Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

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.

No pun intended, considering the circumstances. We finally contained the evil and malignant spirit of Neil David after years of having to deal with his twisted obsession with Tabby, the one victim who got away. The Rizal brothers took the small ipu that imprisoned his spirit and deposited it in a deep lua within the confines of Kalalau Valley on Kaua'i. What was unforeseen was Neil David possessing Serah Wong. What was also unforeseen was that Neil David couldn't occupy Serah's body for long because she is an inherently good person to her core, so her physical and spiritual bodies rejected him and threw him up. However, within that short period, Neil left just enough of his residue behind, affecting Serah at her physiological center and spreading from there. Realizing that she carried a near-demonic residual trauma that was not her own, she could only blame one person: me. 

"Serah, what do you want me to do?" I kept my voice even and did not move in her direction. "Just tell me, I'll do whatever it takes to help you,"

"You take this thing out of me and make it disappear," she hissed. Her voice could have raised to a higher decibel. If that were the case, I'd keep my voice very calm no matter what.

"You have to let my uncle go," I replied. "It's the only way I can help you,"

"I don't know if I can do that. You just told me that you used me and your family to get this thing out in the open so you could catch it and get rid of it. And now look? I'll let your uncle go, but you must come here and get him," Serah said. "Then, without any resistance, you must let me kill you. It's the only way to get this shit out of me; it's the only way." She pointed the scalpel at me, then slowly brought it up to Ivan's cheek, where she made a slight incision from there and down to his jawline. Ivan didn't squint once, but everybody else did. "That's not too uncomfortable, is it?"

Ivan grabbed Serah's hand in a flash as she held on to the scalpel, quickly crushing it under his vice-like grip. She screamed once and let the surgical instrument fall to the floor. Infuriated, Ivan picked it up and pressed the flat side of the blade to Serah's cheek. "I've been cut deeper by Mama Sans in Ho Chi Minh," Ivan scoffed while pressing the scalpel deeper. "You wait until you feel the teeth under the blade, put in the tip, and lift the skin away. Should I show you?"

"No," Serah shivered. "No,"

"Let her up, Ivan," Uncle Tiny stepped in. "She's a good girl, this one; she helped us out so many times,"

"It's not her fault, Uncle Ivan. You know that; I know you do." Gently, I grabbed his arm, pulling it away until it was safe enough to also take the scalpel from the old war veteran. Simultaneously, we all stepped back from Serah to tell her we meant no harm to her despite what had just happened. "We can help you, but it's not going to happen overnight; it's going to take a while,"

Her body language clearly showed that she didn't trust me, which I completely understood. "If it makes it easier, my Aunty Rita and daughter Tabby can help you. It's completely your choice," I motioned for everyone to step back and sit. "I'm sorry, Serah; I had no idea it would happen like this. Please let us help you."

Quietly, she walked out of the office, and on the way downstairs, she briefly thanked Kealoha and left. 

"I think I can help," Tabby offered. "Being possessed by Neil David and then Jack The Ripper last year, I can help her and talk her through all the after effects, what that's like, what it does to you, and how you live with it,"

There was complete silence from us; she knew what we were thinking. "We need baby steps with Doctor Wong. Even if we can help her, we can't simultaneously shove all this down her throat. She needs to trust us. It's the least we can do after all she's done for this office,"

"You talk here," I replied. "With your Aunty Rita nearby,"

"Alright," Tabby agreed. "We can talk here,"


Serah Wong tried to get on with her life. Now that she recognized what was going on internally, she could deal with it, like how one tolerates throbbing knee pains or re-occurring back spasms. It didn't last long; she began to crack at the foundation. She took painkillers first, then other drugs, before using alcohol. She finally came to us for help after falling asleep one night at the wheel while driving home. Nearly killing a family of five and having to pay a fine after going to court. One day, she appeared in front of Kealoha, asking if Tabby and Aunty Rita were upstairs. It was a gradual start, and it took a few years to help cleanse Serah and bless her. It's something about possession that not everyone is aware of. Exorcising the demon or spirit that has possessed a body is one thing, but exorcising the traumatic effects of said possession is something else entirely. Sometimes, if the entity is powerful, it leaves things you don't want to find behind. For Serah, it was every horrid deed that Neil David ever committed. During the entire term, I kept my promise to Serah and made myself scarce since I was the focus of her ire.

"We were just as upset with Boy as you were," Aunty Rita said. "I know I wanted to kill him when he told us what was happening, keeping us in the dark like that. But I suppose it is what you do when you're trying to protect the people you love."

"Except that I really wanted to kill him," Serah began. "I felt used, especially after everything I've done to help him. I see now that the residue of that possession must have amplified those feelings to the level of being murderous."

"He didn't see that coming," Tabby chimed in. "It bothered him more than you know, which is why you haven't seen him around all this time,"

"Whether you choose to talk to him or not is up to you," Rita leaned forward and put her hand on Serah's shoulder. "This office lives and dies by my nephew; he is its source of life; everything here is the result of his wisdom, guidance, and mana. He shoulders more responsibility than you will ever know in our world, but he's not perfect. No one is, and he knows this. You being possessed and his inability to foresee and prevent it weighs heavily on him, and he's taken it as a personal failure. Had Ivan not stopped you that day, Boy would have willingly given his life for his uncle if that's what it took. I'm not saying this to make you feel guilty or to shoulder you with any obligation to understand or feel sorry for Boy. I'm telling you this because my nephew is honorable to a fault, and more often than not, his honor has prevented him from having many things in his life that he more than deserves. It doesn't have to be now, but you should talk to him and get everything out."

Serah agreed. "I'd forgotten that he's done just as much for me as I have done for him,"


Tabby and Rita took Serah to a private cove in Makaha owned by a relative of Rita's. For five years, cleansings and blessings were done to heal Serah's internal and spiritual conflict. Out of gratitude, Serah made it a point to drive them to and from their destination. Tabby and Rita met her in front of the office at two in the morning and journeyed out to the west. On the last day,  the two asked to be dropped off at home. After, Serah found herself driving past the office and noticed a light was on upstairs. Loyal as ever, Kealoha sat out front guarding the door while simultaneously looking at his iPad. Serah made a U-turn at the intersection and parked behind the building. Kealoha was pleasantly surprised to see Serah as she came walking up.

"Doctor Wong! How have you been? It's been such a long time!" His big, meaty arms opened, and Serah fell into them.

"I've been fine; it's good to see you!" Serah half laughed and half smiled.

"Is the boss expecting you, Doctor Wong?" Kealoha asked.

"No, I don't have an appointment, but I was driving by and saw that the light was on upstairs. I thought I'd stop by for a chat," Serah explained. "Would that be alright, you think?"

Hesitating for a second, Kealoha glanced up toward my office window and regarding Serah with his like for her and his duty to me, his massive form and height of six feet, seven inches caved in. "It should be fine, Doctor Wong; you can go up,"

Walking past him and stepping into the birdcage elevator, Serah thanked him. As the doors closed and the cart began lifting itself and its occupant to the above floor, Serah lightly scolded Kealoha. "Stop calling me Doctor, I'm your friend, call me Serah,"

"Okay, Doctor Wong!" Kealoha waved.

I was closing out the paperwork on a scholarship for a Hawaiian artist who needed help making headway with getting his work noticed. I saw him one afternoon at a crowded coffee shop where I would meet Tabby for a quick lunch. He sat in the far corner of the shop with his friends. His back faced me, and that's when I saw the jacket he wore. On it was the face of an Ali'i. What caught my attention was that the image differed from the typical recreation based on another artist's work. It wasn't clean and manufactured; it had grit and imperfections but was primal and tangible. As Tabby and I talked and enjoyed our meal together, the young man and his friends walked toward us, and I made it a point to stop him so he could know how much I admired his artistry. I gave the young man my number and e-mail. We'd meet three days later, and I offered him a scholarship, which he graciously accepted. His name is Aukele, and he was shocked that the scholarship and my willingness to help him cost nothing. No strings, no catch, no con. I suggested he bring his parents and girlfriend to meet me so they could all see and know that the scholarship was on the level. We met at Mock Chew's for Chinese dinner, and I found myself charmed and humbled before this wonderful Hawaiian family. It was refreshing to step without the office doors and meet natural, visceral, normal, flesh and blood people trying to live their lives despite their struggles and worries. 

A quiet knock came at the door. Looking at my clock, it showed that it was well after midnight. The portal opened before I could call Kealoha, and Serah stepped forward. "Hi, sorry to bother you so late. I didn't mean to disturb your privacy, but I wondered if I could talk to you?"

"Sure," I motioned to the couch on the left. "Have a seat, please. Did you want something to drink and a snack to go with it?" Before she could politely refuse, I had already brought her a can of peach tea and a small bag of pretzels. I sat on the chair behind my desk, and there was that moment of awkward silence before she spoke up.

"I wanted to apologize first," she began.

"Don't," I stopped her. "The apology is mine,"

Photo Credit: @helgaweber

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