Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Jan 26, 2022

Dust 2022

 Obsessed was not the right word.

Maybe obsession until possession could be more correct. I remember him growing up. I never knew his real name; no one did, really. All we did know was that everyone called him Dust. The why of it was never made clear; he was Dust. Back then, in Wai'anae, it was not unusual to see someone riding their horse down the street or along the freeway. In the late afternoon, you could see people walking their steeds along the beach, letting them frolic in the waves. Dust got to know a girl he met one day. She was sitting on the sand while her horse was just a few feet away, munching on some half-dry grass in the dunes. Dust just made twenty, and the girl was all of sixteen years old, but she was world-wise and tough and not prone to endure any foolishness. We all knew her from school, her name was Louisa, and yes, she was beautiful but very tough and could handle herself against anyone. Dust being older and out of school for four years, did not know that. Not to say that he was obnoxious, he simply asked her questions about the type of horse she had, the particulars of taking care of a horse, and whether it was laborious work or more manageable than what people believed. I guess Louisa could see that Dusty wasn't full of shit and trying to waste her time, so she answered all of his questions in great detail. Dust thanked her and left her to herself. A few days later, Louisa was back at the beach in the same spot while her horse grazed, and she sat by herself enjoying the aroma of the sea spray and the soon-to-be sunset. Dust happened to be body surfing simultaneously and was coming out of the water when he saw Louisa sitting there. He had to go to the showers to wash off the sea salt and briefly stopped to say hello. "Hi! Good to see you again!"

Louisa waved back and exclaimed, "Hello! Good to see you too!"

"I want to apologize for the other day," Dust explained. "I never asked you about the name of your horse?"

"My father named him after a song," Louisa replied.

"Which one?" Dust was curious.

"No name," she shook her head. "The horse with no name."

"That can't be true," Dust remarked.

"It's true," Louisa nodded.

"You have a nice day," Dust waved as he headed toward the shower spigot. Louisa went to collect no name and walked him over to where Dust was drying off. She didn't want to seem obvious, so she busied herself to ensure that the saddle was secured correctly. 

"You should come by the ranch if you're interested," Louisa said. "We give riding lessons on Saturdays and Sundays; I help my father. He's the one that's giving the lessons."

"Uhm, where's the ranch?" Dust asked.

"Near mākua," Louisa replied. "Itʻs right off the side of the road; you canʻt miss it."

"Should I bring shoulders pads or something in case I get bucked off?" Dust was half-serious. 

Louisa laughed and mounted her horse, "Donʻt forget, okay?"

"Alright," Dust waved.


If you havenʻt already figured it out, Dust and Louisa fall in love. They were soon married after she graduated high school, and life was good. Louisa and I graduated the same year, and I went to college. When I came back home, I lived in town and worked at a job for which I got my degree. In talking to my parents, they told me that Louisa was killed in an accident about a year or so ago. After letting them take a long run on the beach, she and Dust were riding the horses alongside the road. Tragically, a drunk driver fell asleep at the wheel while heading in Dust and Louisa's direction. The old Chevy clipped Dust's horse, but the vehicle hit no name and Louisa head-on. She and the animal were killed instantly. My mother told me that Dust wasn't the same after. In fact, she said that he had kind of lost his mind.

At all hours of the night and day, you could see Dust riding his horse up and down that stretch of road as if he was waiting for Louisa to show up. People tried talking to him the get him to snap out of it, but he appeared to be in his own world as he would never acknowledge anyone. Eventually, his family and friends left him alone. Finally, curiosity got the best of me, so I had to see it for myself. It was near sunset when I got to that stretch of road between Kea'au beach park and Kaneana Cave. I drove up and down that road a few times and was just about to give up when I saw Dust on a horse come out of the tall overgrowth of Kiawe trees. I slowed my car down, pulled over to the side of the road, and parked. I thought it would be less invasive of his personal space if I just sat and waited until he rode past me, but it never happened. Across the road, appearing literally out of thin air, was an older, more svelt version of Louisa. What a stunning beauty she grew into. For a moment, I'd forgotten she was dead. She and Dust sat there on their horses on opposite sides of the old road, staring at one another. Dust was a mess, crying hysterically, calling out her name. Just then, her horse reared up, and she turned around and took off riding up into mākua valley. Dust slapped the reins on his animal and dug his spurs into its sides. They raced across the old road and took off after Louisaʻs ghostly form.

I was so stunned at what I had just seen that I was speechless. I drove right down to the spot where Dustin was before he went tearing into the valley. I got out of the car to see if I could catch sight of them, and thatʻs when I was assaulted by a foul odor. Just inside the overgrown kiawe was a dead horse; it had been there for a while by the looks of it. Laying his body across itʻs body was Dusty; he was dead too. When the authorities arrived, I told them exactly what I had witnessed. Office Fred Cordeiro took my statement and then remarked. "Iʻm just going to say that you pulled over to the side of the road because you wanted to take some pictures of the valley and smelled a bad aroma and that upon looking for the source of the stench, you found the horse and Dusty laying dead."

"Sure," I shrugged my shoulders.

"Thatʻs a statement," Fred raised his eyebrows. "Not a question."

"How have you been, Freddy? So long time no see," I smiled.

"Still living in the same house on Kaukamana street except itʻs me, Donna, and the kids. Mary lives on the big island, and my parents passed away a while ago," he replied. "What about you?"

"My mom told me about Dust, so I came to see if it was true," I told him.

"Itʻs been true for a while," Fred deadpanned. "Off the record, youʻre saying that Louisa was on the other side of the road on her horse, kinda like she was waiting for Dust?"

"Itʻs spooky," I replied. "It was like she was literally waiting for him to cross to the other side,"

We both got chicken skin and stood there for a second, taking in our surroundings. "It was good to see you, Fred," I shook his hand and went back to my car. 

"You too!" He called after me. "Say hi to your folks!"

Thatʻs the story of Dust and his journey to love in the afterlife.

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