Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 16, 2018

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2018 #76

THROUGH AND THROUGH III CONCLUSION



Chelsea was still a bit dazed from the horrible nightmare she had the night before. She slept intermittently throughout the night and finally gave up sleeping altogether. Fortunately, the breakfast lounge was open and so she sat there with a plate of eggs benedict with a side of toast and a mimosa in a tall glass. She grew impatient as she looked back and forth at the time on her phone, it was only 9:38 am. She wished that ten 'o clock would just hurry the hell up, for some reason she felt that she had to share her nightmare with Kauhi. Something told her that he would understand, and as if fate were listening to her innermost thoughts, Chelsea looked up and there was Kauhi standing at her table. She was speechless for a second and didn't know what to say, suddenly she stood up and held on to him, a flood of tears came soon afterward and she found herself apologizing. "I'm sorry, this is so embarrassing! I just had a really bad nightmare last night and now you're here and I'm so glad to see you,"

"It's okay," Kauhi did not refuse her embrace but looked deeply into her eyes. "Do you have any plans for today?"

"No," Chelsea replied. "I haven't had a plan since I've been here."

"Come with me then," Kauhi urged her on with a slight smile. "I have something I'd like you to see and on the way, you can tell about your bad dream, okay?"

"Okay," Chelsea agreed. "I just have to go upstairs and change, I'll be right back. It won't be long."

"Sure," Kauhi replied. "That's my car over there," Kauhi pointed to a gray colored Corvette parked in the driveway. "I'll wait for you."

.............

Twenty minutes later, Kauhi and Chelsea were on the freeway headed toward Kailua, Chelsea was shocked as to how urbanized Honolulu really was. "You were going to tell me about your nightmare?" Kauhi finally asked.

"Oh yeah," Chelsea began. "Oh god, it was so frickin' weird because it was in ancient Hawai'i not like now. I was this Hawaiian woman and it felt like I was somebody important but I was running toward the ocean and there were these women running after me, screaming like they didn't want me to go into the ocean. I didn't listen, I jumped in and this huge shark grabbed me and took me under and then all these other sharks come out of nowhere and just.......oh my god it was so vivid,"

"It's just a dream, there's really nothing to worry about,"  For a city and county lifeguard, Kauhi seemed to possess a broad knowledge of many things. "The large shark in your dream could represent your past coming back to drag you under even though consciously you've been trying to put it behind you. The other sharks attacking you could be minor responsibilities in life that become bigger and more magnified in your dreams."

"You think that's what it is?" Chelsea asked the question more for herself than of Kauhi.

"Yes, that is what I think," Kauhi confirmed. "It's not written in stone but that is my opinion."

...........

Before they knew it they were driving into Kailua, the car turned left just past Castle hospital and ambled through a back street of a quaint neighborhood where they took a right turn into the parking lot of the local YMCA. A minute later Chelsea found herself following Kauhi to a massive stone structure that took her breath away. The placard told her that the site is a heiau or a temple built by mythical creatures that the Hawaiian call Menehune.

"Signs and history books give you facts and dates but not feelings," Kauhi said as he waved Chelsea over to join him on the bench where he sat. "It can give you a general idea of things but not about the people and who they were and what they felt, how they lived and died. I come here all the time, it's the only thing that's left......."

"Of your past? Like your childhood?"  Chelsea asked as she turned to Kauhi and placed her hands on his.

"You could say that," Kauhi nodded. "It's something like that."


Chelsea leaned in to kiss Kauhi but he pulled away and stood up, she was flustered for a second and found herself apologizing. "I'm sorry, I've been so forward.....I was just in the moment and I wanted to help you...."

"You misunderstand Mrs. Mattina, it has nothing to do with you," Kauhi replied. "It has everything to do with me and who I am."

Chelsea was hot now, she'd had enough with formalities, "My name is Chelsea! "

"Your name is shit," the voice came from behind them, it was Paul Calogero. He had a gun pointed at the both of them and quickly edged himself close enough so that he could kill them at a point-blank range if he had to.  "Let's the three of us take a walk, head that way toward the high grass."

It was still early and the groundskeepers and cultural practitioners would not arrive for another hour. They took an incline that led to a lower portion of the massive structure, veering off to the right the which led toward the tall grass. "Alright, stop right here. I gotta make this quick but you were a bitch to find Chels! Luckily we got connections in a few places and we were able to follow your credit card purchases. It took a while but it brought us right to you." Paul nodded and smiled at his accomplishment. "You know if you dah stuck around we coulda worked something out with you but the second you ran, that told us you were gonna turn witness against us. Now, look what happened? Right? You're a great piece of ass Chels, I don't see how you ended up with somebody like Clement when you coulda been with me."

"You?" Chelsea scoffed. "All you'll ever be is underboss, number two, never number one. That's why I married Clement, he was a self-made man. He didn't have to GET made because he made the life he gave me by himself!" 

Paul swung his right arm in a wide arc and hit Chelsea square on the temple, the last thing she saw before she blacked out was Paul pointing his gun at Kauhi and hearing shots fired and then screaming. When she came to she was laying in her bed in her condo. The bruised handprints were back on her waist and the underside of her arm. With a splitting headache, she managed to navigate to the bathroom and saw a huge bruise on the side of her face. That's when she noticed the note taped to the mirror.

Chelsea,

You now have a second chance at life, take it and start over. Do what I couldn't, do what I can't.

Aloha

Kauhi
............

TYRE PENNSYLVANIA


Don Giordano hated summers in Pennsylvania, it was unbearably hot and so he chose to stay indoors under the comfort of the air conditioning in his office. His phone rang and he could see that it was Paul Calogero. He had to keep his underboss's full name on the caller ID otherwise he couldn' tell which Paul was which because there were so many. The icon on his phone read video call. Maybe Paul wanted to show him the body of Chelsea Mattina just so he could see that the job was done. He pressed the video call icon on the phone and instantly saw his underboss tied and gagged to a chair in the middle of a nice space with a window and white curtains behind him. Don Giordano let out a sigh and leaned back in his chair with the phone in his hand. "Who is this? Whattaya want?"

"Your underboss tells us that he showed up here in Hawai'i to fulfill a contract, but that he failed to show his respects to the proper people," the voice was articulate and sonorous in tone.

"And I take it that you are one of the proper people?" Don Giordano asked in a sing-song voice.

"No, the proper people are aware but they're not going to do anything about it. I can assure you of that." The unusual voice confirmed.

"So what are we going to do, number one? And who the fuck are you number two?" Don Giordano shrugged his shoulders figuring that some kind of deal was going to be worked out.

"Number one," the voice was methodical now, "your underboss disrespected my territory. He tried to commit murder in a place that is very sacred to my people. Number two, he tried to kill someone who also happens to be very sacred. I can't let those two things go, so we're going to have to make an example out of him and you're going to watch."

"Sacred??!!" Don Giordano shrieked. "Sacred my fuckin ass! Fuck you and your sacred fuckin mumbo jumbo! You touch one hair on his head and I'll have my people crawling so far up your fuckin ass you'll wish Don Ho was still alive to pull them out you laulau eating bastard!"

"Watch closely at what's about to happen, and then after, I want you to think about what you just said," the voice wasn't at all rattled by Don Giordano's threats. Suddenly Kauhi stepped into the picture dressed in a traditional Hawaiian malo. He glares at the video for a second and suddenly his mouth becomes a wide open maw of razor-sharp teeth. Don Giordano can see Paul scream and struggle under his gag and bounds but only for a mere second. Kauhi's head is completely transformed into that of a shark and he consumes Paul's entire upper body and tears it away from his lower torso. Guts and entrails are left on the chair and on what is left of Paul's lap. The legs shake furiously as the nerves try to make sense of what just happened, Don Giordano, himself is overcome and he throws up all over his desk and his suit.

"Stephano Giordano, are you still there?" The voice is oddly soothing and very eerie.

"Holy Mary mother of.....what the hell.....Paul....oh fuck Paul..." The old criminal was beside himself, he couldn't speak.

"Leave Chelsea Mattina alone, you never saw her and you don't know her. I don't get involved with what the bosses do here, it's none of my business. But you crossed into my territory and this is your one and only warning." The phone shut off and Don Giordano threw it across the room where it shattered against the wall opposite of where he sat.

............

"Am I truly on the path to redeeming myself?" Kauhi cleaned himself off with a towel, making sure he got all of the bloodstains off. The Hawaiian man in the dark suit sat in a chair near the door and thought deeply about his reply.

"Chelsea Mattina is a start, her subconscious revealed you to her in a dream. Whether she accepts you for who you are in your true form is something you have to prepare yourself for. Are you ready for that?" The Hawaiian man asked.

" I am, I'm ready," Kauhi was confident that he could live with either decision. After all, being a shark god he had an eternity to work on it. "Mahalo Napualawa, it means a lot."

"No thanks needed," replied the Hawaiian man. "Stop being so formal, call me Boy."


............Pau








Aug 15, 2018

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2018 #77

THROUGH AND THROUGH PART II


Clement Mattina’s murder was an outright message to anyone that had business with the Giordano family. There were no second chances once you slipped up, otherwise, it would make them look weak and that was something they could not afford. Chelsea arranged for a private service for Clement and specified that no flowers or donations be given, it was quick and easy. A member of the Giordano family was sent to attend the services and reported back that the widow was not present. Chelsea had other plans and she had to act quickly. She may not have known about Clement’s arrangement with Stephano Giordano but she knew that there would be an aftermath, especially since she was the only eyewitness to the murder. Chelsea was able to take all the money they had at home along with what was in their secret rainy day money account from Marquette Savings Bank in Erie and skip town with three hundred thousand dollars in cash. The rest she would have to transfer from their regular bank into a new account when she got to where she was going. Of course, she wasn’t entirely sure where that was going to be until she got to the airport. The only place that she could think of that was furthest away from Tyre had to be Hawaii, in less than an hour with a one-way ticket in her hands, she was on her way to paradise.

….………

MORNING

For the first time in a long while, she took the elevator down the lobby and went to the sundry store for a hot cup of coffee and a box of doughnuts. Taking a seat at a lone bench at Kapiolani park, she noticed a crowd of police cars and an ambulance parked under one of the monkeypod trees nearby. They were taking away a body covered by a white sheet, but as they mounted it on the gurney a sudden wind came and carried the sheet away. Chelsea saw the body of a young local girl dressed in a black plaid shirt and black jeans laying there. Her skin was pale and void of any blood, her black hair lay matted on her forehead and her eyes were open but not focused. Chelsea had to look away and put her head down, this really wasn’t turning out to be paradise but how would she have known that while being holed up in her air bed and breakfast condo during the day and only coming out at night? This was the first time she’d been out when the sun had already made its gradual ascent to the morning sky and within minutes she witnessed a death. She only managed to finish half of her coffee and one doughnut from the twelve in the box before discarding them in a nearby rubbish can. There were a lot of people out exercising or running or doing some form of athletic training, in and around the park but it was nothing like this back home in Tyre.

The lobby of the air bed and breakfast condo teamed with people who were preparing for a day of sightseeing or taking in breakfast at the ocean side restaurant. Chelsea approached the front desk clerk and was going to ask him about the previous evening to see if he recalled her coming back to her room but she didn't get the chance.

"Mrs. Mattina, are you doing better this morning? Do you need any clean up in your condo?" The front desk clerks concern was genuine although he had seen this kind of thing time and time again, he had to be courteous if anything else.

"You remember me from last night?" She asked. Glancing at his name tag she saw that it read Mark.

"Oh yes, you were out cold. Good thing the lifeguard was out surfing late otherwise you would have drowned!" Mark's voice was dramatic and overly filled with sympathy now.

"Wait but who let him carry me to my room? That's what I'm trying to figure out!" Chelsea was beginning to feel violated at this point. It was like she had no control over anything and she didn't like that feeling.

"The lifeguard was the one who did CPR on you and brought you back before the EMT and firefighters arrived. I was working a double shift so I was here last night when all the commotion happened. You didn't have your wallet or ID on you but I recognized you and told the police that you were registered here. Thank goodness you were alive and breathing but you were out like a light, so the lifeguard carried you to your room and I let him in. He put you on your bed and we all left, end of story!" Mark gestured.

"Thank you," she began. "I think I'm more pissed off than I am grateful right now, I think I'll be grateful later. Is that lifeguard on duty today?"

"It's already ten, he should be out there right now," Mark mused in a dramatic voice.

............

The sun hadn't peaked at its full zenith yet and so the sand was still cool as it seeped between Chelsea's toes as she headed toward the lifeguard stand.  She could just make out the powerful brown skinned legs with the red shorts resting on the first step of the stand. Walking around to the bottom of the ladder that leads up to where the lifeguard himself was sitting, she could barely make out his face as he sat back in the shadow of his little hut.

"Hi," she waved. "Are you the lifeguard from last night? The one who found me in the water?"

"I am," the voice replied. "You must be Mrs. Matiina?"

"Yes, I'm Chelsea. I just wanted to come by and say thank you," She strained to see his face but the sun was in her eyes now and it made seeing the lifeguard very difficult. Without warning, he took a step out of his stand and jumped down on the sand in front of her. She was shocked and took a step back, he'd already had his hand extended to her and took her hand in his. 'I'm Kauhi, it's nice to meet you." Just then his eyes glanced off to her left and she turned around to see an older female tourist take a nasty spill off of her stand up paddleboard. "You take care," Kauhi said while running off into the water to save yet another visitor who didn't know how to work a paddleboard much less swim. He was tall and he seemed to float effortlessly across the sand before dove into waves. When he surfaced he had the woman in his arms and swam her to shore in no time. He sat her up and massaged her back while she coughed up ocean water on the sand. He could see that she was embarrassed and so he stayed with her and talked to her like she was the only person on the beach that mattered. Her reaction to him was like that of a young teenaged girl who was talking to her crush, she was demure and almost shy in front of the lifeguard. Eventually, he helped her stand up and put an arm around her shoulder and she melted into him. With a smile and a wave goodbye, Kauhi walked back to his station and found Chelsea standing right where he left her.

"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to run off suddenly. Was there something else that I could help you with?" He was tall and every part of him was muscle, lean and powerful. Although his demeanor was quiet and humble, there was something else there right under the surface. Something she couldn't put her finger on. His eyes were intense and she found that she could not stare into them for too long for fear that he might uncover some deep dark secret of hers.

"No, I was just going say.......if I could buy you dinner or something just to say thank you? I'm not sure if you're busy or anything?" She found herself fumbling for words, she was never at a loss for saying anything to anyone but here she was, bereft of even a sentence.

"We could meet at the breakfast restaurant where you're staying, it becomes a casual lounge in the evening. Just no more night time swims, agree?" Kauhi smiled and Chelsea agreed.

.............

THAT EVENING


Chelsea didn't want to overdress and appear too eager but neither did she want to seem as if she didn't care. She managed to dress in something that was more in between the two, she was seated near the balcony which looked over the beach. It was mostly filled with couples or people walking their dogs, but for some reason, she was suddenly struck with a memory of Clement and herself walking their old dog Lab. That was his name and of course, he was a Labrador retriever. She and Clement always talked about business and life and anything that came to mind. Walking Lab was their only real communion with one another other than lovemaking. Chelsea was overcome with a feeling that she was dishonoring Clement's memory, it almost felt like she was cheating on him. "What the fuck am I thinking?"

She stood up to leave but saw Kauhi walking toward her table, it was too late. He wore a pair of grey slacks with dark loafers and lite pink dress shirt. It seemed like an odd thing to wear and certainly outdated like something from the 90's but for some odd reason, it worked for Kauhi. Chelsea ordered the steak and potatoes with wine while Kauhi ordered the salad and a tall glass of iced water. Once the pleasant small talk over dinner was done, Chelsea opened up without really revealing any tangible details as to why she was in the islands. "I'm just recently widowed so I needed to get away and detox myself emotionally, that's all really."

Kauhi nodded and smiled, "Hawai'i is a great place to come and be healed, but not everyone gets that chance."

"What do you mean?" Chelsea asked. Her voice was like a quiet whisper after four glasses of wine relaxed her inhibitions. She'd already decided that she was going to sleep with the lifeguard the second the opportunity presented itself.

"It either embraces you or it spits you out, there's no gray matter. It nearly spit you out the other night, but I think my finding you before you drowned was Hawai'i giving you a second chance," Kauhi was very direct with what he said, it didn't come across as any kind of native mumbo jumbo. She believed him as well.

"Is this how all the Hawaiian men are here? Like you, strong yet humble........I dunno it's like you have this brewing quiet intensity," Chelsea mused openly without even realizing that she was verbally expressing her nearly drunken thoughts. She was definitely going sleep with him.

"I wasn't always like this," Kauhi looked down at his plate and let out a half smile and a laugh. "It took  years before I got to where I am now."

"Really?" Chelsea smiled. "That's hard to believe."

"You can believe it," Kauhi confirmed. "Centuries ago I was arrogant and cruel and so full of my own stupidity. In the end, it cost me someone who was willing to devote her life to me and love me unconditionally, but I blew it."

"Why? What did you do? Did ya' kill her or something?" Chelsea laughed sarcastically but Kauhi sat there looking forlorn and deadly serious. "Oh my god.........don't tell me you killed that person?"


"My arrogance and selfishness killed any love she might have had for me.....in the end, I lost my life as I knew it and everything else. Friends, family......all gone," Kauhi let out a deep sigh and shook his head. "So is life,"

"Am I being too nosy if I asked what her name was?" Chelsea reached across the table and put her hand on his and gave it a gentle squeeze.

"Kahalopuna," Kauhi pronounced the name ever so slowly as if he were repeating something from a sacred text.

"That's a beautiful name," Chelsea was about to reassure Kauhi that he was not at fault for what his past may have caused him to do. She was about to suggest that he come up to her condo where they could talk more about his long-lost, long gone Hawaiian girlfriend, but no luck. Kauhi stood up and extended his hand to Chelsea and gave her a hug. "Thank you so much for this evening Mrs. Mattina, I really appreciated it. I have to go, you take care of  yourself."

Calling her Mrs. Mattina only dug the knife in deeper as a reminder of Clement, he was more than a month dead but he was still around. She didn't even have a chance to proposition the hot Hawaiian lifeguard, instead, he threw Clement in her face by calling her, Mrs. Mattina. Chelsea sat there for another hour and polished off three more bottles of wine before she finally made her way upstairs and fell asleep inebriated and alone.

............

LATER

Kauhi stood out on the sand looking into the lounge, looking at Chelsea. He kept telling himself that she was very different and not at all like others. She could help redeem him and then he'd be forgiven and he could finally be free of the life he was cursed to live, finally.

.............

AT THE SAME TIME

Paul Calogero wasn't the only one standing on the beach watching Chelsea Mattina and her dinner companion who was now standing not less than a few feet in front of him. He was gazing longingly at the only witness to the murder of her husband by the Giordano family. More specifically by Paul Calogero himself, Don Giordano's underboss. With his cell phone held close to his ears, Paul heard the ring on the other side of the phone until it picked up.

"You have something?" It was Stephano Giordano.

"I found her, she's here in Hawai'i," Paul confirmed. "Looks like she picked up a boyfriend or something, what do you want me to do?"

"Do what I sent you to do," Stephano was irritable, he hated wasting time. "No witnesses."

"Alright," Paul hung the phone up and put it in the inside pocket of his jacket. The Hawaiian man slowly turned and locked eyes with Paul and didn't blink. In Paul's world, staring is an invitation to receiving the worst beating of your life or getting killed. It all depended on how long you were stupid enough to stare. "What the fuck are you looking at? You got a problem with your eyes coconut-head?"

The Hawaiian man held Paul's gaze for a couple of more seconds and walked off without a word, Paul went back to locating his target but by then she was gone. That only meant that he would have to come back the following morning and wait for her to show up.

.............

That night Chelsea had a vivid dream that she was at the same location where her condo was but it was in ancient Hawaii. There were no hotels, no parks, no cars, just lush green scenery with cooling winds. She wasn't herself, she was a Hawaiian woman who seemed to be blessed with a sacred kind of grace. She was running down the beach and there were other Hawaiian women who were calling after her, they were hysterical and angry but she wouldn't listen. In her form as the Hawaiian woman, she ran headlong into the surf and began to swim out past the reef, once there she waded in the water and enjoyed a comforting feeling. Without warning a large dark shadow appeared from beneath her and snatched her in its mouth, it was a shark of a monstrous size that pulled her just beneath the surface of the water where other sharks appeared and began to tear her to bits. She sat up in her bed and screamed bloody murder, her voice echoing through the condominium. Her breathing was heavy and it took a few minutes for her to calm herself. "What the fuck was that?"


............to be continued








Aug 14, 2018

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2018 #78

THROUGH AND THROUGH PART 1


March 2017



Clement Mattina was a delivery boy for a national pizza chain for years and after seeing first hand how his former manager ran the store, he figured one day that he could open his own business and do pizza better, and he did. Chelsea Redmond was one of the first waitresses Clement hired and before the year was over, he and Chelsea were married. It was a union that worked personally and professionally and their business was very successful. Clements goal of 'Mattina's Pizzeria' was that it would become one of those places that great authors or filmmakers talk about when they reflect on their lives.  'That's Clement Mattina,' the voiceover in the movie would say; Clement always hoped it would be Joe Pesci narrating. 'Mr. Mattina ran the best pizzeria in our town, and generations of my family ate there. From my grandparents to my parents and to me and my family, we all grew up on Mattina's Pizzeria. In my town, Mattina's was an American past time that never went away."

Unfortunately, Clement was in with the local mafia and they offered him a unique kind of protection. All he had to do was buy their brand of cheese for his pizza's at their price and they would make sure that none of the national pizza chains would operate anywhere near his business That way it wouldn't affect his ability pay the mafia their protection money. Life was good in one aspect for Clement in that there was never a cessation in his business. On the other hand, the top guys from the local mob would come in and eat for free every once in a while but not all the time. It was just their way of reminding Clement to keep buying their cheese, 'Clement, the cheese in this pizza is excellent!' 

Chelsea knew nothing about the deal.

One morning while Clement was at home sleeping off a night of drinking at the old veterans lodge, a man from the new cheese factory walked into the store with a few blocks of cheese in a miniature grocery cart. He noticed the cashier at the counter and asked if he could speak to the owner? A second later Chelsea appears from out of the kitchen and she and the man begin talking. He removes a large pocket knife and begins to cut taste samples from each block of cheese and hands it to Chelsea to try. It was tangy enough to excite the palate but not burn the tongue, Chelsea was impressed. The man offered to sell his brand of cheese to Chelsea for 15% less than what they were paying for their regular cheese. It was a done deal in more ways than she knew. Giordano's cheese was soon packed in cases and stacked in the very back of the walk-in freezer. Smith's Cheese was moved to the front of the store and ready to be served. Clement finally sobered up and made his way to the pizzeria for the dinner rush later that evening, the second he walked in customers gave him great compliments on his pizza. With his head, a little fuzzy, Clement waved and smiled and thought nothing of it. A month later, Don Stephano Giordano walks into the store and asks to speak to Clement. The two sit at a corner table and talk over some wine, Clement asks the Don if there was anything he wanted to eat? Clement would have it made special for him, Don Giordano refuses.

"I can't eat anything in this place, Clement," the Don says while shaking his head.

Clement was confused, his captains ate here all the time. "I don't understand Don Giordano?"

"Bring out a slice of your pizza and you taste it," the Don insisted.

Clement did exactly that and it only took one bite for him to realize why the Don was so unhappy. "This isn't our cheese.....what the...?" Don Giordano's underboss sat one table away, no one noticed that he'd entered the shop and seated himself. Before Clement realized that the cheese he'd been buying from the Giordano family had been changed out for another brand, the underboss had the muzzle of his handgun right up against the base Clement's skull and fired one shot. Clement crumbled to the floor in a heap, he was dead. Chelsea walked out of the kitchen just in time to witness her husband's murder. Don Giordano and his underboss calmly left the establishment and climbed into a car that was idling across the street.

............

NOW


The nightmare was always filled with such finite detail that many times Chelsea felt she'd been transported back in time. The last moments of the nightmare were especially disconcerting because she could always smell the blood, Clements blood. She remembers watching it pool on the white tiled floor and for some odd reason, it reminded her of how the red tomato sauce would be spread out on the white pizza dough before they began to add everything else on it. A chill of indifference emanated from Giordano and his friend as they passed, it was like withdrawing money from an ATM for them. It was just their kind of everyday business transaction, except in their world if the numbers didn't match up it meant certain death. Chelsea sat up in bed and took a moment to shake off the sleep, she slowly made her way to the kitchen and got a pot of coffee going. Making her way to the curtains in the living room she opened them one by one and was greeted by white sands and crystal blue ocean. She took in a deep breath and exhaled. 'That's right, I'm in Hawai'i'.

Hawai'i was a lifetime away from Tyre, Pennsylvania and luckily Chelsea and Clement had no children who would have had to inherit a business where their father was murdered in cold blood.
'Over cheese,' she told herself. 'All because of cheese. fucking cheese,'  It was already a month in Honolulu and all she'd done was travel to and from the local ABC Store for essentials and that was it. If she wasn't crying herself to sleep she was normally drinking herself to it. Most evenings if she was sober she was sitting on the beach in front of her condo watching the sunset or watching the ocean. Like the school of fish that swam near the shore, her mind would swim too. Images of Clement when they first met as employer and employee. It was love at first sight and at the end of her first night on the job he'd offered her a ride home and walked her to her door. He knocked and Chelsea's parents answered, "Hi I'm Clement, I'm Chelsea's boss. We sorta closed late so I gave your daughter a ride home, just wanted you to know that so you wouldn't worry," The Redmonds were impressed and so was Chelsea. The memory was too powerful this time and Chelsea wept openly, a few people who sat nearby felt uncomfortable and decided to move. Another man with mercenary motives came to offer her comfort and Chelsea being the girl from the tough side of town told the gentleman in no uncertain terms to fuck off. She stood up just then and walked straight to water and thought that she should just start swimming toward the horizon until she couldn't swim anymore. Whatever happened after that didn't matter. Immersing herself in the tide, she found it was colder than she expected and it took her breath away. She didn't bother to let herself get acclimated but began to swim out into the ocean instead, she didn't get far. It had been years since she swam for her high school team and now in her early forties, she was in no shape to duplicate her early achievements. Every muscle in her body burned and she tired very quickly, even trying to float on her back didn't work. Her lungs were burning and she was in a panic, she couldn't bring herself to calm down so that she could fill her lungs with the air she needed. She went under and her mind she kept telling herself that this can't be it, this cannot be her death. She couldn't possibly die this way so far from home in such a beautiful place, but she had nothing left, her body would not co-operate. Her world went dark and she was done.

.............

15 MINUTES LATER

Chelsea was jolted back to consciousness by a terrible coughing fit which caused her to spit up ocean water. She looked around her and was surprised to see that she was in her own bed in the condo, she was soaking wet from her ill-planned swim but she had no recollection of how she got back to her to her place. She took her clothes off and threw it in the washer and them made her way to the shower, it wasn't until she got out of the shower and was standing in front of the mirror that she saw the two huge bruised hand marks on her left hip and upper left lat muscle. There no definitive fingerprint marks but it was definitely the shape of someone with very large hands.

"What the fuck?"  She wasn't sure if she should be glad that someone saved her life or if she should be afraid? Her body gave her no indication that she'd been sexually assaulted in any way but whoever it was that retrieved her from the ocean, how did they get into her room?

.............

On the beach, 14 stories below Chelsea Mattina's window stood a tall shadow of a man looking up at her balcony. In his hand he held a swath of material from the shirt she wore, she wouldn't notice the missing piece unless she was absolutely looking for it. He could feel that she was much different than the others for some reason. That could explain why he didn't kill her.

.............to be continued









Aug 13, 2018

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2018 #79

A TRUE STORY


1979


They were dressed in black dance leotards forming circles and numbers with their bodies. Every time I thought I had a proper count of them there would be more. They must be mimes who dance with no music like Sheilds and Yarnell. They took up the entire quad in the middle of the high school courtyard where all the assemblies happened. Their combined bodies were like a wave of black water or like a flock of birds who always flew in one changing configuration. The sight of it was mesmerizing, I didn't know human bodies could do such a thing. It's like that ant movie where they all communicated telepathically to do one task.

"Hey!"

It was the overnight security guard, luckily I was a fast runner and as high as the second story walkway was, I managed to make the jump and roll onto the grass.  Running away was no problem. The following day at school while I walked from my homeroom class to English 101, I saw a few of them. They sat where the metal shop guys sat, they were a scary bunch but they kept to themselves those guys. They didn't seem to be bothered by each other, the shop guys in denim and the ones from last night dressed in black dance leotards covered in a fine black mesh material.  I couldn't really see their faces because how the material seemed to be pulled tight over their eyes and noses. They were in the cafeteria too, standing against the walls or sitting on the one empty table until others came to sit. I saw them in some of the classrooms as I passed each one while on my way to psychology 102. When the school bell rang signaling the end of the day, they ran off in an outward direction in every possible destination. At home, I finished my homework assignments and took a shower. I waited until my parents were asleep. Thank goodness for our loud neighbors, sneaking out wasn't difficult at all and I made sure to eat something at Jack in the box before I made my way to the high school.

............

Walking the empty hallways of my high school made me feel good for some reason like I belonged here but I was somewhat relieved to see that the people in black dance leotards where nowhere to be found.

" I thought I was the only one who came here?" The voice was such a surprise and it scared the shit out of me. It was my classmate Jennifer Ragasa.

"Fuck, you scared the hell out of me!" I exhaled more than I screamed.

"I haven't seen you," she retorted.

"I'm here every night, except on Saturdays 'cause I watch Monty Python," I wasn't even sure if she knew what that was but I couldn't think of anything else to say. "How come you're here?"

"I'm waiting for my friends, they're usually here but they're late for some reason," she looked around the courtyard while she spoke. Her brow was furrowed like she was disappointed. "What about you?"

"It kinda sounds crazy but..." I never got to finish what I was saying. They had already filtered into the courtyard until they took up every single space. It was the people in the black dance leotards. "Oh shit," I mumbled under my breath.

"Here they are," Jennifer stood up and walked over to join their ranks.

"Wait, what are you doing?" I shrieked. "You don't even know who or what they are!"

"I first saw them after my parents divorced and I had to live with my dad, then we had no money hardly so I couldn't wear good clothes like before. I was so ashamed and nobody cared how I felt. I would see them everywhere at school all the time. Once I took my own life I was free, now I can go with them." She was so calm and so serene. "That's why you can see them too because you've been thinking about killing yourself. They'll be here when you do, just like how they're here for me now."

For the first time the people in the black dance leotards held their heads up and I finally saw their faces. They were the ghosts of my classmates who committed suicide, the others must be the ones who took their own lives from the time this high school first opened. That explains why there were so many of them. I was not afraid for some reason, rather I was sad, very sad. I walked away from the tableau as Jennifer Ragasa faded into nothing along with her new friends. Passing the principals office I saw her body hanging from the money tree just in front of it, but there were no screams of horror from seeing her dead form, just tears. My situation was no better than hers and yes, I thought about ending it all but seeing Jennifer's plight sobered my drunken want of suicide. I went home and cried myself to sleep. In the morning when I woke, I hugged my parents and said a prayer for Jennifer and dead my classmates who are really shadows resigned to ferry the forlorn spirits of their friends over a sea of black dance leotards.






Aug 12, 2018

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2018 #80

THIS LIFE

(A conversation this morning with someone who wanted the gift of sight and all things spiritual)

ME: Most mornings if not all of them are filled with one normal occurrence and that is the sensation of someone playing with what's left of my hair. If it isn't that then it's the slight touch of fingernails on my scalp. I'm quite certain that my job is not finally taking its toll and me and that I have not finally lost all sense of sanity. Other days when I need to lay down and gather my thoughts before endeavoring on the day's tasks, I will feel someone or something that is not there, take a hold of my toes and start to bend them toward me. In fact, this July past I felt the sensation of a long thin piece of wood pierce the underside of the ball of my right foot. The strange thing is that it was the sensation of being run through without the 'through.' 

There are voices too; it sounds like the cacophony of many voices in a crowded restaurant except that these voices are not trying to have conversations with one another. Instead, they're all trying to talk to me at the same time. The apparitions? The apparitions stand there and wait to be acknowledged; you could liken it to standing in line while you wait for your name and the kind of coffee you ordered to be called. The difference is that I shut out the voices, and I never acknowledge the apparitions. Of course, you could say that all of this is fake because if it wasn't then it should be able to be examined in a closed environment where it can be poked and prodded. Others spend their whole lives in this field without ever possessing any kind of psychic ability, but wished to god they had it. I can't speak for others on this side of the veil where one is constantly riding the threshold on both sides. But let's just say that the door is open 24/7 and that no breaks or 'me' time exist. In my single days, this was not a problem but now with a large family, the 'we're closed' sign never gets taken down.

I can't risk it.

However, if this is what you wish for while standing outside the fishbowl just remember that the light switch only has one setting and it's not the off switch. You kind of have to pretend that whatever it is that is happening around you and to you is like someone for whom you have no care, you ignore them. If indeed you can shoulder the responsibility of constantly being touched in a myriad of ways by things that are not there. If you can stand to hear a countless number of voices whispering names into your thoughts, and if you can withstand the sight of someone who was just fifteen minutes ago, mutilated in a car accident on the freeway near your home, standing inches from you while they bleed blood and brain fluid while wearing their intestines on their lap, then I commend to you this 'gift' and I wish you well. Buuuuut, in less than a weeks time you'll be pounding on my door begging me to take back what I have given you. All I can do in return is tell you what I was told on the last day of my learning,

"This is the price you pay for what you've learned. To pass it on is a burden on those who do not understand the responsibility."

CALLER: (Busy signal)








Aug 11, 2018

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2018 #81

WAIWAI


She floats across the smooth tiled floor, a large bare space for her effortless steps to carry her back and forth and side to side. A sound likened to sweet raindrops falling on a drenched sidewalk are plucked from the strings of a guitar and the air in the funeral parlor is relieved of its mournful sadness. The voice of the singer moves everyone closer as weary heads lean on shoulders for strength and hands hold hands for comfort and the want of love to fill the empty space that the recently deceased has left in the hearts of all who attend. Her dress is a simple dark green with large black prints of kukui leaf, her hair cascades about her shoulders which have shouldered much in her life, but now as she moves her shoulders bear the burden of dancing her final farewell for her father. The mele speaks of a love so beautiful that no one can deny its power, it was his favorite song and so through the song and music, the words move her body as if she were a feather lilting along the whim of a gentle wind. A cello offers itself freely and mates with the sound of the guitar and tears well in the eyes of all who sit to witness the ethereal dance. Her smile is a glow that lights the soul of all who bask in it and her tears are the tears of everyone who watches her. Her arms stretch forth and then skyward as if there are no bones beneath her flesh, her back arches as she stands on the tips of her toes and then lowers her body until the hem of her dress gently sweeps the floor. Together the cello and guitar meet to create a note so high that it lifts everyone from their seats for a mere second but gently returns them to their mortal bounds from whence they came. The people sit in stunned disbelief when it becomes apparent that the song is near its conclusion, 'It can't end' they think. 'There must be more'

But there is no more, like the beautiful life of the man who lay in his casket, he reached a sunset beyond a horizon never to dawn again. 'That is the ebb and flow of life,' he once told his daughter. 'We all must sleep beyond the horizon where our ancestors await. When the time comes we will rise from the east again, and we will meet one another.'

Those words guided her through life and it helped her accept the passing of her father as a natural progression, for even beyond the passing of the flesh, there is still life. However, it did not ease the pain of loss but it did not prevent her from living either. His corporeal form lay in his casket but his spirit watched with a deep appreciation for his daughter and for everyone who came to honor his memory.

'This is how a man truly measures his wealth,' he said to himself, 'by all who come to remember him.'






Aug 10, 2018

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2018 #82

WAITING FOR KALANI


"...Come away with me and I will write you a song..."


I wished that I could fly away rather than sit here on the grass with each blade holding a drop of fresh morning dew. Its dampness feels like an incompletely dried blanket spread out on my old bed at home. A painful strum from a guitar that sounds like the wood it was fashioned from was lacquered and polished with tears emanates from a car radio across the street.  It's the only vehicle parked in the empty looping parking lot at the beach. The mournful strains fill the still morning air and it's echo bounces off of every solid structure nearby. I see the soft light from the break of day cast it's glow from behind me and I wish it would go away, it only means that my heartbreak is truly a reality and not something I conjured from an earlier meal of greasy cheeseburgers.  For a moment I think that I should walk across the street to the beach and sit on the cool sand until the day becomes too unbearable. Then I think, about the difference, whether its grass or sand, the melancholy texture is the same. Almost as if the gods read my thoughts, a gentle misty rain falls and leaves a reminder of its intent by sitting on the fabric of my clothing and not soaking itself into it. It feels like a symbol of some kind telling me that sadness is a fabric of life but that we need not be inundated by it. Considering my state of being in the present tense, I wish I could believe it was so, I really do need to believe in something. The day hasn't taken its place on the stage yet, the little rays it gives me from its sunrise of early light is the warm-up act; what a walk it has been from the depths of Manoa Valley to Kapiolani Park. I fevered up a sweat wearing my black flannel shirt and dark jeans but there were reasons why I chose that fashion get up, it would guard every car and passerby against seeing my dilemma. It would prevent them from becoming good citizens and trying to talk me out of my journey but the timing could not have been more perfect. The sun is nearly past its path over the ridge of Diamond head and slumber is nearly prepared to overtake me but I keep holding on. I've missed him so much and I couldn't wait any longer, I had to be with him and this was the only way I knew how to make him come to me.

The park and the beach are now fully immersed in the basking warmth of the sun and life is everywhere. You can see it, you can hear it, and it is undeniable that you can feel it. Not me, I'm losing my self to a deep slumber and the world is getting old and dark while the day is new. I remember I felt strange as I fell away into a dream without the sound of my own snore which always jerked me awake. It's so peaceful, so simple when this kind of sleep takes you away. This must be my karma to go this way without ever having seen him.

............

"Helen, wake up," the voice was distant but I kept hearing it until it became as close as my own sorrow. "Helen? Hey sleepyhead, wake up." Such a gentle voice filled with compassion. My eyes open slowly and a face comes into focus, it's him, he came.

"Kalani," hearing myself pronounce his name sounded more like a statement as opposed to a question. He reached his hands out to help me stand and I instantly melted into his arms and cried. "I missed you so much, I couldn't stand it. I had to come here and wait for you, I'm sorry Kalani."

"It's alright," he reassured me as he brushed my hair away from my face. "Are you ready?"

I looked back on the grass at the body that used to be mine as it lay there with the dark stains on the long sleeves of my equally dark flannel shirt. It was a great way to hide the deep slits from the pocket of my elbows down to my wrists. I didn't cut them too deep, otherwise, I would not have been able to make the journey to Kapiolani Park. Luckily, I planned everything well in advance so that I'd be dead by the time I got here. I couldn't live another moment without Kalani after losing him to a hit and run accident, he didn't deserve to die that way.

Please understand that this is journey is mine, not anyone else's.