Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 4, 2019

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2019 #29


Your body clock just knows when it has run its course, and it either lets you know just a little at a time until you get the hint, or it just gives up on you whether you like it or not. My body was trying to be kind to me, but once I felt it in the most unthinkable area of my lower regions, I knew.
The thing about knowing that your own demise is soon at hand is either you fall into a state of self-pity and grief, or you just go on like nothing happened. For me, I just took long drives around the island or through neighborhoods like Kaimuki, Makiki, most of Waipahu, and 'Ewa Beach. All I did while driving was think. Think about the pattern of my life up until this point, think about all the good and not so good relationships, but mostly I thought about how I could have been a better son to my parents if I knew then growing up, what I know now as an adult.

I thought about how I wouldn't have let my mother spoil me so much and that I would have been much more attentive to chores like raking the yard and taking out the trash. I also thought about how I would have taken a bit more interest in my father's likes, such as boxing, bodybuilding, the two balls base, and basket. We probably would have had a lot more in common; mostly, I thought about how being adopted by them could have worked to their advantage. You see, I'm Hawaiian by birth-while driving, I suddenly began thinking about appreciation and filial piety. I started thinking about the Buddhist concept of repaying the debt you owe to your parents. I thought that even back then, in the '70s, as I was getting older, I could have gone to the office of Hawaiian homelands and petitioned for a plot on the Big Island. Should I by some miracle have acquired the land and or a home that was already on it, I would have moved in with my parents until such time that I struck out on my own, and my folks could stay there, and I would come back and visit as often as I could. My parents would have the advantage of living peacefully, and comfortably into their twilight years. In reality, it didn't work out that way. I only saw my parents as an irritation and an inconvenience. However, the thought of doing right by them was so intense, it felt like I had traveled back in time for a brief moment. I mean, I was there - I saw the green and white aloha shirt that I was wearing along with the dark slacks and good shoes. The experience was draining, to say the least.

When I came out of that nostalgic haze that never was, I was ascending the heights up the Alewa neighborhood. That's when I saw him sitting in my passenger chair. My immediate reaction was a short right hook to this intruder's jaw, but his corporeal self became transparent, and my fist passed right through him. I screamed bloody murder and nearly crashed my car, but this.......person.....reached over and righted the steering wheel.

"Pull over," he said calmly. "We have to talk."

I did pull over; then, I ran back down the winding streets of Alewa. In my haste and wild fear, I'd forgotten that I was terribly out of shape. My legs didn't hold me up for long, and my lungs had already told the rest of my body to go screw itself. My goal was to make it to the back gate and Kamehameha schools and perhaps to the chapel. No luck, I collapsed on the finely manicured grass of someone's front yard. Lucky for me, they were not at home.

The guy who popped up in my car was now walking up on me, I was too weak and breathing too heavy to try and kick him from where I lay. He, or it, could have done anything to me at that point, and I'd be useless to stop him. "I'm not trying to hurt you."

He helped me to my feet and stepped back so I could catch my breath. I guess he blips out only when someone is trying to assault him, but he's strong as an ox when he's flesh. "What do you want?"

"I know you're dying, so," he shrugged his shoulders.

"Oh," I nodded and pointed my finger at him. I stood up now and had to give myself a second to fight off the dizziness. "I get it; you're death....come to take me. You couldn't have waited until I was asleep? You had to try and take me while I was driving?"

"No," he replied. "I'm not Death."

My fear had taken such a hold of me that I didn't realize I was looking at a Hawaiian man dressed in black from head to toe; the suit the whole thing. "Well, you make a good impression if that's the case. So, who are you?"

"Milu, the god of the underworld. Our underworld, the Hawaiian one." His expression was very matter of fact.

"What?" I didn't get it right away.

"These days because everything is so westernized, some of our own people still think they have to go the 'Western' way when they die. I'm here to remedy that, at the moment of their passing, I come to remind our people just how 'Hawaiian' they are." He said. "I didn't show up in your car to take you, you'd already died of a heart attack while driving. Your car crashed into a telephone pole right after you died. You're still in the car, this part of you is the part of your mind that can't accept the fact that you are dead, but you are."

"Wait, so what now? I have to go the Hawaiian way, with you?" I shrieked.

"What other way is there?" He shrugged. In the next second, we were on the grounds of the 'Iolani Palace, walking down the steps of the old artesian well. As he, Milu, opened the door, I hesitated. He noticed, and he reassured me. "There's more than one way to get to the realm, this is one of the easier ways so that you're not overwhelmed by the traditional way."

"If you say I'm Hawaiian, then I shouldn't be overwhelmed, right?" I asked.

"Everyone's Hawaiian until they get to where we're going," He said.

"What are they after they get to where we're going?" I asked.

"Scared, because that's when they realize just how Hawaiian things really are," he stepped back and held the door open. I gave him a short glance before I stepped in and realized there was no bottom. He shoved me in, and I fell into a long dark abyss of sightlessness. When I came to, I was sitting in my car with my head up against the steering wheel. Police, firefighters, and EMT were there, trying to get me out of my car. I was pinned behind the wheel. An hour later, I was sitting in the back of the ambulance with a big lump on my head. Other than that, I was fine. My vehicle was totaled. One of the officers gave me a ride home, and as we left the Alewa neighborhood, I saw the crowd of people standing across the street, in the group was the Hawaiian man dressed in black, Milu. He snapped his fingers in an 'Oh shucks' kinda way and gave me a wink. Guess it wasn't my time, after all?

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