Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 6, 2017

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2017! #26


I held her in my arms the second she was born and I was the first to feed her, mine was the first face she saw. She was a c-section baby which meant that she was already special and the world would know it, except here she is now twenty-two years later, broken and damaged. Her face is red and flush with emotion, her eyes are swollen from hours of crying and they’re a bit chapped and raw because the Kleenex she’s using to wipe away the pain is of the industrial grade, coarse and unsympathetic to her heartbreak.
Her favorite books and t.v. shows don’t hold her interest and neither do any of her comfort foods, especially rocky road ice cream. Her only real friend, the only one she’ll allow anywhere near her is our lab retriever. He senses her pain and won’t leave her side, not for a second. He follows her everywhere but he won’t allow her to go to her bedroom or bathroom without him. He’ll growl if she tries to lock him out, so he goes with her and she can’t say anything about it. Good looking out Boomi, good dog. You watch her, you stay with her, and you make sure she’s safe. Before she was born I had already picked out the name, ‘Breeanne’ or ‘Summer’ but once I saw her, I knew she was Isolde.

Ever the whimsical carefree spirit who saw wonder and beauty in everything, who truly believed that fairies and leprechauns lived under toadstools, she was now withdrawn and hardly came out of her room except to feed Boomi or to use the bathroom. Approaching her to offer her reassurance was a delicate situation because any conversation I would attempt to initiate would somehow find it’s way back to the idiot who broke her heart. His name was Brandon, he was the polar opposite of Isolde in every way. He gave off an energy that repelled me. In plain language, it means that he was full of shit and that everything that came out of his mouth was a lie and I couldn’t stand him. However, I loved my daughter and felt that Brandon was an experience that she would have to go through so that she could later discern the difference between the good guys, as opposed to the guys who needed a kick in the nuts. One morning at breakfast she asked me what I thought about Brandon and I told her in no uncertain terms that I thought he was bad for her. Her reply was that she knew he was bad for her, but that she was positive she could fix him.

“You can’t fix people, my love, they have to want to fix themselves,” that was the only advice I had to offer. If I had said anymore, she would have stormed out of the kitchen in a huff and for the rest of the day, she would have given me stink glances.

“I know he’s a dick weed,” she said while eating her toast and eggs. “But I want to try, kinda like Boomi. He came from an abusive family and we took him in and gave him love and now look? He’s one of us and completely rehabilitated.”

“Should I put the paper down on the floor for Brandon from now on?” I couldn’t help myself, it just came out. The surprise is that, Isolde didn’t get mad but just called me silly and continued eating her breakfast.


A month or two had passed and it was one of those periods here in Hawaii when the winds were absent and the atmosphere was filled with vog and the humidity was unbearable unless you had air conditioning or a fan in your home. My Vornado fan was not doing its job, so I rolled out of bed at three in the morning and sat out on the balcony to take in the night air. I glanced down into the parking lot and noticed Brandon’s car parked in the visitor's spot. I let out a sigh of disgust and went back inside and walked down the hallway and stood outside of Isolde’s room. There was a low light coming out from under Isolde’s door but that was it, no sounds of hushed conversations or moans of….yeeesh…. anyway, I guess I’d see the results in the morning when the sun was up and the day was new. I was home for lunch before I had to take off for another meeting, there was Isolde sitting on the couch eating a bowl of cereal with one of her Kale health drinks in front of her, but no Brandon. His car was still parked in the visitor's spot. Maybe he was still asleep in her room, I said nothing but instead, I busied myself with the salami sandwich that I was making.

“Hey Dad,” she said. “How’s your day going?” This was a surprise, she was bright and cheerful and not caught up in her Donnie Darko doom and gloom.

“Meetings,” I answered. “Nothing but meetings all day.”

“Gotta make that money, pay that rent,” she replied. “Don’t worry Dad, once these people see what you can do they’ll be falling all over themselves to sign you up.”

I quickly poked my head out of the kitchen so that I could make eye contact with her as she sat on the couch, “Feeling better?” Just then Brandon walked past me and sat next to Isolde where she began to feed him from her bowl. He took a sip of her Kale health drink and sat back for a second. “Oh!” Brandon exclaimed as he jumped up from his chair and shook my hand, “Mister Kealoha, how rude of me I just walked past you without saying hello! I don’t know where my mind is today, I’m sorry.”

Who the fuck was this guy? The Brandon I knew would have just sat on the couch and taken away the cereal bowl from Isolde and told her to go make herself another one. At that point, I would have shin kicked him in the face, but this guy? This isn’t the Brandon I despised and wished death upon. Whoever this is, he’s well mannered and considerate. What in the actual fuck is going on? I tried to capture Isolde’s attention but she purposely avoided eye contact. In the meantime, Brandon droned on about having a seat next to my daughter and if I needed anything from the store for later on. Finally, Isolde took a spoonful of her cereal and looked at me very briefly before she diverted her attention back to Brandon. I was off to the next three meetings that would fill the rest of my afternoon, I got home at around seven only to find Brandon in the kitchen preparing dinner. He had two rib-eyed steaks going and next to him on the counter were two plates with garnishes neatly arranged, the only thing missing was the steaks. More surprises as Brandon poured a wine for us that was meant to be had before eating a meal as he put it. When we were finally seated for dinner he poured another wine that needed time to breathe before we drank it. The meal itself was heavenly and I found myself wanting my disdain for Brandon to slowly wither away with each cordial kindness and well-mannered intent. However, the words of my own advice to Isolde kept playing back in my mind,

‘They have to want to fix themselves,’

After the meal, Brandon washed, cleaned and put away the dishes and took a hand rag and wiped the table, and the chairs and even the floor. Then, the most miraculous thing happened, he excused himself and apologized for overstaying his welcome. He then asked me if it was alright if he came back tomorrow or the day after to take Isolde out or to have her over to his house? Really, who the fuck was this guy standing in front of me?
Isolde excused herself as she went to take a shower and then headed off to bed. I stayed up and had a couple of beers and watched T.V. before finally heading off to sleep myself. During the night I kept having this dream where my words of advice were big bold letters right in front of my eyes, “THEY HAVE TO WANT TO FIX THEMSELVES”

I sat bolt upright in my bed with two thoughts in my mind, the first was that Brandon had only prepared two plates of food for dinner, he didn’t prepare one for himself, yet by the end of dinner, he seemed like he had had his fill. The second thought was something that I couldn’t believe I’d overlooked, where was Boomi? I had just assumed that he was always in Isolde’s room; I jumped out of bed and went to the kitchen and opened the large cabinet door, his food bin was full, it hadn’t been touched. I turned all the lights on in the apartment and started calling for Boomi but there was no answer, normally he would come in from the balcony or you could hear him scratching from the inside of Isolde’s bedroom door. I was heading down the hallway to ask my daughter about Boomi when I noticed something strange under the kitchen table, there were scraps of meat and bone on the floor. I could have sworn I had seen Brandon with a hand rag on his hands and knees wiping the floor? Wait a minute, I didn’t actually SEE him wiping the floor, I only saw him crawl beneath the kitchen table. No way.

The pounding I put on Isolde’s door shook the whole apartment, “ISOLDE! ISOLDE! ISOLDE!”

She finally pulled the door back as she wiped the sleep from her eyes, “Dude, what is your problem? Why are you pounding on my door? It’s not even day out,”

“Isolde, where’s Boomi?” I was calm after all that pounding but I was also filled with a sense of dread and I didn’t know why.

Her eyes still half open, she turned on her bedroom light and walked over to her closet where she opened the double doors and parted her clothes on the hangars to the right and then to the left. She moved her two shoe racks aside in the same way and then opened a smaller door and reached in and pulled out something wrapped in a large sheet and lay it out in the middle of her bedroom floor.

“Open it,” she pointed, “he’s in there.”

I stood there in shock and when I didn’t make a move Isolde let out a sigh of millennial disgust and said, “Fine, I’ll do it!”

What was unwrapped and revealed was Boomi in a mummified form, well preserved but more like a dry yellow piece of his former self. She sat on the edge of her bed with a look on her face like I was wasting her time or too stupid to understand what was going on. “What the fuck did you do???!!!” I screamed at her, “Why!!! Why!!!! Why would you do something like this to Boomi?? He loved you, he stayed by your side when you were going through your emotional shit with Brandon!!! Why would you hurt him Isolde???!!! Why????”

“My heart was broken, what was I supposed to do?” There was no remorse in her voice whatsoever, like I said, her tone was as if having to explain herself was a bother.

“What were you supposed to do? You were supposed to chalk it up to experience and get the fuck over it! Not kill the dog!” I was livid, to say the least, but the night wasn’t over yet.

“It’s your fault anyway,” I couldn’t believe what I was hearing! It was my fault, she kills our dog but it’s my fault! Oh, this is just too much!

“It’s my fault? It’s my fault how? How is it my fault?” I was a second away from strangling her but I had to hold back because I wanted to hear how this all made sense in her world.

“You leave all these books around about ghosts and stuff so I read in one of those books about the Inugami from Shikoku in Japan and how they’d mummify a dog and use the demonic dog spirit to curse someone. But I didn’t want to curse anybody, I just thought one night, just randomly that Brandon would have never broken my heart if he was more like Boomi, and that’s where I got the idea,” still she was casual like the fault was still not hers.

“Wait, you did all this….you killed……you did all this so that Brandon could be possessed by Boomi???!!” Even as I said it I realized the madness behind Isolde’s plan and it was only then that I realized how Brandon’s emotional cruelty really broke something in my daughter’s psyche and caused her to kill Boomi and use him for her demented ceremony of romantic sorcery. It was the first and only time that I would ever physically discipline my daughter, I slapped her across the face and knocked her off of her bed. She was shocked and her face was red with pain, the second time I backhanded her and she hit the wall, the third time as she stood upright, I had her by the throat and I threw her back onto her bed. I always said that I would kill myself first before I ever laid my hands on my child, and in those few moments, I broke a cardinal rule. I was no longer a man, I was an animal ruled by my own base instincts. I grabbed the sheet with Boomi’s body still wrapped in it and put it in the shower where I soaked it with liter fluid and threw a match on it. The flames went up with a slight hush. Isolde’s face was horrified but I warned her, “Go ahead and scream and you’ll get more.”

She kept her mouth shut until there was nothing but ashes left, I used the shower head to wash everything down to a finite form before it all swirled down the drain. Isolde grabbed her things and ran out at some point, I’m not sure when. Surely, she couldn’t go back to Brandon because he was no longer possessed by the good spirit of Boomi. With that thought in my head, with all the madness and anger gone, I broke down and cried. We saved Boomi from a cruel and abusive home only to have him meet a more cruel and abusive demise. I knew Isolde was emotionally fragile but if I had just stepped in and gave her tough love instead of keeping my distance, things would have never gotten to this point.


Isolde was committed to the state mental hospital because of my tough love for her, I visit as often as I can and we have really great conversations as if nothing has really changed. Now and again she’ll throw an invisible stick for Boomi to catch and he’ll bring it back to her where she will pet and snuggle a dog that really isn’t there. Today, as I hugged Isolde and say goodbye, she looked down at the thin air and said, “Boomi, Papa is going, say bye-bye!”

I let out a blood-curdling scream and fell back as I tried to run from my daughter and from whatever it was that was with her because I felt a wet nose on the back of my hand. After that, a rough, coarse, wet tongue licked my fingers.

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