Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 24, 2018

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2018 #37


I remember the man who rented out a room from us. He did not flinch when my mother informed him of the monthly dues in rent.
In fact, he gave her the deposit and a six month advance all in cash. He mentioned that he kept late hours but assured my mother that his comings and goings would be as if he were mere smoke, We would never know he was here. He'd also asked if he could keep a lock on his door during the times when he was absent. My mother adamantly refused but then the man advanced her another six months in cash. That same day a large brass lock with an oddly shaped connecting latch hung from the outside of his door.

"I won't be around for meals," he told my mother. I'd suddenly got the impression that there was some romantic interest but I wasn't sure from whom? My mother or him? His features were too harsh and weather-worn, my mother looked down on tenants like that. Well, she did treat them terribly as well and they were all afraid of her. This man was different, there was something frightful about him. Not confidence, or presence. nor charisma. Just frightful. I'd never seen my mother lose her ability to speak to anyone in any way she pleased. In the presence of this man, she nodded with her mouth open. All he had with him were three garment bags, two small suitcases, and a very large bag of books; all of which he managed himself. Then he closed his door and my mother and I....well, more my mother, stood there looking at it for a minute before we walked downstairs. Affairs were quite uneventful at the home, certainly if we account for the daily drudgery of having to wake ourselves earlier than everyone else to prepare breakfast and send them on their way? Then yes, uneventful would be the word. The man was involved in a tussle his first week here, he'd arrived early one morning after one of his nights out. The other male tenants did not recognize him and were none too pleased when they asked him to identify himself and he simply ignored them and walked past. They physically blocked his way up the stairs and he barrelled right through them as if they were children. The men chased after him up with the intent of thrashing him on behalf of my mother. It was pitiful really, they were all in their late fifties these men; broken by alcohol, drugs, and life. The man turned in their direction and pushed one into the other until they all tumbled down the stairs.

Later that afternoon my mother trudged upstairs to have a word with the man. She saw that the lock and the latch were off and that the door was slightly open. She knocked and opened the door a bit further. She saw a little boy sitting on the man's bed with his legs crossed Indian style. He was in a school uniform fully dressed. His face was pale and his eyes were deep and sunken, next to him sat an adult woman dressed in a sheer black nightgown. Her features were pale as well. They stared at my mother with a stoic expression. Behind the boy and the woman sat two men, one was much older and from where my mother stood, she could not tell if the older man was Asian or not. However, the younger man was definitely Caucasian.

"Can I help you?"

The man stood directly behind my mother and gave her such a fright that she screamed and passed gas simultaneously. She was too furious to be embarrassed at the point and bellowed at him about the number of people who were in his room. The policy was that tenants were to inform my mother of any guests and that they were to sign in and out of her guest book. By the looks of the people gathered in the man's room, he had not bothered to do so.

"I haven't any guests," the man said plainly. "I don't know what you're talking about."

He walked past my mother and pushed the door wide open for her to see. The room was empty except for himself.  The man was insulted, the look on his face said as much. "All I asked was for privacy and to not be bothered. I advanced you a large amount of money to show you that I was serious. Your taking my money told me that you understood my requirements. I'd like my money back, I'm leaving today."

My mother had no choice but to comply and unfortunately, she would never see a tenant like this again. Six months later, the man would take a feature spot on the evening news. He was a serial killer who carried the remains of his victims with him where ever he went. He was wanted in several states and the FBI finally caught up to him here in Honolulu. My mother nearly fell off of her large armchair and fainted.

"Those strange people who I saw in his room that day, do you think that they were the ghosts of his victims?" Her entire from shivered from head to toe when she realized that she had just answered her own question. Indeed, the remains of the man's victims were in the room with him the whole time.  My mother had seen them for herself.

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