Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 6, 2019

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2019 #57

I KELA ME KEIA MAKAHIKI

Grant Society Case File: #33101-15

16th Avenue Bridge Kaimuki

Evelyn Gemma asked me to meet her at two ‘o clock in the morning at the sixteenth avenue overpass in Kaimuki. She needed help; her daughter’s ghost was going to appear at that exact hour as she had done for nearly two years. It was where she was killed when a speeding car hit her and took her life as she was running across the bridge to get into her boyfriend’s waiting car. The car that killed her, however, and she never saw it coming.

“I’m sorry for your loss,” I said to Evelyn, “but what exactly do you want me to do?”
“I want you to tell her to stop, to go already, go where she can find peace,” Evelyn replied.
“It’s not that easy,” I began, “If your daughter didn’t see the car that hit her and she was killed instantly then, as far as her mind is concerned, she’s still alive but only slightly.”
“Hah? What do you mean? I don’t understand?” Evelyn was obviously confused.
“She’s a residual memory, like a recording that keeps playing itself back over and over again. If she appears tonight at the exact hour that you say she will, she won’t have any awareness of you at all. None. And certainly, there’s nothing I can do to prevent that,” I said.
There was a heavy sigh on the other side of the phone, “It just tears me apart to know that my baby is stuck on that overpass and that she can’t go anywhere. Not to heaven or to hell, nowhere,” Evelyn wept.
“She’s just a shadow, she won’t know that you’re there. You shouldn’t torture yourself like this,” I said, “You could fill that overpass with a thousand people and it will be the same thing, the same result every time.”
“Could you come and meet me anyway? Please?” she begged.
I hated having to organize the Grant Society at the last minute, they were a great team but they had lives of their own and unless a cleansing or an investigation was scheduled ahead of time, they more than likely were not available. However, I was lucky on this night. They were all off of work the next day. As always, I was thankful for their help.
We arrived at the sixteenth avenue overpass at one fifty-five in the morning. The neighborhood was quiet save for a few passing cars on the freeway below, fortunately, parking was easy to find. The team positioned themselves at the bottom and top of the overpass while I calmly walked across to meet Evelyn Gemma.
I gave the signal for the Grant Society to start recording just as I greeted our hostess. She was tall and she wore a rust-colored, long-sleeved, rugby sweater with slacks to match. Her short, coiffed hair was the same rusty color as her sweater. Her brown shoes were the kind that a waitress or a housekeeper at a hotel would wear; the kind of shoes meant for someone who worked long hours on their feet. Her face was a dark tanned color with deep lines around her eyes and her mouth. Life had aged her before her time and the death of her daughter certainly did not help to abate the process. She looked to be part Filipina and part Hawaiian, there was something about her that gave off a rough exterior in spite of how she came across over the phone.
“Lopaka,” she said as if she already knew who I was. We shook hands as we exchanged greetings and hers were rather cold.
“Hello Evelyn,” I said, ‘I don’t think I ever asked your daughter’s name?’
She gave a painful smile as she answered, “Nicole.”
I carefully mentioned to Evelyn that there was still time to reconsider and that we could call it a night and that she should move past this, but she was adamant. It was now one fifty-eight, there were less than two minutes left and I offered her one more out but she refused.
It was now two o’clock in the morning; the streetlights around us began to flicker on and off for a few seconds until it became blindingly bright. I shielded my eyes as Evelyn stood at the edge of the sidewalk searching once again for the manifestation of her daughter, Nicole. And as it has always happened on this date, she appeared like clockwork. She wore a light, knee-high skirt with a white blouse tucked into it. Around her shoulders, was an off-white sweater and her black hair was pulled back. She was stunning to behold and elegant, one could see it was something that came naturally to her. At the same time, it broke my heart to know that Evelyn would have to witness her daughter’s demise yet again, I couldn’t bring myself to look. Nicole’s gaze went toward the phantom car of her boyfriend which appeared on the opposite end of the bridge, her eyes flew opened wide and the smile of someone who knew the meaning of true love came across her face like a new sunrise. Without a second glance, Nicole darted across the street and the shadow of the nineteen ninety-nine Nissan passenger van ran her down and her apparition burst into a cloud of dandelion-like light. A second later she was gone. Simultaneously, Evelyn reached out to stop her daughter but an invisible force knocked her back and prevented her from leaving the sidewalk. She sat there on the pavement and cried out of frustration.
The streetlights flickered once and resumed its normal illumination.
“What happened?” Evelyn cried, “I tried to stop her but something held me back!”
“Evelyn, listen to me,” I said, “listen carefully.”
“What stopped me? It’s only been two years since she was killed in that hit run on this overpass. Why can’t I help her? Why?” Her tears fell effortlessly now.
“Evelyn, fifteen years ago today your daughter Nicole was killed in a hit and run accident on this overpass at two o’clock in the morning. It wasn’t two years ago Evelyn, it’s been fifteen years today,” I explained.
“No,” Evelyn protested, “it’s only been two years!”
“No, Evelyn, two years after Nicole died you were still grief-stricken and, for some reason, you came to this overpass hoping to see her ghost. You were hoping you could somehow change the circumstances of your daughter’s death if you could just stop her from crossing the bridge and so you called me on your cell phone remember?” I was trying to jog her memory now.
“No,” she replied, “I called you just earlier this evening.”
“I suggested that you go home and that you shouldn’t torture yourself remember? You agreed and we hung up. You tried to call me back shortly after that because I have it on my phone, see?” I showed her the call log and she gave it a blank stare, “Your phone slipped from your hands and you went to catch it because you could see that if you didn’t it was going to fall to the freeway below but you reached out too far and you fell to your death.”
“What?” she shrieked, “That’s ridiculous! I’m here now in the flesh! I called you earlier this evening!”
I shook my head at her and said, “For the past fifteen years, on the anniversary of Nicole’s death and eventually your death, you’ve called me asking for help with your daughter’s ghost. I’ve never answered but I have kept the voice mails.”
I held my digital recorder out to her, “Listen.”
“Hi, Lopaka, my name is Evelyn Gemma and I need your help with my daughter’s ghost. She is going to appear at two o’clock this morning on the sixteenth avenue overpass in Kaimuki. Please call me back.”
Her face was wracked with confusion.
“Nicole is a residual shadow, she’s a recording that plays itself back. So are you, in a way but you’re more cognizant to a point. Your physical flesh has passed, a part of your conscious has survived but it won’t let you save your daughter because it’s impossible. You can’t change what has already transpired as a past event. It’s your overwhelming sense of loss and heartbreak that you have to let go of Evelyn; you are free to move on. The residual part of Nicole that’s stuck here is just one minuscule part of her, once you let go you’ll find your daughter waiting for you.”
The realization of these words must have made some kind of sense to her because her troubled veneer vanished. The lines that aged her face were gone, the furrowed brow was now a memory and a smile was all that was left. Slowly her tears of anguish became tears of happiness, she slowly faded into thin air and was finally gone.
“We got it,” Raymond said over the four-way radio earpiece.
“I got everything on video,” Tanya clicked in.
“Moonie and I got EVP from both ends,” Annisa said.
“Roger that,” Moonie agreed. “I’m not sure what I got as far as pictures but I’m drained.” 
“Chuck it guys,” I replied.
“Are you serious?” Raymond shrieked.
“Babe, are you sure?” Tanya asked.
“Oh man, you are feeding us at Zippy’s after this!” Annisa rumbled.
“Ugh!” Moonie blurted out.
“I’m sure, hun” I replied, “Let’s leave this one and not tempt the universe. I think we can spare these people some respect.”
“I have a big hug and kiss for you,” Tanya clicked in.
“Over and out guys, let’s call it a night.”
“Oh, hold on, Lopaka to base. Come in? Tommy? Tommy come in, Tommy?” I clicked in twice but got no response, “Tommy?”
The radio crackled and Tommy finally replied, “Are you sure you want to chuck it because I got the overall shot from the van, from this vantage point you can see everything.”
“Chuck it base. Over.”
“Man, alright.” Tommy moaned but it was just for show; while Lopaka was calling in, Tommy didn’t answer right away because he was making a copy of the live feed encounter between his boss, Evelyn, and her daughter Nicole. “This is going to save our asses someday.”





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