Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Feb 6, 2022

Mood 2022

Deep, low, and brooding, the cello sonata filters through the open garden of the Mānoa mansion on an early noon Sunday. The occupants are not moving about as much as they are retrieving bottles of wine to fill their glasses and other tiny morsels of food to private places on the large property where they can sit quietly with a book or a suite of music playing on their iPods. It isn't that they are anti-social; it's because it's Sunday, a day of reflection and quiet. Others are yet asleep in their beds, having turned in late the previous evening, knowing that there were no pressing matters the following day. Yet a few more are aroused to make love while still half asleep, and even then, when they've reached their crescendo, they lay languid, slowly moving out of bed. Celia Wong sits in the atrium with the cello between her legs treating the instrument as an intimate companion, knowing the right way to press the strings to the fingerboard so that it would yield forth the cries of ecstasy that would pierce the air and cause the birds high up in the trees to weep. She came every Sunday at the prick of noon, just she and her cello, walking through the seven-acre property and through the old abandoned mansion until she reached the atrium, which connected the front part of the home to the larger, more gothic second part. The atrium had otherworldly acoustics, which made the sound of her cello fill the entirety of the space. It was as if a whole new dimension came to being. Her friends warned her not to go there because of the property's reputation for being haunted. Celia paid them no mind and went anyway. The mansion burned down with all its sleeping occupants inside; they were all asleep after a large party the night before. There was liquor, weed, harder drugs, and much debauchery. When the hour approached early noon, a fire broke out and spread quickly, killing everyone inside. The ghosts that Celicia's cello brought forth might have been the manifestation of what each person intended to do the following day. Although each occupant never lived to do it, perhaps their intentions survived their physical death? It couldn't have hurt that Celia's cello music made the process easier. Strange that those apparitional spirits never bothered Celia herself? Perhaps it was because Celia was literally the instrument they could live through, if only for the length of an early Sunday noon in Mānoa.

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