Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

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 to 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









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