Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 26, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #35

 Homelessness for the Mākau family wasnʻt so bad. They lived in a Matson container right on the waters of Waiahole and were allowed to fish and grow their taro by the family who owned the land where they lived.

The Makāu family got along well with the Kealoha family; the parents always sat together to have late evening chats. Kai Mākau and Peter Kealoha also got along well and became constant companions, playing and adventuring together. Therefore, one can only imagine Kai and Peterʻs confusion when their parents began to bicker against one another for no reason. It was such a sudden change as if it happened overnight. No one knew how the argument started or why, but both their fathers were at eachotherʻs throats while the motherʻs tried to pull them apart. The next day, Kai awoke to the sounds of pounding on the Matson container where he and his parents slept. It was Peter, "Your dadʻs dry boxes are on fire!" Peter ran down the short path that led to the water while Kai followed close behind; indeed, there were all the dry boxes sitting on the tables that Kaiʻs father made, all wildly aflame. Peterʻs father Sanford showed up a second later, "Get some water! Hurry!" Sanford shoved a bucket in Kaiʻs arms and directed him to fill it with the water from the bay. Sanford did the same, and soon the two were tossing water on the red and orange fire. It wasnʻt long before the flames were put out, with only thin puffs of smoke left. Kaiʻs father Gary appeared; he was devastated. The dry boxes were gone, all of his hard labor, up in flames. "Thanks a lot, Sanford, if you wanted us to leave your land, you should have just said something instead of burning my dry boxes."

"I didnʻt burn you dry boxes," Sanford insisted. "They were on fire by the time I got here, ask Kai. He was already here when I came."

"Peter was the one told me the dry boxes were on fire; he was the one pounding on the door," Kai told his father. 

"Peter, who?" His father asked.

"Peter, my friend Peter? Uncle Sanfordʻs, son?" Kai thought that his dad had already gone senile.


"I donʻt have a son," Sanford looked at Kai weird.

Just then, Sanford and Garyʻs wives showed up, and they tried their best to explain to the women about finding the dry boxes on fire. Kai left the grown-ups to themselves and walked off down the shoreline. He soon found himself sitting on the sands of secret beach, wishing he could live everyday life with no worries. He hoped for a home and to be able to go to a school where he could get dropped off by his parents in their new car. He wished for a big yard where he could run free, and he wished for a long winding street in front of his house to ride his new bicycle. Mostly, he wanted friends. "How come my dad and uncle Sanford act like they donʻt know Peter? They saw me playing with him all the time."

"Wanna see what I got?" Peter sat next to Kai. In his hands, he was holding a poi pounder. 

"Whereʻd you get that?" Kai asked.

"Itʻs my dadʻs, Peter turned the stone tool over in his hands, closely examining it.

"Your dad says he doesnʻt know who you are, that he doesnʻt have a son named Peter," Kai looked at his strange friend sternly. Peter just stared out at the ocean, not saying a word at first. He looked at Kai suddenly and asked, "Do you wanna see something cool?"

"Sure," Kai replied, already unimpressed by what might happen.

Peter placed the poi pounder on the sand beside him. Standing up, he briefly cleaned the sand off the bottom of his shorts. He strolled toward the water without removing his clothes; he didnʻt dive in; he walked until the water covered his head. There was no wake in the water, no arms coming up for him to start swimming. The fin of a shark cut the water and headed straight toward the beach. Kai stood up and walked to where the small waves washed up on the sand; the shark was massive, and it expertly skimmed along the sand just under the water's surface. It would break suddenly, and streak out to the deeper water and come back to repeat the same pattern again and again. On itʻs last turn, it came in a direct line toward Kai, right up to shore. It skimmed the sand again, and just when it was going to come up out of the water, it morphed without warning and turned into Peter. In his human form, he was trying to catch his breath, "Pretty cool, huh?"

"Youʻre the reason my parents were fighting with the uncle Sanford them," Kai remarked while the facts slowly came to him.

"Who cares?" Kai laughed. "Iʻm a God; I get bored."

"My dad told me about this, youʻre not a God, youʻre a spirit sent to cause mischief and disharmony," he said slowly.

"So what? What are you going to do about it?" Peter shrugged.

Kai already had the answer, he hit Peter over the head with the poi pounder, knocking him silly. He hit him again for good measure. Peter began to stumble toward the water, but Kai cut him off and swung the poi pounder in a wide arc, knocking Peter backward so he couldnʻt make a last-ditch run for it. All the frustration, anger, and shame of being homeless, of hearing his parents cry night after night over their plight, of hearing them contemplating a double suicide to spare Kai any more humiliation. Of having to hide when guests came over to visit Sanford and his family, that is what Kai put behind every blow to strike Peter down and remove his kind from this earth.  Kai couldnʻt help but notice the irony of the bloody poi pounder he held in his hand, as he simultaneously looked at Mokoliʻi in the distance. "They send it as a curse," Kai remembers his father telling him. He wasnʻt concerned with who sent it; he was just angered that he was taken for a fool and that two families were almost destroyed because of it. His father also taught him the words to send the curse back. "Hoʻi a ʻai i kou Kahu."

Whoever he was, Peter began to dematerialize into swirling black spots of ash and flecks of fire before shooting off into the distance. It went over Hakipuʻu and then came back; Kai watched as it hesitated for a brief second and shot straight down toward the Kealohaʻs property. "Noooooo!!!" Kai screamed.



The Kealohaʻs home was one massive wall of furious fire; everything crackled loudly. It seemed to roar at each personʻs attempt to put it out with a water hose or a bucket of water. Kai found his parents and the Kealohaʻs standing among a large crowd of people on the roadside, watching helplessly as everything went to shit. Sanford cried hysterically, begging to be let go so he could go back into the house and save his mother. "No can do nothing already, Sanford," Gary tried talking sense into his friend. "Pau already."

"Daddy, what happened?" Kai held on to his father.

"Somebody stupid when shoot fireworks inside the Kealohaʻs house," Gary pointed to the burning structure. "Look like came from Kualoa beachside. Once the thing went inside the house, pau already."

"Was like the movies," Kaiʻs mother said tearfully. "The house caught fire one time, no hesitation. Even worse is Sanfordʻs mother was inside when it happened, poor thing."

Kai shuddered from head to toe. He wasnʻt aware that the Kealohaʻs didnʻt have a son, but now they had a mother he didnʻt know about until now? "The mom is the one that insisted to Sanford that he should kick us out; she hated us even though we did nothing to her. Thank goodness Sanford didnʻt listen."

"I hope she never suffer," Gary wiped his tears away.

Kai said nothing, but his heart spoke volumes.

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