Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 23, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #38

 Benny was just a puppy when we got her from the Humane Society. She was black all over with a tuft of white on her chest.

She had floppy ears, which made us laugh whenever she ran or jumped around. We had a cat we called 'Jar' because he always got his head stuck in one of the mason jars that we used to make See Mui. When we brought Benny home, she treated Jar like her personal chew toy. When she wasn't dragging him out of his private hiding spaces, she was sitting on him. I guess Jar got tired of the abuse at some point because one day, when I opened the door to let Benny out to use the bathroom, Jar darted out with her, and we never saw that cat again.

My kids were broken-hearted, but I'm sure Jar ran to his freedom while giving his dog counterpart a hardy 'fuck you' at the same time. Around this time, a relative from my wife's side of the family came to stay with us. He was from Sequijor from the central Visayas in the Philippines. He was named for a famous waterfall in his province called, Lazi. My wife said his family had fallen on hard times, so it was decided that he'd move to Hawaii to find himself a job. Once he did that, he'd send for his wife, where they'd find a place and then send for the rest of his family. At least that's the story we understood.

Lazi found three jobs within a week and a half. He worked as a part-time limo driver and did a second part-time job at a food-mart. Over the weekend, he worked part-time with a landscaping company. When he was home, he was humble and didn't say much, even though he spoke English very well. However, he was a great help in making sure the yard and house were clean. Our kids were curious about him and followed him everywhere. In the end, they helped him with all the cleaning. As a gesture of thanks, he cooked dinner for us quite often and tried to give us money for what he felt was part of the rent. We never accepted it but made it a point to let him know that he needed the money more than we did. His helping out around the home was more than enough payment for us. 


One afternoon, we packed the kids and Benny up in the van for our weekend family time where we drive around the island and then stop at a random beach for a picnic and swimming. I reversed the van out of the garage when I saw Lazi standing outside the fence, talking to a lovely Filipino woman with wild hair and an even more wild look in her eyes. She wore a white gauzed blouse and khaki shorts that was belted around the waist. On her feet were sandals that appeared to be handwoven from sennit or hemp. There was also something feral about her, something almost dangerous; she seemed as if she were going to lash out at Lazi when he least expected it. She started to cry; she was emotionally distraught, but something didn't sit right with me. Simultaneously, as I am taking all of this in, Benny is losing her mind. She's jumping over all the seats and scratching and gnawing at the windows. She's barking ferociously and frothing at the mouth; she wants to get out and attack the woman that Lazi is talking to. The woman takes notice of this and gives Benny a look of murderous irritation. I grab Benny by the skin on the back of her neck to hold her in place. I roll the window down, and my wife wraps both hands around Benny's jaw while I stick my head out the window. 

"Everything okay, Lazi?"

"It's okay, Papa," he waves and smiles. "Please don't worry!"

"No strangers in the house, okay?" My wife slaps me on my forearm as I roll the window up and drive off. "What?"

"Be nice," she scolds me.

"Benny doesn't like that woman," I replied. "I don't like her either."



Lazi was gone. He took everything he arrived with and everything he had acquired. On our kitchen table was an envelope with the word 'Gratitude' written on it. It was three thousand dollars in cash. A small note attached spoke of his endless thanks to us, but his troubles were his own and should not become our problem. On the warmer was a pot of pork adobo and fried rice, which he prepared and left for us to have for dinner. 



A month passed and still no word of where Lazi might have gone or what might have happened to him. My wife is not one to have her nose in people's personal affairs, but she finally relented, and through several contacts, she was able to speak to someone from Lazi's family in Sequijor. She found out that Lazi's family was fine and did not fall on hard times at all. The truth of the matter was that Lazi's wife found out about an affair with a young woman from a nearby province. To Lazi, it was nothing but a chance encounter, but the young woman fell in love with my wife's cousin, and she wanted more. One day, the young woman appeared at the door of Lazi's home, and all hell erupted; his wife and the young woman were close to killing one another until Lazi separated them and slapped his mistress, demanding that she leave them alone and never come back. "The next day," the woman told my wife over the phone. "All the animals, dogs, goats, everything, were all found mutilated."

At this precise moment, while my wife shared this newfound information with me, Benny shot out of the house and ran straight to the mango tree in our front yard. As she did a month before, she was doing the same thing now. She was utterly unhinged, manic, barking wildly, and foaming at the mouth. There was something in our mango tree that she was after; it was clear that if she had a chance to get at it, she would rip it to pieces. I grabbed my diving lamp on the way out the door and directed the beam up into the tree. I can't fully describe what I saw, except to say that it was the manifestation of what everyone told me that the devil would look like while I was a kid. Its skin was entirely black; it's a female because of its breasts. Its eyes are red and glowing. It's wingspan muted out the ambient light from the street. Its talons were thirsty for the first ounce of blood it could spill. I heard my wife coming toward the front door but I pushed back into the house, screaming at her to lock everything up. It, whatever it was, floated down from the uppermost branches and landed at the trunk of the tree. Benny went straight for grabbed Benny with one hand and crushed her neck and tossed her aside like roadside waste. As horrible as that was to witness, I knew that anything I attempted to do out of insane anger would only result in my death. One that would be worse than what Benny suffered.  

"Lazi?" It hissed. It said it several times before I finally understood but I was too polarized with fear to answer. I couldn't even move from the spot where I stood. It began to move toward me instead, asking again and again for Lazi. It was going to kill me once it got close enough, that was obvious.

"Lola, I'm here," the voice came from the street side of the fence, fronting my yard. "Over here, leave these people alone, they have nothing to do with us."

The creature whipped around, and its wings carried it over the fence where it fell into Lazi's embrace. He waved and nodded his head, "I'm sorry, Papa, I'm sorry my cousin, we won't bother you again. Please take care." The creature flapped her massive wings once, and they were airborne with Lazi in her arms. Once they breached the first clouds, wings appeared on Lazi's back, and he separated from her. Her. It was that young woman we saw that day, the same young woman my wife found out about. 

"Aswang," my wife shuddered from behind me. I turned and grabbed her in my arms. "I told you to lock yourself in the house!"



The problem is Benny; I don't know what to do with her. I saw her die a brutal death a month ago, but now she shows up at the foot of my mango tree every evening, just sitting there, staring at me through red glowing eyes.

1 comment:

  1. if you loved that dog you would have done everything in your power to save her including risking your life fucking coward.