Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Jul 24, 2021

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2021 #99


The construction crew stood around the freshly dug pit with hands on their hips, some wiping the sweat from their forehead while others shook their heads.  What lay at the bottom of that pit under the morning sun was going to be the deciding factor as to whether they went home or kept working. The bosses discussed their options.

Everyone needed to work because they had bills to pay and mouths to feed. If anything were made public, it would get a lot of attention and halt the project altogether. It was a double-hulled canoe. It was more significantly larger than the Hōkūleʻa, and the Hawaiʻi Loa put together. No one was sure if the wood was black because of the kind of tree it might have been, which had yet to be determined. It was wider than four city buses placed side by side and three times as long. The object radiated a kind of sanctity that brought an uneasy quiet to the job site. No one dared move to start up a caterpillar, a forklift, or an excavator. 

“We’ll apologize in Hawaiian and throw in some Hawaiian salt. She goes after that,” Foreman Rodriquez suggested. 

“Yeah, should be good,” Dash Ronquillio agreed while pulling his pants up.

“Okay,” the developer Jeff Lumley clapped his hands together. “Time is a wasting. Let’s do this!”

“No,” Shane Todd protested. “You can’t do a band-aid blessing and hope that everything works out. More than half the guys on this job came from other jobs where shit like this happened, and at least one guy would get hurt every day. I’ll call a Kahu. At least it’s something.”

Without any courtesy extended to give Shane Todd a minute to place the call, Jeff Lumley let out a whistle and circled one finger in the air. Three excavators roared to life and lunged forward to the hole, where they pushed the mounds of dirt back into the pit. It was complete overkill, but Jeff wanted to make sure that everyone got the point. Shane Todd, in protest of the action, charged after Jeff Lumley, screaming bloody murder. “No!!! What the fuck are you doing??? I said I was going to call a Kahu for the blessing!!!”

“We can’t risk being found out! This whole site will shut down, and we’ll all be out of work!!!” Jeff screamed back.

“That’s an ancient wa’a kaulua! A double-hulled canoe, you fucking idiot!!!” Shane was nose to nose with his boss, with no care if he would get fired or blackballed. 

“No one saw,” Jeff hissed back while pointing the massive pit, “no one saw a double-hulled canoe! It was just a couple of elongated boulders, that’s all! That’s the story I’ve already put out!” 

It’s the last words Jeff remembered saying before Shane laid him out with a punch on the point of his chin.


Work continued the following day and the day after that. Everyone carried on as if the double-hulled canoe was never uncovered and covered up again. The only strange thing was the notable absence of Jeff Lumley; he hadn’t shown up in a few days. There was not even a courtesy call or warning. He wasn’t answering his calls either. It seemed strange since Jeff was a looming presence on the job, practically micro-managing every building aspect. Now, he was nowhere to be found. Shane took it upon himself to grab Foreman and Dash. They hopped in his truck and drove to Jeff’s private estate way up in the Tantalus hills. It was a long winding road that narrowed enough at some points that larger vehicles would have to pull to one side to let the smaller vehicles pass. When they reached the estate, the men saw that the double gates were open. The path to Jeff’s mansion was carved into the earth, leaving berms on both sides. It was a smooth five-minute drive until Shane brought the truck to a skidding halt. After a slight turn, the mound of red earth covering what used to be the road was right there. If Shane had gone any faster, he would have crashed right into it, injuring himself, Foreman and Dash. The three men emptied the truck and surveyed the scene before them. That’s when they saw the roof of Jeff’s Ford Diesel sticking out of the dirt. They scrambled to the back of the truck and grabbed shovels and picks. After nearly twenty minutes of clearing away the red clay, they found Jeff’s body. He was crushed to death by a sudden landslide that broke through the passenger’s window. He was folded in two right down the middle, his right shoulder touching his left. The sight of it caused Dash and Foreman to throw up their breakfast. Shane bowed his head and prayed that Jeff went quickly without suffering. The later autopsy by the medical examiner would reveal that Jeff Lumely's insides were filled with red dirt as if it were forcibly put there. The landslide happened after.

Later that day, Shane returned to the job site and assumed command of the nearest excavator he could find, but not without contacting the proper authorities, including his contact at the news station. “I have something I know you’ll want to see, be here in an hour.”

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