Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 2, 2018

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2018 #59


The ride from the central station was a long drive, and Corey was blindfolded the second he got into the back seat of a 1966 Chrysler Imperial Crown.
An hour later, he stood in the dark living room of old man Inazuma's house, along with the three Hawaiian men and the plainclothes officer. In front of them was the body of Henry Inazuma himself, still in the half-fetal position, covered in dried blood around his midsection. The short, stalky Hawaiian man in the suit stepped toward Corey and pushed him into the rattan chair, where Corey landed with such force that the chair slid backward toward the far wall. The officer and the tall Hawaiian man quickly removed a short roll of rope made from hemp and bound Corey's wrists to both arms of the chair. "What the hell is this? I thought I was remanded to their custody? Why are we back in this house, of all places?

The four men ignored him; the three stood near the rattan chair while the fourth, the younger Hawaiian man, removed a bottle-shaped gourd from his coat. Opening the top, he knelt beside the body of old man Inazuma and held the container near the mouth. The younger Hawaiian man in the suit pressed down on old man Inazuma's chest, and a second later, a glowing smoke floated out of his dead nose and mouth. It hovered in the air momentarily before it entered the bottle-shaped gourd; closing the top, the younger Hawaiian man in the suit stood up and walked toward Corey. Corey began to squirm in the chair, making any attempt possible to get out of his situation. "What the fuck, man? Let me go!"

"You see," the officer said as he looked down at the drug-addicted thief, " beating the shit out of you isn't really gonna do anything. I mean, it may make us feel vindicated for a little while, but heck, it won't bring Mr. Inazuma back. So, my friends here thought of something better; we're gonna bring Mr. Inazuma to you. You'll get to see the old man's last day on this earth from the time he woke up until the very moment you murdered him in this living room."

Corey never had a moment to protest, the short stalky Hawaiian man grabbed a chunk of Corey's hair and yanked his head back. On the other hand, he forced Corey's mouth open. The younger Hawaiian opened the bottle-shaped gourd, and the glowing smoke floated out of it and entered Corey's gaping maw. The short, stalky man forced it shut and waited. Corey's body shook and rattled so violently that it seemed as if he were going to dislocate himself from the joints and break a few bones in the process.  However, it stopped no sooner than it began, and the episode was over.

Corey was gone.



It wasn't a dream; it was a memory. It was Vietnam again like it always was. He stood in the chow line at Chu Chi base camp when the cooks who were not a part of the Hawaii-based unit refused to serve him because he was oriental. He looked too much like the VC, they claimed, but Henry Inazuma wasn't going to stand there and put up with it because he'd been through so much bigotry as it was. A tall soldier whose name tag read "Poepoe" stepped in and took Henry's side. "You mess with one Hawaii boy," the Hawaiian soldier said, "you mess with all of us!" A fight broke out, with Henry and Poepoe taking on the ten-man white cooking staff by themselves. The brawl gravitated from the chow line and moved twenty feet away from where it began. Needless to say, Henry and Poepoe ended up in the brig. The next morning, on February 26, 1970, the Chu Chi basecamp was attacked by PAVN sappers. They took out nine Chinook helicopters while some of the pilots were still inside, resting and awaiting orders in case of an emergency flight. Henry and Poepoe became lifelong friends from that day on.

When he awoke, there were no shakes or sweats this time. It was a relief, the clock on the wall read 5:45 am, it was time to get up out of bed and check on Harue, his wife of forty-eight years. "Okite Ikiru," he whispered in her ear. 'Wake up and live.'

" I'm sorry you have to wake up every morning and see me this way," she whispered in return. "Can you play that goofy song for me? The one that was playing at Kapi'olani Bowl where we first met?"

"Of course, I have it on my phone," Henry pressed the play icon and placed the phone on its holder. Taking his dying wife's hand in his, he waited for the song to begin. The tune was romantic and hopeful; it held the tone of a walk that young lovers take under the stars, thinking only of happiness while promising the other not to cry. He held her hand to his heart as the singer reached the promising crescendo of satisfaction above the clouds and the skies. Death in a time of war was one thing, but the death of someone whose happiness meant more to you than your own was entirely something else. The tears of losing Harue burned his cheeks more than the tears born of fear when the world was literally exploding around you, and everyone you spoke to a minute earlier now lay dead in scattered pieces. 'A spring day to remember,' the song said.

"Only spring, Henry, no fall season," Harue looked at him from eyes drowning in tears, which she tried to keep dignified. "You promised."

Henry touched his forehead to her hand and could barely get out his next words, "Yakusoku shimasu, I promise."

The strength left Harue's hand as it slowly fell away from Henry's grasp, just as the light of life left her body. He sat there numb and in shock for hours until he finally called someone. One o'clock in the afternoon, Ivan Poepoe entered Henry's home and found him in his bedroom. He pulled up a chair, sat next to Henry, and placed his hand on his old war buddy's shoulder, "I wished you'd called me earlier, Ina. It's not too late, I can still bring her back, just say the word and it's done."

"No poi ball, I no like she comes back sick and dies again.....better this way." Henry's eyes regarded the dead body of his wife with deep love and reverence. "If can, just leave her this way for a little while....don't let her rot yet.....if you can do that poi ball, that would be good."

" I can, Ina, I can do that," Ivan promised. "What about you, Ina? How long do you want to live?"

Henry shook his head and waved Ivan off, "no need, I like to go when my time comes so I can be with Harue, I no like make her wait."

Ivan had no words for his lifelong friend, only a handshake between two seasoned soldiers born from a war of attrition suffered by everyone on all sides. For the remainder of the day and long into the evening, Henry sat there, living in his mind through the horrors of war, through the bigotry brought upon him for looking different in a land where he and the enemy looked the same. But there was more; there was the job Ina acquired as a boxing coach once he got home. Mostly, he contemplated suicide while looking at Harue's lifeless form, that is, until he heard something in the living room and came upon an intruder. It was a local young man who wore tattered clothing and was utterly disheveled.

From the looks of him, he was on drugs, that's what he was supposed to look like but what Henry saw was a Viet Cong enemy sneaking into his camp. Henry immediately went into fight or flight mode and began to pummel the thief with stiff body shots, uppercuts, and roundhouse right crosses. But at seventy-six years old, Henry wasn't the bright spark that he once was, and his heart began to give out. The last thing Ina recalled was a continuous sharp pain in his abdomen; it came again and again until he collapsed on the floor and died. He had no idea that he'd been stabbed to death.



Corey's body convulsed and shook back and forth; he grunted and cried and moaned in pain until he collapsed into his chair. His eyes went wide suddenly, then he exhaled with a moan, and his body relaxed so entirely that he defecated and urinated all over the piece of rattan furniture. The four men scrutinized him until it was determined that he was indeed dead, "Godammit, was that supposed to happen?" The officer asked.

"You should have been more specific," the taller Hawaiian man said. "You didn't say anything about bringing him back."

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