Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 5, 2021

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2021 #26


The wooded trail which Robert John often took as a shortcut to get to school with his classmate and neighbor Freddy Cordeiro, was fun and exciting because of the hills and drops.
They loved running through there every day, to and from. They made it a point to wear thick-soled shoes because of the thorns from the Kiawe trees which often came off and haphazardly lay on the dirt where no one could see it right away. One day after school, they stopped at the Pereira house to buy some nickel ice cakes in a small serving cup. By the time they got to the wooded shortcut, their lips were purple from the grape syrup. Freddy had already chucked his cup aside while Robert licked the inside of his cup dry and folded it up as best he could, then placed it in his pant pocket. “I gotta get home in time for Mulliganʻs Stew!”

“I have to do chores and rake the yard,” Freddy moaned. “And then burn the leaves, I hate it.”

“What about your sisters?” Robert John asked. “What do they do?”

“Clean the house,” he sighed. “I would trade to clean the house instead of having to rake.”

“I do my homework at school, so I have free time after,” Robert offered. “ I can help you with yours if you want?”

“Nah, my dad helps me when he comes home from work,” those were the last words Freddy uttered before the dark-looking man appeared from behind a berm and grabbed Freddy up in his arms, and threw him hard to the dirt. The air went out of him and he couldn't breathe. The dark man removed a hand cloth from his pocket along with a tube of glue used for airplane models. He quickly took the cover off and squeezed the contents onto the middle of the hand cloth and then quickly folded it in half and shoved in Freddyʻs mouth and held it shut. Freddy struggled for a bit and then slowly went limp. The dark man ignored me the whole time, only turning briefly to tell me to keep my mouth shut as he carried Freddy away. Freddy was never found, never seen, never heard from again. Itʻs nearly fifty years later and for some odd reason, Robert John has reappeared decided to take a stroll down memory lane. He breathes a sigh of relief as he makes the right turn at the end of Kaukamana street and sees that the old wooded trail is gone. In itʻs place are condos, parking lots, and a thriving community. All memories of Freddyʻs disappearance are like a fading sound down a long dark chasm. Robert makes a u-turn at the intersection and makes a quick left turn into an old dirt driveway. He stops at his old childhood home, it is so small and compact. Not big and looming the way he remembered it. No one was home at this time of the day, and it gave him a moment to hunker down and get a look under the old house. It was still there, all this time. A bit faded, and worn but still there. A wooden stake, buried nearly up to its top, with a red cloth wrapped around it, marking the spot where Freddyʻs body was buried. After years of therapy, Robert realized heʻd been recalling the incident surrounding his best friendʻs death incorrectly. He waited for Freddy at the trail, hiding behind a large Kiawe tree. It was he who jumped out and caught Freddy by surprise by stuffing the hand cloth filled with airplane glue into his mouth. It was he who killed Freddy and brutalized his dead body after. It was he, at nine years old who buried his classmate's bloody remains under his house. He had been the dark man the whole time. Looking across the short mock orange hedges that divided the lot, Robert saw that the remainder of the Cordero family were actually home. Heʻd heard that Freddyʻs older sister married and had bought the house. Robert removed his brand new switchblade, and hand cloth, and a tube of airplane glue from his pant pocket and stepped through the space in the hedges. “I should at least go and say hello.”

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