Ghosts in the Archives (Happy Halloween 2022!)

Why do we love to write and read about ghosts? In honor of Halloween we bring you a few excerpts, wisps of words, from Gary Pak’s The Watcher of Waipuna and Other Stories.

Originally published in 1992, this book of short fiction is available to read and download for free via our BR Archive in the Kapiʻolani Community College repository. Read on below, if you dare.

Nah, joke… not spooky! Well, maybe little bit.

An excerpt from “The Watcher of Waipuna” by Gary Pak

“Oh. I heard some strange things happening over here. Das why I thought I come here and ask you if you need help.”

“Strange things?”

“Yeah. Strange things.”

“Like what?”

“Somebody said dat you told him dat you saw Mama’s ghost floating around, bringing you things fo’ eat. Of course, you know I believe in dah spirits, like dat. But you know, as well as I know,”—clearing her throat—“that ghost no can cook.”

“But I telling you fo’ one fact. It is Mama cooking all dat food. Honest. Fo’ real.”


An excerpt from “The Gift” by Gary Pak

We couldn’t sleep that night, or at least for a long time into the early morning hours because we weren’t sure how to deal with this, a kid our age dying and he being the bully and not liking any of us, and we thinking that maybe his ghost might come back and search for us and haunt us in the dark of the night.

The next day we told the rest of our friends about what happened to Chunky and they, too, did not know what to make of it. We were sitting in the huge mango tree in the front of my cousin’s house.

“You think Chunky going come back and make trouble wit’ us or what?” Georgie asked, looking at me. I shrugged my shoulders.

“I dunno,” I said. “He was mad at you?”

Georgie’s eyes were wide and scared. “No,” he said quickly. “I nevah do nothing to him. But he always picking on me.” He looked up into the higher branches of the tree, then quickly corrected himself, thinking perhaps Chunky might be listening in and might not like what he had just heard. “Nah-nah, he nevah pick on me … dat much. Nah, he wasn’t bad to me.”

“What … you scared his ghost?” Willy said, then started laughing.

“Not. I not scared of ghost,” Georgie protested.

“Not. You scared of his ghost,” Willy said.

“Not! You scared his ghost!”

“Not! If I see his ghost, I whack him wit’ my fist!”

But we all knew that Georgie was scared of Chunky’s ghost. We were all afraid of his ghost, even big tough Willy.

(The Watcher of Waipuna and Other Stories, 1992, Bamboo Ridge Press)

Want to read the rest of these tales? Be brave and enter the archive. If you happen to see the ghost of Chunky in there, jus’ whack him wit’ your fist!

The Watcher of Waipuna

The BR Archive is part of our ongoing Preservation Project. This is made possible through the support of the Hawaiʻi Council for the Humanities (HCH), your generous donations, and our hard working volunteers.

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