Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Jul 24, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #99

I had no reason to kill Alec Kapili. We were acquaintances at best, but we were never going to bake a cake together. Whoever killed him must have had a stake in his demise because it wasn't a clean bullet to the head or a knife in the heart that did him in.
He was mutilated and then hung from the branch of a mango tree in his front yard. The flies got to him long before the authorities did. I estimate that it was either a crime of passion or a ritualistic murder. Either way, someone had an ax to grind. Or so it seemed.


Detective Lou Anderson was one of those haoles who immigrated here in the '90s and married a Hawaiian girl. They had hapa-Hawaii children, and through his wife Sheldeen, he saw the inner workings of Hawaiian and local culture. The detective never missed an opportunity to lord his continental wisdom over his Hawaiian-in laws whether they liked it or not. Anderson didn't fool me one bit; he may have married into a Hawaiian family and sired a bunch of kids, but make no mistake, he hated Hawaiians, every single one.

"I no understand why you folks cannot get along; you're both Hawaiian, that's why you can't get anywhere," Lou liked to affect his gentle local Uncle voice when speaking to Hawaiians. For a second, he forgot who he was talking to.

"Spare me your bullshit Lou, just get to the point,"

Leaning back in his chair, he put both hands behind his head and let out a deep breath. "Brah, I'm trying to be fair and do my job, no make dis kine to me. I have to ask these questions."

"It's no secret that Alec and I didn't get along, but rather than be in his face, I chose to do the smart thing and keep my distance," I volunteered.

"Alright," he cheered up suddenly and scooted his chair up to his desk. "See? Now we're getting somewhere. So, I can call anyone at the office or home, and they'll verify what you just told me?"

"I work for myself, so my office is my home," I shrugged my shoulders.

"So, where can I verify that what you've just said is factual?" Now he was pressing and, at the same time, hoping that I had no answer.

"You'd have to call The Knights of The Order, that's how Alec and I know one another, we're members," it was only then that Lou noticed the ring on my right-hand finger.

He stopped writing and looked me dead in the eye. He put his pen down and ripped the page out of his notepad and tore it apart. The detective heaved a big sigh while opening his desk drawer. Whatever it was that he removed from it, he slammed it down in front of me and drew his hand back.

 "Get the fuck out of here."

It was a ring just like the one I was wearing.


The question was still unanswered as to who may have killed Alec Kapili? It turns out that Alec offended a long list of people with his attitude or poor choice of words. As a member of the knights of the order, he was a legacy. His father, grandfathers, and uncles were members since the secret society formed in ancient Hawaii. He wore his heritage proudly and made no secret of his lineage. To the members who came from a lesser bloodline, Alec was their hero. To other members like myself, whose genealogy was equal or even more superior than Alecsʻ, we found him insufferable. We never laid our bones bare for all to see, there was no reason to, we knew who we were.


It was at an annual new year celebration that the order hosted at the palace where Alec and I had our first and only disagreement. He had too much to drink; he was full of himself, demanding to be served, demanding to be seated in a place of honor, rather than sit at the table he paid for. His clique, along with his model type girlfriend, cheered him on until Alec began to do his genealogy chant. Then he danced the hula, and the people at his table clapped with wild aplomb. Finally, Alec took the microphone and droned on about how you could tell that someone is a true Ali'i (Chief) with true Hawaiian blood by the shape of the forehead and the nose. He went on about skin color, which was the deciding factor in your right to inherit a kingdom. I couldn't take it anymore, I got up from my table and sauntered up to Alec and rescued the microphone from him mid-sentence.

"I believe that everyone here has had their share of salt, pepper, and other beautiful sauces to garnish our evening. Anymore from brother Alec may drown out the pure flavor of our purpose," while he glared at me with murderous intent, I smirked back with a fuck-all twinkle. "Kapili sounds like its half of a whole name; you should investigate further."

No words after that, we were coming to blows, but the other knights of the order interceded. That evening the grand knights, who are the most senior members, cautioned Alec and me to take a wide berth when the potential to be in one another's presence presented itself. A week to the day later, Alec was dead.


Honolulu's best detectives worked Alec's case. No proverbial pohaku was left unturned, without the proper prayers and offerings first, so to say. Even upper crust Hawaiian families sat through grueling hours of questions and interrogations with no results. Many of the families filed complaints against one particular detective whom they found to be brusk and sometimes insulting.

In his defense, detective Lou Anderson said that he was asking a question plain and simple. "Can I help it if they're uptight, right?"

"You insulted their heritage," captain Ernest Wong sighed. "These days we have to be sensitive about those kinds of things,"

"All I asked is how Hawaiian could they be with lite skin and a Haole last name?" Lou shrugged his shoulders. "Hawaiians ain't land rich today, so how did these guys end up so high on the hog? Hereʻs how; they married a haole who knew how to manage the money; otherwise, his Hawaiian wife and her family would have blown it all on booze and marijuana."

"Lou, I'm placing you on suspension until further notice," the captain kept his composure. He wasn't sure how he would react if Lou had said something about Chinese people in Hawaii.

"For what!?" The detective shot up out of his chair. The captain came around the desk and met Lou face to face.

"Those are very well-connected people, detective Anderson; I'm doing you a favor,"

"How is suspending me doing me a favor?"

"Iʻm keeping you from losing your job and going to jail," the captain hissed.


Alec Kapiliʻs model girlfriend went by her runway title, "KAL," which was fashionably short for Kalei. She was devastated for sure, but she also reveled in the attention that Alecʻs death gave her. She was the grieving girlfriend who clutched her boyfriendʻs framed picture to her chest wherever she went. Alecʻs entourage from the knights of the order doted over Kal and followed her everywhere. Kalei was not 100% Hawaiian like Alec was, so at his services, his mother made sure that she was not allowed to sit upfront with the family. Undeterred, Kal cried and wailed as loud as she could, thus directing all the attention to herself.

After the services, Alecʻs family retired to the dining hall, while Kal remained in the chapel, entertaining the attention of the knights of the order. One of them began to live stream a video for social media, but thatʻs when I stepped in.

"Take your leave," I pointed toward the dining hall. Reluctantly they left but not without asking Kal if she would be ok. She gave them a nod and shooed them away.

"I have to ask you a question, do you know of anyone who might have wanted to harm Alec?"

"No one harmed him," Kal began. "He killed himself."

"Wait, what? How do you know that?"

"I was there when it happened," she had her head down so I couldnʻt see her expression. "We all were."


Kal intimated to me that the argument between Alec and myself during the order's new year celebration gave him food for thought. He openly questioned himself in front of her, and she ever playing the supportive girlfriend assured him that his bloodline was untainted.

"Have you said anything to the authorities?" I asked.

"They are profane, to speak to them is to give away our secrets," Kal mused. "That's what Alec always said."

"How did it all happen?"

"We arrived at his house that evening, we were going to have dinner at the outrigger and then head out for a swim at Kaimana. He was on the phone with someone, he was very distraught. I went to hug him and give him a kiss to let him know that we were there. He motioned for us to wait for him in the arboretum, a few minutes later, he came through and ran out into the front yard. We chased after him; by the time we were outside, Alec had already climbed the tree. He was standing on the branch where the roped swing was...he pulled it up and tied one part of the rope around his neck. I was screaming at him to come down while the lesser knights were climbing up, trying to get to him. It was too late, he had a knife, I don't know where it came from, but that's when he did it. He took his shirt off and cut himself wide open, then he jumped...and..." Kal clutched Alec's framed picture a little tighter while her tears burned her eyes.

"Do you know who was on the phone with Alec when you got to his place?" There was no reply. Instead, she reached into her small purse and removed a cell phone and handed it to me.

"I don't know what I was going to do with it, I just held on to it all this time," Kal's expression changed suddenly. "I've seen Alec's ghost every night since his death. He's covered in blood, and his face is swollen and black, and his eyes..he keeps putting his hand to his mouth, begging to be fed, then he disappears. I don't know what it means; he won't go away,"

"Thank you, Kal," I turned to leave but not before she grabbed my arm.

"The knights of the order have a summoning ceremony, right? Alec told me once, I'm not supposed to know these things, but he's a legacy. It's your duty is it not?"

"I cannot hear this," I told her. "I'll forget what you said for your sake."



It's quiet. My large house has more space and bedrooms than I need, but it's mine. Passed down, inherited, it's mine. I'm a legacy myself, but I've never used that fact to my advantage. My character, my merits, and how I treat the people around me is what always mattered. I've been sitting here, staring at Alec Kapili's phone. I called the last number on the 'Recents' list. The voice that answered gave me pause, I hung up. Not immediately but simultaneously as my heart sank into my stomach. I would have to address the issue later, as for now, there was a ceremony to be conducted at the lodge of the grand assembly of the knights of the order.



The opening rituals are tedious, and the incantations needed to summon the ghost of Alec Kapili required a particular number of knights who are of a specific disposition. Through their prayers, the tone and vibration of the air changes. Each of us feels our bodies contract and expand. All we can do is control our breathing to adjust to the experience. Twenty minutes later, the last of the smoke of sandalwood, which filled the room, dissipates into nothing. It was then that the battered and broken form of Alec Kapili manifested in the middle of the ceremonial floor. His spirit said nothing, but his hands kept going to his mouth as if begging to be fed. It was just as Kal had described. Neither the grand knights nor the legacy members knew what to make of it. We were at a loss for answers.



The sound of the doorbell reverberated into the night. Porch lights were going to come on, and front doors would open in this Mililani neighborhood. All trying to get a glimpse of the fool who dared to ring an obnoxiously loud doorbell. I've been seen by a security camera within the house and then again through the peephole on the other side of the door. I can hear the several locks being undone until the portal finally opens.

"Lou's not home, Kawika, he's working a graveyard at his side job tonight. Is it important?" It doesn't appear as if she were just sleeping. In fact, she's wide awake.

"I'm not here for Lou, Sheldeen. I have to talk to you about something,"

"Alright, well come in. I was just catching up on some work, do you want coffee or something?" She asked.

"No, I'm fine,"


Sheldeen set a cup of cold water in front of me just in case, she sipped on her hot cup of coffee and then closed her laptop and moved it to one side. "So, what's happening that you have to be here this late or early?"

"I'm surprised at how quaint your house is. I expected this place to reek of Lou Anderson," I couldn't help but chuckle.

"Lou's the big detective at work, but here? Well, I had to make it a place where my husband can leave his job outside the door, and once he's inside, he can relax in a worry-free environment," she smiled. "I'm sorry that Lou hasn't been to any of the order meetings."

"You mean you haven't been keeping him from coming?" I laughed.

"No, I haven't," She affected being taken aback. "It's just with work, Lou is so busy and all."

"It's because of you he's an honorary, but I wouldn't worry about it, he hasn't been missing anything," I assured her.

"He didn't know you were in the order," she began. "He told me about it when you were at the station, and he saw your ring."

"I wasn't there the night he was made honorary, that could be why," I took a sip of the water and placed it neatly on the table. "Sheldeen, you were the last person who talked to Alec Kapili. This is your number on his phone." I slid the device across the table to her. She picked it up and looked at it for a second and gave it back to me.

"Yup, that's my number," she confirmed.

"What happened?"

"He needed information, he just happened to call my office. So, I did some research and found the said information and e-mailed it back to him per his request. I had no idea that he was going to kill himself," Sheldeen pursed her lips and nodded.

"You told Lou about it after?" I was confirming more than asking.

"He told me not to worry about it, that it was something we didn't have to talk about it because no one saw what happened except for the person who they assumed killed, Alec," she looked confused for a second. "Wait, how did you figure this out, and where did you get Alec's phone from? Lou said they couldn't find his cell phone anywhere."

"Alec wasn't alone, his girlfriend and some of the other knights were there. After you spoke to him, he ran outside and killed himself in front of all of them. I haven't told anyone that you were the last person to talk to him, but as a point of confirmation within the order, we have to know what that conversation was about," she understood, and she also knew that I wasn't there to harm her. Sheldeen and I were old classmates from the time we were in kindergarten.

"I see his ghost every night Kawika. He stands there, gesturing his hand to his mouth like he's hungry like he wants to be fed," tears welled up in her eyes just then. She couldn't finish. Looking at the paperwork on the table next to her laptop, I saw the letterhead. Oh my god, now I understood.

"Hānai," I confirmed it first to myself.

"What?" Sheldeen asked.

"To be fed, in Hawaiian, that word is Hānai," I looked at her waiting for the light to illuminate.

"Yeah, thatʻs right," she replied. "But I donʻt get it?"

"What else does Hānai mean?" I urged her, hoping that she would pick it up.

"Adopt," she replied quietly. "My job. Alec happened to call my number at the agency, wanting to know if there was a possibility that he might be adopted. Normally, that kind of information isnʻt readily given out, I mean thereʻs a process and a bunch of paperwork, but he identified himself as a legacy."

I walked over to Sheldeen and gave her a hug. I assured her that she had nothing to worry about and that she was not responsible for Alecʻs suicide.


Alec Kapili was not a legacy; he was adopted but never once told about it. He lived his entire life based on a heritage that was never his, coveting a bloodline from roots that were not fixed in his soil. He worshipped and honored his godly ancestors, who owed him no allegiance. This must have been the turmoil in his heart and mind when Sheldeen confirmed his being adopted. It was too much for him to remember that hānai means that one is considered the same as everyone else and that they are entitled to the same benefits and privileges afforded among the household. Alecʻs ego would not allow it, and so he took his own life in the most horrendous manner possible. Disemboweling himself from all ties to a world that he felt was never his, to begin with. As well, the fault may be mine. Taking that microphone from him at the new year's party and slyly suggesting that his last name was only half of who he may or may not have been was unintentional but still grievous on my part. I will have to bring this before the grand assembly of knights and suffer accordingly if need be. Legacy or not.

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