Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Feb 2, 2022

Plans 2022

John Teves was completely brokenhearted when his wife never came home one night after work.

She'd fallen off the face of the earth. Completely disappeared. The CCTV at her office showed her leaving as she did every day, precisely at five in the afternoon. The other security camera showed her leaving the parking garage in her Impreza. After that, where Marilyn Teves ended up was anyone's guess. John told the authorities there was nothing wrong with their marriage; in fact, he and Marilyn had just agreed to renew their marriage vows. Was there any indication that either John or Marilyn was having an affair? No.

How did Marilyn's parents feel about John? They loved him because he was the son they never had. John's parents loved Marilyn, too; they praised her as the girl you bring home to meet your parents. The kind of good girl that you don't see anymore. So, if the marriage was rock solid, then what happened? John's parents and in-laws began to see that John grieved deeply for his missing wife and that he had no real life to call his own. He just went from work to home and back again. Nothing more. After almost three years, nearly going to four, his parents and in-laws introduced him to someone they thought would suit John. Of course, they were not trying to erase Marilyn from his life, but they couldn't stand to see John that way because the lack of life began to affect his physical and mental health. Her name was Corrine Cachola, and she was a sweet girl whose personality and disposition lifted John out of his darkness and slowly brought him into the light. After a time, John wasn't just the old John that he used to be; instead, he became a newer John Teves.

One that got a whole new lease on life. Soon, Corrine and John found a new place together. In time, John proposed, and the two became engaged. Shortly after, Corrine found out that she was pregnant, and when she broke the news to John, he cried and held Corrine tightly, expressing his endless thanks. They both agreed that they would wait until the baby arrived and that the three of them could be together during the marriage ceremony. Life couldn't have been any more perfect. One night, Corrine got out of bed and went to the bathroom. When she was done, she slowly made her way back to the bedroom, where she could hear John snoring. Then, Corrine saw something out of the corner of her eye: the silhouette of a woman standing in the middle of her living room. From the pictures John showed her before, she recognized the woman as John's missing wife, Marilyn. She was in her business attire but very pregnant. She was utterly silent and stoic but pointed right to the floor at her feet. Tears fell from Marilyn's eyes as if her world had come to an end. Corrine said nothing about it to John; after all, she was pregnant and hopped up on some medication, so it could have been what caused her to have a hallucination. However, the closer Corrine got to her delivery date, the more she began to see the vision of Marilyn in the living room, pointing at the floor. One night while Corrine and John were having dinner, she asked him a question out of the blue. "So, Marilyn was never found, right?" 

John shook his head, "No one is certain what happened," John replied.

"So, she's not dead, you think?" Corrine asked.

"Could be; who's to say? She could still be alive, I dunno," John shrugged. "Why do you ask?"

" I dunno, I was just thinking, say she's still alive and finds out where you are and shows up all of a sudden and wants back in? I mean, what happens then?" Corrine wondered.

"That's not gonna happen," John chuckled.

"You mean she's not gonna show up?" Corrine regarded John with a practiced look of confusion.

"No, just that nothing is gonna break us up," John countered. "You're my wife, I love you, and we have a child on the way very soon. Nothing is going to tear that apart, nothing."

Corrine put her fork down and thought for a second, "John, I've been seeing Marilyn; she's been appearing to me, like when I was about four months along, and them more frequently as I'm getting closer to giving birth."

"I understand, hun," John got up, moved his chair next to his wife's, and hugged her. " A lot of pregnant women feel unattractive as their body changes and the baby is closer to being born, but that hasn't changed my desire for you, Corrine. Of course, I love you even more, but I also love you either way, whether we had a baby or not. Besides, we've been making love all this time, right?"

"Right," Corrine said quietly.

"So, maybe this is just some insecurities getting the better of you because of your physical appearance going through some changes," John assured her.

"You think that's what it might be?" Corrine asked.

"Of course," John smiled. "Besides, why would you see Marilyn pregnant, of all things? It's because you are pregnant. So, even though Marilyn wasn't with a child when she disappeared, this could be you projecting your own insecurities onto the illusion of Marilyn."

It made sense to Corrine, and through some tears, she held on to John and told him just how much she loved him. All was right in their world. However, nothing could be further from the truth. On the day that Marilyn Teves disappeared, she was four months pregnant with Rodney Cachola's child. She couldn't afford to have John find out, so Marilyn had to arrange it so that she could fall off the map and disappear. She moved to the north shore under an assumed name and managed to live off of her life savings and investments. Rodney would come to see her as often as possible, promising that his divorce would soon be final and they would be happy. Unfortunately, Rodney's wife, Corrine, discovered the affair and followed Rodney one day as he made the drive all the way out to Mokuleia. She waited for most of the day and into the late night before Rodney left. A minute later, Corrine received a call from him. "I just pau work; I'm headed home right now," he said.

"I'm out shopping, so I'll see you at home," Corrine replied.

After hanging up, Corrine crept into the beachside house and was thankful for the sound of thundering waves on the beach, which would muffle any detectable footfall she would make. There she was, sitting on the couch. Marilyn Teves is the woman who stole her husband by becoming pregnant with his child. The rage was something she couldn't contain. She removed the mini-sledgehammer from her purse and struck Marilyn in the back of her head. The first blow crushed Marilyn's skull from behind. The second blow separated her vertebrae from her head, killing her. After that, Corrine had to think quickly. She was working through the late night and only had a short amount of time. Corrine took Marilyn's body to the condo she and Rodney rented in Makiki. There weren't any tenants there, so she had time to hide Marilyn's body in the bathtub until she could go back there the next day. Since the unit is on the ground floor, Corrine managed as much as possible without disturbing the neighbors to bury Marilyn's body in the living room. The second part was not killing Rodney but divorcing him and taking all the money. The third part was revenging herself on Marilyn's husband, John, if for no reason other than revenge.

Corrine didn't take the direct route but the indirect. She ingratiated herself into the company of John's parents, Shawn and Bernice, and of Marilyn's parents, Ignacio and Fredalyn. The four worked out at the local gym, where Corrine was conveniently hired as a trainer. When the four senior citizens signed up for Corrine's conditioning class, it was as if she and the four had known one another for years, and so the sessions were fun and easy. They treated Corrine as if she was their own daughter and thought well enough that they wanted to introduce her to John. Corrine's plan the whole time was to kill John the same way she killed Marilyn. It was essential to convince John that choosing the condo in Makiki was actually his idea when it was really hers. They'd really moved into the condo that she already owned. Her plan was to kill John the closer she got to giving birth, but the unexpected happened. Marilyn's ghost began to appear to her. To make matters worse, John told her that it was the result of her insecurities about her appearance and the combination of the medication she was on. Worst of all, John said to Corrine that he loved her no matter what and that the memory of Marilyn would never get in the way of their love. She couldn't help but fall in love with him right there and then. Everything she'd schemed up until then went straight out the window, and John would never be the wiser. 

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