Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 29, 2016

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down Toward Halloween! 1 Night Left! "Amir"


Entry: Wednesday, July 26, 2012

After completing a four-year tour in the Middle East I was now catching a plane from Bagdad International Airport to Surat City just outside the border of South India. On the flight over I had become acquainted with a young man who was from Andhra Pradesh which is located further south than my destination. He introduces himself as Aamir, and I introduce myself as who I am. He can see that I am not Indian myself and so he asks me where I’m from and I tell him. He’s shocked and asks me why would I choose to go Surat instead of going home to paradise? I don’t know who this kid is but for some reason, my instincts tell me that I can trust him. If you know me, you’ll know that’s unusual because I don’t trust anybody right off, but with this kid I did.

I tell him that I had changed because of the war and that a part of me had died in Iraq. I had become a cold, calculating machine. I share with him that I didn’t feel human anymore and it was for that reason that I chose not to go home. He asks me where in Surat had I intended to go?

“Dumas Beach,” I tell him.

A look of serious concern comes over him, he nods his head slowly and says,

“Go on,”

“Of all the things I’ve seen and done back there, of all the things that should seriously damage my mind for the rest of my days, this THING......this thing that happened is gonna mess me up for a long long time,” I tell him.

“To be fair,” Aamir begins, “I will share with you my reason for returning to my home in Andhra Pradesh when you are done with your story.”

I nervously clasp my hands on the back of my head before I let it trace the outline of my beard. I rub my palms together as if I were preparing to recite a sutra before I let them rest on my lap, I take a deep breath and I begin,

“We came upon a target house where we had strong reason to believe that the family who lived there were sympathizers with the enemy. With places like that you normally bust in, put everybody on the floor and then drag them out. We separate the men from the women and children. We grab the head of the household and take him with the clearing team and have him unlock doors and cabinets and such, question him if anything seems suspicious. We’ve done that a thousand times, a thousand times. But on that day we were the ones who got the surprise; the place was crowded with people who were all lined up against the wall of the home. In the middle of the floor was a little Muslim boy who was sitting on his knees, his body was slowly moving back and forth as he bent all the way back and touched the floor behind him and then bent all the way forward and touched his head to the floor in front of him. Before you know it, the boy’s entire body is whipping backward and forwards so fast that he literally became a blur; you couldn’t see him.

My team and I were so stunned by what we’re seeing that we’re speechless and the men in the house acted like we’re not even there because they’re all focusing on the boy. Suddenly he comes to a dead stop and starts throwing up all over the place and it just keeps gushing out and there’s more and more of it like it’s never going to stop. The men don’t even react, they have their eyes closed and they keep praying, when the boy is done he stands up and looks me right in the eye and he slowly repeats in an old man’s voice, “Ana Iblis, Ana Iblis, Ana Iblis,”

“I am the Devil,”

That’s when the men in the house converged on him with their hands on the boys head and they slowly lower him to the floor. That little boy tossed these fully grown men around the room like they were baseballs and he was the star pitcher, I mean that’s how fast they were being thrown into the walls of that home, just sssshhhhhewwwp!!! You could hear the sickening thud and the sounds of bones breaking....and the agonizing screams...(inhales and exhales)....that boy looked me right in the eyes and he said,

“Tum mere ho,”

He picked up one of those old guys with one hand and threw him right at me....knocked me out. When I came to, I was on the ground just outside the door laying near the dead bodies of all the men who were in the house. Just to the left of me was the body of the little boy. His face was pale but his deep dark set eyes were still open and staring into nothing; it was such an innocent pure face and he looked as if he were just on the verge of falling asleep in his bed.


Most of his chest was gone.

My team would tell me later that once the boy was done with the men in the house, he started in after them even after they screamed at him to stop, but he just kept coming. They had no choice, they lit him up. They reacted out of fear more than anything else, especially after they witnessed what the boy had just done. Everybody on the team knew enough of the local lingo to know that the boy kept saying he was the devil, but the second thing he said; no one had a clue. So when we had some downtime I went online and looked it up, turns out its Hindi, it means, “You are mine.”


A nice set of chills ran down my back just then and it didn’t help my situation in the least. I explained to Aamir that one of the other families in that same area shared that the previous family who had lived in the target house moved out a while ago and that while the house was empty, it had become occupied a powerful Jinn, an evil spirit. One day the little boy happened by the empty house and was playing in it when suddenly the Jinn possessed his body. Holy men were called to perform an exorcism but they underestimated the evil entity and it killed them; since then I feel as if some part of that evil has attached itself to me and that since it’s last words to me were spoken in Hindi, I had hoped to go to Dumas Beach where I had heard that Hindu holy men gather there to perform important rituals for the dead. Perhaps they could help me. Aamir had no reply, instead, he began with the story which he had promised to share once I had told mine.

“In Iraq, I was able to stay with an Indian family who was from my same town, this I could do while I attended school during the day and worked in the evening. One day the youngest boy of the family who was five years old fell terribly ill, he suffered a terrible pain night and day that would not go away. The entire family began to pray for the boy but not for his recovery but for his death. According to their south India tradition, the uncles began to gather piles of wood in order to erect a funeral pyre for the boy. The situation became that serious; one day a strange man in tattered clothing appeared in front of the family house and claimed to be a holy man who could cure the boy of illness, the parents were overjoyed and relieved. However, the method of the cure only proved to make the family sad. The holy man said that after performing sacred prayers over the boy, someone would have to be willing to take the boys illness upon themselves. It was the only way the boy could be cured, the parents and the rest of the family stood around looking at one another, not at all certain of who would be willing to step forward and offer up their own health so that the boy could live. Finally, the mother had decided that she would be the one to take her child’s illness upon herself that is until the servant of the house stepped forward and offered himself up to the holy man. He agreed and immediately crossed his arms and performed the prayers for a full minute. The boy was cured shortly thereafter and the servant fell dead at the feet of the boy’s mother. Afterward, the family decided to move back to India and I followed soon thereafter and that is how you and I have come to meet,” Aamir shared.

“In south India, the front door of some homes symbolically mark the point where one passes from the outer world and into an area that is conceived of as protected and sacred. The doors are a combination of wood and metal and are ornately carved with beautifully detailed designs and images of the goddess of wealth and good fortune, Lakshmi. Our doors are always left open while we were home in case Lakshmi should take on the guise of a guest. It was also kept open to let out any malevolent spirits who had inadvertently drifted inside. I miss that about my house,” Aamir said. “I cannot wait to see it again,”


“Guess I don’t feel so weird after all,” I tell him.

“I appreciate that you were willing to share your story with me,” Aamir smiled

“Same here,” I reached out and shook his hand and let out a laugh.

The rest of the flight is a lot of talk about favorite foods and favorite places to hang out, what school was like and what kind of music it was that we grew up with. The fourteen hour flight gave us time to use the facilities and to take a nap when we had to but even during those moments when we weren’t saying a word, I felt like we had forged some sort of bond that had nothing to do with a physical war but more like an understanding that neither of us is crazy. Maybe for Aamir, it was something that happened all the time, maybe I was meant to meet him, but for what reason, I wasn’t sure. When my plane arrived at the airport, Aamir and I parted company at baggage claim. As he walked away it occurred to me that he said he was from Andhra Pradesh, but why was he getting off here in Surat? By that time he had already disappeared into the crowd of people who were waiting for their bags, I’d lost track of him after that.

In my mind I find myself hoping that when my parents get the handwritten letter that I’d sent them that they will understand why I didn’t come home right away after my tour of duty was over. Of course I can’t tell them that I believe that the residual evil of a Jinn has attached itself to me; instead, I tell them that I have a few demons that I have to deal with. I promised that I would get in touch with them once it was all over. My mom is probably going to take it a lot harder than my Dad.....a lot harder.



Entry: Tuesday, August 15, 2012


A month later and I am walking the streets of the Bardoli market in Surat India, it’s an interesting city, to say the least. Big difference between the hot, dry and desolate atmosphere in Iraq as opposed to the humidity today. The street markets remind me of the swap meet where most items that are being sold are cast beneath the protection of tarpaulin tents.

 The traffic of vehicles seem to make their own pathway where ever they choose; there seems to be no shortage of pedicab rickshaws and the like. They nearly outnumber the people on this particular day. The food here is manageable thanks to the fact that I ate a lot of Vietnamese and Thai foods back in Honolulu. On a side note, I’ve found it strange that I haven’t had any PTSD episodes thus far but there is one thing that was a bit unusual. While pausing to look at a vendor who sold a large pile of vegetables from an even larger basket, I happened to glance up and thought that I saw my mother walk past him. I had to do a double take because I wasn’t certain about what I had just seen, but sure enough, there was my mom walking toward an iced lemon aide cart. She seemed out of place wearing her blue terry cloth shorts and her Tanioka’s shirt, I thought for a second that I was hallucinating but when I saw that she wore her U.H. Warriors slippers with the size 6 tag still on the back heel, I knew it was her. How the hell did she get here? I haven’t had contact with my family since I left the middle east, there was no way that she could have known I was in Surat! I immediately ran over to her and before I knew it a moped driver and his passenger suddenly zipped right in front of me so that by the time I reached the lemon aide cart, my mother was gone. I must have searched that place for the better half of the day, but I came up with nothing. She wasn’t anywhere to be found.



Entry: Tuesday, September 4, 2012


I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t doused with any kind of chemical or poisoned as part of some kind of military experiment during my tour of duty. Then why am I having these hallucinations? Of all things, I heard a cow mooing outside my window and when I looked down onto the street I saw my father standing on the other side of the road in front of a large fence. He was wearing his usual old man shirt with his faded khaki shorts and his old leather sandals; he was just staring at me. The din of traffic and beeping horns was disconcerting and they all seemed to be oblivious of the white cow that just stood there in the very middle of the street, I suppose it must be an everyday occurrence. My father was still there gesturing at me to come across the street and join him. I threw my clothes on and quickly made my way down the stairs and adeptly moved through the constantly flowing tide of cars, mopeds and makeshift bicycles. By the time I reached the spot where my father stood, he was gone. There was no trace of him. What the hell is going on?


Entry: Friday, September 7, 2012


Something is up, saw my mother and father while having dinner at a restaurant. Why do they always stand across the street or just out of reach? Why don’t they say something? This can’t be PTSD or some kind of unresolved issue because I had a good childhood, my parents were strict but never mean or abusive. Fuck, what is this?


Entry: Wednesday, October 10, 2012


I had to leave the city but I’ll get to that in a second. Since my last entry, I’ve begun to see not only my parents but my sister and my girlfriend as well. At first, it dawned on me that my hallucinations must be a manifestation of my guilt at not wanting to go home. Yes, I feel guilty and less than human for the many life's that I took while stationed where I was. On top of witnessing a demonic possession, I didn’t want to go home a psychological mess and scare the people that I love, but now the people that I love are beginning to scare the shit out of me. I holed myself up in my room for several days until the heat finally got to me and I had to get out and get some air. The owner of the old inn where I was staying didn’t talk much, her daughter did most of the talking for her. It was she who followed me out onto the street and put a paper bag in my hands with something in it, her name was Ananda and she was all of twelve years old.

“My mother wants you to read this book,” the girl said. “She says you are in grave danger but if you read the passages that she has underlined it will help you and you may survive.”

I walked over to a nearby park where I found a quiet spot to sit and clear my mind.  The book that I removed from the bag turned out to be a leather bound journal with the old strap and buckle on the front. It was certainly worn down enough to see that the previous owner made a lot of use of it, the opening page contained the name of the author just at the top.

“Norris Tenney”


He was a foreigner like myself and a survivor of a different kind of war. His penmanship was immaculate and his descriptions of his time in India were melancholy and somewhat tragic. His wife and child were killed in a horrible car accident while driving home and the guilt that ate away at him had to do with the fact that his wife begged him to come with them, but he waved them off and said he was too busy. Like myself, he wanted to fade into the background of a populace that was so great that no one would care about who he was or where he’d come from. Midway through his journal, he begins to write about his guilt manifesting into a living nightmare; he began to see his wife and child where ever he went. This raises a question; his family is dead and mine are not. I do hold guilt over the people I killed while in service of my country so why is it that these people are not appearing to me as well?

There is something else, Norris writes of a strange coincidence regarding the sudden appearance of his wife and child and the simultaneity of people in Surat whose bodies are found mutilated as if consumed while still alive, by a wild animal or a thousand rats.  The same thing happened not long after I began to see my parents, in fact, the number of mutilated bodies found began to increase with each sighting.  His next entry is feverish in its tone as he writes about going to see a holy person who might have the answers he needs. This is where he leaves off and no more is submitted. On the following page, the next handwritten entry is not given by Norris but by Ananda. She writes that she is taking dictation per her mother’s instructions and that she is to underline everything so that I can understand the urgency of the matter at hand.

“Like the man before you whose heart was broken and whose soul was destroyed; he too became a weak wounded animal for the wolves to consume. Except, he was not killed by wolves, but by a Rakshasa. In our Hindu belief, the Rakshasa is a shapeshifter who can take on the guise of people that you most trust and most love, it is through those means when your guard is down that he will consume your flesh. Fear is what makes the flesh of the unwary victim most delectable, but in order for you to kill the Rakshasa, you must be stout of heart and brave beyond measure.  You must go west of Surat city in the district of Gujarat, there you will find a place called, “Dumas Beach.” There you will find Hindu holy men who will assist you once you inform them of your plight concerning the Rakshasa. It is they who have the knowledge as to how these shape-shifting creatures should be killed,”

Before I could even begin to comprehend what I had just read, I heard a voice from just off to my side,

“That must be a very interesting novel you’re reading?”

I looked up and there was Aamir standing at the opposite side of the bench from where I sat.

“Hey,” I said as I got up to shake his hand. “You know it never occurred to me at the airport to ask you why you were getting off here in Surat? You’re from Andhra Pradesh after all, right?”

“I had other family members to visit before I finally headed home,” he explained. “So what is this book that has captured your attention?’

I began to make up some story that what I was reading was just an old journal I found and that its contents were filled with a bunch of meaningless words, but I remembered the stories we shared between the two of us when we first became acquainted. We were brothers in spiritual arms after all. Rather than explain everything up front, I handed him the journal. He read Norris Tenney’s  submission very intently and afterward, he placed the old leather bound journal on his lap,

“Poor Norris, he lost everything and came here to lose himself and in the end, it seems that he literally became lost,” Aamir said.

“What about this Rakshasa?” I asked.

“According to the Ramayana,” Aamir began.  “They were born from the foot of Brama, the Hindu God of creation. In previous incarnations, they were wicked human beings but in this life, they desecrate graves and disturb sacrifices and possess people like yourself and others. However, what bodes worse for you is that you are already dealing with the fallout from your experience with a Jinn and now you’ve been targeted by Rakshasa. This is a karmic sickness.”

“Karmic sickness?” I asked.

“You are a soldier who has been to war, much of what you’ve experienced stays with you. As you have said you’ve taken a human life to the point that you did not feel human yourself, in that moment of being lost spiritually you were vulnerable. Your environment reflects that and negative energies are able to take over and begin to influence your mind and soul,” Aamir said. He opened the journal again and removed a blank page. Then he tore the page into four pieces and began to write something down on each piece, after which he folded each piece in half and numbered them from one to four. The first paper he handed to me and said,

“Upon your arrival at Dumas Beach, read this first note. If all goes well, read the second. After following the instructions on the second note, give the third note to the first person you see. This last note,” he said as he placed it in my hand, “is for you.”

He stood up and looked at his watch and said, “Time to go, I’m sorry our meeting was so brief but I will see you again soon perhaps?”

“Sure,” replied as I shook his hand.

“Follow the instructions on the notes and you should do well,” Aamir said with a firm determination. “The dark period of your life will pass, you’ll be in the light sooner than you know. Have faith, my friend, in the end, it is all that anyone can count on,”

….........


The drive to Dumas beach although 41 minutes long seemed to take a lifetime. I was in a hurry to rid myself of this spiritual malady that hung over me like a dark cloud. Upon arriving I could see that the place was not anything like I’d imagined. It was somewhat bleak in the fading glow of the setting sun. At least that’s how I recall the atmosphere of the place; absent of promise and hope. The instructions from the woman who owned the Inn did not quite manifest in the way that she’d described. There were no Hindu holy men, the place was without any human presence except for mine. This is where I believed that I was beginning to hallucinate and was finally going to go mad. As I am facing the ocean, I suddenly see from the west end of the beach, the approach of my parents. My heart sinks and the hackles rise on the back of my neck. To make matters worse than they already are, my parents then change into my sister and my girlfriend; their mirage-like forms vacillate back and forth. I feel myself beginning to sink back into the madness which my PTSD brings forth, but of all the unthinkable moments to have clarity; it happens there while I am having a delusional breakdown. I suddenly remembered the four notes written to me from Aamir. I quickly remove them and read the first note,

“Whoever it may be that appears to you at Dumas beach, take faith and pray. For it is the Rakshasa; it has come to kill you. Faith and prayer is all that can save you,”

My mind is unraveling, the forms of my parents and my sister and girlfriend are changing more rapidly than before until they finally take the form of the old woman from the inn and her daughter. It has been them all along, they are the Rakshasa. They killed Norris Tenney, they were the cause of all the mutilations that surfaced in and around the city. I realized that I had no weaponry, no bomb or grenade that could kill them. All I had left; that is IF I still had it, was faith and prayer. Of all things that came back to me was a Hawaiian chant that my mother did when she stood at the back door of the house and watched as my father and my uncles would head off to go fishing overnight. She would recite the chant until they returned the next morning. After all these years, the chant came back to me as if it were yesterday and I was sitting in the kitchen, listening to the strength in my mother’s voice. I closed my eyes and the words came to me,

“Ku’u wa’a e, holo ku’u wa’a
Holo ku’u wa’a, ku’u wa’a palolo
i ka ‘ino ‘O Puna e...
‘O Puna ka ‘aina noho a ka wahine, ka wahine i ka ‘iu
O na mauna e, I ho’okele ia e ke kapu kaikunanae e...ua ‘ike a...”

I shuddered with a strange kind of energy which coursed through my body and changed my countenance. I was absent of any kind of fear and could feel the presence of my family with me, even though they were really half a world away. Upon opening my eyes, I saw that the entirety of the beach was empty. Then I remembered the second note. I opened it and read the entry,

“My friend, if you are reading this note then faith and prayer have saved you and you are alive and the Rakshasa are gone. The promise of the Hindu holy men who could heal you was a simple trick for the Rakshasa to lure you to the location in which you stand. Please follow the address below and when you arrive, give the next note to the first person who appears from within that place,”

….

21 hours later and I am in Andrah Pradesh where I have found the address written down by Aamir. It is a beautiful house with magnificent doors just as Aamir had previously described. It is filled with ornate carvings of the Goddess Lakshmi and both are open. I cannot see much beyond the entrance but I can smell the familiar pungent aroma of incense. I must have lingered longer than I should have because a woman appeared from within the home,

“Hello, may I help you?”

“Uh, yeah a friend of mine gave me this address and said that I should give this note to the first person I see. I guess that’s you,” I hand the third note to the woman who receives it, opens it and reads. Her large brown eyes are filled with clarity but are soon filled with tears that fall without effort. The woman looks strangely familiar.

Her body shudders and her face is filled with a look of disbelief and realization all at once. Her soft eyes became hard and they pierce through me, she breaths evenly and holds the note firmly in her grasp.

“Just now, as I read this note, I thought you were mad and that you had come to play a cruel trick on my family. But I looked at this note closely and I realized that you are not a scoundrel,” she said.

“I don’t understand,” I tell her.

“I know,” she replied. “There is no real way to understand, please come inside.”

I follow her through a place that looks like the courtyard of the Honolulu art academy. We eventually enter a large living room where she stands just at the opening to the large space and points to the left wall. There is a large black and white picture of my friend Aamir.

“Hey, that’s Aamir! Is this where he lives? Is he home?” I ask.

“How do you know him?” The woman asks.

“I met him on the plane ride over from Iraq and then again in Surat. We got to be friends, really nice guy, very cool,” I answered.

“When did you meet him on the plane?” She asked

“July 26th if I’m not mistaken,” I began.

“Aamir worked at the house of an Indian family in Iraq,” she began.

“Yes, that’s right,” I confirmed.

“The little boy who lived in the house fell gravely ill and there was no cure for him; except when a holy man came to the house and told them that only someone within the household who would be willing to take the boy’s sickness upon them self could cure him,” she said.

“Right, Aamir told me that it was a servant in the house,” I offered.

“Yes,” she confirmed. “My son Amir was the servant, he took the sickness upon himself so that the boy in the house could live,”

The woman, who I now knew to be Aamir’s mother, handed me the note and broke down crying.

“Mother, our debt to this family has been repaid with my own life. I was happy to do it, we will have a great fortune for lifetimes to come,”

My head was swimming even though Aamir’s mother began to validate my experience,

“The date when you met Aamir on the plane coming from Iraq, is the same place where his body lay in a casket in the cargo hold. He must have sensed your troubles and appeared to you in order to help you in your time of need, but you said that you saw him a second time?” She asked.

“Yes, in Surat city. It was a moment when I thought I was going crazy and all of a sudden he was there, giving me advice,” I told her.

“May I ask what he shared?” She was searching for a kind of clarification that she may have already had.

“He said that faith and prayer will answer all troubles,” I gave her the abridged version.

“There is no way to deny that this is not real, because this is his handwriting on this note, I know because I taught him to write properly,” she smiled through her tears. At that moment I remembered the last note that according to Aamir’s instructions, was for me. I removed it from my pocket and read the entry,

“My friend, you now know that your journey is complete and you also know the reason why I sent you to my home. Return to yours with no fear, the love of your family will carry you through your darkest worries. Have faith and pray,”

….

Aamir’s mother was gracious enough to let me use her cell phone in order to make a call. The phone rings on the other side, the familiar gruff and gravely voice answers,

“Hello?”

“Hey Dad," I'm hesitant because I'm afraid the words won't come but they do haltingly, but they do.

"It’s Jacob, I’m coming home Dad,”





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