Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 25, 2019

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2019 #38

LAKO HALE


Amelia Baroga could not get her furniture to fit the living room of the Kaimuki house. It seemed that no matter how she tried to position the two love seats, and her China hutch, they would not match the architecture of the simple four-cornered main room. What was it that made the living room so unusual?
It was a four hundred sixteen square foot space that should have easily accommodated the household property but try as she might the arrangement was always out of place. The neighbors began to wonder about Amelia’s mental health as they could hear her at all hours of the day and night dragging her furniture across the large wooden floor. The incessant tedious sound began to grate on them. On one occasion, her next-door neighbor Mr. Apana hurriedly walked over to the house and knocked loudly on the front door. With no reply from within, Mr. Apana peaked through a partially opened curtain from without the front window and saw a bunch of furniture clumped together in the middle of the floor. Otherwise, the noise stopped, and there was no sign of anyone.

A few days later, Mr. Apana organized a few of the residents on their street for a brief meeting at his home. There was Ms. Omori, who came with her Chihuahua Fredrick. The Kamakas attended and brought shoyu poke and pipi Kaula. The Devons were new to the neighborhood and were just glad to have been invited; for them, it was a great way to network their unique and innovative health product.

“Okay,” Mr. Apana began, “I dunno about you guys, but this lady she keeps me up at night with her moving her furniture back and forth and back and forth, it’s driving me crazy! I was ready to kick down her door the other day and scream her out, but she wasn’t home. So I figured I bring all you folks together so we can come up with some kind of solution to stop this racket!”

Gesturing to Mr. and Mrs. Kamaka, Mr. Apana asked, “What you think Kamaka?”

“Simple solution would be to knock on the door and ask her if she needs help, I guess,” Mr. Kamaka replied.

Just then, Ms. Omori chimed in, “That noise wakes Fredrick up, and he can’t get back to sleep, and when Fredrick wakes up, I have to stay up with him. He won’t let me go back to sleep, and when I wake up late in the day, and I can’t get my work done around the house !”

“Oh, I feel bad for your husband!” Mrs. Devon said sympathetically.

“Oh,” Ms. Omori giggled, “Fredrick is my Chihuahua, I’m not married.”

Mr. and Mrs. Devon exchanged a strange look between each other while Mr. Devon remarked, “How do we know it’s a woman who lives there?”

“Gotta be one woman! One man just move the furniture one time and pau! After that, we no care! Okay, so then how’s this? Let’s all go knock on her door and ask her if she needs any help with moving her stuff so that way we can all get some peace and quiet?” Mr. Apana suggested.

The group agreed, and in a few short moments, they were all gathered on the sidewalk fronting Amelia’s home. As they approached the front door of the old 70’s style home, the noise of the woman’s furniture being dragged across the floor began again, except it seemed to be slow and purposeful as if deep gouges were being dug into the hardwood. The sound sent a chill up the spines of everyone in the group, thereby giving them pause. Now each person waited for the other to knock on the door.

“Mr. Apana,” Mr. Devon whispered, “don’t you think that you should knock on the door since you organized this group?”

“Aaaah, I cannot,” Mr. Apana whispered back, “I just had double bypass surgery.”

Mrs. Kamaka let out a sigh of exasperation and knocked on the door.

No answer came, and the sound of furniture being re-arranged and dragged across the floor continued.


………………………


Amelia’s obsession with the furniture never being in the right configuration was beyond compulsive, it bordered on the maniacal. There was not one arrangement that seemed to work, and without any sleep for what seemed like several days, Amelia’s mind began to dream while she was fully awake, except that this waking dream was more of a nightmare. The inanimate objects were starting to express their displeasure at never being comfortable in whatever place they were set. It gave Amelia a second to step back and rub her temples in irritation, “I don’t know what you want! Why can’t you just be satisfied with where you end up? Why are you always complaining?”

“Not here,” the furniture complained, “not here!”

It was only then that she heard the loud knocking on her front door.

“Not here,” the furniture snipped, “not here!”

“Shut up!” Amelia hissed, “someone’s at the door!”

………………………….

Mr. Apana and his group were a bit startled at first when they heard the doorknob turn and were even more taken aback when the door itself slowly creaked open. Standing before them was a young Filipino woman who looked as if she were dressed for a night out on the town except that there were dark circles under her eyes, and she appeared to be preoccupied to the point of paranoia.

“Sorry to bother you but my name is Mr. Apana, your next-door neighbor,” he said as he made the introductions, “this is Mr. and Mrs. Devon, Mr. and Mrs. Kamaka and this is Ms. Omori and Fredrick,”

“Which Apana?” Amelia asked, “the Chinese Apana or the Kaua’i Apana?”

“Isn’t that the same thing?” Mrs. Devon asked.

“How long have you been living in Hawai’i?” Amelia asked Mrs. Devon.

“Long enough, ten years,” Mrs. Devon replied.

“Not long enough to learn how not to ask stupid questions,” Amelia said pointedly.

The Devons took the remark as an affront and demanded an immediate apology.

“That was uncalled for,” Mr. Devon said as he raised his voice, “you better apologize!”

Completely ignoring the couple, Amelia re-focused her attention on Mr. Apana,

“Well? Which one is it? Chinese or Kaua’i?” She asked.

“I cannot say really,” Mr. Apana said sheepishly, “ I was adopted.”

“So, you don’t know who you are then?” Amelia asked. With no reply from Mr. Apana, she turned her attention to Ms. Omori. “Why do you have a dog and not a husband?”

“I’m sorry?” Ms. Omori replied.

“You heard me why a dog and not a husband?” Amelia demanded.

“I don’t see what this has to do with anything, and my personal life is no one's business. Thank you!” Ms. Omori screeched.

“And you two?” Amelia gestured to Mr. and Mrs. Kamaka.

“We came to ask you if you need help moving your furniture? We can hear you moving your stuff around, and it sounds like you’re having a hard time, we thought you could use some extra hands?” Mrs. Kamaka answered.

“Excuse me?” Mrs. Devon interrupted, “after the way she just came off? I don’t think she deserves our help!”

“We have to be good to our neighbors,” Mr. Kamaka said to the Devons, “besides,” Mr. Kamaka whispered, “this could also be a good way for you to sell your health products…”

“Oh yeah…” The Devons whispered back.

“Do you need any help? We don’t mind, there’s six of us here, it might help things move a lot faster?” Mr. Kamaka offered.

“Alright,” Amelia agreed, and her countenance changed utterly. “I’m sorry, I’m Amelia Baroga, please come in.”

As Mr. Apana and his group entered the home, a sparsely furnished house with windows of the old plantation variety greeted them, and all that there was in the home were the love chairs and the old China hutch. Otherwise, the house was completely empty.

“So, you’re not fully moved in yet?” Mr. Apana asked.

“No,” Amelia replied, “I just need to get these pieces arranged, and then everything else will come.”

“But it’s been over a month,” Ms. Omori stated.

“Almost two months,” Mr. Devon verified.

“It seems strange, I know, but I’m particular..” Amelia said as her thoughts trailed off.

“Well, where should we start?” Mr. Apana asked.

“Hmmm….Mr. Apana, maybe you and Mr. Devon can start with the hutch, and Mrs. Devon and Ms. Omori and I can move the love chairs and Mr. and Mrs…..”

“Oh!” Mr. Apana exclaimed, “where Kamaka dem went? I didn’t even notice they left?”

“Maybe it wasn’t their thing?” Mr. Devon offered.

“Ah! Lazy Hawaiians, I tell you, get one in every bunch!” Mr. Apana sighed, “We go get started!”

Mr. Devon and Mr. Apana moved the hutch to the left corner of the living room, they both stood back and thought that something might be askew, was the edge to small or did it seem a bit off? It didn’t seem to fit flush against the corner at all. Mrs. Devon and Ms. Omori also noticed that as they placed the love chairs just below the windows that one chair seemed to be slightly larger than the other. So they parted the chairs and stood back to take a look, now one chair appeared to be a bit more ahead of the other. The color also seemed to differ for some reason, even though they were both colored in Peach. Mr. Apana and Mr. Devon tried a different corner, and for a moment, the hutch appeared as if it were finally flushed against the wall, but as the two men stood back to get a better look at their work, one end of the hutch was suddenly leaning to the left. Was the hardwood floor slanted? Ms. Omori placed Fredrick on one of the love chairs while she and Mrs. Devon moved the items into a “V” formation, and now one chair was longer than its partner. Could that have been possible? Did they make a mistake? Amelia offered her suggestions to Mr. Apana and Mr. Devon, but they waved her off. It was the same when she stepped in to reposition one of the chairs except in that instant Ms. Omori almost bit her head off, “EXCUSE ME! I was an interior decoration for a long time, so please get out of the way!”

“Hun, I got three brothers who I had to carry upstairs when they came home drunk at night, so move your petite ass aside!” Mrs. Devon bellowed.

The four immediately returned to the situation at hand, why wasn’t it working out? It seemed that no matter how they tried to arrange the furniture, it never seemed to fit anywhere. It was almost as if the items themselves were not happy with where they ended up.

……………………………………………….

OUTSIDE


“You’ve paid your debt,” Mr. Kamaka said to Amelia, “the curse is lifted. You can go back to your life.”

“How long was I under?” Amelia asked.

“Since 1977,” Mrs. Kamaka answered, “it’s 2015 now. A lot of things have changed, and maybe some of the people you used to know are long gone or have grown older. Look at this as a second chance.”

Looking back at the house, Amelia asked, “And those people?”

“Misguided, no sense of themselves, like your old self. The place value is on “THINGS” rather than people, but they've lost their own sense of value and self-worth. They’ve lost all their personal relationships, and they’ve all ended up lonely.” Mr. Kamaka said.

“That’s kinda what happened to me,” Amelia said, “I killed someone in a car accident by Royal Sunset drive inn, and I had no remorse. It meant nothing to me. I’m sorry Mr. and Mrs. Kamaka, I not only killed that boy that I ran over but your daughter too, she was in the car with me, and I was drunk, and she could see that. I didn’t care; I wanted to take her for a joy ride because I thought she was too much of a square. Jodi died because of me.”

“You served your time,” Mrs. Kamaka said, “We forgive you, and as was the stipulation of the curse if a person or persons who are more selfish than yourself appear, they will take your place, and the curse will be lifted.”

“I have to go see Mr. and Mrs. Napualawa first before I do anything else, right?” Amelia asked.

“They passed away suddenly, not too long after we asked them to place the curse on you,” Mr. Kamaka replied, “their son Boy now runs the office. It’s not too far from here, you can go in a couple of days, for now, come stay with us, and we’ll help you get re-adjusted to everything ok?”

“Really?” Amelia asked, “after everything that happened?”

“It’s been almost forty years, Amelia, that’s more than enough time to forgive and forget,” Mrs. Kamaka said.

The three walked toward the end of the block, where the Kamaka family house stood. At the same time, Mr. Apana, Mr. and Mrs. Devon, Ms. Omori, and Fredrick continually attempted to solve the puzzle of the uncooperative pieces of furniture that could not or would not fit into any space in the Kaimuki home.











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