Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 2, 2021

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2021 #59



It started as what the authorities said was a prank. First, street signs were disappearing, and then the signs for street names not too long after.

It wasn't vandalism because it appeared as if the signage hadn't been there, to begin with. No missing screws, nuts, or bolts, just not there. Soon, the median strips began to disappear too. Even without it, vehicles knew which side of the road to stay on, but the disappearance of the median strips was the same as the signs, no indication that it had ever been there. The county and county, as well as the department of transportation, were befuddled. But when used to so much bullshit and red tape tends to overlook the finite details like how the disappearance of signages and medians was concentrated on one intersection, one misses the whole picture. It's a strange four-way intersection that intersects 6th avenue, 7th avenue, Alohea, and Brokaw. 6th avenue doesn't continue on to still be 6th avenue. It becomes Alohea. 7th becomes Brokaw and does not continue on to stay 7th. It all changes after the intersection, not in the intersection. Therefore, is not the intersection then a dead zone? Or a crossroads? Those signs and those medians simply vanished right before the intersection. The city and county, to their credit, fixed the problem seven different times, and each time the replacement signs would not be there the following day. Thieves and vandals were suspected, so police were stationed overnight. After a week, it was obvious that nothing was going to happen. The second the officers turned their backs and returned to their vehicles, they left by hanging a U-turn at the intersection and saw that all the signage was gone, as was the street median. Although confounded, the city and county's last attempt was the mount cameras at the intersection. They did not anticipate the sun's glare as it rose over the eastern horizon from the island's windward side. Its glare made the intersection impossible to see on all the cameras at that location. When the glare went away, so did the signs and the marked medians.


When they called us one late evening to help them with their problem, they weren't expecting regular normal everyday people. I think they expected the ghostbusters or an exorcist, but they got us. The Grant Society. 

"You guys look like you're going camping or something?" The county official said with his hands on his hips and loads of proverbial red tape on his shoulders. He wore a designer aloha shirt, jeans, tennis shoes, and an ID badge clipped to his pocket.

"Something," I replied.

"What you guys going do?" He inquired further. "A blessing or camp out?" 

All of us just happened to own SUVs or 4runners, but what we had decked on the roof of each vehicle was not for camping but for investigations. "Neither, what we're going to try and figure out is if this intersection is a dimensional door or a crossroads,"

"Crossroads?" The official cringed and took a step away. "You mean to deal with the devil stuff?"

"Yes, like that," I confirmed. "But that's what we're here to find out if that's what it is or a dimensional door."

The guy didn't hear anything after crossroads. He left us to it and sat in his truck the whole time, just playing on his phone, ignoring us completely. This was a relatively new team that was still green behind the ears. They went back to their vehicles and got their equipment, and began setting up. I was adjusting the stand for the thermal heat meter when I heard the voice behind me, which I assumed was another city official. "Dimensional door, huh?"

I couldn't believe it was him. He had a habit of showing up at the wrong time and for always the wrong reasons. "John Henry," I sighed. 

"The very same," he bowed slightly.

"And what does the devil want with the Grant Society? We don't slum in your neighborhood," I was not in the mood. We had something important to do, and I was not in the mood for John Henry. He had a bad habit of sucking the air out of the room.

"I beg to differ," he shook his finger at me. "You are literally smack dab in the middle of my neighborhood; in fact, you're IN my crossroads."

"John Henry, street signs, meridians, and other things are vanishing into thin air in this intersection," I said. "It smells of dimensional residue more than a crossroads."

"Again, I beg to differ," he laughed. "Shit always goes sideways when I cut a deal at the crossroads. What with the Covid and all the other bullshit? Business picked up exponentially!"

"I don't believe you, John Henry," I looked him straight in the eye. "If you don't mind, my team and I would like to get to work and do what we got paid for."

He shadowed my step and blocked my way, I went around him, but he took another step and blocked me again. "Really?"

"Your team is so busy trying not to disappoint you that they don't even notice this little dance you and I got doing right now," he growled, his words to make himself sound menacing. "Whattaya say, man? A little blood on the dotted line, and you go straight to the top! A reality show, book deals, movies-everything you need and want so you can give your family a better life? That's what you've been wanting. I can give that to you!"

"How about a world without you in it?" The man in the white suit walked right past the county official's vehicle, and he didn't even see him. "You're back again, demon, doing the very same thing I asked you not to do the last time we met."

"It's a crossroads, Milu," John Henry gestured to the tarmac beneath his feet. "This is my territory, and I get to do what I want."

"It's a passage to the underworld," Milu confirmed by stamping his foot on the ground and shaking the earth. A chasm opened right there and then, and John Henry jumped back. "You've used my territory for far too long for your own nefarious needs. As of now, all those contracts are null and void. The people go back to their mundane everyday lives just like before."

"Busted again," John Henry giggled to himself as he turned and walked down Brokaw avenue. " I didn't mean any harm, by the way, just having some good old-fashioned fun!" A swarm of termites landed on him. It then flew away and parted, and the image of John Henry was no more.

"You're worrying me," I told the Hawaiian god of the underworld. "We've been meeting a lot more frequently than I care to."

"Considering what you do, you just happen to be where I'm at, that's all," Milu assured me. "Your time is far off in human years. Besides, I don't like the devil infringing on my territory."

"When this part of the neighborhood was developed, did they know this was an Ao Milu?" I asked.

"They knew very well, and they didn't care," Milu walked back to the place where he first appeared. "And yet, when things start to get strange, they blame everyone else but themselves." He pointed at the team setting up all the recording equipment. "What's going to be the conclusion of your findings?"

"Nothing," I replied. "Just a bunch of kids spreading rumors, trying to create the next great urban legend."


The officials left everything the way it was, and in time, the alleged vanishing of signs and medians stopped. Rank amateur paranormal groups would pop up on social media doing a live investigation at the intersection, swearing up and down that the disappearances were happening again. That would be when the team and I would pull up and convince them otherwise, and things would go back to normal. It's one thing to protect information for a client who wants to stay anonymous, but it's another thing to protect a location because the god of the Hawaiian underworld needs it to be that way. You earn longevity points that way.

No comments:

Post a Comment