Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 20, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween #29 Drone Me.

 My mom warned me about playing outside past curfew.

I know you already have an idea of where this story is going. I don't listen to my mom, and I have an encounter of the supernatural kind and barely make it back home, after which I never disobey my mother's word again. Dude, that's what drones are for. I had three of them. A big one, a micro-sized one, and one medium-sized just right. The evening routine in my house goes on just as it does every evening. Homework, dinner, bath, leisurely whatever time, and then bed. It's the last routine that has me sitting on the bench-like space on my window sill in my bedroom. Technically, I am in bed. My foot is on it while I send out my microsized drone to scour the neighborhood for things my mom warned me about. Boogiemen, menehune, night marchers, and the vengeful spirit of the woman two blocks down who was murdered by her husband. Instead of sending my drone on a pervert's journey through our neighborhood, I sent it up to the end of Ahuiman Road, where it eventually forks off to two driveways. I sent the drone past that, switching on the micro-night vision camera. Nothing too surprising came up in the first twenty minutes. Hunters, hikers, homeless, a few stray dogs, and one or two feral pigs. I decided to bring the micro drone back in case the battery started getting low. I'd send out the medium-sized one after. 

When the micro came back, the underbelly was hot. I couldn't send that one out on longer flights anymore. My bad; I'd have to keep it close to the neighborhood from now on. The medium-sized drone was equipped with a night vision camera with more clarity than the micro. This time, I caught someone setting booby traps toward the higher elevation of the Ko'olau. He stood at the perimeter of what looked like a palapalai field, but it was really pakalolo. I quickly moved the drone out of his sight line before he somehow destroyed it with a gun or something? I flew up higher and moved on to another part of the forest. There wasn't anything there for a while. I was finally ready to give it up and call in my twenty, so to speak, when I saw a lone figure walking down Ahuimau Road, heading back to what I always jokingly referred to as civilization. He was illuminated by the night vision camera on the drone, and he didn't seem bothered by the fact that he was walking in the pitch black. He was about my age, if not older, and his form seemed familiar. Was he one of my classmates from school? He wore the same Korean haircut many boys were forced to get because our moms were such big K-pop fans. I may have known him. I brought the drone around to look at him and see who he was. It was blurry at first, but once the camera focused.

 Shit! Fucking shit! 

I grabbed my flashlight and one of my aluminum baseball bats and tore out of the house, sprinting up Ahuimanu road, when I saw him walking just off Malumalu place. He stopped dead in his tracks and slowly backed up. I stopped, too, instead inching forward. He turned and took off, with me in close pursuit, my high-beamed flashlight on him the whole time. He got to the fork leading to the last two houses at the end; before he could run into the thicket of bushes, I whipped my flashlight at him and got him square in the back of his head.

"Uuuunnnah," he went tumbling down in a heap. I was right on top of him and ready to strike, but her brought his foot up and kicked me just below my belly button, sending me sprawling. He stood up and looked at me for a second. I'd already recovered my flashlight and had it shining in his face. Except it was my face, body, hands, and feet in clothes I didn't own, pants I didn't wear, and shoes I didn't have. There was no reaction from him, no acknowledgment of recognition, and no words. He turned and walked into the mountains, rubbing the back of his head. I never saw him again. 

I gave my drones away to my next-door neighbor, Dustin. My mom was pissed, but she understood when I told her about what happened. For the remainder of the school year, I examined every face I encountered until I graduated to intermediate. Even then, I closely scoured the yearbooks, looking for him. For me. No luck. Even now, at Castle, nothing. All the malls, strip malls, beaches, golden archers, everywhere in Kane'ohe, Kailua, Kalaheo, Lanikai, even hiking up Ahuimanu, nothing. Where would he have gone if I hadn't seen him on my drone that night, walking down Ahuimanu? Was he going to my house to kill me and replace me? Or was he going somewhere else? Some other place that he called home where ever it was that he came from? I'll never know, but one thing is for sure. When your mom says no playing outside past curfew? It applies whether you're outside in person or via a drone. 

Credit: Henry Vaughn.

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