Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 30, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #100. Meaulu.


In the little house at the end of Meaulu Lane, we lived for three years.

It was our three-bedroom home with an acreage of yard leading to the canal that still filters water from the ocean that marries water from the mountain stream. When the two met, horrible flooding took place. We knew three of the neighbors from nearby. The Medeiros family, the Perreira family, the Fernandez family, and a girl named Chicka-dee, who was fifteen years old and was the sole provider for her two younger brothers. I never found out about the old man who lived in the house. He was a miserable old bastard, constantly yelling at everything and everyone. His voice was never kind, and only Chicka-Dee could manage him. Freddie Pereira and I were friends until we moved away, then I never saw him again. The matriarch of the Medeiros family was constantly sitting at our kitchen table, dishing out all of her family drama. She was afraid for her life to leave her husband Steven because he had a gun which he always promised to use on her. The threat gave her anxiety, which caused her to become a chain smoker. Because of it, she'd be dead in three years at thirty-five. Her husband Manuel abused her and her five daughters, of which the older two he was having relations with. She had no choice but to ignore it and act as if it weren't happening. She sat at our kitchen table nervously, shaking her leg, tears falling at will. Pealing out cigarette after cigarette and then lighting another and another. She went through several cups of coffee before my mother gave her the only advice she could think of. 

"Growing up in Pukalani, in Maui, I remember my father saying that a man like that is beyond redemption. You have to put him down like a rabid dog, especially when he's gotten the taste of what it's like to hold dominion over another human being. He's become the devil's spawn by then; you have to send him back to where he belongs," I was shocked to hear those words come out of her mouth, but I had a new respect for her.

"What does that mean?" Cathy Medeiros didn't quite get the sermon my mom shared on behalf of her long-deceased father.

"You take that gun he's been threatening you with, and you shoot him with it," my mom put a plate of tuna sandwiches in front of her. "You end his life."

"I can't do that, Rose," she scoffed. "What about the girls and me? What's going to happen? Who's going to take care of us?"

"You go out and get a job, Cathy," my mother said matter of fact. "He's got so much dominion over you that you can't even take a shit without his permission, and he's sleeping with your two older daughters right under your nose! His own two daughters, Cathy!"

"Don't you judge me, Rose!" She shouted. "I've come here to spill my guts, not to be judged!"

"This isn't judgment," my mom was very calm. "You came to me with a problem, and I'm giving you the only logical solution."

"Yes, I heard you!" She stood up from our kitchen table and gathered herself. "Kill my husband?"

She walked out without saying a word. Two days later, Manuel Medeiros was dead not by Cathy Medeiros' hands but by his own brothers, who showed up at his house after finding out that he'd molested their daughters when they were at his home for a sleepover just a week previous. He was shot once in the head and once in the heart. Bobby was the older brother who took the first shot, and Clay was the youngest brother who took the second shot. It was quite the scene when the police arrived. A short time later, the Fernandez family moved in next door. Guy Fernandez, the father, was tall, more than six feet. So was his wife, Theresa. They had three daughters, Debbie, Ray, and Sherry. Whenever I was playing on our acreage, I always saw Debbie playing off in the distance. She stopped and waved at me, and of course, because I didn't know who she was, I never waved back. It was when my older brother Peter moved in with his son, my nephew Tiny, that Debbie started playing with us through Tiny. They became friends first. The Holidays were soon upon us, and by then, my mom forced me to go to Debbie's house with a Rum Cake. Debbie's mom thought it was sweet, so she kissed me on the cheek. Her father was in his shed, carving images from wooden stumps using only a mallet and a chisel. He was really good at it, certainly not an amateur. On the way back to my house, Debbie joined me. She carried a lantern to light the way. She walked me right up to my kitchen door and planted a kiss on my lips. I was mortified because I didn't know what to do. She smiled and headed back to her house. I tried my best to avoid her after that because she might try to kiss me again. Later that night, we were all awakened by screaming and yelling. It was coming from Debbie's house. I ran outside, following my parents, and we ended up in Debbie's backyard, where she stood with her sisters and mother. They all pointed to the night sky at an orb of fire with a long, long tail at the end. As high above as it was, we could hear it make a loud buzzing sound. It circled once, twice, and after the third pass, it shot straight down to Debbie's house and disappeared through the roof. We heard Guy screaming, yelling, and swearing horrible obscenities.

"My uncles," Debbie said. "They put a curse on my father because he wouldn't go with them to kill my uncle Manuel. They had a Kahuna send this akualele to kill my father; the only way he can survive it is to fight it until the sun comes up. That's why we have to stay outside; otherwise, the akualele will jump on us and kill the whole family."

For the three years we lived there in Maili, this was the scene every Christmas holiday until we moved to Waipahu. I wonder about what happened to Debbie and where she and her family might have ended up, and if they did indeed survive the assault of that akualele? Now and again, I look to see if our old house on Meaulu is still there, but only through Google Maps. Even at my age now, I don't know if I should physically go there to see if it still exists. What am I expecting to find? My old Evel Knevel toy? The old Beatles albums I listened to when I was sick? Did I hope to find my Dad sitting in his recliner with his Primo beer while watching boxing on TV? Actually, what I always secretly hope to see is my mom making her pot of Portuguese bean soup with big pieces of hammock, beans, lettuce, and Portuguese sausage. I expect to walk up next to her at the kitchen counter and take over, stirring the soup while she looks to see if the rice pudding is ready for dessert. On the table is the bowl of poi covered in saran wrap; next to it, the raw onion, raw corned beef, and Hawaiian salt. Two loaves of Portuguese sweet bread are on a giant plate with butter on a smaller dish. To drink is either water or iced tea. It's what I expect to find but what I realistically know won't be there. So, I don't physically go because I don't want to be disappointed. 

The past should stay right where it is.

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