Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 19, 2017

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2017! #13


My father’s name was Kahi’uka Napualawa, my mother was Victoria Ka’ehukai Napualawa but she chose to go by her English name because she was named after Princess Victoria Ka’iulani. Father was a massively large man who had the strength of ten men and could easily lift a refrigerator without effort. His hands were big and could cover and man's face and head all in one. He was truly a man among men; who was feared and respected by his peers but never was there a man as gentle in nature and soft of heart and voice than my father.
His handsome rugged looks melted the heart of many a woman in Ka’u but his own heart belonged solely to my mother, for him, there was no one else and his eyes never strayed. He was a man that I truly admired and loved, he was a strict man and not above administering discipline when it was needed but never was it personal and demeaning. It was always with an understanding as to why it had to be done. He would then give me time to think about my transgressions and would remind me to be mindful enough to not repeat the same mistakes.

Mother was tall and regal and very beautiful but she was toughened by the lifestyle in which she grew up. She was adept at sports and horseback riding and certainly mastered any undertaking that was put before her. Possessing nerves of steel, she was fearless in any undertaking but her most fearsome quality lay within her mental facilities, she was very sharp and nothing escaped her attention. To raise her ire was another matter entirely; mother was not to be taken lightly because she was a woman. Many a man suffered embarrassing tongue lashings or physical beatings as a result, to trifle with her was to invite disaster. Together, my parents were masters of the ancient Hawaiian art of bone-breaking or what is known as, ‘Lua’ I was raised under their tutelage after suffering a beating by a group of neighborhood miscreants, afterward, my martial training in hand to hand combat began. It was merciless and unrelenting and I often thought that my parents had meant to kill me, but it was their strict training that would prepare me not only for martial prowess but for prowess in life. Alas, I lost my parents, my father on a fateful evening when assassins ambushed me within the confines of our old home and my mother, who left to seek revenge on the one who sent the assassins. She was never seen or heard from after that night and lo after thirty some odd years have passed, we would still be clueless and bereft of any concrete answers. My uncles Ivan and Tiny would continue my training in Lua, and within the Lua, I learned the art of healing and the art of various types of sorcery, all of which would serve me later in life.


Manuel Almeida was quite a character, fun-loving and boisterous but not so bright when it came to making wise choices. His lack of common sense wisdom was always his own undoing, I thought it a miracle that no one ever managed to kill him or at the very least skewer him alive. His lovable foppish nature appeared to be his saving grace, that is until he made the acquaintance of a woman who was a recent transplant from the island of Molokai, her name was Luella Mahikō. Hers was a life of hardship and a limited amount of the normalcy, even the simple pleasures of confections and flavored drinks from the local soda fountain would remain foreign to her, as would physical displays of affection. Everything changed once she moved to Maui and literally ran into Manuel.

I must pause here as a thought has entered my mind and has caused a slight humorous chuckle to alter my concentration. My friend Lopaka Kapanui reminded me of the importance of listing days and times so that you the reader may have a sense of how the sequence of events in my life transpires, whether it be a recollection of the past or a present-day occurrence no matter how important or mundane. Lopaka, ever the student received a lesson that he was not prepared for but received with humble appreciation regardless. His humility and respect for things like this are why our friendship has continued to endure. I understood his suggestion on annotating time but I offered him a glimpse into my upbringing by saying that the concept of time as he knew it was not the same way in which my parents taught me to measure times and seasons, years and cycles. As I say this, I must let you know that this is time as I knew it growing up with my family, I do not assume to speak for all Hawaiian families and say that all learning was taught under one Malu (shade) from one tree. The years were measured by a sidereal year with an extra month inserted every few periods. Days and their length of time were not measured by the duration of the sun’s ascent to the heavens until it would rest beyond the horizon but rather it was measured by nights. The day alone was divided into parts, early morning, mid-morning, mid-day, afternoon and evening. The time of day would have really begun at four in the morning so that all the laborious tasks would have been completed before the day became too hot. The months alone were lunar each beginning with the appearance of a new moon, which lasted twenty-nine or thirty nights until the appearance of the next new moon. By the look on my friends face, he was stunned and admitted that he had only briefly heard of time measurements by our ancient people in passing but never thought to delve deeper, however, to hear it from a personal friend who was raised on such an ancient concept in today’s world was overwhelming but beneficial for a person such as himself.


At the time that this story takes place, Luella was recently moved to Makawao where she lived with extended ‘Ohana. A cousin of hers was able to procure Luella a job with the parks and recreation department where it was her task to maintain the overall cleanliness and safety of the park for patrons and tourists alike. Luella was not a stranger to hard work and took to her occupation as if she had been doing it all of her life. After work, they returned home where her cousin told her to bathe and put on her best clothes, she was going to take Luella out for her first night on the town. The two paid a visit to a well-known place called, ‘Casanova’s’ it’s clientele were a good mix of locals and haole and the crowd was always boisterous but never out of hand. Luella drank her first soda and tasted her first pizza, the flavors were alive and the bubbles from the soda turned her face red and caused her eyes to water. Her cousin laughed and assured Luella that as she drank more, she would appreciate what the drink had to offer. When she was done her cousin assured her that there was more drink and food to be had, but cautioned her to take her time and consume all in moderation. Luella took her hair down and prepared herself for the second round of soda and pizza. In less than an hour, Luella asked her cousin if she would accompany her to the women’s room as she was not used to such a large crowd and the blaring music was too loud. Manuel Almeida was with a crowd of friends sharing a story of one of his many exploits of which no one was ever sure if it was imagined or real but none the less, it was never boring. His friends laughed until they cried as Manuel gestured and contorted his face all the while trying to capture the attention of the new waitress Selena Freitas. Alas, nature had finally taken precedence over Manuel’s tomfoolery and he excused himself to the men’s facilities. By that time, Luella and her cousin already leaving the women’s bathroom were cut off by the crowd and Luella panicked, this was something she was not used to. Her cousin thought nothing of it and casually made her way back to their table. Luella however, pushed and nudged her way through a mob of people that would not make a space for her, Manuel was so drunk by this time that he could not see that he and Luella were in a direct path toward one another. Luella lunged forward with her palms out when she saw that a large woman impeded her way, but as fate would have it, the woman moved at the very last second and in her place came Manuel. He went down hard and hit the floor with a dull thud, Luella was horrified and knelt down to help him, the moment Manuel looked up and saw Luella he was smitten. She was a gorgeous throwback to the classic Hawaiian beauty, long thick wavy hair, perfectly arched eyebrows, eyes large like the moon, luscious lips and a firm jawline. Luella herself was taken aback by Manuel’s devilishly handsome features, she had never seen anyone like him before and she was hypnotized. Manuel accompanied Luella back to her table but her cousin was not happy to see Manuel for she knew the kind of man he was. Her concern grew as she witnessed Luella’s interest in the newfound food and drink became secondary to her infatuation with Manuel. At the end of the night, Luella intimated to her cousin that she would like to go home with Manuel and that she would return home in time to change and be ready for work in the morning. There was nothing that her cousin could say to change her mind but Manuel was not able to leave without a warning from Luella’s cousin. She whispered harshly into his ear and cautioned him that Luella was not like the other women he was used to running around with, she was a simple girl from Molokai who did not have much for most of her life and that she took things literally. She urged Manuel to not make any promises to Luella that he did not intend to keep.

The warning went from one ear to the other and floated about in the air until it became as the winds filtering down from Makawao to the ocean, Manuel heard nothing. His only true concern was to claim his prize at the end of the night and to make Luella his and his alone. Luella had never known the pleasures of a man much less the pleasure or happiness of anything. She learned how a kiss was given and taken that night, she felt the method in which Manuel prepared her body to eventually receive him and the ecstasy was unbearable. By the morning she had fallen completely in love with Manuel and did not want to leave his side, but work called and she had to go. Manuel was smitten as well but his interest in a woman normally lasted for a month or two before boredom set in and then he would move on to his next conquest. However, this morning he was nice enough to return Luella home in time for her to get dressed and ride with her cousin to work. The following evening was a Friday and there was Manuel at Casanova’s and there also was Luella, by the end of the evening they were about to head home when her cousin intervened again by repeating her warning regarding Luella. The warning fell on deaf ears of course and Luella and Manuel spent another evening indulging in an endless night of pleasure. The following week Manuel found himself very busy with work as a large tour group from Australia was on Maui and because of his vivacious personality, he was the designated tour guide, host, and babysitter. He’d mentioned to Luella that his group was put up at a resort in Lahaina and that he would have to stay in that same hotel, Luella understood but while he was gone, Luella spent the week preparing a big surprise for him. When he’d finally returned home, Manuel found large green ti leaf plants surrounding his yard, around the immediate perimeter of his house were pikake, Pakalana, and gardenia. In the back he found that his old red dirt yard was replaced by newly planted sod grass, and hanging from the branches of his mango tree were potted plants of Pele’s hair and Laua’e. He turned and noticed that from the steps of his back door was a path of concrete blocks shaped like a taro leaf, he was dumbfounded until he saw a note on his back door.

"Missed you, can't wait to see you tonight!
Hope you like my surprise!"


Manuel never appeared at Casanova’s that night and at first Luella was sad but then she became worried, did something happen to Manuel? The next morning on her way to work, Luella asked her cousin to stop by Manuel’s place, she wanted to make sure that he had gotten back and that he was okay. The truck pulled up in front of Manuel’s house in time for Luella and her cousin to see a beautiful Australian blonde standing at the bottom of the front steps deeply kissing Manuel. The shock of it all riveted Luella to her chair, she could not move, Luella’s cousin had the opposite reaction, she let herself out of her truck and began to beat Manuel until he was forced to run into his house and lock the door leaving his overnight guest to fend for herself. By the time that the severity of what had transpired hit Luella, she was already heartbroken but it would not be long until that heartbreak turned into rage.

Several weeks later, Manuel would wake late at night not being able to breathe, someone he could not see sat on his chest, throttling him until he almost fainted, then it would let go. Other nights while sitting down to have dinner with his friends at the Maui Seaside restaurant, his tongue suddenly became swollen and black and he began to choke. A short time later, while entertaining another female tourist at her hotel room, the woman ran her fingers through his handsome locks and suddenly let out a scream. Jumping up and down she pointed at his hair, finding a mirror Manuel saw that his hair was perfectly fine, but upon closer examination, he saw that at the roots of his hair maggots were crawling everywhere. These incidents did not abate but became worse, Manuel began to regurgitate maggots every time he tried to take in food or drink. One night at Casanova’s he became curious as to why he could not urinate after standing at the urinal for nearly a minute, when he looked down he was horrified to discover that his privates were swollen to a purplish red color and that pus oozed from the tip of where his manhood should have been. And the nightmares, oh the horrible nightmares that caused him to wake with screams of terror. Nightmares of not being able to move while laying in bed as a creature that looked like Luella, half woman, and half reptile slowly crawled through his bedroom door and appeared at the foot of his bed, a black tongue slowly licking her lips while saliva dripped from her bare sharp teeth. Slowly crawling up the length of his thighs and with one swipe of her sharp claws his stomach is cut open and he witnesses Luella feasting on his intestines.

It was much too much for Manuel to endure and one night at the old Lahaina luau everyone noticed that he’d suddenly become pale with dark circles under his eyes and his hands were clammy. One of his friends could see that something was deathly wrong and he could not help but inquire as to what the matter might be. When Manuel told his friend about his dilemma, the friend had Manuel stay at his place overnight. It was the first restful sleep that Manuel would have in a long while, in the meantime Manuel’s friend gave me a call and described his foolhardy friend’s situation. I sent a pair of plane tickets for the friend and Manuel to come and see me on the following day after, this was on a Wednesday. Manuel and his friend would be sitting in my office by Friday morning.


My uncles Ivan and Tiny know well enough to remain silent during sessions like this while a client makes us aware of their situation, in Manuel’s case my Aunty Rita could not hold her tongue. She was unrepentant and called Manuel an idiot and told him that he certainly got everything he deserved short of dying. All Manuel could say was that he had made a mistake and thought that Luella was a mature woman and understood how things were while patronizing a place such as Casanova’s. At that point it became incumbent on myself to let Manuel know that fairness was needed and that Luella’s side of the story was a moral imperative to the situation, my office door opened and in walked Luella and her cousin. At this point I must mention that the name of Luella’s cousin is Marie; she and Luella eyed Manuel very closely. Marie wore a look of disgust and Luella had her pupils small and very focused on Manuel as if he were a meal that she was going to consume at any given moment.

Manuel was visibly repulsed and terrified by Luella and got up from his seat and moved to the opposite end of the office. I assured him that this was a Pu’uhonua and that nothing was going to happen to him while he was here. Reluctantly, he returned to his chair and took his place alongside his friend and the other two women. Looking at Manuel I told him that an egregious wrong had been done and that the matter is so far gone that a simple apology will not do. As well, I mentioned that after talking with Luella and Marie, it was made known to me that Manuel was cautioned ahead of time by Marie as to Luella’s delicate nature, but that Manuel did not heed the warning. To delve deeper, once I’d learned that Luella’s last name was Mahikō, I immediately knew who her uncle was.  He was a powerful Kahuna Pule ‘Ana’ana from Molokai and he came from a generation of Kahuna dating back to the time of Lanikaula. Luella was raised and trained in that environment where many restrictions had to be observed as far as particular ceremonies and prayers, this is also where Lopaka Kapanui has cautioned me not to write out the words to those prayers as persons lacking the proper training will use those same incantations to serve their own purposes. After Papa Mahiko passed away, Luella was sent to live with her extended ‘ohana in Makawao. She was a fully grown woman who was like my mother, tall, regal and quite beautiful. However, growing up the way she did, she was not self-aware in the western way of thinking, but running into someone like Manuel Almeida was her first trial by fire. I explained to Luella that this was the way of the world without the parameters Molokai and that not all persons are as trustworthy and kind as those from her home, but that with the help of her cousin Marie, she would learn to adjust. I also offered my help to her as well should she ever need anything. I turned my attention to Manuel again and asked him if he knew why Luella planted the flowers, leaves, and grass around his home? Of course, he hadn’t a clue.
It was Luella’s way of showing her affection, she had not the knowledge of buying gifts or cards in the way that other people know of, and so she did only that which she knew how to do. She planted her favorite greenery, her favorite fragrant flowers, and her favorite kind of grass. The Pele hair and laua’e were extra as was the stone path of Taro designs which she molded herself. This was a true child of the land whose labor by her own hand was her way of showing love, this was a woman that any man would be lucky to have, it just so happened that her affections have toiled upon the wrong man. So when she caught Manuel in the embrace of another woman, she reacted in the only way she knew how by visiting horrible manifestations and nightmares upon him until he would eventually waste away and die.

I then helped Luella to see reason and that her new life should not be focused on destroying one miscreant bar fly but that it should be focused on living in general, overall I told her that she should release herself of this burning hate for Manuel because it served her no good. Aunty Rita came around the desk and gave Luella a long hug as did uncle Ivan and Tiny. They assured both women that they had a home here on ‘O’ahu as well should they ever need it. I had to interject at this point and ask Luella if she would be willing to release Manuel of the curse she set upon him. She nodded and reached over and grabbed his watch, from underneath the band she removed a very long single strand of hair and wound it up around her two fingers and placed it in her open palm. The hair set itself ablaze until a puff of black smoke rose into the air and disappeared.


Today Luella Mahiko owns a landscaping business called, “Mahikō Landscaping.” She and her husband Trevor run the successful entity together, through Trevor, Luella learned about Hawaiian homelands and was able to obtain a plot of land for herself and her family. The laughter of her own children fills the air and happiness fills the home of this strong, beautiful woman from Molokai with immeasurable joy. Her cousin Marie lives with them and works alongside Luella and her husband, she is still single and Luella says it because of Marie’s overbearing personality that she cannot find a man to marry her. Manuel Almeida was killed in what the old country would refer to as a twopenny skirmish. It was an argument over the waitress named Selena Freitas who he could never quite seem to conquer, he thought he could impress her with his manly boxing skills but the challenger for Selena’s attention had a knife and Manuel died after bleeding to death on the bathroom floor.


Such is the life that is led by one like myself, I will stop here now as a new client is due any second. It is an attorney and a developer, they feel that they have been cursed because a land deal has gone wrong. Such is not the case, it is really because both men do not trust each other and that one has put a curse on the other? imagine that?

Hanson Boy Napualawa

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Saturday, October 28th, 11:45pm

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