Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 3, 2018

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2018 #58


I don't understand the attraction to rap music, and it's sampled beats, and it's constant need to emphasize its point with the 'F' word in every other sentence.
There is no art to it, no finesse or refinement. Yet, the pounding sounds of it vibrate through the walls of my small studio, shaking everything on my shelf until it precariously balances on the brink of falling to my floor and shattering into a million pieces. I've knocked on the door of the person who lives next to me, I rung on the buzzer, I've skinned my knuckle on the knocker, but they never answer. I've called the police, but the second they arrive and knock on the door to announce themselves, the music, if you can call it that, stops. I had to think of a different solution, and so I waited until the most ungodly hour when most would not be awake. I knock gently on the door.

 No answer.

I try the doorknob, and it clicks once, and the door opens, it's not an apartment at all save for the bathroom. It's empty, bare, devoid of any people except for the compressor and a clothesline with t-shirts hanging from it. There's a long table that runs the entire length of the far left wall from one end to the other. The only thing there is a blue tooth speaker and some small bottles of paint. The compressor suddenly comes to life, and its hissing air scares the shit out of me, and I scream. There's a long tube connected to it, which stretches all the way to the far right wall. Sitting at the floorboards is a local young man with an airbrush gun on his lap, in one hand he holds a small bottle which holds the paint. Over the opened bottle, he is sticking his wrist over it while the blood drains into the container until it is filled. Screwing the bottle to the cap beneath the airbrush gun, the local young man hops to his feet and begins to airbrush a graffiti design on the blank wall. Just then, the blue tooth speaker explodes from behind me with Tupac's 'Keep Your Head Up.'

I jump again, but this time with a more horrifying scream than before. The local boy doesn't seem to have heard me, but nonetheless, he continues with his artistic task at hand. His body moves to the beat, and his arms move in smooth wide arcs, almost as if his airbrush gun were a sword. He is a true artist in many ways as he allows himself to be moved by the music, it doesn't hinder his creativity in the least. I'm so inspired by his enthusiasm that even at my age, my body is moving to the beat. The words make sense, "the darker the flesh, the deeper the roots." Not one expletive, not one foul word, is uttered. I like it.

Even when he takes a moment to pause, his head still moves to keep time, and he starts again, "he had me feeling like black was the thing to be, and suddenly the ghetto didn't seem so tough," I'm so caught up in his reverie that I forget that the vibrant deep red with which he makes his art is drawn from his own blood. It's everywhere, on his arms, on parts of shirt and pants. I slow myself suddenly until I am still and quiet. There is no music suddenly; there is no sound of a compressor, nor is the artist himself there. It's as it was a few moments ago, empty and void, except for the airbrushed writing on the bare wall marked in blood.



"But please don't cry dry your eyes never let up, forgive but don't forget, keep your head up,"

It's not so bad if there's a message to it that resonates with someone and makes a deep connection. Turns out there was a young man who lived in the place next door to me long before I arrived, his airbrush shirt business was very successful until his business partner took off with all the money. Breaking the bad news to his girlfriend the next day, she left him as well. He would find out much later that she drove to the airport to join his ex-business partner on a plane ride to Florida. The young local artist languished for days in his studio with the doors locked and the rap music playing loudly on a loop. When the building manager finally managed to break the door down, he found the young local boy dead on the floor covered in his own dried blood. On the wall was his final bloodied airbrushed message. The place has been left the way it was since then, it's not being rented out or sold, and maybe it shouldn't.

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