Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 19, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #73

 ....Conclusion from yesterday

The services were small at the mortuary near Diamond Head. There was only an urn upfront with a hand made lei around it.

A black and white framed portrait of Carol was next to it. Carol's spirit sat next to a woman who appeared to be younger than me. Next to her was a little boy who could have been seven or eight years old. His hair was combed down with gel, and he looked very uncomfortable in his suit and tie. The woman must be the sister that Carol mentioned. The lone funeral director in his silk charcoal suit hovered nearby in case the woman needed anything. I filled out an envelope and left a donation in it, which I handed to the woman after I introduced myself. Carol's dead membrane eyes followed me as I walked up to introduce myself.

"I'm Gary Grey; I met your sister on the night..."

"I know," the woman interrupted. "The police told me, thank you for what you did, that was nice of you. I'm Melinda and this is my son Hunter." Hunter stuck his small hand out, and I took it in mine and said hello. Less than half of the puzzle piece was coming together, this is the Melinda that Carol's spectral shadow whispered about. Why wasn't I surprised?

"I didn't know that this was a private service, I'm sorry to intrude," I said, feeling awkward. 

"It's alright; I only had enough money for the cremation and the urn. There wasn't enough left for catering so that I could feed everyone. That's money that my sister and I were saving for a second car, guess we won't need it now." She's broken-hearted over the death of her sister, of course, but something more troubled her.

"Is it anything I can help with?" I found myself already asking before I could stop myself. She had an incredulous look on her face, but rather than say something, she just shook her head and looked off in the other direction. "Seriously," I took a seat next to her. "If there's anything I can help with,"


I own the five-bedroom house I live in, to this day I can't tell you why I need so much space, but that's just me. The adjoining house is literally in the backyard. You would have to walk down a flight of concrete steps, and then you'd find the three-bedroom cottage with a basement that could double as a laundry room and studio. The west Iranian family who previously lived there were kicked out by their landlord for keeping a dog for their little girl. The landlord always had an expressed hate for dogs. A broken childhood, most likely. 

I happened to see her coming out of the cottage and called out to her. "Have you rented it out already?"

"Why?" She asked, clearly distressed and out of breath as she walked up the concrete stairs. "Do you have someone in mind?"

"Yes, me," I replied.

"What you mean? You already own the front house, and you're going to rent the cottage? Aiyah," she shook her head.


I asked Melinda and Hunter over for dinner. It was pretty simple; I ordered out for Chinese food. It wasn't a date, of course, but it was something that made sense since Carol's ghost appeared more frequently than I had cared for; I mean for real. Her ghost never appears when I'm prepared, only when I'm distracted. Even now, as we're having dinner, Carol's spirit hovers near the refrigerator.

"People think that take out Chinese food is so ghetto, but it's my favorite," Melinda said. "Even Hunter likes it, and he's very picky."

"Is that true, Hunter?" I asked playfully.

He nodded while trying to finish off a big chunk of orange chicken on his fork. "I don't like my food to touch."

"This is a nice place," Melinda looked around. "It's cozy."

"After dinner, feel free to take a look around," I pointed with my fork.

"I kind of already did when I went to use the bathroom," she laughed while continuing to eat. "Is this your place? Like do you own it, or are you renting?"

"I own the big house upfront, I don't live in this one,"

"Oh, then who owns it?" She seemed worried.

"I do, I'm renting out it right now," I looked at her with no expression. "You interested?"

"No," she built up to a groan. "My sister and I were already struggling with the one-bedroom we had. I can't afford something like this by myself."

"What about your folks? Don't they help out?"

"Our parents died when Carol and I were in high school. Our aunts and uncles aren't any help either, it's just been me and my sister, and Hunter of course," I didn't bother asking about Hunter's father. It's obvious he wasn't around. Carol's spirit slowly made her way toward me with her mouth opening wider every time she moved. I guess I had better get to the point. "I'll only charge you half of what you're paying right now at your current place."

Carol stopped, and then she floated back to her original spot. "You're going to charge me six hundred a month for a three-bedroom two-bathroom?" Melinda nearly choked on her mushroom chicken. 

"I'm able to help, so let me help," Glancing over at Carol's spirit, I continued. "Your sister didn't believe me either when I offered her a ride that night with no strings attached. I can understand if you're hesitant. The offer is here if you want it if you don't, that's fine too. I'll just put this place up for sale."


The six hundred dollars a month that Melinda paid me for rent was money that I wisely invested in stocks. I observed the market and knew when it was time to go all-in or sit back and wait. That's one more surprise for Melinda and Carol. There was enough there that I could give it all back to Melinda in an envelope after only three years. She didn't have to rent the cottage from me anymore; she could own it outright.


Carol's spirit made one more unannounced appearance while I was sitting on the toilet. She was not in the guise of her grotesque after death self. Instead, she was her old self like how I first met her on the number three bus. Bright and ready to head out into the world. 

"Thank you," she whispered. "Thank you."

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