Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 23, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #69

 The best part of the fourth of July and New Years' celebrations are the fireworks. In my family, it was a tradition that after all the big fireworks are done, we kids got to play with all the sparklers we could handle.

I loved it, and until this day, I canʻt get enough of it. My own kids do the same thing now. When I was eleven years old, my oldest brother went through a bad divorce. His wife, Patti, left him with their son, Eddie. They came to stay with us until Brad could get back on his feet and find a place of his own. Eddie and I were the same age, he was a sweet kid, and everybody loved him, especially the adults. For some reason, Eddie hated me. They moved in with us in March of that year, nineteen-seventy-eight. So, come the fourth of July, Eddie was there with all of us when we got to pop fireworks on our street. Immediately, he began tossing the firecrackers and whiz rockets at me. I told him to stop, and he wouldnʻt. Brad was in the backyard with all the adults having pūpūs, beer, and shots of Seagram 7.

When it was time to play with the sparklers, Eddie shoved a fully lit one in my face. When I swatted it out of his hand, he lit up another one and stuck in my hair. I was a purple belt in my Karate class at that time, so my reaction in defending myself was to give Eddie a stiff sidekick in his solar-plexes. He hit the grass hard, and once he got his wind back, he ran to the back yard crying to Brad. I got my ass beat from Brad and my father. After that, I made it a point to avoid Eddie in every way. We may have been related, but that was it, I wanted nothing to do with him. Four months went by really quick, there were still little things that Eddie would do that pissed me off, like heʻd purposely try shoulder bump me if we were passing each other in the hallway. I parried his move and watched him crash into the wall with a loud thud. I also got a lock for my bedroom door, so he couldnʻt sneak in and try to steal something or sabotage my homework. It was a quiet Sunday afternoon in November, and the football game that was broadcast on ABC was over. Brad and my father were disappointed with their team, and it was Bradʻs suggestion that I, Eddie, he and my father go outside and toss the football around. Our backyard was a sizeable acre, so there was more than enough space that the four of us could put between each other to get off a good throw. My father and Brad could throw the football high and make it spiral the whole time. My throw was average, but it made the distance, Eddie would affect having to run before he could make the throw and that was fine the first few times, but then he ran closer, and closer until he stopped arching the throws and began sending the football straight to my face. I laughed it off the first two times, but by the third time, I knew what he was trying to do. My guess was that my brother and my dad knew too, so why werenʻt they doing anything about it?

The next throw went from me to Brad, and from Brad to my father and then to Eddie. My good old cousin purposely fumbled the ball and let it roll on the grass. He chased it and pretended to accidentally kick it toward me. He was less than five feet in front of me now. He picked up the football, cocked his arm back, and threw it straight at my face. I caught it and went with the momentum of the throw and let it spin me around. Coming out of the spin, I threw it right back at Eddie. Before the point of the football could catch him flush in the nose, my father stepped in front of Eddie and caught the ball.

"Thatʻs enough, letʻs call it a day,"


It was the eve of the New Year, and the fireworks lit up the skyline over our neighborhood. Everyone was having fun and celebrating, the adults and the kids. Eddie was on the other side of the yard showing off to our girl cousins and some of the other girls from next door. I guess I had nothing to worry about. I remember I had a hand full of spinner rockets in my right hand and a mosquito punk stick in my left. I was helping our baby cousin Chantel light up her sparkler when I heard the spinner rocket go off close by. By the time I noticed, it was too late. The spinner rockets were going off in my right hand, I dropped them on the ground and grabbed Chantel and ran out into the middle of the yard. One of the older girl cousins came to get her, and she pointed to my hand. There was a huge white circle in the middle of my palm, most of the flesh was curled back. A second later, searing pain took over, and the blood seeped out from the wound. Someone had lit the spinner rockets while I was holding them. It was apparent who did it. I calmly walked over to Eddie and spun him around and dropped him with a punch to his sternum. My brother Brad who was right behind me gave me a hard slap on my head. He was drunk. "What the fuck did you do that for? Iʻm the one who lit the spinner rockets! I didnʻt think you were stupid enough to hold on to ʻum!"

I was overcome with blind rage and kicked Brad in the nuts. He collapsed to his knees, his face was red and his eyes tightly shut. I found out after the big fight between Brad and my father that Brad was behind Eddieʻs shenanigans. He told Eddie to do those things to me because I was the adopted child who got the attention that should have belonged to Eddie. 

Whereʻs the ghost story in all this you ask? 

Brad and Eddie moved out the first week of January. They found a house on Davenport street just off of Piʻikoi. We hadnʻt heard from him in a while, until one day he called my father at work, begging him to come over. He found Brad sitting on the kitchen floor, propped up against the sink. "I need help Dad," he groaned with tears falling down his cheeks.

"Help with what?" My father asked in his way.

"Make the ghost go away."

"What ghost?" My father looked around the kitchen and then into the living room where he saw Eddie standing near a grandfather clock.

"Him," Brad wept. "Eddie,"

My father glanced down at Eddieʻs feet and saw Eddie's own corporeal form laying on the greenish-blue carpet. Dried blood covered his cheek and part of his forehead. My father screamed and backed up toward the kitchen table. "Brad! What did you do?!!"

"He no like listen, so I have to buss him up. Been one month already, I dunno what to do Dad-I cannot, I just cannot," Brad broke down crying. 


At Eddie's services a month later, his mother Patti showed up but my parents kicked her out. I apologized to Eddie for the way I reacted to him. I told him that if I knew what was going on that he and I could have told my parents and then we could help him. Maybe then, we could have really been cousins. Today, many years later, my kids have passed down the sparklers tradition to their own kids, itʻs a joy to watch. I always make sure that I stick forty-two sparklers in the grass and light them up for Eddie. Next year, will be forty-three.