Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 18, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #43

 My parents warned me about crossing the bridge on our property by myself. There was nothing special about the bridge; it was an ordinary footbridge built by my great-grandfather when he first brought the estate in the depths of Nu'uanu Valley.

It spanned the length of fifteen feet across and eight feet above the flowing stream, which it was built over. The stream is what gave my parents and theirs before them great concern; according to their reasons for the warning, one person in every generation drowned in the creek. No one has ever discovered how the tragedies came about, but it came to be that no one, not child, adult, or elder, is allowed to cross the bridge alone. I was in my early twenties when our family hosted some distant cousins from Carson, California. The explanation of how we were related became lost on me; all I recall hearing was a reference to our Hawaiian and Sāmoan connection since the visiting familyʻs last name was Fanene. The husband and wife were Ernest and Stella; the oldest sonʻs were Franklin, Daniel, and Ene. The only girl and the oldest, the daughter, was Sina. I was cordial to all of them, but I was not in a frame of mind to make friends. Sure, we were around the same age, but I knew what was coming next if I hung around. Making myself scarce was the best way to prevent becoming their chauffeur for the week. Leave before anyone wakes up, get home late when everyone is asleep. It worked out great.


The weekend came faster than I thought; it was almost noon when I woke up and went downstairs to see what was available for breakfast. A note was posted on the fridge door from my mom, "We're out with uncle, aunty, and the boys. Your cousin is home, maybe see if she wants to go somewhere."

"Sina?" I called out. "Want some breakfast?"

No reply; after heating up some bread for toast and prepping everything for an omelet, I heard laughter somewhere outside and a loud, "I didn't even know that?" I went out the back door and looked toward the pool house. I thought it might have been Sina on the phone with one of her friends. No one was there, so I headed back in until I heard the giggling again. I walked further down toward the stream, and I saw Sina standing in the bridge's middle. There were two other girls her age, one on either side of her. One wore jeans, shorts, and a white tank top. Her hair was up in a carefree style; the other girl wore rolled-up jeans pants and a blue shirt. Sina seemed to be the only one talking while the other two showed interest through their facial expressions. 

"Sina?" I stood at the head of the bridge.

 Her head suddenly snapped in my direction; she was surprised to see me. "Hey, cuz! What's happening?"

"Your mom's asking for you," I pointed back at the house.

"They're back already? That was quick," she turned to her newly made friends and waved goodbye. "I'll talk to you guys later, nice meeting you!"

The two girls waved back as Sina went past me; they looked at me with no expression and walked to the other end of the bridge. I caught up with my cousin just as she entered the kitchen. "I thought you said my mom was back?"

"Sina, listen to me," my voice was filled with caution even though I originally had no intention of spending any time with my cousins. "You can't ever go to that bridge by yourself, you understand?"

"What? Why?"

"A lot of people drowned in that river, as long as our family has been here, we never go to that bridge alone. It's just been this belief that the ghosts of all those who drowned in that stream haunt the bridge," the first words I speak to Sina since she's been here, and it's about this, a haunted bridge.

"So, that means my mom is not home?"

"No," I confirmed while rubbing my eyes. "I only told you that so that you'd come with me."

"Wait, so those two girls I met on the bridge were ghosts, and they wanted to drown me?"

I let out a heavy sigh of relief; she understood! "Yes, exactly!"

"Inea," she gave me this weird look. "If you wanted to get me alone, all you had to do was ask,"

"What? Ew, no, we're cousins," I took a step away from her and busied myself making the omelet. 

"We're only cousins in the sense that your parents and mine have been friends for a very long time, we're not related by blood. It's just a Poly thing, you know?" 

"Look," I replied. "Don't go to that bridge alone; make sure somebody is with you."

"Like you?' She smiled.

"If I'm around, then maybe," she came up behind me and put her arms around my waist, and began running her fingers up and down my chest. "Then, be around," she nuzzled the side of her face on my back. Just then, my mom came into the front foyer. Perfect timing. 

"Inea! Go help your dad carry the stuff from the truck!"

I rushed outside to see uncle Ernest and his boys with an arm full of groceries; my dad carried the beer cases. I took it from him and followed everyone into the kitchen. It looks like my folks planned a barbecue for tonight. Shit.


The cookout went great; my parents and uncle and aunt stayed up late sitting near the fire sipping on wine and chewing on beef tips. Alexa played all the romantic hits from their era. They would reminisce about where they were and what they were doing when 'THAT SONG' played on the radio. The boys and Sina took my car and went to check out all the nightspots in Waikīkī. Technically, my car fit five people, but just one of my boy cousins is the circumference and width of two people. Sina being slim and trim was the only one who could fit behind the steering wheel, so she was the designated driver. There was no room for me, so I didnʻt go. See how that worked out?


Two things shook me to the core the following morning. The first was rolling over in bed and seeing Sina lying there next to me with no clothes on. I had to check myself to make sure that nothing happened. I was right, okay, nothing happened, whew! The second thing that shook me up was the blood-curdling screams coming from the bridge. I didnʻt even have to see who was there to figure out what was going on. I ran out of the house and down to the stream like a bat out of hell. When I got there, my dad, uncle, and cousins had Ene by the arm. They were trying to pull him out of the stream and onto the bridge. They werenʻt having any luck; the stream always flows very calmly, thereʻs never been a flood or anything like that. You can stand in the stream and feel the soft current around your ankles, but thatʻs as strong as it gets. When youʻre alone on the bridge and those ghosts appear and entice you into the water, youʻre as good as done. Theyʻll hold on to you until they finally drag you under. The men were pulling so hard that their faces were turning red. The veins were bulging on their necks and foreheads. All my mom, my aunty Stella, and Sina could do was stand there and scream. I jumped in and helped; whatever had hold of Ene was not just one drowned ghost; it was all of them. Ene was the first male; traditionally, it was always a female that happened upon the bridge alone. Ene was like the first warrior to die in battle, everyone clamored for the body so they could make it the first sacrificial offering to Kū, the god of war. In this instant, he was going to satisfy the hunger of angry water spirits. I reached over my dad and grabbed a handful of Eneʻs shirt just near the waist. "One, two, three!" I screamed. We all yanked together, and Ene came right out of the water. Uncle Ernest yelled at everyone to get off the bridge, and so we did. We carried Ene to the front of the house and hosed him down to get that moss odor off of him. When we took his shirt off, there were many bruised handprint marks all over his torso. Everyone was horrified; all we could do was pray and sprinkle blessed water on his body and rub ti-leaf on the prints. My parents held on to one another while my uncle and my cousins continued to pray. Sina stood behind aunty Stella while looking at Ene; there was no expression on her face. Why was she so stoic now? It only occurred to me that second how swift Sina was. She managed to put her clothes on and beat me to the bridge. I felt terrible for her; I can only imagine her horror when she got to the bridge and witnessed her brother fighting for his life.

"Whatʻs going on?" We all turned and saw Sina coming down the steps; she was dressed in her clothes from the night before, except she was barefooted. She saw Ene sprawled out in the foyer. "What happened to Ene?"

We were all dumbfounded, Sina is standing just behind her mom, yet Sina just came down the stairs. When the two Sinas locked eyes, both of them began to scream, the adults and the boys quickly moved away from the Sina standing with them. Her scream was a low, deep bellow and her eyes rolled over white and then became a sickening green color. My dad threw the rest of the blessed water at the Sina thing; we watched as it dissipated into black smoke and became nothing. The real Sina fainted and wouldnʻt it be my luck that I caught her just in time. That wasnʻt the worst of it; my mother told me to carry Sina up to my room where she could rest. Of course, I did what my mother asked, but I didnʻt think she would come with me. When she saw Sinaʻs heels next to my bed, she slapped the back of my head. "Are you stupid sleeping with Sina while her parents and her brothers are in the house?"

"Nothing happened!" I tried to assure my mom. "I woke up, and she was in my bed! I CHECKED myself, mom, nothing happened!"

"You better be sure Inea!" She hissed under her breath.

"I said I CHECKED mom!" I hissed back.

"Just making sure, itʻs already been a hell of a night," My mom pointed her finger at me. 


 The screaming and the panic at the bridge shook me so badly that I didnʻt even put two and two together when I ran down to the bridge to help. The appearance of Sinaʻs doppelganger has given a new bend to what we already know about the drowning ghosts at the bridge. Now, we know that theyʻre not limited to the stream and can walk among us at their own will and pleasure. It means my folks and I will start looking at each other sideways from now on until we fix the problem. At least, weʻre hoping it's fixable.

Art Work by Edwin Ushiro

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