Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 27, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #65


Somebody bashed Ronald Shapely over the head with such force that it split his skull open right down to his naturally arched eyebrow.

He had two circular indentations in the space between his nose and his upper lip, and there were always little tiny beads of sweat in it. Ronald sported the rice bowl haircut because his mother was Japanese, and I suppose that was the style back then. His father was an army major who all of us kids were afraid of, Ronald often told us that his dad had terrible nightmares and that sometimes they would find him in the living room late at night, staring out the window. "They're coming over the wire," he'd whisper to Ronald and his mom. "Radio silence, we don't want them to know we see them."

On the morning that they found Ronald's body at the bottom of Stoker Hill, my classmates and I were walking past the Lanakila Baptist Church. There was me George Lono, Manuel Tumai, and Kyle Tanaka. Our conversations were innocuous, and it mainly pertained to the new forms we had to learn in our Karate class. We noticed the crowd of people looking over the bridge into the canal. Many police cars, ambulance, and fire trucks were there moving people out of the way so that they too could see whatever it was that was at the bottom of the bridge as well. In a few minutes, they would carry Ronald's lifeless form up the bridge's side and bring him into the ambulance. It's the last thing I remember. When I awoke, I was in the emergency room at Fronk Clinic. My mom and my dad were there, watching over me. My classmate's dead body was too much for my teenage mind to comprehend, so I fainted. The doctor told my parents that it was an inner defense mechanism of the subconscious or something like that. I was sent home the same day, where the excellent doctor instructed me to get some rest. Manuel and Kyle stopped by after school with some fried noodles and a couple of colas. They told me that the news about Ronald spread pretty fast throughout the school and that the principal called a special assembly to talk to everyone. He squashed any rumors about the infamous Sonny Catito having murdered Ronald.  

Sonny Catito was someone that our parents warned us about; if we didn't behave, he'd come and get us. There was an unfounded rumor that Sonny Catito murdered a little boy and castrated him after. Days later, the little boy's body lay dead in the Waipahu stream with his penis in his mouth. 

My head started to hurt suddenly, and Manuel called my mom into my room. "Okay, boys, he needs some rest, he'll see you in school tomorrow."



The last day seemed strange; everyone looked at me funny. Manuel and Kyle noticed it too, but they didn't say anything. There weren't any period classes that day, just the bunch of us hanging out in Mr. Kato's study hall, where we all did a potluck. My mom prepared a tray of deviled eggs, which I placed next to the Ruffles and the fried noodles. Again, the entire class gave me this odd look. "What?" I was utterly confused.

Mr. Kato stood up from his desk and grabbed me by the arm. He practically yanked me off my chair and dragged me outside. It was the first time since I had known him that he's ever been this mad. "Go fucking home right now! If you have any brains, you won't come back next year!"

"What? I don't understand?"

Manuel and Kyle came out of the class a few seconds later and put their arms around me. "It's okay, let's just go." I was in tears because I didn't understand what was happening. 

"Should we go cruise Pearlridge?" Kyle asked Manuel.

"No, we have to go to stoker hill," Manuel replied.

"Why are we going there?" I asked. 

"There's something you have to see," Manuel insisted. "Don't worry; it will make sense."

For some reason, I didn't fight them on it. I went willingly. After what just happened, I wasn't sure of anything anymore. We stopped at the manapua truck on Kahuali'i street before heading to the second to the last stoker hill bridge. We silently ate our rice cakes and fried noodles. By the time we finished our sodas, we there, looking over the bridge and down into the canal. The climb was less arduous going down than getting up. "What time is it?" Manuel asked Kyle.

"Eleven," Kyle gave a glance at his father's old Seiko watch.

"What are we doing, Manny?" 

"Just wait," he nodded toward a spot in front of us. There was nothing there initially, but suddenly a cloud of strange discolored dust swept up from the green moss and grass. It manifested into a figure, one I couldn't comprehend. "Who is that?' I asked Manuel and Kyle.

"Remember when we came to see you at your house?" Manuel asked.

"Yeah, so?"

"Didn't you think anything when we said that today was the last day of school?" Kyle asked.

"No, why?"

"That day at the bridge, when we saw the body, and you fainted, that was in January. It's June now." Manuel's voice was firm for some reason, like a parent.

"Yeah, when they pulled up Ronald's body," I confirmed.

"Look," Manuel pointed to the manifestation. "Just look."

Whatever strange anomaly it was, it took solid form from the waist up, below that it was still a peculiar colored dust cloud. It was me; I was looking at the apparition of myself. "How-how is that possible? How is that me? Where's Ronald?"

"You're Ronald," Kyle said. "Not George Lono."

"You, me, Kyle and George were skating stoker hill one afternoon, and the both of you got into an argument over Cathy Valdez right before we took off. George's skateboard was always faster than all of ours, but you went after him. You caught up to him just before this bridge, and you shoved him off his board,"  Manuel prompted me to remember.

"You guys were going fast, so when you shoved him off his board, he hit the ground head first, split his skull right open," Kyle cried.

"When we would come to visit you, you would only answer if we called you George. Your mom said to indulge you because you were still mentally fragile," Manuel said. "We forgot about how people would react in school."

"That's our fault, Ron. We're sorry," Kyle rubbed my shoulder.

"But my mom?" I was still not sure.

"She pretended to be your nurse," Manuel said. 

"This is too much," it was the last thing I heard Kyle say. I turned around just in time to see him swing his acrylic skateboard toward me. It hit me with such force that it broke in two pieces. I hit that ground hard, and I was in and out of consciousness after that. Kyle and Manuel had me by both feet. They were dragging me through the wet moss and trickles of water that came through a water duct at Stoker Hill's top. It was a haul, but Manuel and Kyle got me there. I don't remember how much time passed, but I could finally get up on my own two feet. It took a second to steady myself; Manuel shoved his skateboard into my chest. "Get on it."


"Since George died, no one has been able to skate Stoker Hill because of his ghost. He wouldn't let anyone past the second bridge; everyone just stopped coming because of that. While you were in and out of your coma, we finally figured out that George was waiting for you," Kyle looked at me weird. "It's been so fucking hard being nice to you, Ron, pretending like nothing happened when all I wanted to do was punch you in the face."

Manuel stepped in front of him and pushed him back. "Get on, Ron. George is waiting for you."

Blood matted my hair and seeped down the side of my head. Manuel and Kyle weren't going to let me out of this by the looks on their faces. There was only one way out. I caught Kyle flush on the top of his head with Manuel's skateboard. Immediately, I spun around and lunged toward Manuel and hit him square in the mouth. I heard the dull thud from the skateboard when it made contact. I threw the board ahead of me and chased it until I could jump on it and getaway. I was heading straight down Stoker hill. It was like riding a bike that I never got off of; I was in my element. I was pretty sure I clocked well over forty miles an hour, at least my teenage brain thought so. I took to the sloped canal walls like it was a wave in Bali that never ended. It was exhilarating; I felt a great weight lifted from my shoulders. I had new freedom at such a young age; once I reached the bottom of this run, I could no longer be friends with Manuel and Kyle. I'll ask my parents to transfer me to another school. Maybe Pearl City because it was closer to Waipahu than Campbell or Mililani? I had already zipped past the Hiapo street bridge, and before I knew it, I passed the second bridge at Waipahu street. The air went dead, and all the sound was gone. I couldn't even hear the wind whipping past my ears. Something caught the corner of my eye, and I glanced back to my right. It was gone just as quickly as it was there before I knew it. Now it was only my left side. 


He zig-zagged back and forth from behind until he skated right up alongside me. His head was split right open down to his arched eyebrow. Small beads of sweat pooled into the two little dimples above his lip. A white ectoplasmic substance veiled his eyes. Although he looked in my direction, there was no focus there. I believe I began screaming once he cracked a smile. Rather than panic and fall off of Manuel's skateboard, I rode the sloped concrete walls from top to bottom and left to right. I had built up enough momentum that when I hit the right slope again, I rode it to the very top after the Paiwa street bridge, where I jumped off and tumbled in the dirt. I'm not sure what happened to Manuel's skateboard, all I know is that I ran for my life. 



I spent the summer in Hilo and with my uncle Phillip in Wainaku. Once it came time to go back to school, I had transferred to Aiea. It was a long bus ride, but I wouldn't have to deal with the scrutiny of my former friends and teachers. George's death was an accident, and I was never formally charged with his murder. I guess the second that  Sonny Catito was cleared of George's death, the guilt went right back to me. Manuel and Kyle knew the score; they knew I didn't push George to kill him; it's just the way it happened. But six months of having to bear the accusations and guilt for having a friend like me must have made them crack. George's ghost didn't get any satisfaction either. 

Things at Aiea are alright, I made a lot of new friends and a potential girlfriend. On the first day of homeroom during roll call, Mrs. Wong asked me if I wanted to be called Ronald or Ron?

"Call me, Manuel," I replied. "All my friends do."

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