Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 21, 2018

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2018 #10


My brother's name was Clarence, but because of a speech impediment I had when I was younger I could only call him 'Cluney.' I guess the name stuck and my brother didn't mind. We were as close as brothers could be and our favorite thing was Harry Houdini.
Of all the studying and reading we did about Houdini when we were too young to care about girls or cars yet, I can only remember one thing. Houdini promised his wife that after he died, he would send her a message, but the message never came. You'd think with Houdini being a Freemason and everything he would have figured that out, but I guess not. Anyway, the point is that Cluney and I promised each other the same thing. Whoever died first, we would make sure to let the surviving brother know that there was some kind of life after death. 

When Cluney turned forty-two his wife of nine years scooped up the kids moved out and presented him with divorce papers the next day. Needless to say, my brother was devastated and so he caught the next flight home from Illinois and stayed with me until he could get his mind straight. Cluney offhandedly said that it was ironic timing Melissa left him; winter was settling in. A trip back home to Hawaii saved him from the freezing weather. From the airport, we went straight to Zippy's in Waialae where they served beer, so that's where we sat and ate and drank and he talked and cried while I listened. When we got home Cluney said that he was happy that I kept the house after mom and dad passed away. His old room was still available to be his old room. my folks never turned it into a sewing room or a den for my dad. They just left it the way it was after Cluney moved out. 

The next morning I was sitting at the breakfast table reading the Buzzfeed news on my phone. I figured I'd just hang out and wait until Cluney came downstairs and then we'd go get some breakfast. Roundabout 10:30 am he comes clomping down the steps and heads to the bathroom, "Hey!" I bellowed after him. "Let's go to Likelike drive-inn and get some breakfast!"

"Sounds good!" He says from inside the confines of the small bathroom under the stairs.

"Why're you using the downstairs bathroom anyway? There's the one upstairs!" I hollered back. "C'mon so we can catch breakfast before they switch over to lunch!"

No answer, so I just wait it out. Pretty soon it's ten after eleven and he still hasn't come out of the bathroom. We are definitely going to miss breakfast. I stand up and head over to pound on the door but the door is open and the light is off. I never once heard the toilet flush or the door open. I never saw him walk past me and head up the stairs. It could be because I was really wrapped up in the Buzzfeed news but still; I took in a big breath and got myself up off the couch and headed upstairs and knocked on the door but when I did it was already opened. Cluney went right back to bed, he was out like a light. I gave the bed a stiff kick and yelled, "Let's go airborne!!! Get your ass out of this rack it's time to make tracks and kick rocks let's go!!" No movement, no reaction. That's when I got a good look at him, he was pale white.....and the smell. 

He was dead. 



The medical examiner said that Cluney died in his sleep sometime during the night. How was that possible when I saw him that morning and spoke to him? Could he have just gone up back to bed and died in his sleep? Did I confuse the time? The young lady said no, he died overnight. It didn't hit me until the day of his services when I watched Cluney's casket being lowered into the ground. It was something about the windswept rain that came through the Hawaiian memorial cemetery that woke me up to the realization. Cluney had kept our promise. He went first, he sent me a sign that there was some kind of life after death by clomping down the stairs and heading to the bathroom. I suppose you have to take these things any which way you can? A promise is a promise after all.

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