Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 7, 2017

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2017! #25


The state or the city and county or whoever may have paved this old road but it’s still the same road that took me on walks to and from school in the mornings and afternoons. Yes, there was actually a time when people walked to school believe it or not. Sure, there were strange people back in my day but nothing was ever so bad that you had to lock your front door at night or worry about your children being snatched right off the street.
But this road we’re talking about, it’s the same road that used to be a dirt path that led right to the front steps of my old house. Whenever the rains would come and that red dirt road got muddy, my oldest brother would take his 55 Chevy Belair coupe out of the garage and drop me off right in front of the school. It was a real treat because all the kids would see me pull up in my brother Junior’s hot rod.

I pulled my car over and got out, the air never changed in this place, you could always smell the ocean breeze come in right through the Kiawe, a heady aroma like that is something you never forget. I’m not sure if walking up this road was a way of me trying to evoke old memories that would help me time travel back to the early seventies, so that the past could afford me some kind of absolution. Certainly, I wasn’t in the kind of shape that I used to be, I was already winded with the first few steps I took so I slowed my gait. What was the rush anyway? Time waits for no man but time wasn’t gonna change in the few minutes that it would take me to get to the end of this road.
To my left was where Chickadee’s house used to be, she was a naturally beautiful Hawaiian girl who lived with her two younger brothers and her grouchy bastard of a grandfather. More often than not, she would sneak me into her house and feed me coco and Hilo crackers. One afternoon, her grandfather was home and raised holy hell, but to her credit Chickadee protected me and got me out of her house safely. She would pay the price for it, but after that, I always made sure that I gave her tangerines and mangoes from our tree. I’m not sure about where she ended up or whatever happened to her, but I never forgot her kindness. Further up the road to my right was where one of the Freitas brothers lived, the patriarch of the house was arrested one night after his wife turned him in for raping their daughters over a period of five years once they reached their teens. The incident made the local papers and one day at a neighborhood party, Mrs. Freitas was in attendance and gave all the women in the kitchen the full story, it was very tragic. The Medeiros house was further up to the right, they were all good friends of the family until their Pitbull killed our Pomeranian, and that was the end of that. Just around the wide bend to the left was the path filled with ten-foot-high grass on either side, at the end of it was my old house. The corrugated tin roof garage was falling in on itself and that little dark mud spot was there just a foot before the entrance. It was 1973 on a rainy Saturday morning when I heard my cousin outside screaming bloody murder, we all rushed out to see what the matter was. There was a human hand sticking up out of the dirt, all caked with dried mud but a human hand none the less. I remember when the authorities came they determined that it was just a hand with no body attached to it. It turned out that the Medeiros family’s dog did more than just attack and kill other dogs.

It was a surprise to see the old house still standing, it was a proverbial shadow of its former self but it was still there. I wouldn’t know where to begin as far as memories go, but I’d like to say that the stand out memory was watching the satellite live broadcast of the Elvis Presley concert from the old H.I.C. which is now the Blaisdell Arena. Really though, it was the evening of July 20, when the death of Bruce Lee was announced on the six ‘o clock news. I never forgot that day, it’s what started my journey on the road to martial arts but that’s another story for another time.


The windows and doors were boarded up but being that it was still day out, I could see bits of the kitchen where food was prepared on the day of my brother’s wedding. I also caught a glimpse of the living room where we used to sit and watch some of our favorites shows on television. Couldn’t see my old room though, I can’t even remember much about it except for the time that I wanted to be like Kwai Chang Kane and go on a Kung Fu journey, I had everything packed and ready to go. I made my mind up that my journey would begin on Saturday morning, but when I got home from school on that Friday afternoon, I went to my room and found that my mother had unpacked everything and put it away, so much for that. I spent hours just walking around the property, the developers were going to level the place in a few days so I wanted to spend as much time as possible to take in one last look. It was round about five thirty when I looked at my watch, the old twisted shower tree still sat in the acreage of our backyard and I was still able to sit in it and lounge most of the day away. Next to my old house was the home of the other Freitas brother, the good one.

One of the things I recall hearing about the Freitas brothers is that a curse was put on them and that they all eventually died one by one, Gordon Freitas my next door neighbor is the last. I was never sure what the curse was, but it was whispered among our small Ma’ili community that it was dire enough to resign their ghostly forms to the homes in which the curse took their lives. Just then up in the yellowish pink sky above me, I saw it, a red orb of flames with a long fiery trail. The head of the burning orb seemed to have horns on it. It startled me enough to jump out of the tree and take a few steps away from its protective canopy so that I could get a better look, it wasn’t my imagination. It was there circling in a slow wide arc, almost as if it were showing itself off before it did anything else. The air was electric and there was a buzzing sound in my ears, I could smell the ionic atmosphere and before I knew it, the orb streaked straight to the Freitas house and made a deafening buzzing noise on it’s way down. Dammit, it wasn’t an orb, after all, it was an akualele, but why did it continue to damage the old Freitas house even after Gordon Freitas himself was long gone?


A woman came screaming out of the old place and came running out into the acreage, at first her screams were incomprehensible but the second she noticed me standing near the tree she yelled at me, “Run you, stupid idiot! What are you standing there for? Run!”

There was a moment of recognition between her and myself but before either of us could say anything, the akualele took her, it grabbed her under her arms in all it’s flaming horror and lifted her back into the house, there was yelling and screaming as if the woman’s flesh was being peeled from her bones. I was too mortified to move but the terrible scene went on for hours with no one coming to lend any kind of aid, not for the first few hours anyway. I finally roused up enough bravery to bring myself into the old home to help, but what could I do? Sitting on the woman’s shoulders was some kind of thing, human but not human, transparent but solid. A flame but not burning the woman’s flesh at all, she ran around the living room praying, running full speed into the wall, rolling around on the floor, doing anything she could to get whatever that was, off of her shoulders. She saw me again and in a ragged tone of voice, she said, “There’s nothing you can do, get out before you get hurt too! Get out!”

She didn’t have to tell me twice, all I could do is sit in the old shower tree and wait. I’m not sure when I fell asleep but it was the woman herself who woke me the next morning. She was world-weary and weathered and it showed in her face, “It’s okay, you can come down now, it’s over.”

She looked me over for a second and smiled, “You don’t remember me do you?”

I shook my head and babbled something like, “Uh no, I don’t…”

“Debbie,” she sighed. “Debbie Freitas.”

It turns out that the curse didn’t just stop at the brothers, but it was passed down to the children. Debbie being the oldest of four daughters caught the brunt of everything, that meant that her own children would inherit the curse after she passed.

“You wanted to see your old house before they tore it down?” She asked, already knowing the answer.

“Yeah,”I replied. “I just had this crazy idea that I could relive some fond memories. Why are you still here?”

Looking back at her house, she replied, “Once I realized that the curse was on me, I got divorced and left my husband. I was a couple of months pregnant back then but not too far along, so I was able to have an abortion. I’ve been here ever since, I don’t have kids that this thing can be passed on to, it’s all on me and it will die with me.”

“What about your sisters?” I asked. “If I remember you have three younger sisters right?”

“All dead, every single one.” She said softly.

"From the curse? From this akualele?" I asked. Was this curse that brutal that it could take out a whole lineage?

“No,” Debbie answered. “I took care of that, I made sure that my sisters wouldn’t have to suffer this curse in their lifetime.”

It was heartbreaking to think but I had to ask, “You took this whole curse on yourself?”

“No,” She looked away but I could see that she was crying. “I killed them, it was the only way.” Debbie put her hand on my shoulder and rubbed it gently before she went back to her house, “It was nice seeing you again, take care.”


If you can imagine a neighborhood of condos in the back of Ma’ili then those condos would be what replaced my old home and all of the other old homes on that road, including Debbie’s. Memories should be left where they were made and never revisited, even if for the fact that one is overcome by a sense of nostalgia. As of late, my phone has been ringing and voice messages have been left regarding those same condos, its some kind of gibberish about a red orb of flames shooting through the neighborhood as if it were looking for something or someone. Wherever Debbie is today, I hope she’s hiding in a really good place, for her own sake.

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