Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 3, 2018

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2018 #89


I should have gone elsewhere to clear my mind and get my thoughts together when I think about it now. Like my own neighborhood in town, that would have been easier.
Just a nice walk down the street, around the block, and back. But no, I was always a deep thinker, so………I jumped in my daily driver and drove clear out to Mokuleia. It turned into a hike more than it did a walk of self-reflection, what with the sun blistering down on me the way it did. My feet were unfamiliar with the terrain, and it caused the muscles in both my wheels to burn. I was already forty minutes into that hike when I saw a cluster of dark-colored Toyota trucks near the water. Each vehicle was mounted with those tight little cages in the back.
The hunting dogs were huddled together in close quarters. Poor things looked like sardines in a Japanese bullet train. The driver and passenger of each vehicle got out, unlocked the cages, and pulled every dog out with a leash around their necks. I couldn't see too clearly from my vantage point, but it looked like they walked each one of man's best friends up to a cliff and pushed them off. If my count was correct, that was eighteen hunting dogs in total. The men casually jumped back in their trucks and four-wheeled their way out. I waited until the vehicles were entirely out of sight before I went over to see what happened.
I'll start by telling you that I didn't see the monster immediately; I did see a small circular-shaped cove that was probably fashioned by years of waves crashing and receding on that coral reef. The walls of that coral enclosure made by nature were too high and straight, and those dogs, god bless them all, could not climb or claw their way out. They were soaking wet and scared shitless. They were banged up a bit but none the worse for the wear. It was apparent, however, that they were trying to run away from something. Like I said, I didn't see that something right away until I heard the first dog howl and yelp in such an ungodly way that it made my nut sacks tighten up. These dogs were less big than great Danes, but they were still big dogs; I wanted to ensure you understood that, okay? From where I stood, I could look down and see the small enclosure; the monster stepped out from what I could only assume was a cave about fifteen feet below me. It was tall, lean, and muscular and had gills on its neck. It had no hair, but otherwise, it had every human feature you could think of, except that its skin was the color and texture of a shark. I didn't see its face right away, but what I did notice was that it grabbed the first hunting dog with one hand and bit its head clean off. In one more bite, the dog was gone.

With all their experience taking down a pig until the hunters arrived, these dogs knew it took a combined effort to achieve that end. There was no teamwork here; they were in fear for their lives, and they had to get out, but not one of them would survive today, not a one. I couldn't watch anymore; I turned and ran the rest of the way back to my car; I just wanted to get out of there before it figured out it was being watched and came after me. I'll tell you what, though, I'd never been happier to see my nineteen-eighty-eight Monte Carlo than I was that day. On the drive back home, I managed to do some deep thinking. I thought those men did not just randomly throw those dogs over that cliff to feed that monster on a whim. No, they've been doing it for a while, and those hunting dogs had probably outgrown their usefulness, or they were just old. Then I thought, what happens when these guys exhaust every hunting dog in the state, and there's no more left? What do they move on to next? Animal shelters? Foster care? The Humane Society? And then what if that food resource gets depleted, then what? Do they move on to kidnapping personal pets right out of someone's home? And what happens when the pet market is wiped out? What's the evolution? That's obvious; it's gotta be people, it's gotta be.



Watching the comings and goings of these Toyota trucks that pull up and dump all those hunting dogs into that little cove has helped me understand that there's a pattern here. It's once a month when the aroma of the seaweed growing on the reef starts to stink really bad; that's when that monster comes out, and that's when these guys feed it. This three-month period has given me some time to think about the kind of weapon I would need to kill this monster; a spear gun wouldn't work. A handgun would just piss it off. Maybe an MKE MPT-76 assault rifle would work? With a twenty-round magazine, it works for the military in Turkey, that's for sure. The routine went like clockwork the next day, but only three of those Toyota trucks this time. Each vehicle had khaki-colored body bags, which were lowered down rather than thrown over. The trucks drove off, and when I made my way there and looked down into the little cove, I could see that all of the men who drove those Toyota trucks were standing outside the circular coral wall with their weapons pointed at me. Behind me, I hear the click of a hammer being pulled back on a gun. I don't move; I just throw my assault rifle down and put my hands up. It's a Hawaiian man in his late fifties or early sixties. He's got on a tank top, cargo shorts, and slippers. His hair and beard are white, and his skin is weathered and worn from being in the sun daily. I glance down at the men on the reef and notice that each one looks like the man standing before me. Of course, his sons.

"I don't care about who you are, so don't introduce yourself and don't talk," this Hawaiian man speaks well for someone who looks so rural. "You've been watching us, and we've been watching you. So, we now know who you are and where you work and live; the same thing about your family."

He lifts his eyebrows and gestures toward his sons, who untie the body bags. Laying there, bound, gagged, and blindfolded are my wife and three sons. I don't say anything, but this Hawaiian man sees the look in my eyes. It's rage at first, but then it turns into helplessness, and he understands. "Your family is important to you like it's important to me. Do you think what's down there is a monster, and you think that because my sons feed it live animals, they are monsters, too? They're not; they're feeding their brother. That's my son down there, not a monster."

He saw the confusion on my face, but he was not sympathetic enough to pull his gun away from it, "He's my oldest son; he drowned right here when he was throwing out a fishing net. He turned his back to the ocean only for a second, and a rogue wave came out of nowhere, knocked him unconscious, and dragged him out. His body washed up a mile from here. My wife and I were so grief-stricken that we took his body and tried to do an old transfiguration ceremony, 'Unhipili. We thought if we could turn him into an 'Aumakua of our family, a shark guardian, he could still be with us. So much was lost in our culture, and the ceremony my wife and I performed went wrong. He became what he is today, caught in between the transfiguration. He's neither a shark nor human; he's stuck."

"Where's his mother?" I asked without thinking, but it was too late. I prepared myself to be cuffed on the head or to be shot right through my eye, but neither one happened.

"She went to see him alone one day without telling anyone……he killed her." The Hawaiian man said quietly. "I'm sorry, whoever you are, but this village needs its monster."

He pushed me over the edge with one mighty shove, and I hit my head hard on the reef. I had some brain fluid coming out of my nose, but my only thought was to get to my wife and kids. The sons of the Hawaiian man did nothing to stop me; they just shouldered their weapons and walked off with their heads down as if they knew my efforts weren't going to do us any good. I untied all of them and helped Mavis climb over the wall first; once that was done, I put each of my sons on my shoulders and lifted them up to the top of the wall, where their mother could successfully retrieve them. Four shots pierced the air so suddenly that a natural scream, as easy as you please, had come out of me like someone pulled out one of my chest hairs. My hands went over my head, and I immediately went into a crouching position. I turned to see the Hawaiian man standing on the cliff, looking down at me with his gun still pointed. I jumped up and grabbed the top of the wall, and propped myself up, and the most dreadful thought that I could think became a reality lying dead on the reef before me.

Mavis and my three boys were shot like animals with no mercy.

I screamed and cursed that Hawaiian man to hell while he stood there with tears brimming in his eyes. His sons had already come back down and tossed Mavis and my sons back over the wall; their lifeless bodies just lay there like rag dolls; the monster emerged from his cave suddenly and walked right past me. He wasn't just tall; he was massive. His skin up close was definitely the sandpaper skin a shark would have. At that moment, I knew that this thing had more than a power to it; the damned thing had a presence. It had vibrating energy that went right through you, and it left you all fucked up like you didn't know what to do with yourself. His face was a shark's face, but his body was human, but I think that was in stature only. He scooped up my oldest son and ate him from the belly first. I jumped on his back, screaming the whole time and pounding on him, but he knocked me back like I was thin as paper. I was too weak to stand now, having hit my head a second time; I kept going in and out of consciousness until I blacked out.

Somewhere in the blackness, I heard the sound of bones being broken under sinew and muscle. My eyes slowly focused, and I saw the monster working his way up my thighs; I looked over at where my family once lay, and there was nothing left of them. I prayed that my death would be quick and merciful. It must have heard my thoughts because it obliged me by reaching up and placing its large hand over my head. "Thank you," I whispered as it tore off my head and my entire spinal cord with it.

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