payment for his comment.

“There’s some bad news also,” Uncle Ivan noticed that Tabby was crying. Boy walked over to her and gave her a big hug, “Go ahead Uncle Ivan, what is it?”

Ivan glanced and Rita and Tiny and they both nodded in his direction. “On the way back I got a call from your friend at the state medical examiners office. The woman that Tabby helped last month at that bar on Bethel street, she overdosed on prescription drugs, she committed suicide.”

Boy quickly turned to Tabby and reassured her, “That wasn’t your fault alright? You did good by helping that lady, you did really good! She just had other kinds of demons that she couldn’t overcome, not the kind you’re used to okay? It’s not your fault Tabby, it’s not.”


What a name for a bar that mainly caters to the young after work crowd, “The Old Bar.” There were renovations here and there but even after twenty years it was still the same place, the era might have been different but the makeup of the crowd would always be the same. Boy walked over to the owner and asked if he minded him putting a quarter in the old Wurlitzer Juke Box?

“Hey,” the owner exclaimed, “you guys saved one of my waitresses from a demon so you can play whatever you want.”

Boy found B-17 and slipped the coin in and stood back for a second, “I did look for you.”

The vocal started first and the piano followed the sweeping notes of a harp-like a succession of sweet raindrops falling one by one. The keyboards rise and carry the vocals to its next note and both instruments join to make one sound that is beautiful and painful at the same time.

"When you walk into a room, your beauty steals my breath away
when you look into my eyes, I find it hard to find the words to say
wanna run away and hide, I just had to let you know
feel so tangled up inside...I should have never let you go..."

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