Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 12, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #80

....Another perspective from yesterday's story 


She was home from school in Honolulu. The plane ride was uncomfortable, too many tourists. Loud, boisterous, and very drunk.

She couldn't tell who was worse, the men or the women. The orange and brown aloha attire matched their personalities, loud and painful for the eyes to behold for any length of time. Fortunately, she had the window seat, and the haole couple who occupied the middle and aisle positions paid her no mind. It was the one time she welcomed prejudice against her. She was of a particularly dark color for a Filipino. It's what persons noticed first before they finally saw how naturally beautiful she was. She packed lite since she was only home for the weekend; her regular clothing at home probably didn't fit at this point. 


The flight landed despite the treacherous Maui winds that forced the plane to take two more landing attempts. That alone brought a sudden silence once the tourists realized what their potential plight might be. The group couldn't have left the plane any sooner than if it were on fire. Her father parked right outside of baggage claim, his 65 Impala gleamed and shimmered in the sunlight. She hugged him with a sigh of relief; it was nice to be home. The smell of Seagram's Seven lingered on his breath, and it brought a mild irritation to her brow.

"It's only four in the afternoon, dad," she squinted up at him. 

"Ah, I know, no worry you," he opened the back door for her. "I have to go up Iao side get groceries for you, maddah."

"What you mean? Just go, Toda's," she didn't understand her father's logic. Or perhaps she did but was too tired to argue her point.

"No matter, as long as I get groceries," he shushed her and finally got into the car.

She saw the dark looming clouds over Iao, and it gave her an uneasy feeling. "The grocery store is right in Kahului; I don't know why you have to go so far out of the way?"

He ignored her and continued on driving. The day had taken a toll on her, and she finally fell asleep in the back seat. Dreams of school and faces of classmates and teachers became a mixed collage of voices and ambient sounds. Soon, she fell into a deep slumber like she did when she was a little girl. It was the lull of the car engine, and the soothing wind coming through half rolled down windows that made her eyes heavy. The Impala pulled into a space near Sam Sato's. The father found his way to a nearby bar and ordered straight shots. He went through 10 of those before he paid and left. It was already storming once he got out into the open. He made a mad dash to the Chevy and fired it up. He put it in gear and headed to Toda's in Kahului for the groceries. The rain at this point was beyond torrential, and as fast as the windshield wipers moved, it did not improve his vision of the road. He took wrong turns more than once and began to worry. 'The drive out doesn't take this long,' he tells himself. Somehow, he ended up driving into a part of the Iao stream, where the rainstorm from the mountains had swollen it over. He escaped with his life, but in his drunken state, he'd forgotten about his daughter Esther who was trapped in the car and drowned.


Most times when Esther's ghost manifested in the back seat of her father's old car, it was empty and she was the only one in the vehicle. The car sat out in front of her house for a very long time, she could never seem to get herself out so that she could go inside and see her mother. Other times, it was dark and quiet but she could see a light from her parent's bedroom. All she could hear was the voice of her mother crying. A day came when her entire family along with her neighbors and other people she did not know, began to file in through the front door. They were dressed very nicely, the men and boys wore dark suits while the women and girls wore dark dresses. People walked by the car but they wouldn't look at it, or if they did they would give the sign of the cross or place flowers on the hood. No one dared to look in the back seat for fear of seeing Esther's apparition.

One day there was a strange man in the front seat driving her father's car. She kept asking him who he was and where her father might be, but he never replied. She leaned forward and pounded her fists on the front headrest but to no avail, he couldn't hear her. Her hair floated in front of her face and she finally realized that she was like a single pickled fruit floating in a jar. The entire back seat was filled with water, just the back seat. She knew now that she was dead and that somehow she had drowned. Just then, the Impala drove past two boys who were sitting on a wall in front of a house. It was Paul Picada, his father Roland was a cousin of her own father. She didn't recognize the other boy sitting with Paul; they both made eye contact with her and all she could do was reply with a wave.

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