Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Jan 25, 2022

Me 2022

 The folks never believed me, and mind you, this all began at an early age.

By the time I was in high school, they'd had enough and began to call me a liar outright. As best I could, I drew pictures to give them an idea of what I was dealing with. Still, they refused to hear me out. The reasoning was that as I got older, they expected that my mentally induced malady would go away and that I would outgrow it. But, instead, it manifested with more intense frequency. Let me explain. As far as I could recall, I had always encountered a man dressed in a corduroy coat, jeans, boots, and a white undershirt. He always appeared at the most random times and places, and every time, he'd chase after me with this strange look on his face. As I've previously explained, it caused my parents a great deal of worry because, as it turned out, this strange man was someone that only I could see. By the time I had graduated high school, I saw it pointless to remain at home with two people who gave me life but now despised my presence. Sadly, they died a year later. I found an excellent job with the state and moved out independently. However, the random visitations from the strange man never stopped. I had to train myself not to react to the unexpected appearances of this person so as not to alarm my fellow employees, lest they thought as my parents thought of me. I couldn't risk upsetting the balance of the office culture, much less get myself fired. Despite everything, life went on. I met Gwen, who was a transfer from our main office. We began dating, we fell in love and got married. Five years later, Gwen was killed in a freak accident at home while she was trying to change the curtains in our bedroom. Before I left for work, I told her earlier that day that I would do it because of precariously high up the rods were.

I said that I would stop by City Mill after to get a ladder. My beautiful Gwen being who she was, couldn't wait. She stood up on the stool instead, and while attempting to undo the hooks which held the heavy curtains to the rod, she lost her balance and, not realizing that the windows were open, fell forward through the curtains, and plummeted fifteen floors down to her death. Of all the most inopportune times to appear, the strange man was running down the lane at the Pearl City cemetery during Gwen's graveside services. Screaming and yelling, flailing his arms about, his eyes bulging with intensity, screaming and crying. I'd had enough. I quickly excused myself and ran straight toward him this time and cut him off before anyone had noticed him. I tackled him to the pavement, and we struggled, scratched, and punched one another. When we finally got to our feet and squared off before we had another go, I finally saw him up close. I was looking at myself, me, the older version of me, but it, he, was me nonetheless. "What the fuck?" I said more to myself than to him. 

"I've been here from the future, our future, trying to warn you, your whole life, but you never listened!" He said.

"Listen to what?" I screeched while still in my ready stance in case he attacked again.

"Trying to warn to not tell our parents about seeing me," he began. "Because they would end up shunning you. I tried to warn you not to move out after high school because our parents needed you,"

"Needed me?" I scoffed. "They hated me!"

"Our father woke up late one night and fried himself some eggs, had himself a cup of coffee after, and went back to sleep," he tried to jog my memory. "He forgot to turn the gas off to the stove; you remember how close their bedroom was to the stove? Right on the other side of the wall? That's how they died in their sleep. If you hadn't moved out, you would have caught that because you, we, always got up when dad was in the kitchen, and we scolded him about eating so late and going right back to sleep."

"I forgot about that," I muttered to myself. "Why are you here now? What kinda warning is this?"

"Doesn't matter," he, I told me. "It's too late,"

"Why is it too late? Tell me!" I demanded.

"You were not supposed to bury Gwen here," he shook his head. "In two days, there's going to be a terrible storm. It's coming east from Japan, and it's moving very quickly. It's one of those forty days and forty nights kinda storms. It's going to flood out this cemetery and was every single burial out into Pearl Harbor. None of the bodies will ever be recovered."

"Including Gwen?" I asked.

"Including Gwen," he nodded.

"Get the fuck outta here," I pushed past him and returned to my wife's graveside services. "If you don't leave now, I'm gonna call the cops and have you arrested."

He was right, though, just like he said, the storm showed up two days later, and it was a shit show for forty days and forty nights. Just like he said, the entire cemetery flooded over so severely that it took every burial right out of their graves and carried out to the waters of Pearl Harbor and beyond. Never to be seen again. After that, my life was just one disaster after another. I remarried and got divorced. My second wife Sharon took the kids ran off to the mainland, leaving no address or clue where they ended up. A year later, I rode my bike to work and got run over by a truck. Although the driver claimed that he never saw me, my legs were broken in two places. I now walk around with a strange hop-like limp. I was immobile, so I couldn't exercise like I used to. I put on a lot of weight. Because of that, I had to show up to work an hour early because of how long it took me to get from the parking garage and to my office. One day after work, I sat in the car contemplating yet again the series of events that led me to my present plight in life. I looked up in the rearview mirror and saw him, or me, sitting in the back seat. I think I actually laughed. "Haven't seen you in a while," I mused.

"No point to it," he shrugged. "You never listened."

"No, I get it," I agreed. "You can only try to lead the horse to water so many times until you finally give up. Then, either the horse figures it out and finally drinks the water, or they don't, and they die of thirst. I realized at some point in my miserable life that I am the latter."

There was a long moment of silence between us. He looked down at his lap as if he was resigned to my fate. Or our fate as it were. "You're here; I mean, you've appeared. So, what's your sage advice this time?"

"You think about it," he whispered.


I hope it worked. It wasn't anything dramatic or overly done. I've been trying to warm myself my whole life about the choices I made, and I never listened. Maybe this time, saying less about it will cause me to think a bit more clearly. If I don't get it this time, I will cease to exist. 

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