Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Mar 11, 2022

Merla 2022

Katherine Ozaki contacted me regarding her daughter, a former student of mine.

Her name is Kaitlyn. I remember her mother was the one who dropped Kaitlyn off and picked her up after school each day. According to her mother, she and Kaitlyn were sitting at the dinner table. Both were having sandwiches for lunch; it was one of the few quiet times they had together since mother and daughter had such busy schedules. Kaitlyn wrote in her notepad, listing things she would need to remodel her bedroom. Katherine said that while she talked, she noticed Kaityln paused for a second, literally with her writing hand hovering above the page. Kaitlyn was frozen stiff, and her skin turned a pale blue color. Then, a second later, she was back to normal and began writing again. Except it wasnʻt writing; it was slow scribbles, lite handed but purposeful. Finally, she wrote out a name very, very slowly,

  "M E R L A."

"Whose name is that?" Katherine asked her daughter.

"Your classmate," Kaitlyn replied. "You bullied her in school, you and your friends."

"Merla Paguay," Katherine whispered. "That was so long ago."

"She killed herself, you know?" Kaitlyn leered at her mother. "She's been reincarnated."

"What?" Katherine couldn't believe what her daughter said. "That's ridiculous, don't say stupid things like that! What's wrong with you?"

Katherine told me that her daughter replied in a voice not her own, which chilled her to the bone. "I'm fine, Wong-gee; I've never been better." Kaitlyn's eyes changed color from black to light brown right. The sight of it sent Katherine screaming to a neighbor's home, asking if she could use their phone, any phone, to call her husband. She frantically told him to take off work early and come home. A half-hour later, Alfred Ozaki knocked on the neighbor's door and thanked them for sitting with his wife until he arrived. When they walked into the kitchen where Katherine had left their daughter, they found her cooking a pot of pork adobo. "Sit down, Wong-gee; we can eat adobo together while we talk," Kaitlyn spoke in that voice again that was not her own.

"My daughter doesn't know how to cook, much less make pork adobo," Katherine wept. "We don't know what to do. Can you help us?"

"It's obviously the spirit of the girl you and your friends bullied in school," I told her.

"She wants revenge, does she?" Katherine asked. "Is that why she's possessing my daughter?"

"Your daughter is not possessed; she IS Merla Paguay reincarnated," I confirmed.

"Should I call a priest or something to get rid of her?" Katherine was frantic.

"No, you sit down and have adobo with her and talk to her," I calmly instructed. "But first and foremost, you apologize for everything you did, and you mean it. No excuses, you just do it."

"Was Kaitlyn ever my daughter, or was it Merla the whole time?" Katherine wanted to know.

"Right now, your daughter is the same age as Merla was in school; that's why this is happening. If you give me your address, I can help you." I said. "You have to mean what you say when you apologize. I'm unsure what might happen if you ever falter, but it won't be good."


Katherine has yet to get back to me. So, therefore, I never had an address where I might show up and find out about what did or did not happen with Kaitlyn. It's just one of those things. A few months later, I was consulting for the new eatery that would move into the old Okazu-ya spot at Fort Street Mall. It was a taco/pizza place and a ramen shop before that. They were having second thoughts and wondered if the effort was worth it? 

"That's up to you," I told them. "If you see that there's excellent business potential, then do it. If not, then don't. Spiritually? It's a big gamble because there are layers and layers of things there. Who knows how long it might take to unravel all that and bless each thing that comes up?" 

Ultimately, it's their decision to make.

After, I walked over to Radas for a piroshki and a drink. I took a seat nearby and enjoyed my lunch. I saw Katherine walking towards the McDonald's with Kaitlyn in tow. Her mother held Kaitlyn by her arm while she walked limply, and her one hand folded into her wrist. Kaitlyn's hair was pulled back in a low bun. She looked like one of the older Filipino ladies who frequent this area, where their hair has coconut oil in it. She didn't seem like herself, not Kaitlyn Ozaki, but another person living in her body.

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