Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Jul 27, 2021

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2021 #96


If the television blaring from the playroom featuring the morning news hadn't announced the time or date, I would not have had a single idea about time in and of itself.

The days were always the same, the routines were the same, and the same group of nurses, the life timers, were here every day.  I was in for what they called asthma. I had a hard time breathing, according to my father. So he and my mother brought me to the hospital so that I could breathe better. I had no real problem breathing at all, and it doesn't take a nine-year-old kid like myself to figure out that I'm in this hospital for an entirely different reason. But no one will tell me what that reason is. I must have appeared sad and forlorn because one day, the newest candy striper on the job, whose name happened to be Candy, sat down in a chair next to my bed and began talking to me even though I wasn't interested in the conversation.

"You seem so sad. Can I read you a book?" She squealed.

"I don't know," I croaked with a raspy voice. "I guess."

"There's a bunch of books on the shelf in the kid's room. Which one do you want to hear?"  She was bubbly, bouncy, and cheerful. She was everything I wasn't. "Any book you want, I'll read it to you."

"Arabian Nights," I pointed in the general direction of the bookshelf. I had no real idea as to what that book was about. I heard a couple of the night nurses talking about it. From what I could gather, it was very complicated, and it had a lot of strange words even though it was translated into English. Candy stood up and went straight to the bookshelf and brought back a book that was so huge that she struggled to carry it over to my bedside. Finally, she sat down with a grunt while placing the gargantuan tome on her lap.

"Sheesh! This thing is heavy!" 

"I'm sorry," I apologized. "I didn't know."

"It's okay," she assured me. "I did say that I would read any book you wanted, so here we are! You haven't read this book before, have you?" She eyed me with playful suspicion.

"No," I shook my head, all the while wishing that someone would come by with some Jello or at least a slice of pumpkin pie. She turned the first few pages which were half the size of a full-spread newspaper. The aroma of the old book filled the space between Candy and me, and it gave me visions of the storytellers whose words were passed down from mouth to ear and then from ink to paper until it became this book. The aged pages under the sunlight, which showed through the windows in my room, reflected on Candy's face in such a way that it made it seem as if she were gazing upon a pot of gold. It lit her up like an angel, and I wasn't irritable anymore because of this unknown malady that made me feel hopeless. 

"Whew! These are a lot of words, I mean, a lot of words! Are you sure you want me to read this to you?" She was overwhelmed, to say the least. She heaved the big tome over to a table where the volume of a thousand stories was bigger than the table itself. "Ugh, okay, how about I just share my own stories with you? Would that be better?"

"Either one," I shrugged my shoulders.

"Okay, where should I begin?"

"Maybe where you live?" I suggested. I could already see the kind of home she came from, or at least in my imagination, I did. She lived in a white cottage at the edge of a field of sunflowers, and birds always gathered around her whenever she walked out of her front door. 

"I live in an apartment building at the end of Pensacola street in Maikiki," she nodded as if she had to correctly recall the details of her story. "I live on the second floor with my roommates, who are also candy stripers in this hospital. You might get to meet them sometime. My whole name is Candell, but people call me Candy for short."

"What should I call you?" I asked curiously.

"Candy silly, all my friends do! You're my friend too, right?" She gently poked my shoulder. I nodded, and I could feel my face smiling for the first time in a long while. "My parents live on Maui in Waiehu. That's where I'm from."

"You grew up there?

"Born and raised," she nodded. "So, where I grew up, there's this waterfall in my neighborhood that all the parents told us kids that we could not go to. Older kids before us, like from before we were born, went up there to swim in the pond and never came back."

"They drowned?" I was aghast. I couldn't comprehend kids my age being killed or dying, even with other children around me dying from their own sicknesses.

"No one knows. Their bodies were never found," Candy shook her head as if she were trying to figure the mystery out herself. "Their clothes were there, and their shoes and slippers. Even had those old empty butter containers with rice, pork and beans, and hot dogs, but no kids."

"But you didn't know those kids?" I had to be sure.

"No," she confirmed. "Our parents did. They knew them from their small kid time. I think they were all classmates. Those kids who died, their parents were still around. Seeing them at church on Sundays was really sad because they were still heartbroken after all that time."

This sinking feeling came over me, and I had to ask, "Don't tell me that you and your friends actually went up to that waterfall?"

Candy nodded without saying anything like she was being scolded or something. Her eyes turned red and heavy tears fell down her cheek. I felt awful for her as she reached over for some kleenex and dabbed her eyes. Just then, one of the older nurses entered my room with a tray of food. It was steak, corn, and string beans, with a square of butter, rice, and a small strawberry jello cup. In the plastic cup was orange juice with the striped straw sticking out of the cover. 

"Lunchtime," the old nurse smiled. "When you're done, just press the buzzer next to your bed, and someone will come back and get the tray." She moved the small table cover over my lap and put the food there. The smell was heavenly, and it made my mouth water. I looked back at Candy, and she was still sitting there, crying.

"Do you want some of my lunch? Are you hungry?"

"No," she smiled. "I'm fine, you go ahead and eat, and I'll come back later this evening."

"Okay," I nodded while she excused herself and left.


Later, after a short nap and then dinner, Candy walked into the room and pulled up the heavily padded green chair next to my bed. "How was your nap? Are you fully rested?"

I sat up in bed with my back against the large headrest and settled myself in, "I'm rested."

"I'm sorry about yesterday," Candy apologized. "I didn't mean to make you feel uncomfortable?"

"I'm fine, what about you?" I asked. "You were crying before. Are you better now?"

"I am," she smiled and nodded. "Shall I pick up where I left off?"

"Yes, please," I readjusted myself again, this time with my pillow now in my lap. "I wish we had some popcorn!"

"I'll go check with the nurses for next time," Candy giggled. "Now, you asked me if my friends and I ever went up to the falls? Well, we did but not because we wanted to go against our parents' wishes so that we could see if the falls were haunted or not. It's because it was summer, and it was sweltering, and the falls, we thought, were easier than having to go to the beach. So imagine our surprise when getting up to the falls. We see it's crowded with kids running around, screaming, and doing bombs into the pond. My friends didn't pay any attention to them, but I just had this overwhelming feeling of dread. I couldn't explain it. This one boy, heavy-set local Filipino wearing a pair of black dress shorts with long hair. He was the loudest, yelling, screaming, and swearing at his friends. He was just obnoxious, and he wouldn't stop."

"Something happened to him?" I asked with an ominous tone. "He got hurt somehow?"

"Not him," Candy shook her head. "His younger brother."

"Was the younger brother obnoxious like, the older brother?"

"No," Candy replied while rubbing her arms. They were covered with chicken skin. "He was a sweet little boy, minding his own business, not bothering anyone or getting in their way. He was sitting at the edge of the pond with his legs in the water. I watched him get up and walk to where he and his brother had their sandwiches and drinks sitting on a lauhala mat. He hadn't gotten less than halfway when this very tall woman, covered in black moss, came out of the water and just grabbed the little boy in her arms. He didn't even have time to react. The woman turned around and took two wide steps, and the next thing you know, she pauses and looks right at me. Then she turns and looks at the older brother. She's waiting specifically for his reaction. Everyone else is yelling and freaking out, including my friends. Him? He's too much of a jerk to notice until one of his friends physically grabs him and turns him around; that's when he finally saw the woman covered in the black moss holding his little brother like a trophy. By the time he starts screaming and yelling at the woman to let his brother go, she's already submerged into the pond, and that little boy is never seen again." 

Silence permeated the space between us, even though we could hear the ambient sounds of calls over the intercom, the barely audible conversations down the hall, and the blaring sound of the television from the rec room. Even further in the background was the noise of cars traveling up and down Kuakini street, but the silence that hung in the air between myself and Candy was very tangible. "All the warnings our parents gave us, all the reasons why they told us that we couldn't go to the falls, it showed up right in front of me covered in black moss. It took the life of an innocent little boy who paid for his older brother's stupidity."

"What happened to the older brother?" The monotone in my voice was not intentional. It actually creeped me out.

"He's still around, trying to live a normal life. His parents never forgave him. Until this day they blame him for his younger brother's death," Candy had the palm of her hands placed on her lap. "You can tell by the look on his face that he's haunted by what happened." Looking at the clock on the wall, she stood up and rubbed my shoulder. "I should get going. I have so many things to do. I'll see you tomorrow, and you can tell ME a story."


The following morning Candy found me in the rec room watching an old movie called Pillow Talk. I was lost in my thoughts wishing I was somewhere other than where I was. The film itself just droned on without me. That's when I felt the hand on my shoulder and saw Candy standing there. She smiled and took a seat beside me, "Oh, this movie, my mom and dad love this movie. I never understood it, but I had to watch whatever my parents watched while I was growing up." Then, nudging me with her shoulder, she asked, "what's your favorite movie?"

"I don't know, really," I had to think for a second. "I've seen so many while I've been here."

"Okay then, do you have a story you can share?" She asked in a hushed whisper.

"My story?" I asked curiously. She really wanted to know about me? It seemed strange since she was obviously the more interesting of the two of us.

"Yes, the story of how you got to be in this hospital?" 

I took in a deep breath and didn't think about what to say next. I just said it. "One day, my brother and I were playing in the front yard while my mom and dad were in the house, right inside the living room where they could see us. Davis played with his Tonka trucks while I was used my mommy's clothespins to attach playing cards to the spokes of my bicycle wheel. The Cordeiro's hated that sound whenever I drove by their house, and Mrs. Cordeiro would scold me all the time. One second, Davis was sitting there piling red dirt into his toy truck with his hands. The next second, as soon as I attached the last playing card to the bar, the three of clubs, a man dressed in black was standing there with Davis in his arms. My brother didn't fuss or cry, and the red dirt he had on his shoes and on his hands didn't stain the man's black suit at all. It looked like the kind of suit a priest wore except without the white-collar. His face was pure and beautiful, but his eyes were evil. From where I stood, I knew my parents could see him with Davis. They didn't come running out of the house. They emerged slowly like an unfolding bud of a flower in the early morning. Slowly making his way down the front porch, my father asked the man in a very calm voice to put Davis down and move away from him. My mother was right behind my dad, watching carefully, making sure that the strange man wouldn't do anything to harm my brother. The man refused, saying that Davis belonged to him. He said he liked my brother and that he thought it was best that he keep him. My father told the man that it wasn't for him to decide that he couldn't keep Davis. He and my mom were his parents, not the strange man dressed in black. The whole while, I'd been watching the man's face. In his eyes, I could see that at any moment of his choosing, the man in black could have taken Davis and tore his limbs off one by one, and there wasn't anything that my father could do to stop it."

"Have you told little Davis and your older boy there, Archie, about your wife? Their mother? That's why I'm here, to relieve his innocent heart and mind of a fact that may stain his life from now until his adulthood. It will affect the way he interacts with people if you hide it from him now and he finds out on his own during his formative adult years," the man in black spoke in a strange sing-song voice that raised the hackles on the back of my neck. 

"I have no idea what you're rambling on about, mister; what's your name, by the way?" My dad asked, not really wanting to know the answer because knowing it would mean he'd made an acquaintance with the man in black. There are people in life you want to know, and then there are people in life you wished you'd never known. The man in black was someone you wanted to avoid completely. 

"Allblack," the black suit-wearing man nodded his head. "Johnny Allblack."

There it was, the name you never wanted to know from a man-if you could call him that, you wanted to take a wide berth around if you could help it. If you were smart, you'd certainly help it. 

"Well?" My dad demanded. "What the hell are you talking about?"

"You met your wife at a bar in Maui where she wasn't only serving drinks but also the pleasure of that silky smooth purse between her legs. Somehow, she decided that your sad-sack self of a man was the one she wanted to settle on because you were trustworthy, loyal, and you had money. You caught her at a good time in her life, a time when she was weary of being the whore of Makawao, Pukalani, and Keanae. You liked how her love hole adjusts to the size of your schlong. You felt like you fucked all the other men away and that you were the only one from then on. Having Archie and little Davis here only served to confirm that fact, if you can call it that," Johnny Allblack snickered, and it set my dad off. He leaped off the stairs and gave the man in black a solid right cross on the cheekbone. It stunned Mister Allblack, but it didn't do a thing to hurt him. My dad tried a second time, and Mister Allblack's front kick got to my father first before he could land the blow. It sent him sprawling backward on the dirt and grass. "One of your boys is not like the other. I'm just trying to save Davis, not harm him."

"No more of your bullshit," that was the first time I heard my mother use a foul word, and it took my breath away. "Who the fuck are you really? What do you want?"

"I'm surprised you don't recognize me, Anne. You've seen me standing off to the side while you let sweaty, smelly, overweight landlords take their rent money out on you. I've been there when you skimmed from the till at the bar to score a hit or at least to keep off the loan sharks. Why I was there when your own brother blackmailed you. He threatened to tell your husband everything. I mean, of course, your husband knew about your whoring, but he didn't know that Archie here isn't his son. He's your brother's little boy. Remember me now?" Mister Allblack pursed his lips and nodded slowly. "That's why I've got to take Davis away from all of this damnation. He's too pure. Neither of you deserves him."

"Fucking Scratch," my mom growled. "Mother fucking Scratch; the devil himself has the nerve to show up here and judge me? You're the fucking manifestation of all that is twisted and evil, you asshole."

That was it. All the bile that my mom spewed forth didn't matter. It didn't help anything. It didn't save Davis. He and Mister Allblack were there one moment, and in the next nano-second, the two of them were gone. Screams. I've heard and read about screams, the scared kind of scream, the mad kind, and even the surprising kind. My parents screamed, anger, pain, and something else. Something more than hurt. It sounded like the kind of scream where you're found out for all the bad mistakes you've made, and you had to pay for it, but you weren't ready when the time came. I had to run into the house and hide in the corner of my closet, so I didn't have to hear that kind of scream anymore. It was too painful and it made my skin crawl. After that day, my dad couldn't look my mom in the eye anymore. My mom couldn't even look at herself, much less live with herself. She tried to take her own life later that night, but my dad caught her, and he stopped her from doing it, but that was all. They didn't hug and cry together. He didn't comfort her or reassure her that it wasn't her fault. He just stopped her and went back to watching the basketball game on tv. It was about that same time that my dad told me that I'd come down with a bad case of asthma, and he checked me into this hospital. I'm fine though, I swear I'm fine. My parents don't come to visit too often. My mom came once, she sat there with her head down for a while, and when she finally looked at me, she took my hand in hers and gently caressed them with her thumbs. "How have you been, Arch?"

"I've been fine mommy," even though Mister Allblack said all those things, I still loved her.

"They've been taking care of you? Giving you your medicine? Feeding you well?" She removed a small comb from her purse and combed my hair out first, then parted it to one side while holding the bottom of my chin with her other hand.

"Yes," I replied while remaining perfectly still. "I don't like the medicine so much, but the food is delicious, especially the orange jello."

"Has your father been by to see you?" She said it so quickly like it was something she didn't want to deal with, so she had to get it out of the way.

"No," I replied softly. "Did you and daddy find Davis?"

She let out a sigh that was long and harsh. It felt like she would explode, but she managed to cut the fuse short and went on to the next thing. "Have you made any friends with any of the other kids in here?"

"Some, but they're not here for long," my mom pulled back and looked at how well she might have or might have not combed my hair.

"Why not?" She asked.

"They get better, and they go home, or they die," my mom froze just for a second, almost like she stopped breathing. "When am I going home, mom?"

"Don't you like it here, Arch? You said it yourself, they take good care of you and feed you? I saw that room over there with the big television and all the books and toys," she nodded. 

"This isn't my home, my house is my home, where I live with you and dad," how could she have a lapse of memory all of a sudden? "In Wai'anae, that's where we live."

"But don't you think this place is better than Wai'anae?" Her voice was filled with a strange kindness that did not seem real. I swung my feet over to the opposite side of my bed and hopped onto the cold tiled floor. I walked straight to the bathroom and locked the door behind me. She didn't bother to follow, she just called out from where she sat. "Arch? Are you alright?"

"I'm not coming out until you leave!" I shouted.

She didn't answer. Normally, she would have broken the door down and given me a beating, but there wasn't a sound except for that droning noise the lights made when you turned them on. I opened the door slowly and stepped out. She was gone. She never came back.

"That's my story," I told Candy. "Do you have another one?"


Candy Reconsal was found sitting in the emergency room with black eyeliner running down her cheeks. Her fellow Candy Stripers were looking for her, head nurse Kang had it out for Candy. She'd check in on most days but on other days, no one could find her for hours at a time. Her friends covered for her as best they could up until now but today, the head nurse was on the warpath and Candy was her target. Nurse Kang didn't see a use for candy stripers as they only got in the way and were of no real good use except to dirty old men who worked housekeeping. Candy was in a state of shock when her friends brought her to the main nurse's station, nurse Kang's wrath be damned. They couldn't get an answer out of her as to what might have happened, all she could do was cry and babble incoherently. 

"Move out of the way!" Nurse Kang demanded while she shoved everyone aside. Seeing the young girl's state of being, the old Korean woman's furious intent was suddenly deflated. Disappointed, she let out a sigh of disgust and shook her head. "Bring her to room three." 

Room three was where all new patients had to wait until a permanent room could be found. The door shut behind them and nurse Kang locked it from the inside. She positioned her chair in front of Candy and removed a small flask from her coat pocket and handed it to the young woman. "Take a sip of this. It's Ginseng Vodka, it will help take the edge off." The girl inhaled the whole thing and handed it back to the old nurse. "Well, fuck, you're not as discombobulated as you seem then?"

"You go to hell old lady," Candy was slowly coming back to herself.

"You're in big trouble little girl, where's your special hiding place? Most days, no one knows where the hell you are and now your friends find you in the E.R. looking like you're drugged out or something! What do you have to say for yourself?" Nurse Kang demanded.

"You're the one who's drugged out," Candy shot Nurse Kang a look of contempt. "I'm at Ward eight for most of the morning and sometimes in the evening before I clock out."

"Ward eight," nurse Kang mocked the young girl. "And what exactly are you doing in Ward eight?"

"Mainly, up until an hour ago, I've been sitting with that boy, Archie Wong," Candy confirmed. "He doesn't have anyone. I think his parents abandoned him and left him there." Without a word, and without warning, nurse Kang grabbed Candy by the arm and pulled her up out of the chair. "Ow! What is your problem!?"

"Come with me, right now!" Nurse Kang growled. Turning on her heels, she unlocked the door and walked out. Candy and the rest of her friends followed behind her. "If anyone calls, I'll be giving these girls an education!" No one at the nurse's station made an argument. They knew exactly what nurse Kang meant. The group of five traversed long meandering hallways with hardly a left or right turn until they got to an elevator that led them to Ward seven. Exiting the cart, nurse Kang stopped the group and turned to Candy, "Why don't you show us how we get to Ward eight from here Ms. Reconsal?" With no hesitation, Candy took point and lead the group down the hallway past an empty nurses station and a few empty rooms on the right and left. Turning another right corner is where Candy walked through a large archway with large embossed letters over it that spelled out, WARD EIGHT. What she and the four others walked into was a large painted white wall where the archway should have been. There was nothing there, not even a trace of the old Roman-style archway. Candy stared blankly at her friends and then at nurse Kang. The old woman wasn't angry anymore, her face softened. "Luckily I'm wearing my pantsuit," she said while backing herself up to the wall and sliding down to the floor. "C'mere," she waved to the young girls, "sit down so we can talk."

The four joined the old nurse on the floor and formed a tight semi-circle in front of her. She leaned the back of her head against the wall, trying to gather her thoughts. "Ward eight was the old hospital back in the day because it was located eight blocks from Punchbowl crater on Ward Avenue. It was made of brick, mortar, and wood. Mainly wood. It burned down in a fire one day, the whole thing went up in flames in a matter of minutes. Seventeen patients, six nurses, and two doctors perished in that fire."

"What happened?" Candy asked.

"Let me ask you something," Nurse Kang looked directly at Candy."When you met Archie Wong, did he get you to tell him a story?"

"Well," Candy bit her lower lip. "He got me to read him a story from this huge book."

"Arabian Knights?" Nurse Kang asked.

"Yes, that's right! You've read him that story before? I couldn't, the book was too big and the words were too fancy," Candy confirmed.

"Archie tricks you into reading him a story that he knows is too literal and too long. Then you end up telling him your own personal story, which he, in turn, will tell you his story. Did he do that Candy? Did he tell you his story?" Nurse Kang eyed the young girl closely, already knowing what the answer was.

"The story was so sad, it was too much. It was more than creepy, it made me feel dirty. I actually had to leave the room and take a walk," Candy recalled. 

"It's a true story, every word of it," Nurse Kang teared up. "His parents left him here and abandoned him. The day his mother showed up, she was warned that it was probably not a good idea to see Archie if she had no intention of taking him home. Otherwise, she'd just make things worse. That bitch didn't care. The reality that neither she nor her husband was never coming back for him made Archie snap. He went mad and burned the hospital down with him in it."

The three other Candy stripers cried and shivered in fear, begging nurse Kang to leave Ward seven. Candy was mortified as well, but she was trying to get a grasp on the entire situation. "How do you know about Archie?"

"I met Archie when I was just a candy striper like you. The same thing happened to me except Archie wasn't a ghost back then. He was a hundred percent flesh and blood, but even at nine years of age, he was already destroyed psychologically and emotionally. I was on a day off when Ward eight burned down. I remember I could see the glow of the flames and the smoke from my old place five blocks away, that's how far I ran. You see Candy, you're not the first one this has happened to, you probably won't be the last. We're not allowed to talk about it, but every once in a while some young candy striper or a new nurse walks into a phantom wing that doesn't exist anymore, and they meet Archie Wong." Nurse Kang reached her arms out to her new young companions. "Help an old lady up please?"

The group walked back to the elevator and were all too relieved when the cart opened and they stepped in. "Am I done, I mean fired?" Candy asked Nurse Kang.

"Transferred to the hospice wing a few blocks away, but not fired." Nurse Kang smiled. "Do me a favor though, don't ever come back here. You crossed that veil, now those spirits will know you can see them and you'll never catch a break."


"The candy striper from before, her name was Candy. Can you believe it?" Archie asked the new candy striper on duty.

"I'm Amy," the young local girl smiled. "What book did you want me to read to you?"

"A thousand and one Arabian Knights," Archie smiled. "If it's too much, you can just tell me a story about yourself."


  1. Hospital's are hotspots for supernatural experiences. I worked at Kapiolani Medical center on Punahou st. For 25 yrs. And had my fare share.😬