Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Jun 13, 2020

The Square of Green

The weeds have grown four feet high, and now they're turning brown for lack of water and nutrients in the soil. Soon it will all wither away and die and become part of the red dirt and rocks from which it came.
Someone cared once, not just about the yard; the yard was the last of it even though it was the first thing that was paid attention to. When the house was new and the property balanced on the precipice of its youth, ready to have its dirt tilled and mixed, the young couple opted to lay concrete over every blade of grass. They only left a pittance of a square of green in the front to be pruned, shaped, and cared for. It was the house that mattered. Its one-bedroom interior was like a quaint palace meant for someone of a royal personage to hide away from the burden of the protocols of a titled life. People came to the house quite often, there was music that sounded like sharp raindrops falling on the roof. Shrill strange laughter filtered out into the fading sun, and soon people, well-dressed people emptied out into the square of green to speak nonsense to one another and carelessly spill their food and wine on the finely manicured grass. Women wore heels that were too high and too sharp, frequently skewering themselves in the grass, nearly twisting an ankle or falling over.

The house mattered, but often it complained to the square of green that the people were suffocating it. All had to be too perfect, too refined, too tight in the corners and along the edges. It was too much, so the house complained by creaking and moaning. The couple retaliated by fighting with one another, speaking in harsh tones that made the house shudder. They hurt the house by throwing things about, breaking glass attached to its walls, and always, always stomping on its floors. One day blood spilled on its timbers, and the couple could not wash it away; all the house could do was cry.

Secretly, the couple bought other persons to the house to whom they were not individually married. "The end came when they began to not care about you or me," said the home to the patch of green.

The house moaned and shuddered over the months as it watched the patch of green wither and die away. That is when the ghosts from the couples long ago began to manifest and haunt the house. Over time, the house became deathly ill, and many more spirits began to disturb it. The couple called different kinds of holy men to bless and cleanse it. Nothing worked, and finally, the house died. The couple moved out shortly after that.

A few more people moved into the house, but they never stayed for long. Being that it was long dead, the house became infested with ghosts and spirits.

After a year, an intense deluge covered the area, but most especially the street where the late house was located. The rains flooded the square of brown, and when it finally abated, and time passed, the green was resurrected. The birds chattered, the winds moved the old rope swing to and fro from the mango tree. The branches and leaves shimmered with a slight nudge from the breeze even though it had died along with the house.

"The house," the square of green thought with its thin blades rubbing together. "My old friend, the house."

At first, the square of green was happy to hear the house creak and moan, but it soon realized that it was not the normal conversational tone it was accustomed to. It sounded like a dark guttural growl of an unearthly animal, not of this world. The house had become something else, not a home, but a bird feeder filled with seeds that poison other birds. The square of green had seen it before when the entire property was green, and an unkind neighbor had switched out the regular bird feeder for the evil one. Piles of minah littered the grass more than the old dried leaves did.

With no one to water it, the square of green would turn brown and die again. Perhaps, the next time when it came back, the house would be its old self. All a little patch of grass could do is hope.


A year later, the patch of green returned to its full fruition, more rich and vibrant in color than in all of its previous incarnations. On it, sat a little girl, no more than eight years of age. She was silent this little one, the palm of her hands caressed the patch of green first, and then her fingers ran through each blade of grass the second time. The patch of green let out a sigh; this was something that it never felt before and put her at such ease that the little girl paused when she thought she might have heard a whisper. A voice called from not far away, and the little girl left—her mother.

"The house," the patch of green said to itself with an ounce of uncertainty.

People lived in it, a family. A couple, but not like the one from before, the little girl was with them. The patch of green longed to have her come back and play. Something was different about the house; it wasn't festered with evil like before. It was...happy. Not in a joyous way; it was content. It had survived a most brutal tribulation, and now good people lived in it. No, it wasn't just the people that changed the house. It was the little girl.

She sat there for hours on the patch of green running her hands on its form the way that people do when they have a pet. Her touch was lite and filled with love, but she never made a sound. Sometimes, the little girl's mother brought her lunch out to her, and the two would sit and enjoy their meal together. It made the patch of green happy.

One late night, under the watchful eye of the moon, the house creaked for the first time and spoke to the patch of green.

"I am happy, the little girl talks to me often,"

"Not a word have I heard from her while she sits with me," mused the patch of green.

"She speaks with her touch. You must have felt it?"

"Yes," sighed the patch of green. "It is beautiful."

"We must show piety, I will be the best house," a happy creak echoed from its floorboards.

"I will be the best patch of green," the grass bristled with joy.


The silent little girl continued to bring contentment to the house and the patch of grass. Always touching them gently as if every fiber of her being wanted to understand them. Sometimes, she felt them with her cheeks, her forehead. Often times she rolled her body along the walls of the house and did the same on the patch of green. For both the domicile and the grass, it was the equivalent of carrying the girl in their arms. It gave them such happiness. One early morning, the family left in their car and were gone for a very long while. The patch of green suddenly heard the house moaning with terrible sadness.

"What could be the matter?" Asked the patch of green.

"I have heard a most pitiful thing this early day," it's walls and shingles shuddered. 

"The sound of your voice causes me great alarm, please tell me," the patch of green laid flat its long thin blades.

"The little girl, her touch speaks because her voice cannot, but her touch gives her sight because her eyes cannot see. She is mute and blind."

"How can this be so?" The patch of green asked with astonishment.

"This very early day I heard her parents speak so to one another. They've gone to a place where there are other children like the little girl, a school was the word they spoke," the house confided the information in a hushed tone.

"Verily, if we are sad, we will make the little girl sad. More must we show piety, her parents needn't be sad," the words spoken by the patch of green removed the veil of melancholy which covered the house. It resolved to be the best house for as long as the little girl lived.


There is no end to this story, for it, the story, still lives today just as the little girl lives together with her parents. The house and the patch of grass live too. Content to be the best that they can ever be for a little girl who through her hands, speaks, and sees with her heart.

No comments:

Post a Comment