Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 5, 2021

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2021 #87


Two local boys got wind of a story associated with a neighborhood Hongwanji Temple being haunted. So, on a balmy summer night in June, they rode their bicycles down the old dusty pathway that lead to the humble grounds where the temple stood.

They immediately propped their bicycles up against the side of the temple wall. While one boy stood on the seat of his bicycle, the other managed to climb on his friend's shoulder and poked his finger into the shoji screen to get a peek inside the temple. Holding his flashlight close to the side of his temple, the small beam of light could not penetrate the darkness from within the holy structure. All he could see was a deep reddish color. "What get?" His friend whispered from below.

"Nuthin! No more nothing but red inside!" Came the reply.

"What? Get off! I like see fo' mahself!" The two switched places, and the boy who was once holding his friend on his shoulders found that it was indeed as his buddy told him. While peering into the temple through the hole in the shoji screen with his flashlight held close to his temple, he could only see a deep red color. Just then, an old Filipino man happened to be riding by on his ten-speed and stopped to find out what it was that the two boys were doing. The boys were not alarmed at all by his appearance and respectfully addressed his question.

"Oh Tata, we heard da temple was haunted, so we wanted to see if get ghost or not?" The boy said.

The other young boy then chimed in, "Yeah, but we see nothing. Only red."

"Ooooohhh," The old Filipino man replied thoughtfully. "You know, had one time long ago when Filipino stay in their camp, and the Japanese stay in their camp and the Portuguese stay their side, and so on. Back then, you cannot marry outside your race, so you can imagine when one Filipino boy and one Japanese girl fall in love? No good. So they have to hide. Every day for one year, they used to meet in the tall grass behind this temple. Everyday. That Japanese girl really when love that Filipino boy. One day, the Japanese girl shows up early, and she finds the Filipino boy with one of the girls from the Puerto Rican camp. Her heart broke after that, and nobody saw her over the weekend. She gone. Sunday morning, when the priest of this temple came to open it up, he found the girl hanging from one of the beams from the ceiling near this window you guys were looking into. She when hang herself with some telephone wire and the wire when cut off the rest of the blood from her body so all that blood when pool inside her head, so you see when you when look inside the shoji screen with your flashlight, and you saw nothing but red, you were actually looking into the blood-filled eyes of that poor Japanese girl because she was looking back at you."

The two boys were stunned and almost ready to cry. "How do you know that story, Tata?" One of the boys asked.

Taking his time to answer, the old man finally replied, "Because.......I was that Filipino boy when break her heart. So now, every time I pass this place, I have to live with the fact that her ghost stays inside there because of me..."

A somber silence came over the three as they stood there in the darkness of the old plantation town. Somewhere in the distance, dogs barked, and the sounds of families conversing over daily matters echoed through the night. Another day would follow, and the days thereafter would come without pause, and the old Filipino man would make his nightly vigil to the old temple until the day finally came when he too passed. His specter appeared every evening just without the walls of the Hongwanji, where eternity held him to his sin. Now he could only know that the poor broken-hearted girl was just on the other side of the wall and that he could never reach her to absolve himself of his sins.

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