Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 30, 2017

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2017! #63


No one wants to know you or even be within sight or sound of you once they find out that you know when and how they will die. I’ve learned to accept that whatever this is, it’s not a fault or a curse, it’s a sneeze. When a sneeze is coming on you don’t have control over it and it contorts your body into funny shapes and tenses your muscles up all at once and then, like myself, you make this ungodly noise that you otherwise would not have made if you were in control of your faculties. That’s what this thing is, I have no control over it and it happens when it happens.


It didn’t happen until later in my life when I turned sixteen, we were gathered outside the cafeteria my friends and me, looking for a place to sit and eat. We found that the steps of the drama class were the best place to sit because it was shaded by a bunch of shower trees and it was our private spot away from everyone else. Our conversation wasn’t really anything deep but one of our first-period classmates by the name of Elisa, stopped by to say hello and to find out what we were up to. The second she stood at the bottom of the steps I let out a terrific sneeze and even before I could excuse myself, I saw a large knife sticking out of her chest. It was just like the knife my mom would use to slice ham, there was blood everywhere. I jumped up and leaned over the railing and threw up my lunch. No one really realized that something was wrong until they saw me crying, it was only then that my friends asked me what the matter was.

“Elisa, you’re going to die tomorrow! Someone is going to try and give you roses and when you laugh at this person they’re going to go home and get a knife and kill you.” I could barely get the words out because my stomach was still burning from what I saw a second ago. Of course, it was gone now but Elisa didn’t know what to say. I could tell by the look on her face that she thought I was crazy. My friends gave me a ton of shit for making up stories and trying to scare people. I tried to tell them but they wouldn’t listen. The very next day a sophomore boy who Elisa didn’t even know, approached her and handed her a bouquet of roses and asked her to be his girlfriend. She was so dumb founded that she didn’t know what to say, all she could do was laugh but not in jest. Elisa’s friends laughed along with her for the same reason that Elisa laughed. It was a sweet, old fashioned gesture this boy made in an effort to win her heart. The boy didn’t take it that way, he walked home just a block away from the school and returned a short time later, and without even so much as a word he walked up to Elisa and stabbed her in the chest multiple times before finally leaving the knife sticking out of her.

Needless to say, I lost my friends and had to transfer to another high school. I didn’t fare any better at my next school because there were far too many of the student body who were going to be murdered, drowned or killed in a car accident. Turns out that some of the faculty were not exempt either, Mr. Casiolette was going to die of major blood loss because of the faulty band saw in his wood shop class. Mrs. Teshima was going to be killed in a car accident right in front of the school because the traffic light was going to turn red and she was going to end up stuck in the intersection. I saw it all once they were in my presence and I sneezed, then I would see the end result. During my short stay at this school, I made really good friends with a Samoan girl named Sia. She was really smart and very strong willed and because of our friendship, she ended becoming my protector from all the other thugs and dumb asses in the school. Later in the year, around the month of May, Sia wasn’t at our usual hang out spot near the manapua trucks so I went looking for her. I found her behind the library just near the school of all places, she’d been crying but she wouldn’t say why. She just asked me to go away and leave her alone, I remember telling her to call me before I walked off and suddenly a sneeze came over me and I let it rip. It was so strong that I defecated and urinated at the same time. “Crap, I’m sorry...oops!” I was so embarrassed at what happened that I immediately thought that Sia was going to be disgusted and chase me away. That’s when I saw her with a noose around her neck, the noose was made out of those colorful telephone wires that kids collect and make bracelets out of. Sia was gray and bloated and unrecognizable, and the multi colored wires were cutting into her throat. Pinned to her shirt was a piece of paper with a name written on it.


Below the name was something else scrawled out.


Sia’s suicide was the talk of the school but no one knew who Jeremy Prevao was but they certainly knew that Sia was pregnant when she took her own life. I knew who he was because sometimes a person has a nickname for so long that everyone assumes that the nickname is the person’s actual name. All the kids knew him as Chico, he was a campus security officer for both the intermediate and high school. He was thirty-three years old and he met Sia one afternoon when he busted her for truancy at the Pizza Hut across the street. Rather than take her back to campus, he took her home where they made love while his wife was at work. You can imagine the kind of mess it turned out to be, but when I tried to tell Sia about what I saw she punched me in the face and told me to get the hell away from her. By the end of the week, Sia hung herself to death when she realized that Chico wasn’t going to leave his wife because his high school girlfriend was pregnant with his child. Sia couldn’t tell her parents either because her father was a Deacon in their church, how would it make him look?


I graduated high school and made my way to junior college where I got an AA in public speaking. When I got to the big leagues at U.H. I ended up teaching English, which isn’t what I wanted to do but I had bills to pay. It was a rough year because I sneezed during dinner with my parents and saw my mother having a heart attack in the bathroom, when it did happen we couldn’t get to her in time because she locked the door. I sneezed in my English Lit class and I saw the hapa haole girl sitting next to me with a broken neck and a disfigured torso, I tried to tell her that no matter what happens that day, don’t argue with the psychology teacher in the campus parking lot. So much for that, turns out that the psychology teacher was also her boyfriend and they did end up arguing in the campus parking lot where she chased after him when he tried to drive off and he accidentally ran her over. U.H. was no better, lots of sneezing and lots of suicides; mainly over the pressure of school or affairs with Professors that were not going to be anything more than that. Over time, whenever the sneezes came I would simply look down so that I wouldn’t have to make eye contact with anyone. During the recession when teachers walked out and were on strike for better pay, I took a part time job slinging hash at McDonald’s. Desperate times you know?
The night that Creighton Higa walked up to my window, I couldn’t help but notice how well dressed he was and how dignified he looked. He was a stately gentleman and a definite throwback to a time that no longer exists when men were men. The sneeze caught me off guard and before I knew it, I saw Creighton Higa laying in his koa wood casket, he appeared to be sleeping rather than dead. Even before I could stop myself, I already heard myself say it. “You’ll be asleep when your time comes, you won’t suffer at all.”
He paused and looked at me strangely and went to his table where he had his coffee and an apple pie. The line got longer after that but at one point I saw Creighton talking to my swing manager, when the line died down he put one of the younger kids on my register and called me over. Before he could say anything I put my hand up to him palm out and said, “You don’t have to tell me, I know.”
I went down to the crew room and changed out, when I got back upstairs I handed in my uniform, name tag and cap. I shook the swing managers hand and apologized and then thanked him.

Before I left I had to use the bathroom, afterward, I was going to apply at the Taco Place next door. I was standing in front of the bathroom mirror when I sneezed suddenly and then quickly turned away, I didn’t want to know.

You don’t know who I am, that’s for certain and you’ll never be able to pick me out of a crowd but if you’re ever out and about somewhere, be it the shopping mall, the grocery store or even at the movies, I urge you to pay close attention to your surroundings. If you hear a sudden rip-roaring sneeze from out of nowhere, be cautious in regards to a strange man approaching you after the sneeze. It might be bad news and it might be your last sneeze.

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