Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 29, 2022

ʻEke 2022

 On the side of the freeway, on the grassy median just under a lone guava tree, the leather bag came to rest after it was ejected from the over-customized Toyota Tacoma, which rear-ended the Hyundai SUV at ninety miles an hour.

The young, stupid, overconfident driver showed off for his girlfriend and her friends, weaving in and out of traffic at top speed. The Hyundai was doing the speed limit at fifty-five and changed lanes to make an exit at Ka Uka. The two vehicles, never having met before, now became intertwined and infused into one another in seconds. The Hyundai hosted its driver, a father who had just come off a sixteen-hour shift but still made it a point to take his wife and daughter to eat at Zippy's. It was their first time together as a family in weeks. Unfortunately, the leather bag with its large belts and buckles made it out in one piece; the living up to this point, did not. The impact of both vehicles spat it out and sent it shooting toward the lone guava tree on the grassy medium with splotches of blood and pieces of flesh and brain matter on the flap. The leather bag sat there for a while until one morning during the peak of rush hour traffic, a motorcycle police officer drove the Harley Electra glide under the shade of the lone guava tree to camoflouge himself while aiming his speed gun at drivers who exceeded the speed limit. It was there that he noticed the leather bag. Retrieving it and pulling back the leather flap, he saw a stuffed unicorn doll and a little girl's clothing. The officer decided to empty the contents and keep the leather bag for himself. He hadn't had the leather bag for more than a week when he began having horrible nightmares about being in a car crash, where he was killed along with two people. In the dream, he's strapped to a car seat and ends up being decapitated somehow. Figuring that his terrible dreams had something to do with the leather bag, the police officer got rid of it and dumped it in the bin at Goodwill on Beretania. The leather bag, cleaned as much as possible and returned to its original shine as best could be done, made its way to the knick-knack shelves in the central part of the store. The leather bag did not stay there long as one cashier took a shine to the item and bought it himself. After work, with his new purchase in his arms, he walked to the adjoining golden arches for a quick snack before heading home. While crossing the exit from the establishment's parking lot, a car came barrelling out of the drive-thru line and hit the Goodwill cashier, killing him instantly. The leather bag lay safely beneath the cashier's crushed, broken body. Later, at the medical examiner's office, the cashier's body came across the slab of one Erin Morikawa, M.E. In see-through plastic bags were all the items the deceased had on his person at the time of his death. This included the leather bag, which instantly gave Erin an eerie feeling. Calling in her assistant, Erin's instructions were that the leather bag was to be touched by any human hands but that somehow it had to be taken to the incinerator and burned to nothing. The assistant did exactly that. Upon returning to the office, the assistant asked Erin about the strange request regarding the leather bag.

"There were a bunch of dead people attached to it," she replied. "Not just dead people, but mangled and decapitated dead people. That leather bag had to have come from some kind of car accident or something,"

"Whuuuut?" The assistant gasped.

"Yeesh," Erin shivered. "Even talking about it gives me the creeps!"

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