Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 13, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #18


What I said to principal Dahsman was a warning, not a hopeful wish that he'd hold Trent's hand for the rest of the school year. "Trent is awkward, and he's a little strange, but he's got a big heart, and he's a good kid,"

"They're all good kids, Mr. Bowman," he condescended. Principal Dashman was a know it all as a kid. I read that from him right away; he had to be right, even when he knew he was wrong. I wonder how many parents, aside from myself, were overcome with the sudden urge to punch him in the face. For me, a kick in the nuts would do nicely. "I want to be certain that he isn't bullied," I replied.

"We've got a thousand count student body, Mr. Bowman," I cut him off before he could proselytize any further. 

"Do your best," I looked him straight in the eye. "Trent's not the biggest kid, but he's not a pushover either."

"I get it, Mr. Bowman," principal Dashman put his hands up. "If there's nothing else, I've got a school to run."



Trent looked at me with a world-weariness reserved only for old men like me. "Can't we home school?"

"Trent, we have to start living a normal life like everybody else. A permanent school and home is a good start; we can put down some roots here," I didn't have an emotion that would evoke a facial expression that Trent could understand. I just had to state the facts.

"Same shit, different town," he shook his head. "It always ends the same way."

"Look, I can't do it alone. Can you at least show some trust here? It's not easy going through life paddling a canoe with one oar. I didn't want to look back only to see that I've been going in circles."

Trent shook his head and walked off with his class schedule in his hands. "I'll be surprised if I make it past lunch,"



"Fractured cheekbone, fractured eye socket, hand full of hair pulled out, a ruptured kidney," Principal Dashman smirked. "All on the first day of school, Trent, you've made quite the impression."

"They started it, they took my wallet and pushed me into the hedges, what was I supposed to do?" Trent's adult forwardness didn't sit well with Dashman. Students cowered in his presence, begging not to be expelled, but not Trent. He'd been to this dance more than he cared to admit. 

"You were SUPPOSED to call campus security!" Dashman bellowed. "Not take out the four worst students on campus! That's my job!"

"Then I did you a favor," Trent deadpanned.

Dashman's face turned red; he shot up from his chair and came around his desk. He only caught himself when I shot up from my chair and met him face to face. "It looks like you're about to do something stupid, principal Dashman,"

Adjusting his waistband and straightening out his cuffs, he took a moment to regain his composure. "You did warn me, Mr. Bowman, and I did ignore it, thinking that it was the sentiments of an overly protective parent."

"We'll leave voluntarily," I nodded toward Trent. "C'mon."



"I called it," Trent sighed. 

"We'll find another school," I assured him.

"There's no other school that's going to take me after this," he was tired; he'd had enough of trying to make me see reason. "You have to school me at home, that's the only option you have after today."

"We'll see," that was the only reply I had for him. I couldn't think of anything else. Maybe homeschooling is a good thing; perhaps it falls in with my plans to domesticate us.



This house is the only one of its kind in Waipahu that has a large basement. Initially, a bunker that was built after the bombing of Pearl Harbor, it had an incarnation as a rec-room, a den, and a storage space. When Trent and I moved in, I spent a considerable amount of time cleaning it up while Trent was out at the mall. Everything went out to trash the first day; the second day, I finished cleaning the space from wall to ceiling. On the third day, I dropped Trent off at Windward mall, and then I went back home to wait for the delivery van. It came right at eleven sharp; it took two of the drivers to unload the crate at the foot of the garage. After they departed, I came out to carry the crate myself down to the basement. I left it there when I was done and went upstairs to get dinner ready. 



"Won't the boy be joining us?" Mr. Barbaneagra asked while chewing on the sinew of his steak prepared rare. 

"He's been out for most of the day," I replied. "I'll have to go get him after you, and I are done here."

"I'll go with you," Mr. Barbaneagra smiled. "It's been a while since I've seen young Trent. How he must have grown?"

"Even at such a young age, he's already like a man beyond his years," I boasted to Mr. Barbaneagra. "I promise you'll be surprised when you see him."

"I'm looking forward to it,"  he raised his wine glass and took a sip of the near hundred-year-old vintage. 



"A cemetery behind a shopping mall?" Mr. Barbaneagra mused. "Normally, the mall is built over the remnants of one, this is surprising."

We drove down the small lane on the side of the mall. Once we rounded the corner and came upon the large parking lot, I saw Trent waiting in front of Ruby Tuesday's. He was speaking to an older Hawaiian man who left once we got closer. Trent's face went from content to disappointment once he saw Mr. Barbaneagra sitting in the front seat. He got out of the front seat and held the door open for Trent, "Please, sit up front,"

Trent ignored him and took the back seat. He met comments and questions from myself and Mr. Barbaneagra with grunts, and yes, no, and I don't know answers. He went straight to his bedroom and locked the door once we got home. Mr. Barbaneagra and I stayed up through the night, going over plans. Once the sun began to come up, we both went to our separate quarters to sleep. It was ten in the morning when I was ripped out of my slumber by the sound of horrific screams. I knew this because when my eyes burst open, the first thing I saw was the digital clock. It was coming from the basement. I frantically raced down the stairs and kicked the door down. The large picture windows were wide open; the sunlight poured in from all four directions, all focused on Mr. Barbaneagra burning alive while he lay in his ancient coffin. Trent stood off to the side, staring at me with those war-torn eyes. I understood his pain and his want for normalcy away from any school, public or private. My heart understood it, but my duty and my sense of devotion, and the time when Mr. Barbaneagra would finally make me a vampire were now gone, all gone. A furious rage possessed me, and I rushed for Trent to end his insolence with one swift blow. I'm the vampire's familiar, the next one to be made. Trent was someone I trained myself, helping him earn his place when Mr. Barbaneagra would make him my familiar. Now, I had to kill him.

Like I cut off Principal Dashman, I was cut off too, by an eight tipped spear made from Kauila wood, bathed in the waters of Kāne. Holding the spear was somebody weʻd only heard of in our circle; we never considered him to be real, but it explains why vampires could never get a foothold in Hawaiʻi. He twisted the spear around my insides before removing the spear, which was worse. Everything that was me came spilling out; then, it turned to black burning ash like the rest of me.  



"Technically, youʻre not a familiar, so you donʻt have to leave," Boy intimated to Trent.

"I know, itʻs just better this way," Trent began. "Iʻll find my place somewhere; I guess I should work on my temper too." 

"Mahalo for your help," Boy nodded. The back window to the vintage sedan rolled up, and the vehicle pulled away from the sidewalk. Trent watched as the Imperial Crown joined the sparse traffic until it finally disappeared into it. All he ever wanted was to live as normal a life as possible, but he could never convince Mr. Bowman otherwise. Sure, they werenʻt father and son, but they grew together to be like father and son. Trent began to not care about immortality or extraordinary strength; he wanted a home, a real home. A home without a father vampire from the old country like Mr. Barbaneagra, whose shadow prevented Trent from having what he wanted, so he sought help. He found Boy Napualawa. 


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