Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 5, 2021

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2021 #56

 56

"This is my anthropology class," Palekoa Lamela began. "I thought it would be fun to do an early evening session up at the abandoned mansion.

I didn't even bother to check the moon phase because I was in such a rush; by the time we got up there, we didn't know that we'd already missed the kiu (scouts) who were sent out to call for the kapu moe," Palekoa paused as he began to choke back tears. "We walked in there, and the procession was right on top of us. My best and brightest student, Shelly Oshiro, with only weeks left to complete her masters, they killed her first. A spear right through her face."

"Well then, shouldn't we get the hell outta here, dad?" Luʻuwai insisted.

Plaekoa grabbed his son and held him tight. "Son, how are you even here after everything that happened?"

"What? What do you mean?" Luʻuwai was confused.

Suddenly, the sound of the conch shells and drums thundered through the bamboo forest; it was closer than before. Palekoa and Luʻuwai took off down the trail to the main road with only a look exchanged between them. Luckily, his father had a strong flashlight that lit the way ahead of them. Unfortunately, the two weren't completely out of danger. Spears whistled past them, nearly grazing the back of their heads or parts of their torso. The larger, thicker, eight-eyed spears shattered the thick bamboo with each miss or took entire trees down once they sliced through the trunks. "We're almost to the road!" Palekoa screamed. "Stretch your fucking legs and run!" But, in his heart, Palekoa knew the command was practically useless. The night marchers were toying with them like a cat playing with its prey purely for amusement before it made the kill. The question was, were they going to let the father and son escape and live to fight another day. Luʻuwai nearly tripped over his own feet once he mounted to a small rise at the end of the trail that leads to the main road, but he made it. He turned and waited for his father, only to see him standing right at the edge of the trail. The first light of day was coming over the east, and the road became a lot easier to see. However, where his father stood was still dark. "Dad, c'mon! We gotta go!"       

"I can't Lū," Palekoa looked sad and resigned to some issue that he wasn't telling his son about. "This is as far as I go."

"Whattaya mean as far as you go? C'mon!" Luʻuwai reached forward to grab his father by the arms and drag him out of the trail, but some unseen force pushed him back.

"I don't make it out of here, son," Palekoa looked around him. "None of us make it out; only you do."    

"Are you fucking crazy?! Don't do this, dad! Don't sacrifice yourself!" Luʻuwai screamed.

"It's not a sacrifice. It's just the way it happened. My ghost and the ghosts of my students haunt this place. Ask your mom about it; she'll explain everything."

The massive procession suddenly stepped up behind Palekoa with their blazing red torches. The sight stole Luʻuwaiʻs breath away and repelled him back. The torches then turned to a deep blue color, and along with Palekoa, the entire army did an about-face and marched back up into the depths of the bamboo forest. 


      ~

Ka'onohi Lamela blipped into her living room to see Luʻuwai sitting on a different couch, one that she'd never seen before. "What is that, Luʻuwai?"

"It's a different couch," he began to explain. "It's got nano-bots rather than microbes."

"What's the matter? You look so serious?" His mother asked.

"Tell me what happened with Dad,"

"Your father? Why?" Ka'onohi was taken aback. "Where is this coming from all of a sudden?"

"I went into a game immersive from the deep web, but it came in the form of a pill rather than with the gloves and boots. I saw Dad, and he told me to ask you about what happened to him," Luʻuwai held his mother's eyes until she had to look away.

"What's the name of the game immersive?"

"There's no label to identify it, but it's about Nightmarchers," Luʻuwai wouldn't look away from his mother like he usually did. Usually, she was a purposeful irritant, but now, he needed an answer to a problem he didn't know he had.

"How much did he tell you?" Ka'onohi asked.

"Just that he and his anthropology class never made it out of the trail from the abandoned mansion up in the bamboo forest," Luʻuwai confirmed. "Only me, that's what he said."

Ka'onohi took a deep breath and cleared her throat. It was obvious that she was thinking about what to say next. "Luʻuwai, what happened that night up in Nu'uanu was tragic in that your father and his class were never found. The news media and the authorities said they just disappeared and were never seen again. You were the only survivor if that's what you can even call it."

"What do you mean, mom?" 

"Go get your gloves and your boots," she told him. "I'll wait."

Luʻuwai appeared in the living room a minute later, armed with his gloves and boots, ready for what was obviously a game immersive he'd never heard about. "I can't believe you're actually gonna go under with me. I know how much you hate the immersive."

"Set your glove for these coordinates," she ignored what he said. "Latitude: 21-16'37'' N, Longitude: 157-48'19'' W."

"Set," Luʻuwai confirmed.

"Take us under," Ka'onohi instructed.

A second later, the two were in a large room in the basement of Diamond Head Hospital. In the middle of it was a hospital bed covered with a clear kind of cloth. The person lying there was hooked up to hoses, plugs, and tubes. The respirator breathed for whoever this was because one could hear the even tone of it. The sight of the person didn't dawn on Luʻuwai right away, but his mother's expression told him that she'd seen it a thousand times. It was himself, Luʻuwai, laying there with a short spear protruding from the front of his head. Bandages and dressing were wrapped around it. "You were the only one who made it out of the trail that night, but barely. The night marchers got you with a spear just as you made it out. Now, if the doctors remove the spear, you'll die. It's the only thing keeping you alive. There is no game immersive Luʻuwai. This is all in your head because you were a gamer back then. You lived for it. So, to get you out of the house, your father took you along with him to Kaniakapūpū with his anthropology class that night. This is your reality, my son. Itʻs no game."

"Then how was I able to see dad, and why did he ask me to ask you about what happened?" Luʻuwai shrieked. He was slowly unraveling. 

"The pill youʻve been given is real; the doctors are hoping it will bring you out of it somehow. But, unfortunately, it seems to have been working but not as quickly as they hoped," Kaʻonohi shared the information hoping that somehow her son would understand.

"If none of this is real, then how are you here?" Luʻuwai needed to know. His mother pointed to a bigger window just off to their right. Behind it was his mother dressed in a lab coat, standing behind a control panel with a few other people dressed like herself.

"Hello, Luʻuwai," his mother waved. "Youʻve been communicating with a nano-bot induced avatar of myself this whole time. But, Iʻm real, and Iʻve been here with you all along, trying to get you out of there so we can bring you back."

"How long have I been here?"

"A while, my love," Kaʻonohi spoke with compassion.

"So, thatʻs a night marcherʻs spear, pierced through my head?" Luʻuwai asked.

"Yes, unfortunately, it is," his mother replied. "Letʻs talk about something else, shall we?"

"I think you should take it out and bring it back to Kaniakapūpū," Luʻuwai said cryptically. 

"We canʻt do that Luʻuwai, youʻll die," 

"Iʻm already dead," Luʻuwai retorted. "But thatʻs not what Iʻm worried about."

"What is it then?" Kaʻonohi was curious. Suddenly, Luʻuwaiʻs expression changed from one of sadness to that of horror. He screamed and pointed behind his mother. When she turned around, her booth was filled with night marchers who were already beginning to slaughter the other doctors. Kaʻonohi screamed as she began to tear her close off before laying flat on the floor, all the while reciting her family genealogy. The marchers barrelled through the booth, trampling on top of her, and were soon surrounding the prone form of Luʻuwai, where they unceremoniously removed the short spear from his head. Blood gushed out momentarily, and a long monotonous beep came from the heart monitor. Luʻuwai was dead. So too did the imagined image of Luʻuwai slowly dissipate into a formless nothing. 

~

When Luʻuwai came to, his mother again yelled at him to get off the game console and do his homework. He ignored her and continued playing. "Palekoa! Do something about you, son, please!"

"Lū," Palekoa took the remote from his son and tossed on onto the end chair. "Cʻmon, come with me before your mom starts yelling at me too."

"Where?" Luʻuwai sighed and heaved his teenage form of the couch. 

"Up to Kaniakapūpū with my anthropology class, itʻs be fun, thereʻs gonna be some cute girls," his father nudged him. Luʻuwaiʻs head began to throb, his vision blurred, and he had the urge to throw up. "Are you alright, Lū?" His father rubbed his sonʻs back.

"I donʻt know, my head hurts, and I feel nauseous," he groaned.

"How about this then?" Palekoa thought for a second. "Iʻll cancel the class, and we can go get something to eat? Howʻs that?"

"Okay, I guess," Luʻuwai agreed.

Palekoa called his student teacher and assistant Shelley Oshiro to say that the class at Kaniakapūpū was canceled for the evening. Shelley convinced him to let her take the class up to the location herself. That way, it wouldnʻt be a total loss. Palekoa agreed and thanked her. He explained that he needed to spend some time with his son and that class would resume the following week. Unfortunately, Shelley and the other fourteen students disappeared that night and were never heard again. 


image credit: cmsdistribution

         

                   

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