Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Nov 4, 2018

After Ours

Financially times are so hard on the islands that even though you're a brilliant person with a B.A. in business, applying that degree to an actual job is like finding a meticulously carved toothpick in a jar full of toothpicks.
When you have bills to pay and financial obligations to meet, you do what you have to do. So, on top of my job as an admin assistant at a small business which is basically me doing my bosses job for him because he's too chicken shit to deal with people, I've had to take a job moonlighting as a security guard on the nights before my day off.

I pause and sigh every time I have to say that.

 I can't argue with the pay, it helps supplement my income. It's nothing too strenuous really, I have to keep an overnight watch on a potential construction site that went belly up. What that means is that whatever the project was, the people who financed it pulled out and now there's some construction equipment sitting on the property doing nothing. So, until the powers that be figure out what to do, I have to sit here and make sure that no one screws with their million dollar machinery.

Periodically a supervisor will stop by when you're first starting out in order make sure that things are secure and that you're actually doing your job and not dicking off. There was no chance of me ever doing that because all that was required of me was to sit on a chair in front of a double chainlink gate covered with a black tarp on all sides. It's attached by a large chain and an even larger pad-lock. The shift is from ten in the evening until six in the morning. The nights were uneventful what with a few homeless skirting around but always across the street. A couple of weeks later, I saw a guy walk by with a board game in his hands that I hadn't seen since I was a kid. It was called 'Operation' and it was a strategy game where you'd carefully try to remove toy sized bones from a patient. The object was not to have your little plastic tweezer touch the sides or the buzzer would go off and you'd lose. Those little tweezers were wired to the board by the way, so performing the operation successfully was very difficult. He was tall and thin and seemed to be hapa, it seemed strange to see such a well-dressed man carrying a kids board game. However, there was a hospital nearby so he could have been a doctor or some admin guy.

A couple of nights later, a man and woman walk by holding one another and crying quietly but by the pained expressions on their faces they are suffering through a deep emotional loss. The night after that, more people happen by but they seem aimless as if they have no specific direction. Every night there turns out to be more and more people walking by but not going anywhere in particular. One night, an hour before sunrise, a little Hawaiian boy in a white long sleeve shirt with a bow tie and khaki shorts is standing near the chain-linked gate. He's barefooted and sort of leaning up against it,  his eyes say that he wants to tell me something but nothing comes out of his mouth. Suddenly he raises his little hand and beckons me to him. There's nothing threatening about him and I walk over and he turns and walks around the corner. When I get to the spot where he was standing I see him disappear around the back corner of the gated off area and I run after him,

"Hey! It's dangerous back there!"

I make it just in time to see him slip through a little space between the back gate. I barely managed to squeeze my own out of shape self through that gate as well after but I'm right behind him. When I get through I'm floored and horrified at the same time. There are no Caterpillars, Bulldozers, Forklifts, Excavators, or Back Hoes. What there are is graves, a countless number of graves all dug up, all exposed and some with the bodies still in the casket. Same graves have coffins stacked one on top of the other, seventeen in some. Of course, this was the SNAFU that closed this thing down.

I was covered in chills when it all finally dawned on me; the people who walked by when I was on duty, this is them. They were at unrest, they were disenfranchised from their eternal resting places and now they had nowhere else to go. They became wandering restless spirits. All of this must have been because of a construction project which more than likely did not past muster once they realized what they were doing and so they abandoned the whole project. I felt bad for them because we already have a homeless problem, now not even the dead seem to be an exception.

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