Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Dec 10, 2022

Dominica 2022

Temptation's most seductive form is subversive.

It does not come in the apparent package that most of us are used to. Money, women, murder, and dominion over others; it's what is expected from temptation. Here is a story that might interest you. Father Terrence Gouveia was born and raised in Hilo. After graduating high school, he went to college to become an architect. After completing his bachelor's degree, he pursued his master's. While studying 12th to 16th-century gothic architecture in Europe, Terrence became fascinated by its religious symbolism. This is how he found God and redirected the course of his life to become a priest of the Catholic faith. Father Terrence was forty-two years old when he returned to Hawai'i and began working in a local church, providing one-on-one counseling and guidance for some of the church's lost sheep. This is where Father Terrence came to meet the acquaintance of sister Dominia. She was not a sister or nun in that sense but referred to herself as a sister, like your own sister. Although it was not required by any means, Dominia would apprise Father Terrence about a person's circumstances before they made a confession or came to seek counseling from him. Father Terrence knew Dominia meant well, so he never reprimanded her for her efforts. On some days, Dominia would bring homemade food for Father Terrence. Her specialty was pastele stew and Italian-styled spaghetti. The sauce was always incredible. On holidays, Dominia would drop off a meal for Father Terrence on her way to and from home. One evening, Father Terrence stayed late because of some reading he wanted to catch up on. Besides, the church office was a lot more peaceful and quiet than his own home on 'Auwaiolimu, where noisy cars sped by or domestic arguments pierced the night air. The book he read was about how gothic architecture made its way to America. Suddenly, the lights went on in the exterior office, and he saw Dominia give a small wave before she entered his personal office. 

"I was walking by," she said. "I saw your car outside, so I thought I'd pop in for a second to see if everything was alright?"

"That's nice of you, Dominia," Terrence replied. "I'm fine, you don't have to stay. I'm actually trying to get some reading done, if you don't mind,"

"Oh no, not at all," she replied. "I'll be on my way, good night Father,"

The hour was nearly two in the morning when Father Terrence completed as much of his reading as he could before closing up his office and the building. It was a lovely moon out, and it was quiet save for the ambient ticking sound from the nearby crosswalk, letting anyone seeing impaired know that the walk signal was about to change from don't walk. The father got into his car and started it up. He meant to leave the parking lot through the back gate but saw it was locked. 

"It's just as well," he sighed. "Keeps homeless from camping out overnight."

Making a small u-turn, he brought his vehicle out on Vineyard and proceeded past the gas station, where he glanced momentarily, noticing the bus stop in front of it. There sat a lone figure, visibly upset and crying. It was Dominia. Father Terrence entered the gas station at the exit, parking at the far end. Walking over to the bus shack, the father paused, looking at Dominia. She still needed to see him. 

"Dominia? Is everything alright? Why are you here so late?"

The woman jumped suddenly and began composing herself as best she could. "Oh, goodness, father, you surprised me! Everything is fine, not to worry," she assured him.

"No, it's not fine," he insisted. "Look at you; you're in a horrible state,"

"Really, father, it's fine," she said.

"It's two in the morning, Dominia. All the buses stopped running at midnight, and there won't be another one until five in the morning," Father Terrence began. "Where do you live?"

"Hawai'i kai," she answered. "I can wait,"

"No, I can't let you do that," he insisted. "Especially here, it's too dangerous! Come with me; I'll take you home."

"I can't let you do that, father; besides, how would it look? People might talk," Dominia shook her head.

"It looks like a Father of the cloth is helping one of the lost, stubborn sheep of his church," the father replied. "Come now, let's get you home."

Father Terrence drove toward Hawai'i Kai on a nearly empty freeway. Dominia was quiet and said nothing, and the father didn't mind. Eventually, she directed Terrence to turn left on East Hind Drive, right on the corner of Opihi Street, just a few blocks from Kalaniana'ole. She thanked him, and Father Terrence bid her to be safe. The next afternoon when Dominia appeared in his office, Terrence asked her, "Who do we have for confession today?"

"I cannot come to church anymore, Father Terrence," Dominia began. "I've come to say goodbye,"

"This is sudden," the father was surprised and shocked. "Is that why you were crying at the bus stop when I found you last night?"

"Yes," she nodded slightly. "I'm an atheist, Father; I don't believe in God,"

The father sat back in his chair; he needed a second. "I don't understand; you're here all the time; you help with those who come to confess and seek counsel,"

"Why would an atheist show up to a church she doesn't believe in?" Dominia asked the question for him.

"Yes," he agreed. "Why?"

"I don't believe in the church, and I don't believe in God, but I believe in you, Father Terrence. I believe in you," Dominia was clear about what she said.

"Dominia, if you believe in me, then you believe in God because that is who I put my trust in. It was in his name that I became ordained," Terrence explained. "Not in my name, but in his and his son Jesus Christ,"

"Yes, everything is in his name, like a lease on a church, but who does all the work? Who deals with people who are lonely, clingy, and mentally ill? Who deals with all the priests who've exploited young boys and girls since the church began right under the direct eyes of God? You have Father Terrence, you, and others like you who have to make human decisions for human actions. You, father!"

"Dominia, please," Father Terrence began. 

"You can start your own church, and people will come, and I've already brought some of them," Dominia began. Suddenly, a handful of people entered the office through the exterior door. 

Standing up from his desk and moving back, Terrence asked, "Who are these people, Dominia?"

"They are the beginnings of your flock, the first, and more will come," she smiled. "They need you, father. Speak to them from your heart, as you would have spoken to your mother. They need to hear your voice,"

"DOMINIA!!!" Terrence screamed in frustration, fear, and anxiety. "Leave the house of God now and never come back! Take these...people with you! I want all of you out of this church now!!!"

She said nothing and showed no sign of being shaken up by Terrence's outburst. Her friends, however, were very much taken aback. They all departed without a word and left Terrence to himself. When he was sure they were gone, he called the church secretary to his office. A few minutes later, the older Hawaiian woman named Jane Kahaiali'i stood before him, seeing that he was upset.

"Everything alright, father?" She asked in her naturally husky tone.

"I've told Dominia that she is no longer allowed in this church," Father Terrence was very terse. "A minute ago, she stood right where you are now and not only told me that she was an atheist but suggested that I should start my own church under my own name and not that of God! Can you believe that? And she brought some people with her to be my new flock! So anyway, she is expelled from this church in perpetuity! She was always nice, sweet, and accommodating; who would have suspected she was crazy?"

"Uh, I don't know who you're talking about, father," Jane was concerned.

"I'm talking about Dominia; she comes here all the time to fill me in on the people coming for personal counseling and confession," the father replied.

"For how long? Cause I've never seen her," Jane said.

"How could you not have seen her? The only way she can get to my office is to pass yours first!" Father Terrence replied.

"No," Jane answered. "The only people I've seen are the ones coming for personal counseling, but what does this Dominia look like?"

"Shoulder-length black hair, big eyes, natural smile, always wears blue or green clothes in different styles," Terrence explained.

"One second," Jane walked out of Father Terrence's office and returned in less than a minute with a picture in her hand, which she gave the father. "Is that her?"

"That's her, Dominia," Father Terrence confirmed.

"This is always kept on the down low because it doesn't happen all the time, but it has happened," Jane said.

"What happened?" Terrence asked.

"Daemonium is her name. She always uses variations of that name, but this is who she really is. Daemonium, not Dominia," Jane said.

"A demon," it hit Father Terrence now. He had to sit and take a deep breath.

"In this church, she will periodically appear to a new priest who is exceptionally bright, almost like a religious prodigy," Jane said. "Like you, even though you've been at it all these years, your light never faded, Father Terrence. On the contrary, it stayed bright all this time. Daemonium saw that in you and had to test it. Sounds like she didn't get far, did she?"

"No, she didn't," Terrence replied.

"Good on you, father," Jane hugged him. "Good on you,"


Returning to her office, Jane tossed Dominica's picture in her drawer, which flipped on its side. On the back was an inscription in ballpoint ink which read, 'Sister Jane Kahaiali'i, 1973. Missing.' 

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