Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

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.

The closest comparison was the sound of lava newly erupting. New earthmoving tectonic plates and the tumbling pavement hurt your ears and simultaneously struck an unexplainable fear into your heart. This was Jay's snoring. I never got used to it, and I don't know how Cyndi put up with having to sleep next to my brother for thirty years. Cyndi left an hour ago to shower and change clothes, after which she'd return and relieve me. It was nearly midnight. For no reason, I remembered the specifics of Candy and Tammy Morinaga's life before tragically dying. The twins had won a prize for the Englebert Humperdinck contest that would fly them to New Zealand to see him perform in person and to have their favorite album autographed by him, along with pictures and dinner. Their favorite song of his was ten guitars, which they played incessantly on their personal record player, which they brought with them everywhere they went. Then there was Kai Murashige, whose reason for being in the children's hospital was something I would never find out. However, I did find out how and why he died. His parents stopped paying for his stay and his treatments, whatever they were. They picked up and moved back to Japan. When the doctor and staff explained this to Kai, they asked if he had any other family to take him in. "No," he said. "They all live in Japan, and I don't know how to contact them."

Kai knew he had several days left before he would finally have no choice but to leave the hospital with no one to come and get him and no family to go home to. "Of course," I said to myself. "He took his own life,"

Scotty Boyd had what everyone thought was severe asthma, but what really took his life were the arteries to his heart that were deteriorating at a quick pace. It was a matter of time before nature took its course. He was in the children's hospital to die. As for my grandmother Mary, she passed of natural causes at her home in Hilo. She'd intended that morning to catch a flight to Honolulu, where she'd meant to spend time with me at the hospital until my parents would come to see me later in the day. She said so to my parents when she called them the day before. Her determination to see her sick grandson survived her physical death and her spirit came to see me anyway. Why are they manifesting fifty-four years later, maudlin in appearance? 

"Don't worry," the quiet voice startled me. Grandma Mary was sitting in a chair on the other side of Jay's bed. "We're not here to take your brother; we know that's what you're worried about,"

"You're here to take me then?" I asked straight forward.

"No," Grandma replied. "Grandson, your time at the children's hospital was so traumatic because you got close to the twins, to Scotty, and as difficult as he was, Kai too. It was too much for your young mind and heart when they all died nearly one after the other. Even after you returned home and found out that I had already died while you were in the hospital, something broke in you, and you saw your experience as fearful and terrifying when all it was was life transitioning as it always does no matter what,"

She could see that I was still taking it all in, "You stay with your brother through his recovery and focus on your love for him, and these memories of yours will go away,"


"Fucking idiot," I scolded him. "You're here recovering from a heart attack and flirting with the nurses?"

"It's nothing," he protested. "It's not like I got their number or anything,"

"If it's not the heart attack that kills you, it's going to be Cyndi, and I'm going to watch and laugh while she does it," I warned him.

"You're a pain in the ass," he hissed. I grabbed his phone and deleted all of the text messages from the nurse, who gave Jay too much of her bedside manner. "What the fuck are you doing?" He yelled, trying to retrieve his phone back from me. 

"You'll thank me later," I deadpanned.

"As soon as I can, Blake, I'm gonna kick your fucking ass!" Was he threatening me? I grabbed his nipple through the material of his shirt and pinched it really hard. Randomly, glancing up at the window of the room where Jay had stayed for six months, I saw them all looking down at me. Grandma Mary, Scotty Boyd, Candy and Tammy Morinaga, and Kai. They nodded slightly and waved. I nodded back and wheeled my brother to his car, where Cyndi and the kids were waiting. It was a lovely, cool afternoon, and a soothing wind filled the parking lot and caused us to let out a collective sigh. I supposed that to relieve trauma, you have to face it and re-live a part of it. I always pray for those five spirits, hoping they are all in a better place.


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