Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 13, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #48



Once upon a time, and not so very long ago, there was a boy. Possessed of the same joys and worries as any other boy his age, he lived with his parents in a quaint home on the waters of Kahala.

On a day like any other, the boy and his parents perused the shopping mall in Kahala. They came upon a large crowd of people in the atrium where a makeshift stage stood a head above the people gathered around it. There, a magician plied his trade with wonders of smoke and fire. Cards, coins, and rabbits appeared and disappeared in and out of thin air. Most astounding was the performance of the five Chinese rings. As a boy, the magician said he lived with the Shaolin temple monks, who taught him the myriad incarnations of Kung-Fu and its untold secrets. As if he had not a bone in his body, the magician moved the five Chinese rings through his arms, torso, and neck. The magician told the crowd that after mastering every kung-fu form known to man, he would have to master the five Chinese rings and its one hundred styles. Only then would he be able to leave the temple and travel the world. "That was one hundred years ago," he said matter of fact. "At least it felt like it." He took a bow and left the stage; the crowd erupted with wild applause and cheers. 

The boy's parents took him to the long line of people who wished to meet the magician and shake his hand. Finally, when his turn had come, the boy sincerely told the magician that he, too, had just begun studying the art of Kung-Fu.

 "If you want to master anything in your life, you have to practice for at least three hours every day until it becomes second nature." The magician shared a wink with the boy's parents, who smiled and nodded in return. Unexpectedly, the boy replied, "What happens after I've practiced for three hours every day and mastered everything I know?"

"Then you become my apprentice, and I will teach you all of my secrets," looking directly at the boy without a smile, the magician waved his hand in front of his face in a grand gesture, and there suddenly appeared five small Chinese rings in the palm of his hand. "When you are ready, and your parents deem it prudent, bring these to me, and I will teach you."

With his other hand, the magician smoothly handed the parents his business card with his phone number and address on it. 


In a short time, the boy became the apprentice of the magician. The parents dropped him off at the magicians Wai'alae home for the hour-long class. It gave them time to spend together on long walks or shopping at the mall. At first, the boy was excited to share the lessons that the magician began to teach him. However, as the classes progressed, the boy spoke less and less about his studies, only saying to his parents that it was a secret. One afternoon, when the parents returned to pick up the boy from the magician's home, he was gone. His studio was empty, as was his house. It appeared that he had packed and moved out. The boy had disappeared as the magician had disappeared. 


Near a year later, the boy was found in a magical kingdom called Bakersfield. The kingdom's guards saw the magician, who was evil, sitting with the boy at a restaurant. A show on the magic television manifested a picture of the boy. He was stolen away by the magician and taken somewhere to the vast continent called, 'The Mainland.'

The guards arrested the magician and locked him in a dungeon, never again to see the light of day. It was there that the evil magician was raped and murdered by other evil beings like himself, who most especially hated magicians who harmed innocent children like the boy.

Thirty-one long years have passed since the boy was spirited away by the evil magician. The wretched practitioner of legerdemain cast a spell over him that has not been broken until this day. Like a man, but still a boy, he is cursed to speak only in poetry.

His poor parents long passed were never able to discern the details of his life while living under the evil magician's clutches. Whenever they would pry, prod, or poke, the boy would only reply in verse or rhyme. 

"I too would like you to know what deeds he reaped while he did sow. Allay I cannot, that which you fear, say I cannot, for his deeds are still here," framing the outline of his body with his hands, the boy's eyes looked through his parents, not at them. "What sights I have seen with these eyes, not my own, what the magician did reap by his hands deftly sown."



His name is Trevor Harris; his parents were one of the first, if not the only part Hawaiians who owned a home in Kahala, which was previously forbidden to happen by politicians and developers. Kainoa Harris' family proved royal lineage and claimed their land. When the powers that be wouldn't budge, a button man for the Harris ohana appeared at the developer's office and put a gun to his head. "Ink, or blood, braddah, up to you. Either way, I am not leaving until the contract is signed."

Kainoa's wife, Mālia, also had royal lineage claims to the shoreline and the waters. The powers that be at that time pushed back harder because Mālia was a woman. What they did not know is that Māliaʻs family were descendants of those famous Kahuna from Molokai. They were caretakers of the grove of Lanikaula. Soon, those wretched politicians became beset with horrible nightmares, which shook them to their core. A month later, papers were signed, and the shoreline was hers in perpetuity. With the combination of both, their home, although humble, took up an entire lot. It extended from the main road to the beach and one hundred yards out to the ocean. It was quite the deal. When Makoa was born, their world became complete. From his birth, he had a natural curiosity for all things around him, but he gravitated toward the martial arts at a very early age. Kainoa and Mālia agreed to enroll him in Judo and then kung-fu. Both disciplines worked for Makoa because he understood the art's philosophy first, which in turn made the application of it very easy. He was only nine years old at the time.

In the afternoon, when Kainoa, Mālia, and Makoa were walking through the mall, they noticed a crowd gathered around a makeshift stage. They felt sorry for him because he was doing his utmost to sell his magic act, it was cheesy, but he had a genuine sense of humor, which was very engaging. Makoa, on the other hand, was mesmerized. His eyes were affixed, and his mouth agape. He oohed and awwed along with the crowd. Kainoa and Mālia noticed and could not help but smile at their sonʻs innocence. It was the trick of the five Chinese rings that hooked all three of them. After the show, as the magician handed them his business card, they both thought it was harmless. However, Makoa did have a habit of devoting himself wholeheartedly to whatever he undertook.

There was an understanding that homework and chores were first, then he could study Judo, Kung-fu, and magic. Never in their wildest imaginings would they think that an amateur magician would kidnap their son and take him away to the mainland. Kainoaʻs connections came up empty, Māliaʻs aunties on Molokai couldnʻt pinpoint Makoaʻs location because something or someone put up a magic wall. Thanks to shows like Americaʻs Most Wanted, Makoa and the magician were seen together in a Bakersfield's restaurant by two off duty sheriffs. The magician, Henry Ballard, was arrested on the spot. Family services took in Makoa and finally got him home to Hawaii. The Harrisʻ were back together again as one happy family. Kainoaʻs connections provided him with the location where Henry Ballard was going to do time. Simultaneously, Māliaʻs aunties had already sent out the curse. Unknown to Kainoa and Mālia, Henry Ballard had already expected to die in some heinous way. He was prepared, at the moment when his life left his body, he would transfer it somewhere else. 

Makoa lives in the house he grew up in since he was a boy. With his parents gone, his motherʻs aunts became his live-in caretakers. Kainoa and Mālia left their son a large endowment, to be overseen only by the two women. As of late, the two aunties have reported seeing a shadow that follows Makoa or tries to step into Makoa. "It is disconcerting because it happens at the most unexpected times," the aunty shared with me over the phone. "Would you come and talk with Makoa? Iʻm not sure what weʻre expecting to find out."

"Iʻm not sure what to say, Iʻm honored that you would ask since you are two people that I hold in high regard," I answered.

"No, make laʻdat you," she tsked over the phone. 


The old Harris home is like an oasis in time, a time that logically no longer exists. Yet, here it is in the middle of the Kahala neighborhood. It is reminiscent of the old-style homes of Kauikeauoli or Kaʻiulani. Niu, Hala, and kukui abound, as to do halapēpe and hao. Fragrant puakenikeni is the first fragrance to greet you; once you step onto the property, you are then wafted by the scent of plumeria. The women, the aunties, come out to extend their aloha as they greet me with a welcome chant. In return, I offer a chant of appreciation and humble thanks; I bring a lei woven from flowers, which I collected in my yard. In exchange, they offer me a lei of their own making from plants and ferns in their yard. After honi and pūliki, I cannot help but tell them, "You probably donʻt remember, but you guys cut my hair a few times whenever I came to Molokai. Kanani Brighter recommended you."

"Of course we remember," they smiled. "Kanani always spoke fondly of you."

They took me into the house, which led out to the back veranda where Makoa sat in a swing chair. They had me sit across from him where they made the introduction. "Bebe, this is our very good friend, heʻs just here to talk and get to know you. Is that okay, hun?"

Going from vapid to coherent, Makoa blinked twice and then regarded my presence with a nod. The two women went into the house and came back with a loaf of sweet bread, sliced deer meat, and sun-made tea. Makoa broke off a piece of the bread and ate it slowly while gazing out at the ocean. "Makoa, how are you feeling today? Your aunties thought that I should come to talk to you?"

"Yesterday was long ago, Chinese rings make sounds youʻd know, like prison chains the sound they make, like praying the Lord your soul to take," he spoke slowly.

"I see," I replied and put my hands together on my lap.

"The lord his soul he cannot take, for in the darkness he hides in its wake, in my form he tries to live, my soul to him, he wants me to give," Makoa looks at me not as the boy as he does with everyone else, but like the man. 

"He?" I ask. "As in Henry Ballard?"

Makoa stiffens up, and the hairs on his arms stand straight up. "He whose name should not be spoken, he whose demon should not be awoken. Yet, here he dwells, so close so near, his foul breath upon my ear. Whispering atrocities like recipes, horrendous philosophies, like blood chocolate amenities."

"What did he do, Makoa? What happened back then?"

"A pen if you please," his arm shot out to me and then to his grand aunties. "A pen if you will, to amend this disease, a paper to fill, a pen if you please!"

One aunty removed a post-it note from her purse and the other a pen from hers. Handing it to Makoa, he snatched it from them and scribbled down a short word. "#metoo."

"Fuck," I closed my eyes and put my head down. I looked up at the two women and asked them to follow me into the kitchen. "Iʻm sorry to swear but heʻll always be this way, right? Speaking in poetic rhymes?" 

"Yes," they nodded.

"That, we canʻt do anything about, thatʻs therapy. We leave that up to the professionals, but that fucking Henry Ballard is still around thirty-one years later trying to possess Makoa. That, we can do something about, do you agree?" Without hesitation, they consented that we would get rid of the energy known as Henry Ballard once and for all. 



At this point, I cannot give you the details of the ceremony we offered to cleanse Makoa of Henry Ballardʻs shadow. I fear that someone will foolishly try to duplicate it on their own. What I can tell you is that it involved allowing the spirits of Kainoa and Mālia Harris to return and exact their revenge on the evil magician who managed to fool them into thinking that he had their sonʻs best interest at heart. Even in their unearthly form, to be torn asunder is a horrific sight to see. The screams ring in your ears and mind long after the deed is done. That sort of thing stays with you, like the decadent taste of onions from a good lamb chop dinner, except the taste eventually becomes rotten. 

Today, Makoa lives as everyday life as he is able. He still speaks in poetic rhyme, but none of it refers to his traumatic time in nineteen-eighty nine. It is very relative to what is happening around him; his aunties tell me that he gives them a strange look as if something is wrong with them when they reply to him in poetic rhyme.


With the spirit of the wicked magician long gone, the boy sits on his throne, watching over the domain left to him by his parents, the King and Queen. His venerable aunts assist him with the daily affairs of the kingdom. Often, while gazing out at the ocean, the boy remembers the kind wizard who came to cure him of his ills, not realizing that it was he, the boy who cured the wizard of his disdain for the disparities of human nature. They all lived happily ever after.

                                                                            Pipi holo ka ao


  1., Lopaka, this piece was different than your others, and felt deeper... the #metoo hash seemed to go somewhere that was more mysterious...

    1. Mahalo Fred, this story draws from a few real life experiences.