Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Jul 23, 2021

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2021 # 100


In the 1970's it was not so strange that wives stayed home to care for the household and the children while the husband worked a good day, providing for his family, who often thrived in a humble two-bedroom home. Such was the case for Maitland Kamaka and his ohana.

They lived on the corner of Maikiki and Roundtop drive. His wife Sharlene oversaw the upkeep while their son Derek attended the fourth grade at Royal School. Summer came soon enough, and Derek was out on daily adventures with his friends, not so much at the playground or the park, but more so exploring and adventuring up the stream. He would always return home in time for lunch and spend the rest of the day helping his mother around the house. "Where do you and your friends go?" His mother asked one day.

"The park and up at the stream," Derek concentrated hard on his drawing, holding up his left hand while trying to sketch on his piece of drawing paper with his right. 

"The stream?" There was a tone of worry in Sharlene's voice. "That's too far, son, and if something should happen, how are you going to get help?"

"We can run fast if pigs come after us, plus my friend Prescott learned how to hunt from his dad," Derek reassured his mother." He has a hunting knife his father gave him."

"Boys your size, that pig will cut you up one time," Sharlene's voice expressed experience and wisdom. "Your uncles would hunt all the time when we were growing up here. How many times that pig cut them because they thought they knew what they were doing."

Derek put his pencil down and walked toward the entrance to the kitchen. "I'm sorry mom, I didn't mean to make you worry."

"I don't want you going up to that stream anymore, you understand?" Even though it may have sounded like her statement came across in the form of a question, Derek knew it was an order.

"Yes, mom," he nodded and returned to his drawing.

"Besides," Sharlene said while spreading butter and jelly on a large piece of sweet bread for Derek's lunch. "There are other things up there that no one is supposed to see, especially a bunch of little boys your age."

It piqued Derek's interest. He went back to the kitchen, this time with his pencil in his hand, "Like what?"

"There are things in the forest that are not meant for the eyes of men," Sharlene nodded slightly toward her son and raised her eyebrows. "If a man sees what is not meant for his eyes, especially up in the wao kele, he will never be seen again. But if he does see and escapes, he can never return home. He has to take his own life instead."

Derek wore a look of complexity and concern. "I wonʻt go up there anymore, mom, I promise."

"Come have your lunch now," Sharlene put the plate of sweet bread sandwiches with potato chips on the table. Then, pouring iced tea into a large cup, she placed that on the right side of the napkin. "Food first, drink second, yes?"

"Yes, mom," Derek nodded.

Sharlene sat across the table from her son and bit into her sandwich while perusing through the morning paper. Derek's mother knew the exact amount of butter and jelly to spread on the sandwich so that one flavor wouldn't overwhelm the other. It was the same thing with the tea she always made. It complimented the sandwich once he washed everything down. She was so wise and seemed to know everything and had a talent for fixing stuff from the washing machine to the leaky pipes in the house. "Mom, what am I not supposed to see in the wao kele so that I know not to see it?"

"You'll know," Sharlene spoke to her son while simultaneously reading the paper. Just then, the phone rang and broke the mood in the room. Leaving the table, Sharlene picked up the receiver sitting near the fridge. "Hello?" Sharlene asked. "Yes, Freddie, that should be alright. I've told Derek that he's not allowed to go to the stream from now on. Of course, the rest of you can go, but you send Derek home? Alright, he'll meet you at the park at three? Thank you, bye!"

"Bye, Freddie" Derek raised his voice enough to be heard, but he did not shout.

Finishing up his sandwich and then brushing his teeth after, Derek went to his bedroom and lay down for his nap. His dreams should have been filled with action and adventure, but he only dreamed of looking at his hand and doing his best to draw its duplicate on a piece of drawing paper. The sketch became so life-like that it began spreading its fingers open and then tightening to a fist. When Derek looked at his actual hand, it became the drawing but in real life. In the dream, he quickly rushed to his standing bedroom mirror and saw that his entire body was a drawing and not flesh and blood at all. Ten minutes before three, Sharlene woke her son up and told him to splash water on his face and use mouth wash. The two walked hand in hand to Baker park, where Sharlene stopped at the sidewalk and kissed Derek goodbye. He ran off to join his friends, and once she could see that her son had changed his focus to his friends, Sharlene returned home but not before reminding Derek to be home at five on the dot. Once she was out of sight, Freddie removed his hunting knife and took out three smaller knives that he gave to Derek, Edmund, and Crater.

"The stream," Freddie eyed each of his classmates.

"The stream," they repeated excitedly except for Derek. 

"You guys go ahead," Derek said as he sadly plunked his knife back in Freddie's hand. "I can't go, remember? You promised my mom."

"Your mom will never know," Freddie reassure him.

"Our moms don't care as long as we get home before dark," Edmund volunteered, not one to be left out; he always backed Freddie's plan.

"Mine too," Crater agreed. "She spends time with the Maytag repair guy. That's why she sends me out all day. She says I get in the way."

"Your moms are not my mom," Derek stood his ground. "She told me if we see something up at the stream that we're not supposed to see, we can't come home."

"Like what?" Freddie asked in defiance of the only one in the group who wasn't going along with his plan.

"She said we'll know," Derek replied.

"Okay," Freddie sighed. "We'll see you tomorrow." Freddie handed the smaller knife back to Derek. "Bring it when we see you again."

The three walked off to Baker Park's end, leaving Derek there to run after them nearly. However, he couldn't risk the ire of his mother, she knew everything after all, and she would surely know if he went along with his chums. In a short time, Derek was standing on the back porch of his home, where he removed his shoes and prepared to enter through the kitchen. Just then, a wind ever so slight in its breeze played past his ankles and then lifted itself enough to cover his body. It raised the hackles on the back of his neck and caused him to shudder right where he stood. The door opened, and Sharlene stood there surprised. "So early? What happened to play at the park?"

"They went to the stream, so I came home," Derek lamented. "I told them I couldn't go and why,"

"Did they give you a hard time?" There was grit to her voice as if she were interrogating her son more than asking him.

"No, Freddie let me keep a hunting knife that he gave to everybody," Derek blustered with disappointment. "He said I could bring it tomorrow when we play again."

"Alright," Sharlene sighed as she closed the door, and they both walked to the living room. "You can watch some cartoons while I make dinner. I'll make a snack while you're waiting."

"Thanks, mom," Derek threw himself onto the oversized couch and deflated all at once.


The following morning Baker park was empty. Derek figured that one or perhaps all of his friends might have had a few last-minute chores. A look at his Speed Racer wristwatch told him that he'd been at the park for thirty minutes and still no sign of his friends. Another thirty minutes and an hour passed. Worried now, Derek returned home and told his mom that his playmates were not at the park. 

"Maybe their parents found out that they went to the stream, and they ended up being grounded?" Sharlene suggested. "You can go back at three. I'm sure they'll be there."

Derek busied himself with finishing up the drawing of his hand and then his toes. Sharlene could not help but notice how absorbed her son was in his artistic endeavors. "Are you going to be an artist when you grow up? I see that you like drawing."

"I saw a show on TV about how some guys were drawing houses and buildings for people," Derek said while carefully transferring the details of his big toe to paper. "I think they said they were car-ma-techs. That's what I want to be when I grow up."

"You mean an architect, my love," Sharlene laughed at the sincere innocence her son expressed. "A-R-C-H-I-T-E-C-T."

"Architect," Derek confirmed. "I wanna be that."

By the time lunch came around, Derek was famished and practically inhaled his Tomato alphabet soup. The thin slices on his Goteberg sandwich with cheese melted in his mouth. "Take your time Derek," his mother reminded him. "You don't want to choke, right?"

"Right, mom," Derek exhaled and then drank his iced tea very slowly. He excused himself to go and brush his teeth and then retired to his bed, where he examined the drawings of his hand, his fingers, and his toes. Shortly, he drifted off to sleep and found himself floating in a seamless nothing. He could hear the water running in the kitchen sink, but it was louder than usual, and the noise was right in front of his face. His eyes opened, and he found himself underwater, struggling to get to the surface even though it was right in front of him. With every effort he made to breach, pairs of hands wrapped themselves around his ankles and calves and held him down. When he finally jumped out of bed, he found himself gasping for air. His mother was right there, holding on to him and rubbing his shoulders.

"Mommy is sorry, Derek; I should have made you rest your stomach before making you take your nap. Your food didn't have time to settle. That's why you had a nightmare," Sharlene kissed his forehead and gave him a big hug. "Anyway, it's almost three, so you better get going to the park."

"You're not going to bring me, mom?" Derek was still in the process of waking up.

"No, I started the roast for dinner a little late, so I have to stay home and watch it. You're a big boy, and you know how to get there. You'll be fine, don't be late for dinner, okay?" Sharlene gave Derek a peck on his head and went back to the kitchen. Derek was off to Baker Park, and soon, he was at the crosswalk, waiting until it was safe to go over. Derek could see Freddie, Edmund, and Crater walking from across the park's far end, heading straight toward him. Once everything was clear, he dashed across the road and ran up to his buddies. "Hey, where were you guys this morning?"

The three gazed off at some space beyond Derek. When he turned around to see what they were looking at, he saw nothing there. "Your mom was right, Derek, never go up to the stream."

"It's not meant for the eyes men to see," Edmund added, but his voice was odd.

"Not for anyone," Crater's voice was the same. Like short echoes after every word.

"Go home, Derek," Freddie's voice had a tone of resignation as if he'd lived through some traumatic experience that he could not put into words or did not want to. "Stay home. It's better for you. Never go up to the stream, ever."

The three looked at one another with a slow-motion turn of their heads as they nodded to one another. "Don't follow us either, Derek," Freddie regarded his friend mournfully.

"It'd be easier to kill you and save you the trouble of following us," Edmund agreed.

"People who weren't your real friends would let you follow and let you suffer the same fate. Not us, Derek. We're your real friends. It's the most merciful thing we could do for you-kill you, that is," Crater said this with such a matter-of-fact tone that it sent chicken skin all up and down Derek's body. He knew they were serious. They turned and walked toward the edge of the park, going mauka, toward the stream. Derek broke into a dead run and headed home, not even looking twice before crossing the street. When he ran up to the front yard, he caught a whiff of the pot roast as it filled his nostrils, and it gave him a sense of relief and safety. Approaching the bottom of the steps to his home, he saw the front door open, and his mother slowly walked down the steps toward him, taking each step purposefully one by one until she stood there, looming over him. "What did you see at the park?"

"Freddie them," Derek was trying to catch his breath. "Freddie, and Edmund, and Crater, that's who I saw. That's what I have to tell you, mom. They told me that.."

Sharlene cut him off and wouldn't let him finish, "They went up to the stream."

"Yes! Yes, they did! How did you know, mom?" Derek was so relieved.

"They were here," Sharlene replied ever so calmly. "They saw something up at the stream they weren't supposed to, and whatever it was they saw, drowned the three of them together in the stream."

"What?" Derek balked and snorted. "No way, I just saw them, and I talked to them, that's why I have to tell you.."

His mother cut him off again, "Freddie and the rest died in the stream, and now they're a part of the stream that you were never supposed to go to because of what you might have seen. But somehow, the stream came to you, and you saw what you were not supposed to see."

"But mom, I didn't see anything," Derek's plea's fell on deaf ears. "I only saw Freddie them."

"I can't let you in the house, Derek," Sharlene was without emotion. "My mother did it for my brothers when they were little. They went to the stream and saw what no one was supposed to see, and my mother didn't let them back into the house. They're still out there somewhere, up at that stream. I don't know why your friends would show themselves to you, knowing very well what the consequences were."

"You said they were here, mom; what did they say?" Derek asked with the maturity of a battle-tested soldier. Then, finally, the front door opened, and Derek's father, Maytland, came walking down the steps very much the same way his mother did. 

"Boy," Maytland looked at his son with a deadly seriousness that he had never seen from his father. "Freddie said the only way to resolve the problem is if you go up to the stream and kill the three of them yourself. Freddie said he gave you a knife?"

"Yes, daddy," Derek nodded. "A small hunting knife."

"It's the only way, son. Unless you do that, we cannot let you back in the house," Maytland stood next to his wife and put his arms around her.

"Freddie them said it would be more merciful to kill me than to let me follow them," Derek tried to make his father see reason. 

"It's the only way, son," Maytland assured his nine-year-old. "The only other option is to kill yourself."

Why would they tell Derek that it was more merciful to kill him than to have him follow them? But they told his parents that the only way to resolve the matter was for him to go up to the stream and kill them himself? It made no sense whatsoever. The only natural conclusion was that his parents were the ones not making sense. It almost seemed as if they were sending him to his death. Derek turned to leave with his head hung low, but in an unexpected flash, he unleashed his knife and stabbed his father several times in his abdomen and rib cage. Sharlene's screams of horror were muted when her son immediately began stabbing her in the same way, quick penetrating jabs one after the other. She screamed his name again and again, "Derek! Derek! Derek!"

Before he knew it, he was sitting up in his bed, stabbing at the air with his drawing pencil, nearly stabbing his mother in the cheek. "Derek, wake up! You're having a bad nightmare! Wake up!" His eyes went from a wild-eyed glare to focusing on his mother. "It's okay, sweetheart, it's okay! Mommy's sorry, I should have had you rest your tummy before your nap; your lunch made you have bad dreams!" She held on to her son and rocked him back and forth. "Do you want to tell me what your nightmare was about?"

"I don't know," Derek lied. "I can't remember, someone, chasing me or something. I don't know."

"Well, it's three right now, so why don't I walk with you to the park?" Sharlene offered.

"I can go myself, mom, don't worry," Derek nodded and rubbed her hand.

"Oh, a big boy now, are we? It's just as well. I started the roast late, so I have to watch it," Sharlene chuckled. "Look twice before you cross the street, alright?"

"Alright, mom," he was out the door when he replied. He took his time walking down the steps, out the driveway. 


He was on the sidewalk opposite the park when he saw Freddie, Edmund, and Crater manifest out of the trees like a mirage. They were walking in his direction. Derek crossed the street without looking, not at all worried about being run over. He met Freddie and the rest in the middle of the park. The three appeared strange, staring off somewhere over Derek's left shoulder. 

"Take me to the stream," Derek demanded.

"We can't," Freddie moaned. "It would be more merciful if we killed you."

Derek didn't wait for a reply but stabbed Freddie in the heart, dropping him dead at his feet. Then, looking Edmund in the eye, Derek asked again. "Take me to the stream."

Edmund raised his knife over his head, and Derek lunged forward with his blade, plunging it straight into Edmund's heart. His friend's dead body crumpled at his feet, Derek now looked at Crater. "It's cruel the reason why your parent's named you Crater,"

"Because I'm so fat if I fall, I'll make a Crater," he nodded slowly while tears fell from his eyes. Tears that started clear but became tepid the second they left his eyes. "You can't kill us, Derek. We're already dead. You'll be dead too if we take you to the stream. That's why you're mom can't let you in the house if you come back from the stream."

"What is the stream? What kind of place is it?" Derek needed to know. 

"Let him see it," Freddie's voice surprised Derek and made him jump. He was standing there wholly alive with no evidence on his body that he'd ever been stabbed in the heart. So too was Edmund. 

"But you know what's going to happen," Edmund cautioned.

"Seeing it is one thing," Freddie surmised. "But crossing it is another thing entirely."

"Follow us, I guess," Crater shrugged his shoulders. 

Once they stepped into the group of trees where Derek saw them materialize, they were suddenly standing in front of a stream whose mirror-like waters rushed past them without a sound. "That's not a stream like how we know it," Freddie pointed. "That's now and later, before and after, night and day."

"It's everything, and it's opposite," Edmund stepped toward Derek. 

"Life and death," Crater exhaled. "Fat and skinny, too, if you want to be specific."

"That's what I'm not supposed to see?" Derek wondered out loud.

"What you're not supposed to see is what's on the other side," Freddie put his hand on his friend's shoulder. "This is as far as you go, Derek. If you go any further than this, you can never go home."

"The world of the dead is on the other side," Crater began. "People who die on the side we're on, they're the ones who turn into ghosts and spirits. People who pass completely go on that side," Crater pointed with his one fat meaty finger. 

"You guys died on that side?" The tears Derek shed were a mixture of fear and sadness. 

"We drowned trying to cross," Edmund and the other two chuckled. "We were almost there too."

"But you guys are here," Derek gestured to the forest floor in front of him. "You're here!"

"Go home, Derek," Freddie pointed to the edge of the forest where they could see the park, but it looked as if they were peering at it from underwater. "Don't ever come back here."

The three boys grabbed Derek, forcibly walked him to the edge, and shoved him back into the park. Pleading his case was futile. They wouldn't hear him out. He took a hard tumble to the ground, and when he finally stood up, the path leading to the forest was nothing but a line of hedges. Beyond that was a water tower. It was gone, completely gone. Derek ran all the way home but stopped dead in his tracks when he saw his mother standing in the driveway, her eyes red with emotion.

 "No!" Derek screamed. "No! Please, no! Don't tell me I can't come home! No!"

Sharlene rushed to her son and picked him up in her arms, "Derek, where were you???? I went to the park to get you, and you weren't there; where did you go???"

"I went to play with Freddie..." Derek started to explain, but his mother cut him off.

"Freddie's mother came by and told me everything. Oh my god, honey, I'm so sorry but thank god you're alright! I don't know what I would have done if anything happened to you!" Sharlene cried hysterically, but she finally had to compose herself. "Derek, your friends, Freddie, and Edmund, and Crater, they were found dead by a small group of hunters up at the stream. They drowned."


Fifty-nine years later, Derek Kamaka found himself at Baker park wondering if it was all a dream or if it did happen? Of course, Derek knew the truth, but he could never tell his mother what he saw, not ever. Yet, no matter what the circumstances surrounding their deaths may have been, Derek knew that his friends cared about him enough not to let him cross over the stream to the other side. Not before his time anyway. The vast acreage of the forest was no longer there; new developments now replaced it—a smattering of condos and three-bedroom homes, occupied chiefly by transplants from the mainland, littered the area. Most of it now sat on where the stream once was. Derek reached into his coat pocket and removed the old pocket knife from all those years past. He kept it in good condition and never let it get old and rusty. Finally, Derek was home for his parent's services. At eighty years old, after living a healthy life, Sharlene Kamaka passed in her sleep. His father, Maytland, was right next to her when it happened. He died three days later. His childhood home would stay in the family; it would be passed down among his children more than likely. Luckily for everyone, there was no stream to be concerned about. 


  1. Beautiful story of friendship!!!

  2. Loved reading this. The close bond of friendships is unbreakable.