Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 28, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #98. Adele.

  It was the monthly meet-up at the ancient Hawaiian site, where volunteers from the community came armed with weed whackers, sheers, and various other gardening tools.

Oct 23, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #93. I, Me, Mine.

One morning, my Mom and I sat at the kitchen table discussing overdue bills and how I could help pay them.

Oct 17, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023 #87. Time After Time.

 This case was separate from my wheelhouse, so to speak, so I needed to understand why my presence was required in the beginning.

Oct 16, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #86. Leimaliko.

 Hoʻoleiʻupena is the act of casting out the fishing net as you would a lei around the shoulders of a beloved person.

Oct 15, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #85. Tiki Bar.

 There was nowhere else to go after the Saturday night; nightlife died down, and I went to sleep, except for an old Tiki bar on Hotel Street.

Oct 12, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #82. Perfect Rice.

  The Rice family lived at the end of the block where Lumialani and Lumi'au'au Street met. Everyone who grew up in the community knew Lumi'au'au by its more notorious name, Suicide Hill.

Oct 11, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #81. Knock.

Mara and Tianna were having a late-night dinner, mulling, regretting, and crying over past failures in relationships and the like.

Oct 10, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #80. Mili.

 Mili told me there was a time when she was absolutely frustrated with her parents and their old, strict Japanese plantation ways.

Oct 9, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #79 Phantom Guard.

 A veteran told me that years ago when he was stationed at Ft. Shafter, he would usually have sentry duty at the gate.

Oct 6, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #76 Take.

 John Kenai, his wife Alyssa, and their daughter Kylie became houseless when their landlord decided to sell the house at the last minute.

Oct 4, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #74. Only.

 Being the only sick kid on the small property of four houses, two toward the front of the old dirt road and two toward the back near the river, gave me a lot of time alone.

Oct 1, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #71. Kinipopo.

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 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 ashamed 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 they were down by only one point when Devon returned to join his team. 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 calculating. Devon's father was dumbfounded. "How do 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 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 will you 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, 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 who 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 park's edge and rolled onto the highway. Devon strolled calmly from first base to second base and then to third base, 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 repeatedly. 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 beat their coach within an inch of his life with the aluminum bat. It took the assistant coach and a few parents sitting in the stands to finally pull Devon away from his father. The boy had fallen into a deep sleep by the time authorities arrived. 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, fearing that the boy might try to harm him again. This upset the 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 also played minor-league baseball. It was the morning of the championship game, and Russell's team was up against their rival, Pearl City. Russell was up to bat on the field at the old Waipahu Gym, 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 by possessing the body of his own son.

Sep 30, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #70. Hole Waimea. Pt. 4

 Later that evening, Lehua and Malani perused the aisles at the KTA superstore, looking for a late-night snack to enjoy while they watched a movie in the comfort of Malani's living room.

Sep 29, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023 #69. Hole Waimea. Pt. 3

Lehua's bowl of pasta salad sat between her and Malani, as well as the bowl of freshly made poi, along with poke' and pulehu meat.

Sep 28, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween #68. Hole Waimea Pt. 2

 "What's on the agenda tomorrow?" Malani asked while spreading his blanket out on the trunk of the Dodge. 

Sep 24, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #64. Chances.

Erin and I moved into this simple two-story condo newly built on the slopes of Punchbowl Crater town facing side.

Sep 23, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #63. Curse.

Someone at work put a curse on us. Why, we don't know, but people were coming down with a horrible rash and then calling out sick for several days. My friend Kirby and I panicked because we didn't want to come down with this sickness. We didn't realize it was a curse until I glanced at Odette Oshiro's desk. I didn't see it immediately because Odette had many little potpourri pouches all over her desk. However, there was one that didn't match. I got up, walked over to Odette's desk, and noticed a little pu'olo made from Ti-leaf. Someone had left it there to curse us, which meant it was someone in our office. Kirby and I went down the list. It couldn't be one of the two of us because we're here, at the office. But if one of the other co-workers at home was horribly sick, why would they infect themselves?

"To throw off suspicion," Kirby said.

"That's sinister," I replied. "It would take a very sick mind to do that,"

When we weren't filling out reports, filing them, and emailing them, we were speculating who might have a bone to pick badly enough that they'd have to curse our office. To say that we were exhausted by the end of the day is putting it lightly. Even though our cars were parked ten feet away, it felt like years as we trudged toward them. It was difficult not to nod off on the drive home. Kirby would call me at home later to tell me the same thing. The following day, the office located in a building built in 1792 lay bare and deathly quiet. Just the way I like it. 

Sep 22, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #62. Penny.

School is where you assume you'll be safe from the things that make themselves known to you in your home.

Sep 21, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #61. Spiriting.

If I were a circus act, I'd be the clown juggling different size bowling pins and other assortments of bowling balls.

Sep 18, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023 #58 Hauola. Malama ka 'ike.

It's sooner than now when I post a story here on the blog.

 Presently, it's 5:31 p.m. The tale of Hauola and hula and love, loss, and life comes from my own experiences and the hope that we can all gain closure so that new doors open, as they say. I come from a bombastic male hula style that traces back to Waimapuna as its origins. My other hula genealogy, according to my kumu Kaleo, who finished me so that I could continue as a kumu hula, said that we come from the Kauai style, which dates back to antiquity. That particular style is the one I've taught to the wahine who've danced for me. I don't suppose you know this, but you shouldn't be surprised that hula can be a jealous art filled with drama and trauma. Here is such a tale.

The land purchased to build the halau, which would be the living manifestation of Hauola's memory, was perfect in its placement as it aligned with the mauna behind it as it faced the ocean from the front entrance. It gave Leipili a sense of peace and content. It's where she felt her daughter closer to her than she did in her own home. Many in the halau thought Leipili and Kumu Kalani would come together to marry since they'd known one another for so long, as it was Kumu Kalani who gave the land to Leipili to build the halau. Kumu Kalani also constructed and dedicated the kuahu to Hauola, giving birth to the halau spiritually and physically. There was no question that the two loved one another, but too much had passed between them, and they needed more than the death of Hauola to keep them as one. Kumu Kalani continued with work at the health department and periodically made himself available at halau whenever Leipili needed him. Otherwise, he kept to himself.

When Leipili opened a keiki class for hula, many parents signed up, and she had twenty students. One Kamalo Akiu was always brought to Papa Hula by his father Steven who was single. Friday, Saturday, and Sunday was his weekend with his son, so he decided they should do hula together. Steven attended the adult hula class for men and women on regular weeknights. It was an hour of hula basics, which was a workout. The introductory beginners class wouldn't learn their first hula until six months later, towards the middle of the year. On the weekends, for fun hula activities for his Kamalo's papa hula, Steven was there helping out in any way he could. Leipili and Steven took every opportunity to steal glances from one another, with either one or the other smiling and then looking away. The weekly hula basics class found Steven pretending to forget where his feet or hand placements should be so that Lei would have to come and correct him. Leipili's way was to hand something to Steven, and in doing so, she purposely let her fingers touch his and act as if nothing happened. 

"We can't date as long as you and your son are my students," she finally told him. "It would be awkward."

Steven's reply was to step forward and kiss Leipili. Soon, the two were locked in an intimate embrace in the middle of the halau office. Leipili stayed her passion long enough to let Steven know she could not make love in the space dedicated to her daughter. So, they went to her home, where time was of no consequence. The next day, they agreed that their dalliance should be kept between them, and so it was. Lei did not expect to see Steven drive up to Papa Hula later that week with one of the other beginners, where they sat in his car, making out until class started. Leipili said nothing and conducted her class typically. Steven and the young girl Kara walked out and left together after class. In fact, Steven repeated the pattern for the following months, dating a different girl from the halau without informing the other previous girl he'd been dating. Steven came to Papa Hula one month ago, and in the first fifteen minutes, he had to leave after breaking out in a horrible rash all over his body. It went on like that even when he brought Kamalo to his keiki papa hula. The rash worsened each time, so Steven's face swelled up and became puffy. Eventually, Kamalo's mother, Alyssa began bringing him to class, saying that Steven started working on weekends. 

"Kamalo told me that his father got all itchy, so he couldn't stay for class like usual," Alyssa said. "Is that true?"

"I never noticed anything," Leipili replied. "And, I'm the kumu; I see everything but never saw any rash anywhere. Besides, can't those things become contagious?"

Of course, Leipili noticed. After all, she prayed to the 'aumakua of the halau for a solution to Steven and his wondering pelvis. She got her answer in the form of a rash sent to him by Hauola.

Sep 13, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #53. Hauola Pt. 6.

More often than not, and more often than I cared, Dominic Watase appeared in Leipili's glass-enclosed cubicle, nodding with every word he said.

Sep 12, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #52 Pt.5. Hauola.

Admittedly, Lanai irritated me, which is putting it kindly. However, because of the false start at the beginning of the program and subsequent re-start the next day, Leipili didn't have a chance to sit down with me and go over the profile of the five wahine in the class.

"This is so you know what you're dealing with, and there are sensitive issues in teaching hula to five women who have suffered from abuse, as you can already figure out," Leipili began.

"Which is why you're here, to ensure everyone, including myself, is safe," I added.

"To make sure that we are all safe," she emphasized.

"Including myself," I repeated. "This is why when it comes time to adjust their posture, hands, feet, hips, and the direction of where their heads are supposed to be facing, you'll do it at my direction."

She shot me another death stare but this time it wasn't as long as the last one, "It makes sense; I can't argue with that," she said while making a note on her yellow steno pad. "Matilda Correa,"

"Who is that?" I asked.

"Your friend, Lanai," Leipili motioned her head toward the space outside her office that was now the hula class. "Makalanai, she claims that while on her journey to miss aloha hula, she went to Lanai look out and climbed down to rocks below where her kumu had her chant above the waves, and that while she was there, an old Hawaiian woman appeared and gave her the Hawaiian name she was supposed to use for merrie monarch, without it, she wouldn't be able to dance. Makalanai was that name,"

I sighed while placing my elbows on the desk and wringing my hands together. "I knew she was lying, and she knew it too, and I kept giving her an out, but she wouldn't take it,"

"She's a borderline pathological liar and has a histrionic personality disorder," Leipili began to explain, but I stopped her. 

"I know that one; my father had it. It got worse when he got older," I said. 

"Eponine Maunalahi," Leipili eyed the profile before her on the screen. 

"Oh, Les Miserables," I nodded. "Interesting,"

"Kamehameha school graduate," Leipili continued to read. "A prodigy, an ingenue, like the Eponine in the story. Brilliant singer, destined for the opera,"

"How did she end up here?" I wondered while already knowing the basic outline of the answer. 

"She got pregnant, and her mother made her get an abortion," Leipili looked away from the screen and leaned across her desk. "She was going places, and she was their meal ticket to get to those places, so the parents decide that she can't be saddled down with a kid. She gets hapai two more times, and the same thing happens. The father had been abusing her, and the mother looked away. It all came to a head when one night. Epi tried to kill her parents while they slept. They'd die if they didn't wake up just in time."

I shook my head and leaned back in my chair, "That's a lot of layers to get through,"

"All that was in the eighties; she's been through a string of abusive relationships, each one worse than the one before or similar," Leipili said. "I guess enough was enough at some point, and she's here,"

"Next?" I asked.

"Free Brown, that's her actual name. Not an ounce of Hawaiian, but one of those hardworking types that you always want on your side," Leipili tapped her pen on the screen. "Her girlfriend never physically abused her, but mentally and emotionally, she did a number on her, so she's here too,"

"And this Malia, is she the histrionic type too? Has to be the center of attention, provocative?" I asked.

"Malia Bentosino, former flight attendant flight instructor, worked at several of the lu'au shows, a bunch of jobs throughout her career. Shows up to work with bruises on parts of her body, quits her job, and finds another one. Her mother forced her to participate in this program; otherwise, she wouldn't have come alone."

"The last one?" I asked because I was beginning to get hungry while trying to absorb the information I was being given. 

"Lueka Payne, formally Keao. According to her close family and friends, who Lueka was as opposed to who she became after she married Raymond Keao, it was like night and day. She was skinny, not that it matters, beautiful, vibrant, and the apple of her tutu's eye. Then she met Raymond, and it all changed," Leipili began. 

"Alright," I replied. "That's all I need to know."

"Why are you doing that?" Leipili needled more than she was asking.

"Why am I doing what?" I replied.

"Well, except for Epi's story, you really haven't asked or allowed me to talk in detail about the abusers of these women," she shook her head. "Why is that? If you're worried about retaliation, their partners don't know where they're at and have no means of communicating with or locating them. Others like Lanai are here because it was recommended as part of their therapy, and a few are here because it's court-ordered, so you have no reason to be concerned,"

"Like me," I added. "I'll do what I'm required to do, but that's it. I'm not crossing the line into sitting around the campfire or baking cookies to get to know one another. I don't have to know shit about their abusers because you and I knew one pretty well until he...I don't care, so save the details for yourself,"


"Palms down, fingers of opposite hands facing each other! Elbows out, not resting against your ribs so you look like a chicken!" I commanded. "And walk, walk, walk, walk, left, right, left, right, left, right. Shoulders back, chest out, chin up! Confidence ladies! Confidence!" Simple timed walking, and they were all perspiring. "Keep your mouths closed and breathe through your nose! It Doesn't matter what comes out of your nose; breathe through it! Toes first, roll to the heel! Toes first, roll to the heel!"

They were beginning to absorb the concept of stature, how to stand tall, elongate the spine, and throw the shoulders back, immediately bringing the chest forward. Chin up as you walk, which gives you the appearance of purpose and direction so no one fucks with you. Step light on your feet like a feather, almost as if you're floating as you walk. Of course, their shoulders were killing them, but it was nothing in a month. Soon, the walk they learned in hula was the walk they did naturally without knowing they were doing it. Next was learning the kaholo. Getting the four steps to the right and left was more complex than they thought because more came with it, looking in the direction they were going. 

"Look in the direction of your right and left kaholo, not with your eyes but turning your entire head in that direction with your chin pointed over your shoulder, head back a little like you're stuck up, and you're saying, 'Whatchu looking at?' If you look with just your eyes while doing your right and left kaholo, you might as well be saying, 'Whatchu faka?' The ladies thought it was funny, but I was serious. "From now on, as you kaholo right and left, that's what I want all of you to say out loud, 'Whatchu you faka?' I made them do it that way until they stopped laughing and began saying it seriously. In a month, we moved on to hela, extending your feet to touch the surface before you at a forty-five-degree angle while moving the hip in the opposite direction. I know, pat your tummy, rub your head. It was not easy, but they got it like the timed hula walk and the kaholo. Except, when they extended their feet to touch the floor flat-footed, I had them say, 'Trip, you faka.'

Before they could move on to the other steps like kawelu, ku'i, ka'o, and the various types of kaholo, they first had to learn the taskmaster of all hula steps, the 'uwehe. Sway to the right, knees pop up in the middle, sway to the left, and knees pop up in the middle. Continue accordingly until the kumu calls for another step change, which will come on the left step. Otherwise, the 'uwehe could go on until the end of the class. 

Lanai piped in once or twice but only to ask specifics regarding the hula step. More of her dramatic stories would come during the breaks. Epi wasn't anti-social, but didn't try to communicate either. Free was cool with everyone but during the breaks she often went off to the side and practiced on her own. Malia was always being the social butterfly with the other ladies, and if she wasn't doing that she was always trying to strike up a conversation with me. Leipili guided the conversation and Malia somewhere else. Lueka, for all the basics she practiced which I knew was already in her body memory showed all the makings of her tutu 'Iliahi's teachings. For her height, and her size, she was magic. It was the one part of herself that she couldn't make small and hide in the corner somewhere. She scared me because she was most like Hauola. be continued

Sep 11, 2023

Sep 9, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #49 Hauola Pt. 2

The service at Hawaiian Memorial was standing-room only. Hauola's casket was covered in a thin white veil as Leipili was concerned that too many people may have wanted to kiss her daughter one last time because of how much she was loved.

Sep 7, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #47 Carter.

He touted himself as a treasure hunter, but really, he was a thief. They all were who called themselves archaeologists and the like. In the early days of Palolo Valley, he was caught pilfering a small burial cave, removing the remains of a Hawaiian woman because around the skeletal neck was a lei niho palaoa. In his Ford truck, which he also stole, lay the remains of the Hawaiian woman in a box meant for a carburetor and other auto parts. It was soaked in oil and grease stains, where the bones of this Hawaiian woman of consequence lay. He barely escaped the wrath of the angry Hawaiians who caught him red-handed as he descended the trail. They threw hand-sized rocks at him when they couldn't cuff him about the face or neck. He was bruised and contused, but fear gave him speed enough to escape his assaulters. It was worth it, though; now, he had to meet the museum curator for his cash exchange. A block before Wai'alae Avenue, a woman suddenly stepped onto the road from nowhere, nearly causing him to hit her head on. He swerved in time to miss her, or so he thought. He exited the truck to be certain, but there she was, lying prone on the pavement. No sign of blood or broken bones, wearing only a thin veil of material and visibly naked underneath. She was naturally beautiful, and it excited his desires, but all that stopped once he saw the lei niho palaoa around her neck. He nudged her three times and when she did not respond, he attempted to remove the whale tooth pendant from around her neck, but something stopped him. He stood and momentarily regarded the Hawaiian woman on the ground and simultaneously thought about the remains of the other Hawaiian woman sitting in the box on the seat of the Ford. He went to check it, and there it was, still with the lei niho palaoa around its skeletal neck. Rushing back to the Hawaiian woman lying on the pavement, he was stunned to find she was gone. Something didn't sit right with him, but he didn't have time to worry about it. He had to get to the museum. 

When he drove up, it was late, and the curator was impatiently waiting at the back gate. The exchange was made. Cash first, Hawaiian bones after. Holding up the lei niho palaoa, which the curator carefully removed, "Yes, very nice work, Mr. Carter. It is well worth the money," he exclaimed. "I'd like to offer you more money for the whale tooth pendant your lady friend is wearing. Do you think she'd give it to me for a fair price?"

"I don't know what lady friend you're talking about," Carter was confused.

The curator pointed to the truck and said, "Her, sitting in your truck. Do you think she'd sell it to me?"

Only an hour ago, the Hawaiian woman lay on the pavement of what is now Palolo and Wai'alae. Now, she sat there in the front seat of the Ford, staring at both men. She let herself out of the truck, fading into smoke as she walked toward them. When the bodies of the two men were found the next day, there were no signs of physical trauma on their persons. However, when the bodies were moved, oil and grease came pouring out of every orifice, spilling everywhere. The box with the bones of the Hawaiian woman, along with her lei niho palaoa, was gone. No trace or thought as to where it might have gone.

Hawai'i State Archives.

Sep 6, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #46 Spirit.

 Time was all I had. Time to sit with her, to watch her go from crying to crawling to taking her first step.

Sep 5, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #45. Ken.

 She's only a memory in a portrait now. I was there the day she posed for that watercolor, standing in the shallows at Keone'ula. Evidently, the artist was smitten by her. Who wouldn't be? All he needed was for her to look off to her left; she could move any way she chose as long she looked in that direction. In less than thirty minutes, he was done. Exhausted physically and emotionally, as we all were at one time or another when it came to her, the artist found the need to sit. His legs went out from under him. We had to help him sit in his chair while she continued to walk about in the shallow water. 

"My god," he gasped. "I've never had such an experience; she took everything out of me,"

"She'll continue to do it if you let her," Obviously, the artist assumed I meant that as a compliment to his inspiration for her and not as a warning. 

"Done?" She asked.

"Yes," the artist replied. "We are done, and you are free."

She removed her pareo, tossing it on the damp sand just beyond the reach of the water as it ebbed and flowed. Taking two steps into the tide, she dove in, and she was soon swimming out. He watched, hypnotized, never letting his eyes leave her form as she swam back and forth. "Money is no object," he said. "I just need to paint more of her until I can't." Grabbing my arm, he adjusted his chair until he looked up at me. "I know she's yours, old man, but you must understand, as an artist, I must have her!"

"To paint, you mean?"

"I mean in all forms, in every capacity until I am done!" Desperation marked his face. I've seen it before when it came to her.

"She's not a piece of property for me to give. She's not an object you can have and throw away at a whim," the warning went entirely over his head. He was not asking my permission; he acted as if he was, but he would do it if I agreed to his demands or not. I did warn him. I whistled and waved my arms, catching her attention briefly while she floated in the waves. I gave her the hand signal that I was leaving. She returned the 'OK' sign. "Ken, remember what I said. She belongs to no one, not a man, woman, or animal. Remember that when she's leaving because she's bored."

He ignored me, waving me off as if I were a gnat, circling around his perspired brow, trying to lick the salt off his skin. His artwork of her in his various mediums became the talk of that world, yielding him the money and recognition he craved. It was all secondary to how much he desired her. With every dalliance, Ken didn't realize that it was she who expressed herself through him. He was her tool; she used his skill to manifest herself on canvas through clay, spray paint, charcoal, crayon, whatever it took. Ken no longer had control. Finally, when she fulfilled her craving, she became bored and left. A year later, Ken was rich beyond his wildest dreams, but he was broken in the heart, spirit, and mind, but more so in his soul. He stayed that way for another six months until he withered down to nothing and died. 

When he signed the contract, I warned Ken about his inspiration to create tremendous artwork that would live beyond him. However, the prospect of immortality did not necessarily mean that he would live to see his best work take life. No one reads the fine print. It might have also helped Ken if I had told him that Analia was a succubus. 

Art by Edwin Ushiro

Sep 4, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #44. Anting-Anting

 After the spark of light has left the body in a month or longer, there's a chance that peace and quiet will return to the old house again.

Sep 3, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #43 Moon.

 Moonlight at its zenith is brilliant. Clearly, those of us are entranced because of it and pattern our lives according to its varying phases. In the park in the evening, others are overzealous and remove their clothing to show fealty to the bare moon in its truth. Or, so they claim. We are at the top of Koko Head Crater, waiting for the moon to awaken as it comes from the direction of Maui across the channel. Gathered around us are amateur astronomers, romantics, and curiosity seekers. Off to the side is a woman who, for some reason, looks out of place. She's dressed like anyone who's hiked these stairs, but she appears odd. Rabid with anticipation, the crowd squeals excitedly when the moon peaks its head from the east, rising near the Makapu'u light house. But it's coming too fast; it doesn't take its hours-long ascent like a peacock showing off its plumage. Before we know it, the moon sits directly high overhead and bathes us in a brilliant light. A light that is so bright that it emits a buzzing sound that vibrates through our bodies. We have to cover our ears and eyes. Then, the light and everyone else is gone except for myself and the odd woman. 

"They never take me," she wept. "I've been coming for years, and they never take me,"

"What?" I was stunned and stupefied. "What just happened? What was that?"

"Them," she said. "The aliens from the stars. They never take me."

Sep 2, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 20223. #42 Cutlery

 By the sound of it, someone in the kitchen systematically removes cup after plastic cup from the shelf and lets it fall to the linoleum floor.

Sep 1, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #41. Champ.

 My wife is out there right now in the living room watching our grandchildren while our adult children are at work.

Aug 31, 2023

Aug 30, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #39. Lori.

Jealousy lived in our household because of old family grudges we inherited from our parents, and their parents, and so forth, and so on.

Aug 29, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #38 Raynelle

 An encounter with a spirit came to Norman Reifsnyder in a dream that was so vivid that when he woke up, he could still smell the personal musk of that spirit on the sheets and pillows.

Aug 28, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #37 Hanging Out.

The old courthouse in town would be torn down in a few days, but because of a few concerns and worries from the developers, the powers that be gave me and my team precisely eight hours to do what we needed.

Aug 27, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #36 Waiwai

Children can't and don't know how to fight back when abused; the external leaves signs and marks of the abuse. It's the internal that leaves the most traumatic impressions. 

Aug 24, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #33 Liquify

Many kids rode their bikes in the gulch near our house. It was a neighborhood thing; everyone, at one time or another, hung out or met up in and around the gulch. The gulch was lined with thick bushes profuse with giant red hibiscus flowers. Whenever you rode your bike down the path, you could not help but brush up against them and get some yellow-spored dust on your arms and shirt. Our mothers hated that because it took several washes to get it out, and if we threw our stained shirts in with the regular laundry, it would spoil the rest of the clothes. Because some of our friends disappeared in the gulch, we were warned not to play there or, at the very least, not to go alone. Inea Mills was the first to vanish. At the end of a long afternoon, everyone's internal clock knew it was time to call it a day and go home. I remember we all began riding off, but Inea stayed behind, determined to master jumping the ramp without killing himself. We all took off, but not without promising to see Inea the next day at school. He never showed up, not that day, the day after, or the month later. It's been two years, and no one's seen him. Since then, Inea's parents know they drop 'Elau before school and pick him up after. He's not allowed to leave the perimeter of the house. He's Inea's younger brother. Next was Randall Bautista.
We were at the gulch one Saturday afternoon setting up the jump ramps. We'd move the ramps further apart each time we completed a jump. At some point, everyone gribbled on our bikes, dirt in the mouth and everything. Randall was the only one who completed each jump the further away the jump ramps were parted. In our boyhood minds, the ramps were fifty feet apart, but they might have been ten to fifteen feet. "I have to ride farther back," Randall pointed down the path. "More space and time to build up momentum!" He disappeared down the trail at the gulch to gain more space and ramp up more power to make the jump. Randall never came back. Three more kids vanished after that. It made five in a month. Ira Pihilo and his sister Marlene, then Calvin Yamashita, Senator Masa Yamashita's son. Heads rolled, and the news filmed Senator Yamashita standing near the entrance to the gulch, tearfully pleading his case for the return of his son. Calvin, like the others, disappeared. A fence was put up to block access, but because it was a state road, the military might have needed it one day just in case; the fence was taken down, and we returned to riding our bikes there. 

Unknown to the public, police staked out the place over a few nights and got nothing. There is no sign or indication of anyone or anything lurking about or laying in wait to set upon someone and kill them. On the last night, after a week of nothing, the police brought the K-9 units to the stakeout. The second the vehicles pulled up, the dogs were already agitated. Their partners left their squad cars and let them off the leash. There were three of them; two shepherds took off full tilt down the path. One stayed back, whimpering and very reticent to follow the other two. 

Within days, every officer available and unit conducted a large sweep of the gulch. They came away with the bulletproof vests that belonged to the K-9s but nothing else. Publicly, it was said that the two K-9 officers might have been led by feral pigs into the gulch and then killed. Privately, there was no proof that ever happened because no bodies were recovered, but the people needed something so that the death of the two shepherds was not meaningless. 

One day after school, I got home early, did my chores and homework, and headed to the gulch. Hardly anyone came around; if nobody was there, I wouldn't chance it alone. Today, though, Vili and his brother McShane were there. Two big Samoan brothers in the 6th grade. They were really nice and hilarious. They were testing their new BMX dirt bicycles by jumping off the makeshift ramps and skidding out in the dirt. Because the brothers were so big, their shirts were covered in the yellow spored dust from the giant hibiscus flowers. 

"It's Kawika, heyeehey!" They waved. "Ka heke o na pua, heyeehey!" 

If I haven't said it earlier, my name is Kawika, like the song by Palani Vaughn. I get teased about it constantly, but they harmonize when Vili and Shane do it. 

"How come you guys are here by yourselves?" I asked. "Shouldn't you be worried?"

"Us? No way," Vili scoffed. "Whoever's been taking our friends should worry!"

"Yup," McShane puffed out his chest. "I like see dem try!"

As if on cue, the branches of the thick hibiscus bushes reached forward like long, thin fingers, snatched both brothers into their thicket, and folded in on them. In seconds, the Vaiamu brothers were liquified like bugs within the confines of a Venus flytrap. That's how everyone disappeared, for god's sake! The yellow-spored dust marked the victims of this giant shrubbery or whatever it was. They were consumed and liquified to nothing when they got close enough. I hadn't gone down the path, so I didn't have any yellow dust on me, and yet the thin roots of the bush had already wrapped themselves around my tires. I left my bike where it was, and I ran, looking back long enough to see my bike and the brothers' bikes being also liquified in the thicket. 

I am years later in my adulthood, overlooking the gulch. It's warehouses and facilities for the city and county. The man-eating thickets are all gone. It's just the same, considering there's a brand new development overlooking the gulch, not just me. We all get consumed, one way or the other.

Artwork: Edwin Ushiro.

Aug 23, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #32 That Ain't No Way To Have Fun

 The head of the well-noted secret society exited from the second-floor stairway of his establishment, dressed in his signature suit.

Aug 21, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #30 Speak.

 My years of growing up toward the end of the plantation era in Hawai'i provided me with many spiritual encounters and rich stories from other ethnicities, such as Filipino, Japanese, Chinese, Okinawan, Portuguese, Puertorican, and Hawaiian.

Aug 18, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #27 Flying.

The scent of Pikake lei, interspersed with the aroma of jet fuel, is simultaneously pleasing to the senses and revolting.

Aug 17, 2023

Aug 16, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #25 Blaine 2.

 Doralei was a military brat who led a nomadic life following her father from South Korea, where she was born, to Germany, Texas, North Carolina, Fort Bragg, back to South Korea, and finally Hawai'i.

Aug 15, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #24. Blaine.

Blaine Shibuya grew up in the neighborhood just past the Fort Shafter on-ramp on Ala Mahamoe Street. 

Aug 13, 2023

Aug 9, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #18 Papa Lua Pt. 4


Tita made a life for herself in Vegas. Indeed, she knew there was a significant presence of ex-patriots from Hawaii who lived in and were moving to her county in droves.

Aug 8, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #17. Papa Lua Pt. 3.


Marilyn fell in love with Naua at first sight and had been trying to find an effective means of communicating with my brother without luck.

Aug 7, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #16 Papa Lua Pt. 2


Colin's parents had already told Tita's parents about her pregnancy before she could break the news to them. Needless to say, they were beyond upset.

Aug 6, 2023

Aug 5, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #14. Too Loud.

 The Chrysler van, with surfboards pilled on the roof, pulled up into the parking lot and out came the mother and her five children.

Aug 4, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #13 Kalani

The local paranormal investigator had great connections, so he could get into many places that no one else could. Like city hall, the municipal building, the DOT, and many remote yards for Hawaiian Tel.

Aug 3, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #12. Reese.

 The Martins, the Corderos', and the Medeiros were our neighbors on that small plot second to the corner house at the end of Kaukamana Street, crossing Kula'aupuni Road.

Aug 1, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #10. Ten Guitars.

 Jay's snoring was something to behold if you could stand being in the same room with him while he was doing it.

Jul 30, 2023

Jul 28, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #6 Mc Carthy



Chris Grant


His boots no longer made any noise on the sun-baked caliche outside the warped-wood saloon in the small west Texas outpost.

Jul 25, 2023

Jul 23, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween. # 1. Serah Wong 2023.


(Continued From 2022)

Ivan's life hovered at the sharp edge of a scalpel, held at the ready by Serah Wong, who was prepared to scoop his eyes out with surgical precision.

Jul 10, 2023

All Things Must Pass

I exist as a hermit only because I'd exhausted all other means of living what should have been a normal, everyday life. Wife, kids, house, car. It should have felt right, and life should have been beautiful. But, as time passed, so did this feeling that I was not in the right place; I was living a lie.

Jun 30, 2023

Burt's Pill Box

My brother Martin was a great storyteller. I was his rapt audience of one. Well, so was Laura, his girlfriend, but I was his younger brother, so I came first. He could share detailed information right off the top of his head with no problem. I could never figure out how Martin knew so much.

May 31, 2023



My brother Kili was allergic to peanuts, so none of those products could be in our house. One day we were over at Kevin Toguchi's house, hanging out and sharing sandwiches we brought along because our mom wouldn't let us go empty-handed to any of our friends' houses. Kevin's mom made sushi when we arrived, so we had a packed lunch. After a while, Kevin's mom came out with a jar of peanut butter with a spoon and told Kevin to feed it to their dog. The dog seemed to like Kili, so Kevin handed my brother the spoon and let the dog lick the peanut butter off the spoon. In the meantime, Kevin brought out his Gundam collection, and we were both looking at it when I heard Kili, "Buh-buh," that was what he called me. "I don't feel so good,"

Apr 25, 2023

Hapai Ia'u

The old house, as quaint and humble as I remember it, was always filled with people at one time or another.

Jan 29, 2023

Perfect For Rice 2022

 The Rice family lived at the end of the block where Lumialani and Lumi'au'au street met. Everyone who grew up in the community knew Lumi'au'au by its more notorious name, Suicide Hill.

Jan 2, 2023

Union Brotherhood

Believe it or not, stretches of old roads still exist on 'O'ahu, like Kiona'ole.