Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 7, 2018

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2018 #85


It was one of those days when you have a schedule of things you need to follow but no matter what you do to keep to that schedule, you are interrupted at every turn.
This was one of those days, except this whole day revolved around Scottie's soccer game after school. He was really excited, not so much about the game but about the friends he was going to make. As important as this game was to Scottie, it was equally important to me that his first day was a good day. I spent the morning at the market buying everything I would need to make spam musubi for later, he liked it with the scrambled eggs inside. I also got his favorite orange Gatorade after remembering to get some carrots and cucumbers to slice up for later so he'd have something to munch on while we were en route to the soccer field in Hahaione. After that, if it wasn't a phone call, it was someone knocking at the door for something, the interruptions kept chipping away at my focus at hand and I was to the point where I was very irritable. So, you can understand how bad I felt when my best friend Alan called me and I literally growled, "Hello" on the phone.

"Geeze mister mom, you getting your ma'i?" He half laughed and half shouted.

"Sorry bra, busy morning. I getting everything ready for Scottie's first soccer game today but everybody calling and showing up so I'm kinda irritated right now," I did my best not to drop my phone while slicing carrots at the same time.

"Well brah, get ready for more irritation," Alan exhaled. "I know this is late minute but get one family in Kalihi really need help. It's bad."

"You can do 'um right?" I was hoping he'd say yes but no luck.

"You dah kahuna man brah, I'm just an out of work mechanic pretending to be your secretary so this is all you." This was Alan's way of saying that the case was too big for him and that he was scared.

"Hello? Did you not just hear me say that I'm preparing shit for my son's soccer game this afternoon?" I think I bellowed at Alan, but I probably screamed at him.

"The family said the father is dying like literally he only get minutes left but he like talk to somebody before he go, plus, they said they feel some kinda heavy stuff all around him," Alan paused for a second and was obviously waiting for an answer.

"That's a confession before dying, they need a priest for that, not someone like me," I wanted to cut the conversation short. "Okay brah, I gotta get this stuff finished for this afternoon...."

"They specifically asked for you, real quick kine brah, not going take too long and what time now? 12:28 in the afternoon? You get plenty of time before the game, c'mon brah, fast kine, you be in and out and then you can go do your thing."

I looked around and the majority of everything was done, carrot and cucumber slices, ready and put away in airtight sandwich bags. The rice was still cooking and the spam and eggs had to be fried and of course, the nori was the last touch. I could be back in an hour or so and still have time to make the musubi. no problem. "K'den, text me the address."


It was one of those side streets off of the main road but deep in Kalihi Valley. If you weren't paying attention to the road signs you'd drive right past it but this side street led to three other side streets until I finally found the location. It was a large house that loomed over the hill of a lane that concluded at its garage, It was like one of those Grimm fairytale homes that always seemed to be part of a mountain just like this one. It was nuzzled right up to the side of a precipitous hill that gave you the impression that it was really a gargoyle in disguise. A young woman emerged from the cluttered garage and asked me if I was Troy de Barra? I replied that I was one and the same and she asked me to follow her. The interior of the home was immaculate but there was a collective brooding atmosphere, a heaviness that weighed on you if you didn't understand it or were not prepared for it. It was everywhere, the wooden floors and the beams were steeped with it. Every river has its source they say and the source of all the stifling energy in this home could only be traced back to one source, it's owner.

I followed the young woman up a flight of stairs in a long dark hallway which finally led to a large open room where the rest of her family were gathered around their patriarch. Everyone stood up immediately and turned their backs as was traditional. I approached the hospital bed which was propped up so that he could see me. His eyes flew open wide and tears fell down his cheeks, his breathing increased and he tried to speak but I reached my hand out and touched his, "Milis anois,"  I whispered. "Calma dearthair anois."

"There is no need for confession, you may pass now and I will take all that troubles you. You will not return as a ghost or a wraith, I will see to your sins and you will be absolved. Go now, brother, go in peace." Once I reassured him his body relaxed and a calm came over him. the tears ceased and with one last exhale he was gone. I removed the large velvet drawstring bag from my pocket and pulled the strings in one direction in order to open it. From within I removed a single piece of old bread and placed it on the forehead of the now deceased Mr. Mac Conmara. Upon this, I gave the prayer of an easement for his soul.

"Agus beidh mé sheirbheáil a thabhairt duit anois, a mhic. Ní raibh mé ag teacht isteach ar na sráideanna nó i gcuid féin réimsí shiúl na gcos. Agus Síocháin, agus tá go leor de mo anam. Amen."

With the prayer done I took the piece of bread from his forehead which was a moment ago lite as air but was now as weighted down as the feeling which permeated this home. It was an effort indeed but I managed to lift it to my mouth and consumed it whole, it was then that my body was racked with unimaginable pain. Not a physical pain but an emotionally crippling pain, this man was so filled with the enumerable sins he'd committed throughout his life that it literally darkened his domicile. Where to begin? Theft, murder, gluttony.....incest...of course, the young woman I'd met earlier was not only his daughter but his nighttime companion with which he sired three children. My god, the fiber of his home was built upon the blood and labor of those he never compensated but murdered where they stood. They were buried under the foundation of his self-imagined castle, but where did the sins begin? Where? I see a child, a little boy thrown to the streets, unwanted, neglected and ill of health. He is found and raised by a horrible man who does horrible things to him but the little boy escapes one day and somehow finds his way here and makes a kind of life for himself and the rest is his history of sin. When I come to, I am doubled down on the floor, emotionally spent and perspiring.

"Deantar e," I tell his family such as they are. "It is done."

They won't turn their backs until I leave, same with the young woman who led me here, which is why she has me follow her from behind, She won't look at me either as is the custom. I'm led back to the garage and she returns to her home. I drive off and make it a point to stop briefly at the parking lot of the Kam Shopping center in order to take a moment and gather myself. That was a strong one, his sins were so great that it nearly pulled me into it and almost took a hold of me. Just to be safe I stopped at Kaimana beach to cleanse before I headed home. I was relieved to find that the rice was done and that it was still warm in the pot, good, I still had time to make the spam and eggs musubis for the team.



I couldn't help but smile when I saw Scottie running toward me at a full clip once the school bell rang. He was so excited that he had only half of his soccer uniform on, so I helped him change before we drove to the game. I made sure that he ate some of his vegetable slices and two musubi before he got there, he needed his energy. I opened his orange Gatorade and then mine and together we toasted to an awesome first game.

"You ready for today bro?" I didn't want to sound too overly excited and get him overly hyped but what can I say? I'm a proud dad!

"I'm kinda nervous," he replied.

"Nah, no need be nervous! You're gonna make plenty of friends!" I reassured him.

"Okay, daddy but can you do me one favor please?" He was really serious all of a sudden like he'd been thinking about what he was going to say.

"Sure brother, what is it?" Now I was concerned, I mean for real.

"Can you not tell anyone that we're sin-eaters, please? I really want to make friends today," I pulled the car over into a parking lot and got out. Opening his door I pulled him into my arms and held him for a long time.

"No one will ever know Scottie, I promise." Looking each other in the eye we both nodded and hooked pinky fingers. "Now let's go make friends and play soccer!"

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