Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 19, 2022

Box 2022

 You know this story, not because it's an urban legend, but because it's real and it happened to someone who could be our friend, brother, cousin, uncle, or father.

Ruben Solaterio ordered a spider in a box from eBay. It's where you slide back the cover, and a rubber spider pops out and lands on your hand. That is what arrived in the package delivered by UPS on Ruben's doorstep. He was giddy while opening the box. But, when he slid back the cover, nothing came out except a horrible aroma of rotting flesh and rum. Removing the lid and turning the box upside down, a shrunken head plopped onto his kitchen table. A real, actual shrunken head. Ruben got rid of it in the trash bin, and it went the following day with the garbage truck. While leaving the house for work, Ruben grabbed his cup of coffee and took a sip before walking out the door. After one gulp, he spat the coffee out and threw the cup on the floor, watching it shatter on the linoleum. The shrunken head lay there among the broken pieces of porcelain and coffee. Ruben stomped on the shrunken head and took it to get flushed down the toilet. Things at work went terrible; one of the girls Ruben had known for years asked him why he smelled so bad?

"What do you mean?" Ruben asked.

"You smell like rotting flesh," Ruben couldn't smell it, but the girl began to gag and throw up. After that, everyone else smelled it, and it became so bad that Ruben's boss sent him to shower and change clothes before returning to work. While at home Ruben couldn't shake the feeling that someone was watching him. While nothing happened in the house, Ruben saw the shrunken head in the kitchen window as he was backing out of the driveway. It was looking at him disapprovingly. He got out of his car in the middle of the street, ran into the kitchen, and saw the shrunken head right where it was, positioned on the window sill. Ruben grabbed it, ran back outside, and placed the shrunken skull under the back tire of the car, running it over several times until it was a smear of black flesh and skull matter. In less than an hour, Ruben was back home after his boss talked briefly with him about hygiene and respect for people in the office because of how offensive the smell lingering on his person. It didn't and wouldn't go away, no matter how much he showered. Ruben researched the place from which he ordered the spider in the box. He called the number, and it was someone's residence in Ohio. 

"This isn't Boxed Spiders And Other Cryptids?" Ruben asked.

"What the hell? No, this is the Hemmerlind's residence," the old woman's voice croaked.

"Shit," Ruben apologized and hung up.


The following day, Ruben went to work without remarks from his boss or fellow employees regarding any personal odor. The days went on like any other work week, but by the beginning of the second week, Ruben's workmates began to comment about his voice seeming smaller and more high-pitched.

"I don't hear anything strange," Ruben said. 

"And your head," the girl from the copy room remarked. "It looks smaller for some reason,"

"It does, Ruben," his boss added. "Might want to go get that checked,"

Later, Ruben's physician agreed. "I don't have any explanation for it, but your head or your skull is shrinking."


Mike Gallardo in Waipahu finally received his package via UPS. Tearing it open with eagerness, he removed the simple wooden box and slid back the cover. What happened to the rubber spider that was supposed to pop out and land on his hand? It wasn't there, but the horrible smell of rotting flesh and rum was. Mike tore the cover away, turned the box upside down, and shook it. Out plopped Ruben's shrunken head.

Credit: Grumps-Garage

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