Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 28, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #98. Adele.

  It was the monthly meet-up at the ancient Hawaiian site, where volunteers from the community came armed with weed whackers, sheers, and various other gardening tools.

Oct 23, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #93. I, Me, Mine.

One morning, my Mom and I sat at the kitchen table discussing overdue bills and how I could help pay them.

Oct 17, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023 #87. Time After Time.

 This case was separate from my wheelhouse, so to speak, so I needed to understand why my presence was required in the beginning.

Oct 16, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #86. Leimaliko.

 Hoʻoleiʻupena is the act of casting out the fishing net as you would a lei around the shoulders of a beloved person.

Oct 15, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #85. Tiki Bar.

 There was nowhere else to go after the Saturday night; nightlife died down, and I went to sleep, except for an old Tiki bar on Hotel Street.

Oct 12, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #82. Perfect Rice.

  The Rice family lived at the end of the block where Lumialani and Lumi'au'au Street met. Everyone who grew up in the community knew Lumi'au'au by its more notorious name, Suicide Hill.

Oct 11, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #81. Knock.

Mara and Tianna were having a late-night dinner, mulling, regretting, and crying over past failures in relationships and the like.

Oct 10, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #80. Mili.

 Mili told me there was a time when she was absolutely frustrated with her parents and their old, strict Japanese plantation ways.

Oct 9, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #79 Phantom Guard.

 A veteran told me that years ago when he was stationed at Ft. Shafter, he would usually have sentry duty at the gate.

Oct 6, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #76 Take.

 John Kenai, his wife Alyssa, and their daughter Kylie became houseless when their landlord decided to sell the house at the last minute.

Oct 4, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #74. Only.

 Being the only sick kid on the small property of four houses, two toward the front of the old dirt road and two toward the back near the river, gave me a lot of time alone.

Oct 1, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #71. Kinipopo.

It was a muggy Saturday morning, and Devon's team was down by two points.

 The baseball field was slick and wet from the early morning rain, and several of Devon's teammates slipped, slid, and tumbled their way to home plate. Things did not look promising for his team, but unfortunately, there was nothing that Devon could do to help. Devon was the least athletically talented eight-year-old on his little league baseball team. The boy could see that his father was embarrassed by him. Devon saw a boy his age sitting on the bench wearing an old baseball uniform.

"Who are you?" Devon asked.

"Shane Lucas," the boy said. "You like to learn how  fo' play baseball really good?"

"Yeah," Devon answered."I'm kinda junk, das why. My father is the coach, but he's ashamed of me."

"We go, brah; I'll show you how," Shane stood up and motioned to Devon to follow him.

The two boys disappeared behind the stands. No one saw them leave, but they were down by only one point when Devon returned to join his team. Devon found his father screaming at his teammates when he tapped him on the back, "Put me in the game," Devon demanded. 

"C'mon, Devon, not now," his father shooed him away, but Devon would not relent.

"Put me in the game; I can win this for sure," Devon insisted.

"Devon, I no mo time fo' dis kine, okay? Go sit down on the bench!" Devon's father ordered, but the little boy stood his ground.

"Put me in the game, or I'm gonna tell everybody about how you killed Shane Lucas on this field," the look on Devon's face was cold and calculating. Devon's father was dumbfounded. "How do you know about Shane Lucas? Nobody knows about it!"

"Put me in the game, Russell Akoba," Devon growled.

"I'm yo' fa dah! You no call me Russell!" Russell drew his hand back and was prepared to strike his son, but the boy stood defiantly.

"Go ahead," Devon dared his father. "Hit me in front of everybody just like you hit Shane and killed him. So what den Russell? Are you gonna let me play and save your sorry excuse for a little league team, or will you become an embarrassment to your family?"

"You screw this up, Devon, and I'm gonna whip yer ass!" Russell exploded. "We're down one run, and the whole season is riding on it!" He leaned in closer to his son, speaking in a low whisper, "And you and I goin' have one talk after dis."

"Get outta my way, Russell," Devon's shoulder bumped his father, causing him to stumble off balance.

He glared back at his father, and, in that instant, Russell Akoba looked into his son's eyes and realized that there was someone else in there, someone who was not Devon. He watched his son step up to the plate, and as the pitcher burned one straight in, Devon hit the ball with such an effortless ferocity that the sound of it hitting the bat was almost deafening. The ball went high and far and didn't come down until it cleared the monkeypod trees at the park's edge and rolled onto the highway. Devon strolled calmly from first base to second base and then to third base, eyeing his father. Once Devon passed the home plate and the referee called it good, the boy bent down to pick up the bat he used and walked up to his father, who was utterly stunned at what he had just witnessed. Before Russell Akoba could say anything to his son, young Devon drew back the aluminum bat and hit his father on the sides of his knees. Russell fell to the dirt, screaming in pain. Devon stood over the writhing form of his father and swung the tip of the bat at his father's head and shoulders repeatedly. It happened so fast that no one was quite sure what to do, that is, until the blood began to stain Russell Akoba's white baseball uniform. Devon's teammates stood there petrified as the boy beat their coach within an inch of his life with the aluminum bat. It took the assistant coach and a few parents sitting in the stands to finally pull Devon away from his father. The boy had fallen into a deep sleep by the time authorities arrived. Russell was rushed to Queen's Hospital, where he was treated and then spent a few months recovering from his injuries. During that time, Russell refused to let Devon visit him, fearing that the boy might try to harm him again. This upset the boy's mother so significantly that she filed for a divorce. When taken to see a family counselor, Devon Akoba claimed to have no memory of ever hitting a home run, much less assaulting his father. All he could ever recall was meeting a boy named Shane Lucas. The next thing he knew, he woke up on the bleachers with the police and a crowd of people around him.

So, who was Shane Lucas?

Years ago, when Russell Akoba was the same age as Devon, he also played minor-league baseball. It was the morning of the championship game, and Russell's team was up against their rival, Pearl City. Russell was up to bat on the field at the old Waipahu Gym, and the team was down by one run. The pitcher threw a curve to the outside, and a young Russell Akoba hit it out of the park. He was so excited that, instead of dropping the bat on the dirt, he flung it wildly behind him with such force that it hit one of his teammates in the head. That teammate was Shane Lucas. The blow killed him instantly.

Russell Akoba hadn't been anywhere near that place in thirty years until that fateful morning when his own little league team, which included his son, Devon, took the field at Waipahu Gym, where the angry spirit of a young little league player waited to exact his revenge on his childhood teammate by possessing the body of his own son.