Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Apr 24, 2020


Our neighbor, Mister Hori, had only himself and his son, who he hardly seemed to communicate with except through grumbling and grunts.

Every now and again, the son would have a girlfriend, but it never seemed to last. The girlfriends were either afraid of Mister Hori, or they would openly oppose his samurai attitude. The son was always caught in the middle. He was forced to choose between the current sweetheart or the father. The current girlfriend stopped coming around, and Mister Hori and his son went about their daily life.

One afternoon, an ambulance was parked in Mister Hori's garage. The EMT was wheeling him out on a gurney while the son followed.

"Everything alright?" I called out to the son.

"Heart attack," he acknowledged. "He just passed."

I expressed my regret, but the son smiled and shrugged his shoulders. "He was old, it was time."

The months passed, and soon the son had a new girlfriend who he ended up marrying. Life for the couple was beautiful, and they eventually had two children. One morning while I was clearing my backyard of old mango and other kinds of rubbish, I saw the son's wife in their yard standing in front of her washer/dryer. I extended a warm good morning. The wife looked up at me and asked the strangest question.

"Do you know how to get rid of my father in law's ghost?"

"Your father in law's ghost?" I asked.

"Yeah, he's been showing up lately while my husband is sleeping, and he chokes the shit out of him" the wife was clearly frazzled.

"Wow," I whispered. "I'm sorry that's happening."

"We tried everything, Ti-leaf, Hawaiian salt, Odaisan, nothing works. Not even the sage smudging." She offered.

"Maybe just ask why he's choking your husband and then tell it to go away," I suggested.

"I never thought of that," she replied. "I'll try that."


A few days later, I saw the wife again. She stood outside the garage of their home, where she seemed to be looking at something. "Hello! How is everything going?" I asked.

She walked toward the cement wall, which separated our properties. "I tried what you suggested, but it didn't work." She pulled down the collar of her old shirt, where I could see angry bruised handprints around her throat. "I saw the old man's ghost choking my husband, so I screamed at him to leave my husband alone. He turned around and started choking me! Thanks for the bad advice!"

"Oh, no!" I exclaimed. "I'm so sorry!"

She lunged toward me, and my natural reaction was to step back. She stopped short and glared at me before she turned around and disappeared into the garage.


A short time later, there were moving trucks parked out in front of old Mister Hori's house. They were loading up the last of the furniture while at the same time, the son was not winning at trying to get his children into his 4-Runner. "Sorry to see you go," I called out. "Please take care!"

The son walked over, and we shook hands. "Where's your wife?" I asked.

"Well," the son began. 

"By the way, I saw her one-day washing clothes, and she told me the strangest thing. She said your dad's ghost was choking you while you slept?" I interrupted him.

"She told you that?" The son was surprised.

"Yeah, she said she tried everything, but nothing worked, so I suggested that she just tell your father's ghost to stop? It didn't work, cause she showed me the handprints around her throat, and then she tried to choke me," I said.

"Oh, I see," the son shook his head. "You saw the handprints? When was this? Morning, afternoon, night?"

"Morning," I answered.

"Yeah, see, my father's ghost jumped off of me that night when she yelled at him to leave me alone. Then he jumped on her and start choking her; she died that night." He said.

"So, she died being mad at me because of the advice I gave her?" I was covered with chicken skin.

"I guess so, but don't worry, I think her ghost couldn't harm you because of your cement wall." He confirmed.


No one moved into the Hori house for almost a year, but every now and again, I catch a glimpse of the son's wife, standing at the window, the garage, or in their backyard where their old washer/dryer used to be. She always gestures with both of her hands that she's going to choke me. I hope my cement wall holds up.

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