Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 6, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #15. Papa Lua


None could be more filled with a love for all people and all things than my brother, Naua.

His was a nature of innocence and purity. Rarely was he ever cross or angry, but when he was, it was justified and woe to those who incurred his wrath. Mother named him Naua after her favorite variety of taro, of which flavor she enjoyed once it was pounded into the consistency of poi. But, unfortunately, our mother failed to consider that the name Naua contained two other meanings. One meaning was that of a person who was aloof and not sociable. The other was someone who needed to be more timely and slow-moving.

For this, my brother was teased mercilessly at school and was a frequent visitor at the principal's office after having to defend his name. Naua was especially vexed with our mother and questioned why she could not have given him a more common name than the one he was forced to live with? A month passed before he finally decided to speak to her. As a man, Naua grew to a straight height of six feet. Athletic and solid in stature, he was without comparison in his judo classes. However, by nature, as I have mentioned before, my brother was gentle and innocent and would not venture to harm the slightest creature. Because Naua sought no ambition to make of himself a person of reputation who coveted money and beautiful women, he found himself content to work in a picture frame warehouse in the Honolulu business district. His life would be one where he would live his years in the house he grew up in. It would be the same home where he would come to spend the last years of his life. Or so he had hoped.


One fateful day at the picture frame store, no one who worked in the showroom or the cash register attended the front. They all seemed to have drifted off somewhere. In their absence appeared a young Hawaiian girl who had not yet reached the full age of womanhood. Yet, at nineteen, she was of surpassing beauty, radiant in appearance and without needing her face to be made up. The length of her hair rested on her shoulders before it cascaded down her bare back as she wore a tank top and shorts. On her feet were a pair of sandals made from leather. She leaned over the counter, hoping to see someone who could help her, but no one seemed available. So, she called out for assistance. It was Naua who heard her, and it was Naua who peeked out from the heavy curtain which separated the showroom from the warehouse. "Yes?"

"Could you help me?" The young girl entreated. "I need a frame for my grandpa's picture; it's for his funeral services. I have his picture with me," removing the photo from a manila folder tucked in her shoulder bag, she held it up for Naua to look at. Reluctantly going forward, Naua had difficulty breathing, and his legs were shaky. Nervously, he took the envelope and removed the black and white "8x10" photograph. The older Hawaiian man in the picture presented a foreboding presence with his shock of white hair and thick mustache and beard. His eyes were wild and piercing, and Naua could not help but be captured by the old man's gaze. "He was a kahuna; many feared him, but he was good to me. I loved my papa, and I miss him."

Still affected by the girl's beauty, Naua could only mutter a reply. "What kind of wood do you need for the frame?"

"Koa," the girl replied, misty-eyed. "How long is it gonna be?"

"Thirty minutes," Naua said. "You can wait here or come back later,"

"I'll wait," the girl managed a smile.

"May I have your name?" Naua asked.

"My name is Rochelle, but you can call me Tita," she said.

"Tita," Naua said to himself as he wrote the name down in the manifest. "I'll be out in thirty minutes."


By the time Naua was finished with the frame, everyone who worked in the showroom and the cash register returned from whatever task called them away. Tita told the sales clerks that Naua was putting a koa wood frame together for her grandfather's picture for his funeral services. When the task was completed, Naua appeared before Tita and gave her the picture frame for her approval. The young girl was so pleased that she hugged Naua, who could not help but be surprised. Her hair was fragrant, like a garden with only the lushest flowers. Her body was warm, and her head resting on his chest made him dizzy. He pulled away quickly, fearing being lost in her embrace and becoming embarrassingly excited. She removed the photograph of her grandfather from her manila folder and slid it into the frame. It was perfect. Paying for the work, Tita departed the showroom after writing her phone number down for Naua. In return, Naua thought that it was only fair that he write down his phone number for her as well. His handsome face, athletic build, and presence did not go unnoticed by Tita. Hugging him at the end was purposeful; she could feel his muscles under his clothing. Unfortunately, his natural musk also sent her over the edge, and she found she had to will herself to let him go. Otherwise, she would have soon kissed him in front of everyone. Later that afternoon, near closing time, Naua received a text message on his phone from Tita. "I know this seems forward, but would you mind attending my grandfather's services this evening? I need someone, and I don't want to be alone." Naua replied in the affirmative, and Tita sent him the address to the funeral parlor.

Naua rushed home and changed into his coat and tie, which he only wore to church or at someone's wedding. In an hour, he presented himself to Tita at the evening services. The two embraced, and Tita took Naua around and introduced him to her parents and family. By the end of the evening, Tita asked Naua to bring her home. Still, by Naua's suggestion, the two went to Kaimana beach first, where he encouraged her to join him for a cleansing in the ocean to rid themselves of any negative energy from the funeral. Tita agreed, and soon, they fell into one another's arms and kissed deeply for what seemed like forever. Tita wrapped her legs around his waist in the water as they continued to explore. 

"Not here," she whispered to him. "Let's go to your place,"

Naua drove Tita home early the following morning, but not before they made love again. Pulling up to her home at Maunalani Heights, piles of cars were parked in the large roundabout driveway. The two exchanged a kiss before Tita departed. Naua sat there a second and watched as she walked away, knowing that his life would never be the same from that moment on. But, without a doubt, he was in love. 


Tita was pregnant, and her parents were happy because they assumed Colin Chun was the father. Colin was part Chinese on his father's side and part Hawaiian on his mother's side. They were a very well-to-do family who owned Hawaii and the mainland properties. It had always been known that Colin would work for his father and eventually inherit the family business. He and Tita were classmates at a prestigious school for Hawaiian children and youth. It was assumed by Tita's and Colin's parents that the two would eventually marry. They may have done things out of order by getting pregnant first, but no matter what, they would marry, and then the child would come into the world as expected. Both families would remain intact, with no blemish to their names. However, Colin was not the father. Tita's lust for Naua clouded her judgment. The best thing for her, which befitted her personality and lifestyle, would have been to be with Colin. Colin had a future and could give Tita financial security,  but she chose Naua. Naua's ambition was to work at the warehouse and live with his family for the rest of his days. This is what Tita had to look forward to. She never imagined that she might actually have to work as well. Colin sat in his bedroom looking through some of his vintage comics, trying to figure out which one he would sell. Then, Tita appeared in front of his bedroom door, lazily holding her purse and motioning for him to follow her. 

"Put some nice clothes on; we're going to Bucca's," she instructed. Shortly, they were seated at the very back of the restaurant, where Tita requested a private booth. The two shared a big meal and drank wine until they were filled with both. After, Tita held Colin close while they walked back to her car. When they returned to his house, the two went upstairs to Collin's room, where she took his clothes off and laid him on the bed. Then, she hiked his legs up and did what Colin liked, which was a surprise. Usually, he had to pull teeth to get her to do it. Her skill drove him mad, and he nearly passed out from hyperventilation. Suddenly, she sat up and wore a serious look on her face.

"What's wrong?" Colin asked her while trying to catch his breath. "Why are you stopping now?"

"This was going to be my last night, like a perfect moment for a last goodbye, and then I would tell you everything tomorrow over the phone," Tita said.

"What? Fucking worry about that later," Colin demanded. "C'mon, just finish up, then we can talk!"

"You didn't hear a word I said!" She glared at him. 

"You get me all worked up, that's why! You stopped right in the middle; how do you expect me to think straight?" Colin was practically begging.

"I'm hapai," Tita said, as a matter of fact.

"THAT'S why you stopped?? Because you're hapai?? That's all the more reason to do this more!" Colin said excitedly.

"It's not yours," Tita looked Colin in the eyes, waiting for him to get a clue. "It's someone else's, somebody I've been seeing. I'm sorry. I had a different intention of how this would end tonight, but I couldn't do it. You can send all my stuff back later; I can't.." Tita walked out, leaving Colin devastated and unsatisfied. This would describe the rest of Tita's life after she married Naua. be continued

Credit Artist: Hubert Vos. 1898.

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