Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Dec 21, 2022

Sanjuro 2022

 "This is an old game," Tabby frowned while looking at all the pieces on the papamū.

"I have no words of wisdom to follow that statement," Boy replied. "Some things need to be learned and absorbed without the need to speak,"

"So, we learn by watching and repeating?" Tabby asked. Boy replied by putting his finger to his mouth, indicating that the game required thought rather than words. After all, the game also required strategic skills. Twenty minutes expired, and both still needed to move their piece; the tension was thick. "This reminds me of that Kurosawa movie at the end, where the two samurai are about as close as we are, and there's this silence between them, waiting to see who makes the first move, you know?"

"I know," Boy replied. "In that last scene, Sanjuro says that he'd rather not fight because it would mean that either he or his opponent would die. However, his enemy gives him no choice, and even then, Sanjuro asks that the men from the village be spared from any kind of death. So my question is, who won that fight? Was it the person who made the first or last move?"

"The first move won the fight," Tabby said confidently.

"I think you should watch the scene again and more carefully, this time," Boy sat back in his chair and let out a deep breath. "We'll continue again tomorrow, same time,"

"Alright, I'll re-watch that scene, and I'll get back to you," Tabby came around and gave her father a kiss on the cheek. "Maybe we can start making real moves with this game after that?"

~

"I haven't seen my wife in weeks; she's not at work or the gym. Hasn't shown up in church, her phone is off, I don't know what to do?" Clariesse had nearly lost her voice after weeks of crying. She'd been too worried to bathe or put on makeup. She and her wife Simone ran an online business together, but even with that, she let the orders go to the wayside until her older sister Pearl had to step in to keep the charges going out. Through word of mouth, Clariesse found out about Boy; she was desperate at this point because the authorities came up with nothing. "I know this sort of thing is outside your wheelhouse, but I don't know where else to go,"

"Did you bring the items I asked for when we first spoke?" Boy asked.

"Yes," Clariesse removed a lite purple scarf from her bag and handed it to Boy, who handed it over to aunty Rita.

"Let's you and I go across the street for some lunch," Boy stood up and showed Clariesse to the door, following closely behind her. "When we come back, we should have some idea as to the whereabouts of your wife."

The doors closed, and Ivan, Tiny, Rita, and Tabby stepped into the tall spacious standing cabinet hidden in the corner of the office. The kūʻahu of hand-set stones stood there, ready to receive the offering of the scarf that was now wrapped in a tī leaf bundle. 

~


"How did you and Simone meet?" Boy asked while cutting up his steak and eggs.

"In the psychology section of Jelly's, believe it or not," Clariesse laughed. "We were both looking for the same textbook for our psych class at U.H., and only one copy was left,"

"Really?" Boy smiled. "How did you work it out?"

"I asked her out on a date, and we ended up reading the book together," Clariesse giggled. "The rest is her story, or history if you will. What about you? You married? "

"No," Boy replied. "No, this isn't an easy life,"

A second or so of silence lingered between Boy and Clariesse, "I still can't think of any reason why Simone left. There were no signs; our marriage and relationship were solid, so I don't know. I'm lost,"

Just then, Boy's phone pinged. It was a text message from Tabby. "We're ready."


~

Boy entered the office before Clariesse and had her wait outside for a second. Finally, he opened the door and told her to enter. When she did, she nearly fainted. Simone was sitting on a chair next to Tabby. Clariesse gasped and ran to Simone to hold her in her arms, but her arms and part of her body passed right through her. Tabby caught Clariesse so she wouldn't tumble over and fall. "What's going on? What is this? Simone? What's wrong? Why can't I hold you?"

Simone stood up with tears on the brink of falling. "Babes, listen to what this man has to say; it will all make sense, I promise,"

"Clariesse, we used the essence in Simone's scarf to manifest her, but only for a short while. The two of you were hiking one morning on a trail up at Tantalus. It had rained earlier, and the trail was muddy. Simone slipped and fell to her death; she didn't leave or run away; she died Clariesse. Her body was never found, but it was too traumatic for you to deal with, so it's been easier for you to say that she left."

"You have to let me go, hun," Simone pleaded. "I'm fine, and it's okay if they haven't recovered my physical body because my love will never leave you. You can move on, please, for the both of us,"

Clariesse crumbled to the floor and had the first real cry since her wife died. Simone's spirit stayed with her wife for as long as she could before she finally had to go. 

~

The black and white pieces on the papamū remained in their places on the konāne board. Boy and Tabby sat on opposite sides, contemplating their individual strategy. "I watched that scene again from Sanjuro," Tabby said.

"What did you learn?" Boy asked.

"So, you were right. It wasn't the samurai who made the first move that won the standoff; it was Sanjuro who made the last move," Tabby looked over her pieces.

"Thus, you have figured out the strategy of konāne," Boy nodded.

"Don't we have to make the first move, though, to get to the last move?" Tabby asked.

"That may take a while," Boy sighed. "But in the end, we'll find out which one of us is Sanjuro,"



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