Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Nov 19, 2016


No one expected Liza to die so suddenly, much less in the middle of a conversation. It was a weekend hula class for those students who wanted to improve their dance skills. If the kumu deemed them proficient, they were allowed to join the advanced Tuesday evening class. It had been nearly two years of hard work until Liza had finally achieved the skill of nuance within her transitional movements. It was the subtlety of the connecting motions which gave the hula its hypnotic magic. One can only imagine how elated Liza was when her kumu embraced her in front of her hula brothers and sisters and told her that she was ready to join the advanced dance. Everyone was genuinely excited for Liza and as they each hugged her and expressed their well wishes. In the din of happy noises and laughter that filled the hula studio, Liza leaned in close to her kumu to thank her for her patience, while expressing her gratitude, Liza collapsed on the floor and died of a massive brain aneurysm. The atmosphere suddenly went from joyous to heartbreaking. The kumu was so devastated that the hula was canceled for a month. When class resumed the following month, everything was back to normal, except for the weekend hula class. Whenever the kumu arrived early to open the door to the studio, the room would already be icy cold even before the a/c had been turned on. Students always had a strange feeling while dancing, as if they were either being watched or that they could hear someone breathing right next to them.  The kumu began to notice that within the three rows of ten students each, there always seemed to be an empty spot in the third line on the far left. Stopping the class in their tracks and directing them not to move, the kumu would walk to where the empty spot was, but each time she approached the line, there would be an even number of ten dancers. Eventually, she let it go and thought nothing of it. However, one night in the middle of her regular hula class, she directed her dancers to face the mirrors on the wall, in order to practice their smiles. All of sudden, there were loud piercing screams and the class scattered toward where the kumu stood for protection. There, in the mirror looking out at her hula sisters and her kumu, was Liza. She looked confused and lost, a second later, she faded away.

The Kumu realized that because Liza had died so suddenly, literally in the middle of a conversation with her, that she probably didn’t even know that she was dead. The hula class ended early that night and the Kumu returned the next day with her alaka’i and a kahu. They performed a blessing ritual that lasted for several hours, it was meant to help Liza’s spirit move on.

However, just for the sake of precaution, the kumu moved her hula class to Hawai’i Kai.

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