Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

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.

Freddy Cordero was my arch-enemy, and sometimes it was Stevie Medeiros. Also, Guy Kaneshiro lived in the house before our four-house plot. None was worse an enemy to my eight-year-old self than Reese Corpuz. He and his father, Lionel, and his mother, Alma, moved into the Medeiros's house once Steven Senior entered the painters union and moved to town. Reese played with us on the first day and immediately began to single me out, whether we played basketball, where he'd push or elbow me. In baseball, he'd constantly try to bean me with the baseball, or when we were just hanging out, he'd throw something at me or pull my hair. One day, I'd had enough. We are sitting on the lawn fronting the dirt path that leads to my house. When Reese came to join us, he said hello to everyone else but decided to lightly kick me in my ribs. I jumped up and punched him in the eye, knocking him on his ass. I could see the shock in his face, plus he was embarrassed after getting away for so long with harassing me. He stood up to come after me, but I stopped him with a kick to his stomach. After that, he slowly limped home. 

Until then, I'd never told my parents about Reese and his assholery. That was until later that afternoon when everyone came and said Reese's father wanted to talk to me. I approached the front door of his house but did not go in. He sat on his recliner in the darkened living room. He was tanned from working in the sun all day. His eyes were bloodshot because he was already drunk at four in the afternoon. He nursed a bottle of primo beer with his right hand, still dressed in his work clothes. An undershirt, a thick pair of jeans, and heavy wool socks. His curled hair was askew and matted down by perspiration, and the slight curl of his upper lip told me he was angry.

"Why you black Reese's eye for?" He asked.

"He was making trouble to me," I answered.

"So you have to punch him in the eye?" Lionel leaned forward. "You like me punch you in the eye, then?"

There it was; the apparent cause for Reese being a little prick at eight years old sat right before me. I could see it there and then that Lionel beat his wife Alma, which made no sense to me because of how beautiful she was. I was eight years old, so I didn't understand insecurities and self-loathing, but Reese would grow up to be like his good old dad. At that moment, Alma entered the living room with a small plate of raw corned beef, raw onions, and Hawaiian salt. She placed it on the small table beside where Lionel sat and left the room. All I could muster was a weak and insincere "I'm sorry,"

"Get the fuck outta my sight," he waved his beer bottle at me.

I turned around and went down the steps. The second my foot touched the grass, Reese came out of nowhere and blindsided me. Running at full speed, he pushed me from behind, knocking me to the grass. I grabbed the nearest stone I could get a hold of and whipped it in Reese's direction, catching him at the base of his skull. He yelped, grabbed the spot where the rock hit him, and went tumbling on the grass. My eight-year-old mind realized he would keep coming after me if I didn't finish him right then. Shit, I don't even know why he disliked me so much on the first day we met, but it just got worse. I grabbed an arm full of rocks from the garden next to the front steps and walked toward Reese's writhing form, not just a few feet away, beaning him as I approached. He yelled and screamed in pain, which meant Lionel would come running out of the house at any moment, but Alma came out and covered Reese's body with her own.

"It's not Reese's fault," Alma pleaded. "His father is a bad, twisted man; when we first moved in, he was the one that told my son that if he didn't make trouble to you, he'd beat him every day. Go home," she pleaded. "My son won't bother you anymore,"

I dropped the rest of the rocks on the lawn, went home, and had every intention of telling my parents what had been happening with Reese and how the whole matter concluded. However, as I passed the opened front door, I saw Lionel sitting on the recliner, dead drunk and passed out. I'll tell my folks later. 


My father was mad that I never told him when I was supposed to, but he wasn't angry enough to give me the belt on my back end. One day, Reese and his parents were gone. They took what they needed because there was a lot of stuff they left behind. Years later, in the 80s' there was a story in the news about an eighteen-year-old boy who murdered his parents in their sleep and then went to a local pizza place to have dinner. Afterward, he went to the old Beretania police station and turned himself in. The authorities said it was retaliation after years of physical and mental abuse. His name was Reese Corpuz.

Photo Credit: Barbie Beaton.

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