Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 22, 2021

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2021 #70


I didn’t have any more dreams after my last encounter with Nancy. As for Avarice, who knows where she could be or even how she figured out where to find me?

Through painstaking research over the course of almost a year, I was able to narrow down the sidereal hour to four in the morning. From then on, I had to practice parking at the Toho No Hikari church that meets at the bottom of the Nu’uanu Pali Drive and the Pali Highway and get to the designated spot at the right moment. The traffic is usually sparse at four in the morning, but I had to account for any unexpected overnight road work. I monitored all the city and state websites, so far, so good. The sobriety checkpoints conducted by HPD showed nothing either, but some of those are unannounced. Luckily, I knew someone in dispatch, so there was that. Otherwise, I had everything down to a science. At the eleventh hour is when something occurred to me that I'd missed entirely. If at all the time slip is open and I go through with my car, what's to say that I don't crash into a tree where that hundred-yard stretch of bare open land used to be? Or what if I manifest inside one of those trees? Shit. Now, I have to re-think the entire thing. Even if I go through the estate and walk on to the Pali Highway at that precise time, there's still no way of knowing how I will come out on the other end. It would have been so much easier to do this in a dream. 

This entire oversight forced me to look at old maps of the estate so that if I can determine where exactly the time slip might be, I can position myself to emerge in a safe spot if and when I get through. Six more months passed, and I finally figured it out by placing the original overlay on top of the existing map of the estate. By all accounts and calculations, the slip was on that wide turn where the bamboo grows out of a berm. It's the slow lane that everyone takes before it becomes one lane. It's also the same lane that city buses and large trucks take as well. It's a good thing it's at four in the morning. Otherwise, the time slip would be hard to get through. There is one other thing that crossed my mind. All it's going to take was my presence in 1956. I won't have to do anything except be there and not cross the threshold into the home where my advice would help cure Avarice of Pele's curse. That seems simple enough, I suppose? Then why do I have this gnawing feeling that there's something I'm missing? 

If I haven't already mentioned it, I'm so lucky that my wife believes what I've told her from beginning to end. Especially when she came with me to the Woodlawn estate a couple of times where I showed her the locations in the home that I visited in my dreams or time slips. It only made sense that on that day, that zero-hour, that she was there when I went through. When the time slip manifested, it didn't appear the way it did in my dream, like a window you could step through. It literally looked like a tear in time. Like when you're riding your bicycle, and your pants get caught in a branch, and it tears the material right out. We could only see a fraction of a glimpse of the front end of the estate. With her help, we thought this one out very clearly. We attached carabiner's to a thick rope around my waist on this side of 2021 that my wife would have attached around her waist. In case something went wrong, she could pull me out of 1956. We gave each other a kiss, and I told her I'd see her in a minute. I went through the tear with ease, no problem. But, the second I was on the other side, I was standing in that same large room with the shoji doors all opened wide. There was Avarice laying on the pile of futon, feverish and pale. Nancy looked at me and began pleading for her daughter's health. I did as she instructed in the dream. I turned and walked away. I made it back through the tear, and life went back to normal. 


It had been months after that, and no more dreams of any kind came to visit. At night, I'd fall asleep, and suddenly I would be wide awake the following morning. No dreams whatsoever. The incident happened on a day when I'd just returned from dropping all the grandchildren off at school. There were four cars parked inside our large garage and four more behind those. My parking space was on the left behind one of the vehicles that belonged to one of our adult kids. To my right was the truck, which was the property of the second oldest son. I had to stretch my arms out and stand on my tippy toes once I got out of our car. Driving for an hour does that to you. When I was done, eighty-three-year-old Avarice Woodlawn was standing at the bottom of our driveway. It was too late by the time I saw that she was holding a gun. She fired off three shots which got me in the vitals I was done for. Slowly, bleeding out but definitely done for. Avarice accomplished her mission, and by the time my family emptied out the house and found me dead, it would all be over. 

"My mother begged for your help, and you walked away," Avarice didn't have the voice of an eighty-three-year-old woman. Instead, she had the voice of someone who lived her life feeding on revenge. "That damned fucking curse jumped off of me and latched on to my mother! She died a few days later! It was fucking horrible to see her suffer! It's all your goddamned fault, you fucking asshole!" She emptied out the rest of her clip. My wife tackled her to the ground and beat the shit out of her old ass, but it didn't matter. She did what she came to do, knowing full well that she probably wasn't going to walk away in one piece either. 

"Your mom told me to do it," I croaked and threw up some of my own blood.

My wife barely held my head upon her lap. "Fucking Avarice, that bitch!" She saw the look of surprise on my face. "I'm the one who recommended you to Nancy back in nineteen fifty-six. And I recommended you again in our time when Nancy sent the very first time slip looking for anyone in general who could help Avarice. That's why you had those dreams about those time slips before you were finally able to go through. It was the only way she could send them. I've been traveling through time slips since I was a little girl, and for some reason, I have always loved Hawai'i in nineteen fifty-six. That's why I'd always go back there as much as possible. But then, one day, I saw you at a Zippy's, and there was something about you. To be sure, I had to time slip to see who you were and who you were going to be. My first instinct about you was right, and I saw no reason not to fall in love with you. I just never expected that you would die this way through an unintentional fault of my own. Can you forgive me, my love? Please?"

I could only manage a stupid smile before I died, and my body went completely dead. All my muscles relaxed, and I soiled myself. My wife sat there, rocking back and forth with my body in her arms, wailing and crying. The adult kids and grandkids soon joined her, and the grief became palpable on that day. It's a hell of a thing to see the possibility of your own death. I have to go back through the slip to change that part of who I would become. I believe I finally understand something that Nancy didn't understand herself. Certainly, it was a moral imperative to kill Avarice, but not in the way she wanted. I have to slip back and kill Avarice the second I see her. She can't survive any other way. I've seen the way Avarice Woodlawn turns out in life. She'll grow up, mature, and go to college, where she'll learn about shares and trading on the market. Then, she'll come to increase her family holdings until she becomes the first true billionaire in Hawai'i. That won't bode well for the course of politics in the islands because she'll have her hand in everything, and every person of influence from the military, to the government to crime figures will suffer under her yoke. However, none will feel the effects of this corruption more than the common everyday citizen in Hawai'i. They'll be intentional and collateral damage, and nothing of consequence will be done about it. So yes, I have to get it right. Avarice Woodlawn must die. Not when she's sixteen, but right now.


She was stately, noble, and as sharp and quick-witted as she was at Stanford and then Harvard. She stood out from everyone else seated around her. Even if she hadn't told you herself, you wouldn't venture to guess that she was eighty-three years old. She'd taken such good care of her health for all of her life that even without plastic surgery, you'd place her in her mid to late forties. She wore simple black culottes with a matching blacktop. Placed on her shoulders was a lei made of burnt orange puakenikeni. She wore nothing on her feet. That was normally prohibited at the hau tree lanai, but this was Avarice Woodlawn. She'd been known to buy an establishment and close it down because some waiter or maitre d tried to enforce the house rules on her. One had to always bend the rules for Avarice. Her drink of choice was brought to her in a large chilled flask filled with green olives soaking in a vodka martini. Cold cuts and different varieties of cheese were set on a plate in front of her, even though cold cuts were not on the menu. Her shock of blonde hair was pulled back in a high ponytail, and her tanned skin brought out the blue in her eyes. She sat silently in her favorite spot, looking out at the horizon as everyone else did, watching as the sun went to its final slumber in the west. A tourist couple, not knowing any better, who happened to be walking by her table stopped right in front of her and blocked her view. Avarice grabbed three or four green olives from the flask and tossed it at the heads of the two errant visitors who jumped and turned around. Then, realizing that it was Avarice who did it, they yelped at her, "Excuse me! What is your problem?"

"You're blocking the view of my sunset, you nimrods!" She hissed through her teeth and then tossed her glass of water at them.

"Crazy bitch!" They both screamed while storming off.

"You're mothers are crazy!" Avarice retorted. "Whoever invented rayon aloha wear should be shot!"

"Typical Avarice Woodlawn," I shook my head as I took a seat across from her. "MY sunset? I mean, of course, who's else would it be but yours?"

She turned at looked at me and gave me the once over. Then, she nodded, and a smirk slowly appeared across her face. "The kahuna, the one who took the curse off of me all those years ago,"

"You followed my directions then? Your mother took you back to the volcano, and you returned Pele's pohaku?" I asked.

"That act alone helped me realize that I controlled my own destiny. You can't imagine how powerful that was for a girl all of sixteen years. It shaped who I would become, and I have you to thank for it," her voice, her tone, was like a tiger, ready to pounce at any moment. 

"You're not surprised that I haven't aged?" I asked.

"My mother would eventually tell me that you were not from our time, but from the future. I thought she'd lost her mind. However, she reminded me of the revelation I had after I was cured of the curse. Once that took, I knew that nothing was impossible."

"Pele's curse," I reminded her. "You were cured of Pele's curse because you returned to her what was rightfully hers, to begin with."

"Yes," she agreed. "Of course."

"A gift for you Avarice," the little box looked like one of those things that has an engagement ring in it. "You have everything, but you don't have this." I slid it across the table to her, and she smirked at me. She thinks I'm a moron and not worth her time. 

"What an unusual thing?" She said to herself, and she removed the ring from the box. A gold band, with a polished black stone on it. "Is it a black diamond?" She asked while putting it on her finger. "Oh, and it fits perfectly," she purred. "I've never seen anything like it before. What is it?"

"Igneous," I replied. 

"Igneous?" She mused. "That's some sort of rock, correct?"

"Yes, that is correct," I nodded and smiled.

"Of what sort?" She asked while admiring the ring.

"Volcanic," I said. 

Avarice broke down with a sweaty fever and immediately went pale. She threw up on her lei and then lost her equilibrium. Soon she was on all fours failing at trying to gain her footing. A second later, she was on her back, convulsing and fighting for air. A second later, she was dead. The scene was traumatic enough to cause the rest of the patrons to cower back with revulsion or to come forward and try to help the billionaire in the hopes of garnering some kind of compensation. Whatever the case, it gave me an opportunity for a clear exit, and exit I did.



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