Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 2, 2019

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2019 #61


I called him Me-Lo when he was a puppy because it just seemed like it was his name. It was a rare occasion where the Hawaiian Humane Society had a litter of German Shepard pups which they found abandoned and left in a huge box at their door.
Of course, they couldn’t keep them so they hoped to adopt them out on a Wednesday. That’s how I got Me-Lo. As a German Shepard, I knew that Me-Lo was going to be high maintenance, but to my surprise and relief, he was a very mellow dog. He was affable and followed us around without a leash. He kept his distance from other dogs when he was out on a walk. If he were introduced to another dog, he was always cautious and not friendly right off. It always took Me-Lo a couple of seconds to warm up. On my street in my little Kaimuki neighborhood, in my quaint yard, I always had butterflies who swarmed around my flowers and plants. They were not at all bothersome but Me-Lo loved them, and they loved him. It was not an unusual sight to see them all alight on Me-Lo whenever he had yard time to himself. He enjoyed running around and frolicking with them while they all flitted about. It was the damnedest thing I ever saw.

Once Me-Lo was out of his goofy and awkward teenage years and became a full-fledged adult, he assumed a more regal stature when he walked about or even when he ran at full tilt at Kapiolani park. Without fail, at least one or two of the butterflies in our yard would hitch a ride on him. He didn’t mind at all. The second he got to the park, they would fly off somewhere, but the second Me-Lo came running past the tennis courts, he would take a sharp left turn toward the fence just outside the Waikiki Shell. He’d stop for a second and then he’d start to bark. Not long after, the two butterflies would appear and one would sit on the back of his neck while the other sat on his head. When Me-Lo turned five, which is technically thirty-five in dog years, a group of young and unruly college kids moved into the house one over from us. As could be expected, the parties and the loud noises were endless and so too was the drama. One of the girls from that house had a little fluff of a dog that she would let defecate and urinate on my front lawn without ever cleaning it up. Whenever Me-Lo saw them he would let out a slow growl while watching them from the confines of my living room. The girl knew this and on more than one occasion I would catch her antagonizing Me-Lo. However, to prevent any kind of situation in case Me-Lo did get out one day and completely murder the girl's dog, I spread black pepper on our lawn so that the little fido could no longer smell its mark and perhaps be tempted to go do its business somewhere else.

One day, the little dog from the college kids house got out and wandered down to the end of our street where it met its tragic end under the fangs of two Rottweiler dogs named Sham and Kyle. There really wasn’t much left of anything except for the white curly tufts of fur. Needless to say, the young college girl was beside herself with grief. A week or so later, it was Me-Lo’s yard time, so while I opened the front door, I stepped back in to get my water flask from the kitchen. At first, I could hear Me-Lo’s fun panting and growling and all of a sudden it stopped. When I walked down the steps and into the yard, he was gone. I searched the entire yard at first, and then around the whole house, and then under the house, all the while calling for him. No bark in return, and no goofy head popping out of some random nook or cranny. I grabbed for my phone and wallet and began walking up and down the street and then around the block calling for him. No Me-Lo anywhere. When I finally got back to the house and sat on my front steps, trying to figure out where my German Shepard might have gone to, I noticed that all the butterflies were gone.

I quickly mounted my Segway and headed down to the end of the street where it intersects with Maunaloa. I must have combed every street in the Kaimuki, Palolo, and the Kapahulu area. I even rode around the Diamond area and Kapiolani park hoping to catch a glimpse of Me-Lo behind the Waikiki Shell. Nothing. I was heartbroken and very tense. Where did Me-Lo go? No reports from the humane society of him being brought in. No reply on social media. It’s like he up and vanished into thin air. He disappeared on a Thursday. Late Sunday night I set out my garbage can for pick up the following morning. I tossed and turned all night and only managed to sleep an hour and then I was wide awake. It was 8:30 am. I walked out to the mailbox and retrieved a bunch of letters I’d been expecting. I looked up and noticed that refuse guys hadn’t shown up yet, everyone’s bin on the street was overflowing past the top. I glanced over to the college kids’ garbage can right then and I dropped my letters. They’d been partying all weekend non-stop so their garbage bin was filled past the top like everyone else’s, and there were piles of garbage bags on top of the bin. Except theirs was covered with butterflies.

I remember running over to their pile of trash and beer bottles and throwing it everywhere, the butterflies quickly scattered but never flew away. The hovered instead like they were waiting for me to discover what they knew was already there. I knocked the bin over and turned it upside down. Not everything emptied out, I had to get down on my knees and scrape everything out with both of my hands. At the bottom was the lone gray garbage bag just laying there like no one had cared for it. The second I dragged it out on to the sidewalk I already knew. I tore the plastic bag apart with my own two hands and I saw the brown and black fur all wet and matted.


 I pulled him out and at that point, I didn’t care about the stench, I just held him in my arms and wept like a child. His body was stiff and his eyes were open but empty of life. His tongue hung out of his mouth to one side, white as a sheet. I don’t know how long I must have sat there but that’s the last thing I remember. The neighbors would later tell the police that when the girl and her college friends emerged from the house in order to see what the commotion was about, I jumped up and attacked them and beat them pretty badly. The neighbors also came to my rescue by telling the police that my dog had disappeared a few days before and that I had found him in their (the college kid’s) garbage can. It turns out that after the college girls little dog was mangled into a bloody pulp, her drunk idiot boyfriend thought that it was a good idea to steal Me-Lo and present it to her as a gift. He wanted it to be a surprise so he forced Me-Lo into a large gun safe in their room because his girlfriend is usually home early after class. Unfortunately, he was so drunk that he forgot about Me-Lo and fell asleep. Through the weekend of partying, drugs, and debauchery, they began to run out of weed. The boyfriend went to retrieve his stash which he kept in his gun safe. Working the combination and finally opening the safe, he was horrified to find Me-Lo’s dead body. My dog suffocated. That’s when he put Me-Lo in a garbage bag and dumped him in the trash. The idiot spent most of the day and night cleaning out and sanitizing his gun safe because now, his stash had the aroma of a dead animal all over it. The idiot was arrested for animal cruelty.


Me-Lo rests beneath the Hao blossoms where all of his butterfly friends like to gather. They grew in profusion and the blossoms themselves are a rich yellow color, full life and verve like Me-Lo. One day, a new butterfly emerged from its cocoon. It was one of those black and almost silver brown ones. I would see it every now and again but more often than not, it would appear on Me-Lo’s cushion in the living room or I would see it flitting about in the yard with the other butterflies. I never got another dog after that, it hurt too much. Sometimes, when I walk down the street to the Kapahulu Starbucks, I find that black and silver brown butterfly is never too far behind. Sometimes, it sits on the back of my shirt or on top of my head.

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