Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Jul 17, 2022

Kinipopo 2022

 It was a muggy Saturday morning, and Devon's team was down by two points.

 The baseball field was slick and wet from the early morning rain, and several of Devon's teammates slipped, slid, and tumbled on their way to home plate. Things did not look promising for his team, but, unfortunately, there was nothing that Devon could do to help. Devon was the least athletically-talented eight-year-old on his little league baseball team. The boy could see that his father was embarrassed by him. Devon saw a boy his age sitting on the bench wearing an old baseball uniform.

"Who are you?" Devon asked.

"Shane Lucas," the boy said. "You like to learn how  fo' play baseball really good?"

"Yeah," Devon answered."I'm kinda junk, das why. My father is the coach, but he's a shame of me."

"We go, brah; I'll show you how," Shane stood up and motioned to Devon to follow him.

The two boys disappeared behind the stands. No one saw them leave, but by the time Devon returned to join his team, they were now down by only one point. Devon found his father screaming at his teammates when he tapped him on the back, "Put me in the game," Devon demanded. 

"C'mon, Devon, not now," his father shooed him away, but Devon would not relent."

"Put me in the game; I can win this for sure," Devon insisted.

"Devon, I no mo time fo' dis kine, okay? Go sit down on the bench!" Devon's father ordered, but the little boy stood his ground.

"Put me in the game, or I'm gonna tell everybody about how you killed Shane Lucas on this field," the look on Devon's face was cold and calculatingDevon'sn's father was dumbfounded. "How you know about Shane Lucas? Nobody knows about it!"

"Put me in the game Russell Akoba," Devon growled.

"I'm yo' fa dah! You no call me Russell!" Russell drew his hand back and was prepared to strike his son, but the boy stood there defiantly.

"Go ahead," Devon dared his father. "Hit me in front of everybody just like you hit Shane and killed him. So what den Russell? Are you gonna let me play and save your sorry excuse for a little league team, or are you gonna become an embarrassment to your family?"

"You screw this up, Devon, and I'm gonna whip yer ass!" Russell exploded. "We're down one run, and the whole season is riding on it!" He leaned in closer to his son now, speaking in a low whisper, "and you and I goin' have one talk after dis."

"Get outta my way, Russell," Devon's shoulder bumped his father, causing him to stumble off balance.

He glared back at his father, and, in that instant, Russell Akoba looked into his son's eyes and realized that there was someone else in there, someone that was not Devon. He watched his son step up to the plate, and as the pitcher burned one straight in, Devon hit the ball with such an effortless ferocity that the sound of it hitting the bat was almost deafening. The ball went high and far and didn't come down until it cleared the monkeypod trees at the edge of the park and rolled onto the highway. Devon strolled calmly from first base to second base and then to third base, all the while eyeing his father. Once Devon passed the home plate and the referee called it good, the boy bent down to pick up the bat he used and walked up to his father, who was utterly stunned at what he had just witnessed. Before Russell Akoba could say anything to his son, young Devon drew back the aluminum bat and hit his father on the sides of his knees. Russell fell to the dirt screaming in pain. Devon stood over the writhing form of his father and swung the tip of the bat at his father's head and shoulders again and again. It happened so fast that no one was quite sure what to do, that is until the blood began to stain Russell Akoba's white baseball uniform. Devon's teammates stood there petrified as the boy they made fun of whenever his father wasn't around was now beating their coach within an inch of his life with an aluminum bat. It took the assistant coach and a few of the parents sitting in the stands to finally pull Devon away from his father. By the time authorities arrived, the boy had fallen into a deep sleep. Russell was rushed to Queen's hospital, where he was treated and then spent a few months recovering from his injuries. During that time, Russell refused to let Devon visit him for fear that the boy might try to harm him again. This upset boy's mother so significantly that she filed for a divorce. When taken to see a family counselor, Devon Akoba claimed to have no memory of ever hitting a home run, much less assaulting his father. All he could ever recall was meeting a boy named Shane Lucas. The next thing he knew, he woke up on the bleachers with the police and a crowd of people around him.

So who was Shane Lucas?

Years ago, when Russell Akoba was the same age as Devon, he played minor league baseball as well. It was the morning of the championship game, and Russell's team was up against their rival, Pearl City. On the field at the old Waipahu Gym, Russell was up to bat, and the team was down by one run. The pitcher threw a curve to the outside, and a young Russell Akoba hit it out of the park. He was so excited that, instead of dropping the bat on the dirt, he flung it wildly behind him with such force that it hit one of his teammates in the head. That teammate was Shane Lucas. The blow killed him instantly.

Russell Akoba hadn't been anywhere near that place in thirty years until that fateful morning when his own little league team, which included his son Devon, took the field at Waipahu Gym, where the angry spirit of a young little league player waited to exact his revenge on his childhood teammate through his own son.

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