Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 30, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #1

 I hadn't known Kalena Taylor for long. Although he was an employee of mine, I always made it a point to say hello or to at least indulge him in a short conversation where I'd ask him about how his folks were doing or how things were going in general.

He was a good kid, genuinely nice and generous, but I never had the time to get to know him better with my busy schedule. Overall, he was a good boy, and I was sure that his parents were proud of him.  Kalena had a good attendance record at work and never missed a day, even when he was sick as a dog. A time came where he was ill a lot, and all of us at the office were worried about him. The next time he showed up at his desk, he did not look good, and against his protests, I drove him home and told him to get some rest and not to come back to work until he was better. 


A week later and Kalena is still out sick. Most of the reports have been turned in early today, so there's not much to do until closing time. I found myself staring at my son Jordan's picture on my desk. He's seventeen in that picture, just graduated high school, and adorned with lei. That smile of his lights up his entire being; he's got his whole future ahead of him. He was twenty-two when he and I had the big falling out. I was frustrated with him because he dropped out of college and wanted to go to school to fix Harley Davidson's. He had a bright future as an engineer, but he didn't stick with it for some reason. I was worried about him giving up the kind of money he would have made with his degree instead of being a motorcycle grease monkey. He knew I was not happy about it, but he insisted it was his life. One day he was tooling around with a Triumph Bonneville that belonged to a friend of his. The tension between the two of us was very thick at that time.

The comment I made was innocent and had no ire behind it. "I thought you were going to school to fix Harley's? That's a Triumph." That's when Jordan lost it; we got into a big blowout and said a lot of hurtful things to each other that we couldn't take back. Overnight, he was gone. He packed everything he could take and left for Santa Monica. "The sooner I pay back the money you spent for a degree that I didn't want, the sooner I'll get you out of my life!" He made good on his word; he paid me back in full and shut the door on me. He's thirty-two now and living on the mainland with his wife and kids. It's been years since I've seen them. 

The phone ringing broke me out of that memory, "Hello?"

"Mr. Peahi?" The voice on the other side of the phone was a hoarse whisper.

"Yes, this is Mr. Peahi?"

"This is Kalena Taylor," he sounded fragile and almost broken.

"Kalena, you don't sound good. Are you alright?"

"I have to ask you a favor, Mr. Peahi. I don't mean to overstep, but I need your help," 



Kalena was eighteen when he came out to his parents as gay. They disowned him and kicked him out of the house that same day. The situation made him a manic chain smoker and scotch drinker. As if things couldn't get worse, he'd come down with lung cancer when he turned thirty. By the time he came to work for me, it was too late to do any treatment to save him. He chose to work as much as he could until he couldn't, then he decided to die right where he was. He didn't want to go to hospice. "I don't have any family anymore, and I didn't want to die alone," he whispered. "I'm sorry to ask so much when I don't even know you that well."

"It's alright," I reassured him. "You remind me of my son Jordan when he was a little boy."

"Oh yeah?" Kalena was surprised. "Is he gay too?"

"No, he was a good boy like how you are," I explained. "It wouldn't have mattered if he was gay or not."

"Where is he now?" Kalena looked genuinely concerned like he was afraid of what the answer might be.

"He's in Santa Monica with his wife and kids," Kalena smiled and nodded his head. Eventually, he fell into a deep sleep, and before I knew it, I fell asleep in the chair I was sitting in. It was such a long day, and I guess it hit me all at once; it was a pleasant, relaxing slumber. My watch said midnight when I woke up; a doctor was standing opposite of where I sat carefully observing Kalena. "Hey, Doc," I waved my hand to him. "Hope I wasn't snoring?"

"No," he chuckled. "You're fine; no need to concern yourself; you can call me Ted."

He was tall with dirty blonde hair; he looked to be Portuguese Hawaiian. Living in Hawaii for so long, you can tell. "What do you think? Is Kalena going to pull through?"

"Oh," Ted smiled. "I'm not his doctor; I just heard he was here, so I came to see him."

"Oh, so you know him?" I was curious but trying to mind my own business. 

"I was Ted's first and only for a long time after he came out, but things didn't work out," he studied Kalena's face closely, observing every detail. "He should be waking up soon."

"Well, that's good," I replied. "He'll be happy to see you; infact, I think I should leave so that you two can talk once he comes around."

"Oh, no," Ted chuckled. "You should stay; it's not a problem." At that precise moment, Kalena's eyes opened, and once he focused on Ted, a big bright smile came across his face, and his arms shot out. Ted fell into his embrace, and they both kissed for a long time. "C'mon you," Ted winked and picked Kalena up in his arms, and walked him toward the door to the room. I jumped out of my chair when I realized that Kalena's body was still lying on the bed and that what lay in Ted's arms was the transparent form of Kalena. "It's more comfortable to appear in the guise of someone the nearly deceased loved or was pleased with; it makes the transition go a lot smoother. In life, Ted was Kalena's boyfriend. Ted was killed one night while the two were crossing the street to their home. Kalena never recovered. "When your time comes," Ted told me. "I'll appear as someone you love, and you'll come willingly."



The phone rang several times before the person on the other side picked up. "Hello?"

"Jordan? There's no answer right away, just silence. "It's Dad."

"I know," he's hesitant.

"I love you, Jordan; I just want you to know that," I can barely get through it.

"I know, Dad; I love you too,"

...Bonus Story Tomorrow...

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