Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 12, 2018

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2018 #49


His full name was William Howard Macky but he used to go by Willy Mack. Now, I’ve already mentioned the words “was” and “used” so if you’ve caught on to that then you’ve figured out how things are going to fare for Mr. Macky.
Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t start out wanting to kill Willy, in fact, I gave him a lot of room for improvement and reformation. However, Willy was a tiger whose stripes would never change.

You see, we were living in one of the last boarding houses on Kinau street six years ago, except now they’re called ‘air bnb’s’. I mean you can re-package corned beef as many times as you want but it’s still corned beef if you know what I mean? Anyway, the day Willy moved into Grace Kim’s boarding house I could already see that he was wet behind the ears and that he had no clue as to what kind of people the boarding house hosted as tenants. If ever a man had a chip on his shoulder, however; Willy had two. He was all of twenty years old but he had a lot to say about himself and all the things he’d done and all the places he’d been to. Sure, the majority of what he said was more than likely fabricated but it was harmless. Young bucks like Willy feel they got something to prove but not us. We were all battle-tested, broken in, and proved many times over. It’s because of that we all regarded Willy with a grain of salt.

One of Grace’s big rules was that we were not allowed to have any guests in our room at any time. Oh, guests could come to visit and sit with us in the main living room downstairs but no one other than the tenants could be upstairs. Which leads to Grace’s other big rule; tenants were not allowed to become romantically involved with one another. It didn’t matter what anyone did after they left the house, they just couldn’t do it together in Grace’s boarding house. Now those two things weren’t some kind of random rule that Grace pulled out of her ass just to be difficult. No, in order that those two rules might be born, it would have to take a few lovers spats at ungodly hours and one brutal murder behind the home. It would take another few years before Grace would acquire what she would call ‘the perfect boarders.’

There are eight of us here; I’m Robin Sanborn and although my last name is not Hawaiian my Hawaiian blood comes from my mother's side. I know, you’re thinking that the feel of my writing isn’t Hawaiian or local but I’ve been away for a while. I’ve traveled and lived in a lot of different places so you might say I’m a seasoned slab of ahi. The seven other men I won’t bother to introduce as it might become too lengthy to go into each man’s backstory. Suffice it to say that we all came from the same experience and we all wanted the same thing, just somewhere to go and to be left alone and not bothered.


Willy had a girlfriend who would meet him in the morning and sometimes if she arrived early enough, Grace would invite her to sit with us and share in breakfast. She was a pretty little blonde hair blue eyed thing who looked like a bright ray of sunshine on a summers day. It was obvious that she’d been charmed by Willy because when she spoke she had a vocabulary of words that could only belong to a college professor. Turns out her parents were both professors at the university and she herself was already in pursuit of her master's degree. Willy was failing in his English lit class and pretty little Sunshine ended up being his tutor. Yes, that’s her name, Sunshine.

It had to be Willy’s charm and good looks that roped that girl in because Sunshine’s conversation skills were very worldly. Willy’s conversation skills were mainly relegated to Willy. Most of us gentlemen stayed indoors during the day. We'd surface in the late afternoon where some of us would go out for a walk while others like myself would take in dinner somewhere. You could say that was our routine. One morning during breakfast Key Wong who had the room next to mine asked everyone if they had seen his Shisa Dog charm necklace. It was a solid gold charm that had been passed down in his family for countless generations. “It’s priceless of course because it’s pure gold but it has great sentimental value,” the tone in Key’s voice was very urgent but he also began to tear up. He thought it might have fallen off of his neck while he was in the shower but he hadn’t been able to find it. Not one of us had seen it but we all offered to help Key Wong find it, all of us except Willy Mack who sat there not saying a word the whole time. He just got up and left as pretty as you please. No one thought anything about it because everyone was preoccupied with helping Key retrace his steps. But I did. I definitely thought something about it.


A couple of days later young Willy Mack drives up in a newly used Mercedes S-550. That little chariot is black on black with black rims and dark tinted windows. Just the kind of car for somebody who thinks he’s got something to prove. He’d only stopped by the boarding house to grab his sunglasses. Everybody saw Willy Mack’s brand new ride from their bedroom windows as it came in the circle driveway. I was the only one came downstairs to get a closer look at it. Sunshine was sitting in the passenger's seat fiddling on her razor cell phone. She saw me giving the car the once over and threw me a hand wave. “How are you?”

“This is a sweet ride Willy has got, must have run him a pretty penny for it ? ” see that was my piece of bait I threw out hoping that Sunshine would bite; and she did.

“He didn’t tell you what happened?” That girl wore what the writers would call an incredulous smile on her face if that’s even possible, but there it was.

“No, do tell?” She was only more than eager to share about Willy’s good fortune.

“Do you know what a Shisa dog charm is? “ she asked. I feigned as much ignorance as I could without appearing too over dramatic.

“ I do not. I’d be interested to hear about what that is though,” what she said next I could have narrated word for word myself but I’ve always been a sucker for a good story.

“They’re Okinawan guardian lion dogs that are supposed to protect families and bring them good fortune or something like that. So anyway, Willy found one on the ground on campus while he was walking to his car behind Kennedy Theatre. It was made of pure gold, I took a picture of it see?” She showed it to me on her phone and there it was Key Wong’s golden Shisa dog charm.

“That is something,” my amazement was feigned but Sunshine couldn’t tell the difference. She was too busy being happy for Willy. “So, he must have traded in that gold charm somewhere and got some money for it?” I asked already knowing what the answer was.

“A shit ton! You wouldn’t believe,” she exclaimed with the enthusiasm of a cheerleader.

“For a charm of pure gold like that? I believe it, I truly do.” I reached my hand out to shake hers and she took it only too willingly. “Congratulations, I really mean that. I really do.”

It was right about then when Willy Mack came walking down the back steps from the kitchen. He was obviously irritated that an old fuck like myself was talking to his girlfriend but that’s all right. When you’re a young buck with shit to prove and two chips balancing on your shoulder it’s natural that you’d take that kind of attitude with everyone. “Congratulations Willy, Sunshine here was telling me about your good luck with you finding that Shisa dog charm made of pure gold? She said you traded it in and got a pretty penny for it?” I held his gaze all the while just to let him know that I knew that he stole that charm from Key. His attitude changed right quick, “thanks….I’m sending some movers over to pack my stuff. It was nice knowing you.”

There was no parting handshake or verbal sentiment, he just got in his new used car and drove off.



Now I imagine that Willy’s arms and legs must have gone completely numb after being tied to that chair for nearly five hours. Was it time to give him a break? Hardly. Key Wong threw a pot of hot boiling water on Willy to wake him up and wake him up it did. Even with his gag on, he howled in pain like he was about to push out a watermelon through his rear end but at least he was wide awake. Key and the other tenants sat in chairs which were positioned in a semi-circle in front of Willy while I was the only one standing. We were in the basement of the boarding home where the walls were buffered quite nicely with egg cartons which were stuffed with enough cushion to make the place soundproof. Willy could cry and scream, and carry on as much as he wanted to but no one was going to hear him.

“Grace Kim has her two rules about this house but we have our own third rule, an unspoken one…..and that is that we never steal from one another. Come to think of it, we never had a cause to steal from each other because we all come from the same experience. We may as well commit thievery on our own parents if that were the case. You stole a golden Shisa dog charm from Key Wong, something that has been in his family since ancient times. You got money for it too, three point two million dollars to be exact,” I said. “You sat there that morning at the breakfast table and you heard old Key say that that Shisa dog charm had a deeper value to him than anything financial. Then you got up and walked out and didn’t even blink an eye. Speaking of an eye…..we thought about taking one of yours but then its already been done. So, these guys thought they’d take your girlfriend and they did………they went to her rich house on Noelani street and gutted her parents like a couple of pigs and then they plucked little Sunshine right out of the shower naked! Now, I’ve known these guys all my life and I was pretty sure they were gonna indulge in some kinbaku and run a train on Sunshine but guess what? They did not do it, they absolutely did not do it! Even I was surprised I gotta say……considering their history? Yeeeeaaaahhh.” Willy Mack was terrified for sure because he did not know what to expect but I could also see in his eyes that he had the wrong idea about who we were. Man if that just doesn’t disappoint me. “Oh, you haven’t figured it out yet, have you? You think we’re just a bunch of old serial killers holed up in a boarding house in the middle of a Honolulu suburb where we sit around thumbing our willies all day? No pun intended.” I turned to Key Wong and the other gentleman and nodded my head. “Show him.”

Each man took their two hands with the palms facing in and held it over their heads. As they passed their hands over their faces and all the way on down to their feet, their true forms were revealed. They were monsters each and every one. Long matted hair, skin black, and grey, some red. Their eyes were fired white hot and each wore rows of sharp teeth. Each wore horns curling up and away from their foreheads and each sported razor sharp talons on their hands and feet. They were chomping at the bit and they started to make a beeline toward Willy but I had to stop them for a second.

“Gentlemen! I’m surprised at your lack of manners and decorum, you forgot about sweet Sunshine!” I looked just off to the left of Willy Mack where Sunshine had been standing the whole time. I waved her over to me with a look of assurance that all was going to be fine. She had nothing to worry about. She walked past him and regarded him with a bit of sadness. To Willy Mack’s surprise, his girlfriend was completely unharmed even though she was only wearing a bath towel. The poor thing was still a bit hesitant but I whispered a bit of encouragement to her as softly as I could, “It’s perfectly okay.”
She took her hands and held them above her head with the palms facing in and ran it on down to her feet. She wasn’t a monster, she was a gold Shisa dog the size of a baby elephant. She whined at me once and then walked over to Key Wong and sat at his feet.

“No time to relax now,” I looked Sunshine in her eyes and cocked my head toward Willy Mack. “Ladies first.”

Sunshine got up on all fours and slowly walked over to Willy and pressed her snout up against his face. She inhaled his essence once and then once more, on the third pass her mouth opened wide and she tore his head off. Easy as you please she walked over to the corner of the basement and lay on her tummy where she enjoyed her meal. The rest of the eight tenants in their monster incarnations rushed Willy Mack’s headless form and tore him to bite-sized bits.

And that my friends, is the story of William Howard Macky. Now if you'll excuse me I'm about to sit down to a nice dinner and I hate to talk with my mouth full.

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