Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 5, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #45. Ken.

 She's only a memory in a portrait now.

I was there the day she posed for that watercolor, standing in the shallows at Keone'ula. Evidently, the artist was smitten by her. Who wouldn't be? All he needed was for her to look off to her left; she could move any way she chose as long she looked in that direction. In less than thirty minutes, he was done. Exhausted physically and emotionally, as we all were at one time or another when it came to her, the artist found the need to sit. His legs went out from under him. We had to help him sit in his chair while she continued to walk about in the shallow water. 

"My god," he gasped. "I've never had such an experience; she took everything out of me,"

"She'll continue to do it if you let her," Obviously, the artist assumed I meant that as a compliment to his inspiration for her and not as a warning. 

"Done?" She asked.

"Yes," the artist replied. "We are done, and you are free."

She removed her pareo, tossing it on the damp sand just beyond the reach of the water as it ebbed and flowed. Taking two steps into the tide, she dove in, and she was soon swimming out. He watched, hypnotized, never letting his eyes leave her form as she swam back and forth. "Money is no object," he said. "I just need to paint more of her until I can't." Grabbing my arm, he adjusted his chair until he looked up at me. "I know she's yours, old man, but you must understand, as an artist, I must have her!"

"To paint, you mean?"

"I mean in all forms, in every capacity until I am done!" Desperation marked his face. I've seen it before when it came to her.

"She's not a piece of property for me to give. She's not an object you can have and throw away at a whim," the warning went entirely over his head. He was not asking my permission; he acted as if he was, but he would do it if I agreed to his demands or not. I did warn him. I whistled and waved my arms, catching her attention briefly while she floated in the waves. I gave her the hand signal that I was leaving. She returned the 'OK' sign. "Ken, remember what I said. She belongs to no one, not a man, woman, or animal. Remember that when she's leaving because she's bored."

He ignored me, waving me off as if I were a gnat, circling around his perspired brow, trying to lick the salt off his skin. His artwork of her in his various mediums became the talk of that world, yielding him the money and recognition he craved. It was all secondary to how much he desired her. With every dalliance, Ken didn't realize that it was she who expressed herself through him. He was her tool; she used his skill to manifest herself on canvas through clay, spray paint, charcoal, crayon, whatever it took. Ken no longer had control. Finally, when she fulfilled her craving, she became bored and left. A year later, Ken was rich beyond his wildest dreams, but he was broken in the heart, spirit, and mind, but more so in his soul. He stayed that way for another six months until he withered down to nothing and died. 

When he signed the contract, I warned Ken about his inspiration to create tremendous artwork that would live beyond him. However, the prospect of immortality did not necessarily mean that he would live to see his best work take life. No one reads the fine print. It might have also helped Ken if I had told him that Analia was a succubus. 

Art by Edwin Ushiro

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