Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Jan 15, 2022

Addiction 2022

 In the dark, with no one around, an addiction was born.

Born from insecurities because of a traumatic childhood and a constant need for validation from external sources. Shayna Kong became a religious zealot in her adult life. Her relationships failed one after the other, and then the only son she had with her last husband was left for her to raise. Everything was about the church, but because Shayna was so far down the rabbit hole, she was too blind to see that the church was literally taking thousands of dollars from her and those like her. It was an easy steal when you have that many people who are so lost and gullible. By the time Shayna's son was eighteen, he stopped going to the church with his mother. A whole other world existed outside the church's walls, and Barry wanted to be a part of it. The pastor and the congregation saw Barry's actions as an affront to their beliefs. So much so that when the pastor suggested the extirpation of Shayna's son from the church, she did not question it. So, much to Barry's chagrin, he was kicked out with all the condemnation and fire and brimstone that came with it. Knowing that his mother was well beyond drinking the proverbial kool-aid, Barry saved Shayna the trouble of kicking him out by packing his things and staying with a friend of his until he could find his own place. In less than a year, he did precisely that. One day, while helping to prepare lunch in the church kitchen, Shayna happened to see Barry standing outside the door looking in at her. He said nothing. "What are you looking at?" Mrs. Bayan asked. "It's my son," Shayna replied. Upon saying that, Barry turned and walked through the graveled parking lot. "You better go talk to him and tell him to leave before the pastor sees him," Mrs. Bayan suggested. Shayna cleaned her hands on a dishcloth and headed outside, but not before removing her apron. Barry stood at the other end of the parking lot next to his mother's car, waiting for her. "How dare you come here, Barry? You are no longer a part of this church, and you will leave right now! Besides, if you haven't figured it out, you are also disowned!"

"Mom, I need to tell you something," he said. "It's important."

"What?" Shayna antagonized her son. "That you're gay? I already knew that, so this actually kinda worked out anyway, didn't it? Two birds with one stone!"

Barry shook his head and sighed. "Never mind, mom," Barry left, not once looking back as he headed toward Moanalua road and then to the overpass, never once looking back as his mother called after him, taunting him the whole time.


Ten at night was an early call for Shayna. She was usually there well past midnight, helping out with whatever was required of her. When she got back to her home just above the high school, she took the garbage bins out to the road and gave her dogs food and water. Finally entering the kitchen, she placed her purse and bags on the table. She was surprised to see a birthday cake, some balloons and flowers sitting there, with a card attached. 

'You're still my mom, and I still love you!'


When she finally saw what lay on the floor, she let out a terrible scream. It was Barry, he was deathly pale, and bile and foam were coming out of his mouth. His eyes were open and staring toward some unfocused point. "I tried to tell you, mom," the voice of Barry's ghost standing right behind her made Shayna jump, and she screamed even more. "BARRY! OH MY GOD, BARRY! I forgot about your heart condition and your medication!"

"Yeah, I missed my meds, because I was so focused on getting you something for your birthday, but you can see me now, just like you saw me earlier," Barry said. "Now you're damned mom, you have to leave the church. What is the pastor going to say when he finds out that you can see ghosts?"

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