Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 28, 2017

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2017! #65


The days of blistering heat at such places as Makua and Nanaue were twenty years away from becoming a reality. For now, here in 1997, we had just completed our three-year training in the art of spear throwing and spear catching. It’s not as easy as it sounds and, as a matter, of course, we were to only wear malo while under the tutelage of my eldest cousin. For the first year we had to stand at a distance while our cousin cast rocks of various sizes at us, our task was to block, catch or parry any one of the rocks. The first month was easy because we were dealing with very small pebbles, the second month with larger rocks and the third with sharp-edged rocks.
The fourth and fifth months were also the ssharp-edgedrocks, the sixth month my cousin readied himself with several old plastic drums, each filled to the brim with rocks. He was no longer tossing them at us but throwing it at us with such determined purpose that if we did not block or parry, we would be hit. Hit we were, several times in fact but my cousin would not relent, he just kept throwing those rocks until we got smart and did something about it. Once we mastered that task he moved on to mock spears with blunt points which were fashioned out of haole koa. Those he lobbed at us first so we could acclimate our hands to the size of the weapon as it came toward us, once he felt we were ready, all he would say was, “Dodge, parry or catch.”

The mock spears came at us with missile precision, I got caught on the shoulder, the chest and on my thigh. Shane caught one in the head while Green got one in the nuts, my cousin meant what he said. This is how our training went on until the day before the very last day when our cousin instructed us to be at our beach training grounds an hour after sunrise, as the last part of our test, in order to show that we had mastered all we learned, we were going to have to catch, dodge and parry real spears. More specifically, it was going to be the eight barbed spears with six barbs facing down and two facing up. They were going to be made of Kauila and Koa, we were all nervous about failing because failure meant serious injury or death but we couldn’t wait.


The next morning I timed my drive from town so that when I arrived at Nanaue beach, I would be there exactly an hour after sunrise. When I pulled up into the parking lot, everyone’s cars were already parked. I girded myself with my malo and I took my slippers and shorts with me so that I had a place to put my car keys. I hurried down the sand dune and noticed that the light had barely hit the beach and that it was still somewhat dark; there was a hoard of people gathered and dressed in their malo as well. They were people that I’d never seen before, I couldn’t quite make out where my elder cousin was but all of a sudden I hear a shout raise up, “ ‘O’o na ihe!” (throw the spears)

Before I know it, everyone is casting their spears toward me practically at the same time. I can barely see but by the sound of the whistling of the spears, I count six. The first one just skims past my ear and I catch it, the next two which come in at the same time is sent up in the air as I flick them back with my own weapon. They both land point first a foot behind me in the sand; the first spear I stab into the ground while I spin simultaneously counter clock wise and grab the sixth spear with an underhanded grip and send it back. The first spear follows right behind it and both weapons find their mark, Green and Shane stand perfectly still, I can see by the body language of their silhouettes that they were really run through! Oh my god, I killed them both! I run toward them but the rising sun from behind me illuminates the beach and there is no one there, Nanaue beach is empty and bereft of any human presence other than my own. Where did everyone go?


From the top of the sand dune, I hear, “Huuuuiiiii!” Looking up I see Shane and Green standing along side my elder cousin. “We were waiting for you to go Pikai! Good thing we saw you drive up. C’mon, we go!”

I’m confused for a second and I didn’t know what to think or say but I go with my elder cousin and my fellow classmates. I don’t tell my cousin about what happened until years later only to find out that the day of our testing was the beginning of Po Kane, or the night of the night marchers which had officially begun the evening before, just after midnight. “Sounds like you came up on the procession when you weren't supposed to, lucky thing you alive. Lucky the sun come up when it did, otherwise, we would have found you with spears stuck in your body.”

“But I got two of THEM with a spear,” I was still confused as to what happened.

“They let you think that brah, they wanted to lull you into a false sense of security and get you to go closer. Good thing we went pikai, otherwise you would be having some problems.” My elder cousin just shook his head and put his hand on my shoulders and laughed. “You always gotta learn the hard way.”

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