Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Jan 3, 2022

Bella 2022

Before Bellaʻs annual check-up, she came down with violent coughing fits in the few weeks previous. One evening after dinner, she had more coughing fits and spat up something dark and almost gelatinous.

She was perplexed when her doctor told her that she was diagnosed with an aggressive form of lung cancer. Her days were numbered. She had five months at the most. She immediately began searching for other methods that could heal her from cancer, new-aged religion, meditation, even the use of sage. Nothing worked. While searching desperately online, she came across a healer who implemented Hawaiian medicine methods to help people alleviate themselves of physical, psychological, and spiritual healing. His name was Conrad M. Kealoha. Bella contacted the Hawaiian man who agreed to meet her at his home. On the meeting day, Conrad welcomed Bella into his humble abode. They sat at his kitchen table where Bella poured her heart out and told Conrad everything about herself. "Iʻve always been such a horrible person," she began. "But when you suddenly realize that your time is short on godʻs green earth and that your end is near, everything changes. Iʻve mistreated people and ruined lives because of my familyʻs money."

"How so?" Conrad asked.

"My family has owned land in Hawaiʻi for generations," Bella, for the first time, began to cry when she fully realized the cruelty of her misdeeds. "Iʻve displaced so many families who only needed a chance. Literally, throwing them out on the streets."

"You regret that now?" Conrad asked again.

"If I could change it all just so I could have my life back, I would do it," she sobbed.

"I regret to tell you, Ms. Bella, that to my knowledge, there are no kinds of Hawaiian laʻau that can cure the kind of cancer you have," Conrad began. "But have heart, for there may be something that can be done, but that part is up to you, and you have to be willing to accept it."

"What is it?" Bella begged. "Please, Iʻll do anything!"

"Well, Ms. Bella," Conrad leaned in closer. "At the moment of your death, the second your spirit leaves your body, I can capture it and put it back into your body. Of course, the process is lengthy, but I can assure you that your cancer will disappear once your spirit is back in your body, and youʻll be like brand new."

"Is that really true?!" Bella couldnʻt believe what she was hearing. "Please tell me that youʻre not lying?"

"Itʻs true," Conrad reassured her. "Once I capture your spirit, all I have to do is massage it back into your body through your big toes until it fills you up entirely. Then, you will be re-animated. But, of course, youʻll have to make arrangements on your end that no one can be present after your body has died; it can only be you and myself. Do you understand? I have to be there at the precise moment of your passing."

"I understand," Bell nodded. "Iʻll make the rearrangements.



Bella lay on her hospital bed at Kaiser; the time was close at hand. The last moments of her life would be soon upon her. Conrad stood at her bedside, ever vigilant. Finally, with her last ounce of strength, Bella said to Conrad, "Iʻll see you in a while."

"Ms. Bella," Conrad moved his chair closer to Bellaʻs bed. "Do you recall the Maunu family?"

"No," Bella seemed confused. "Should I?"

"Well," Conrad initiated. "Their home was where the institute for marine biology now is near sea life park."

"What about it, Conrad?" Bella asked.

"They were a beautiful Hawaiian family; theyʻd been there since ancient times," Conrad said. "In fact, they aided Kamehameha in his conquest of ʻOʻahu."

"I see," Bella nodded.

"They were, and still are, a long line of medicinal healers," Conrad recalled. "Highly respected and highly, highly sought after for their services."

"How wonderful," Bella said. "Whatever happened to them?"

"You did, Ms. Bella," Conrad replied. "You kicked them off of their land even when they presented you with proof that the land was theirs. Deeded to them by King David Kalākaua and passed down through a legal succession with the assistance of the best lawyers. Yet, you created a fake loophole and threw them to the streets."

Bella closed her eyes and shed tears; she nodded her head. She did not deny anything. "I remember it was on the news and everything. But, please, make note that I will leave something for that family so that they can live on an acre of my land."

"It canʻt be done, Ms. Bella," Conrad regretted. "Theyʻre all dead from heartbreak and disparity. Iʻm the only one left."

Bellaʻs eyes opened wide as she realized who Conrad really was. "You, you were that little boy who begged me not to take your home away all those years ago?"

"The same," Conrad nodded.

"Please," Bella begged. "Please make note that I will give everything back, please...I will, I will make my spirit return to my body..." The breath left Bellaʻs body, and her entire form relaxed as she exhaled her last breath. Conrad watched as it left her body. 

"I thought that you would say that," Conrad replied. He removed a large knife from his pocket and swiftly cut off both of Bellaʻs big toes. "Thatʻs why I came prepared."

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