Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 21, 2019

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2019 #73


He was small for his age and puberty had not yet blossomed him to what would be his fullest height and strength. The heart of a thousand warriors beat in his soul and his bravery could not be matched. Unfortunately, his physical stature could not carry him far, and so he was mercilessly bullied by his much larger peers. His name was Kalaukoa but his classmates teased him, "Laulau." He could only stand it for so long until he would ball up his little fists and let the punches fly.

His normal routine after school was to buy a few snacks and a drink and then stop at Kunawai park where he would sit and enjoy his purchases. While staring into the old Kunawai pond, he reviewed in his mind the faces of those who tormented him at every turn. Shane Kusuke, Telmund Ponce, and Michael Diego. How he wished himself taller and stronger than the three of them so that he could beat them to a pulp and be done with it. To no avail, they would not go away and they seemed to appear when he least expected it. Like now, Kalau hadn't noticed that the three older 8th graders followed him at a distance from school. Now, they walked briskly side by side toward the playground with such haste that by the time they set upon Kalau, it was too late for him to run. Shane yanked Kalau by his hair and he went stumbling  Without a seconds hesitation, Telmund kicked Kalau in his kidneys while Michael pummeled him about his face with relentless brutality.

"Fucken' lau lau," Shane spit on him while Telmund kicked him in the back of his thigh at the same time. Michael meant to punch Kalau in his face for good measure but he missed and merely grazed Kalau on his shoulder. This angered Michael and so he moved Kalau's shoulder out of the way and punched him in his ear. Kalau was in too much pain to cry, all he could do was roll over back and forth and try to catch his breath.

"Faggot," Michael hissed. The three giggled and congratulated one another on their fine work in the art of beating someone smaller than themselves who was as less a threat to them as an ant.


Passersby and people who lived in the apartments and tenements around Kunawai park saw everything and did nothing. They only watched as Kalau finally got himself to his feet and slowly made his way back to where he sat before he was attacked. His grape soda lay on the pavement with most of its contents spilled everywhere. His musubi was smashed and the skittles were still in the bag but smashed as well. Kalau wouldn't let himself cry, he was much to brave for that. Instead, he donned his backpack and as much as the pain would allow, he hobbled the near mile and a half back to his home. At least it felt like a mile and a half.

He said nothing about his condition to his parents even though they pressed him for information most of the evening, He completed his homework, ate his dinner, showered, and went to bed. He fell into a deep sleep and did not dream right away. It was only at the hour of three in the morning did he dream. In it, he was back at Kunawai park laying prone and in pain as he was after his beating at the hands of his three older bullies. The pain still coursed through his body as did the pain of humiliation.

 In his dream, he heard a woman's voice calling his name from the pond in the park, "Kalauokekoa." It sounded more like an affirmation as if someone were confirming his identity. "Kalauokekoa." He could not answer nor could he move, the dream-like pain prevented him from doing so. His dreamlike thoughts spoke for him. "I can't move, it hurts too much. I can't answer or come to you. What do you want?"

"Tomorrow, go back to the park and look near the pond. You will find a Ko'i. Hide it and take it with you. Find the biggest one, strike him on the nose and then strike him on the side of his jaw. The other two will be shocked when they see you do this. Take advantage of that moment and strike them down as well. On the side of the body should the first strike be for the second one, and on the ear should the next strike be for the third of the three. Wait, until they are alone and in a confined space, then strike true."

For the remainder of Kalau's dream did the woman's voice repeat itself again and again until he knew the instructions as if it were like breathing.

The following morning on his way to school  Kalau saw the Ko'i as it lay next to Kunawai pond, it was wet as if it had just been in the pond and taken out to be seen by himself. Kalau walked to it and knelt. Carefully did he place it in his backpack where it fit perfectly with his school books and P.E. clothing. In fact, it was during the P.E. class while most of the students were already on their way to the field that Shane, Telmund, and Michael stayed behind a bit longer. They were giggling over a few pictures which Michael had taken of the new English teacher Ms. Kawano. The lockers where the three huddled was in a tight and uncomfortable corner of the locker room. They were in the most perfect position when Kalau appeared in front of them.



Kalau didn't stop to buy any snacks or drinks on the way to Kunawai. Instead, he sat on the wall facing the pond with the Ko'i laying across his lap. All he could do was stare at it and weep.

"Are you alright?" The female voice came from behind him. It was a Hawaiian woman in a sleeveless top and orange Polynesian print shorts. Her black slippers on her feet were well worn. She sat close enough to Kalau to be noticed but not enough so that he would look her in the eyes. "I saw you sitting here for a while crying. I came over to see if you're ok?"

"I'm okay, thank you," Kalau replied through his tears. His voice was a bit shaky.

Gesturing to him the Hawaiian woman asked, "What is that you have on your lap?"

"It's a Ko'i, an adze. It was used for carving canoes mainly but it could also be used as a weapon." Kalau's explanation of the Ko'i was so matter of fact that the Hawaiian woman was surprised.

"You seem to know a lot about that Ko'i?" She inquired. "Have you been studying it in school?"

"No," Kalau sniffed. "It was told to me in a dream."

"A dream?" The Hawaiian woman queried. "That's something very special. I don't understand why that would make you cry?"

"In the dream," Kalau began. "I was told to hurt some boys with it, who beat me up yesterday but I couldn't."

"Why not?" The Hawaiian woman asked. "If you say they beat you up, then shouldn't you have some kind satisfaction?"

"Those boys who beat me up are without honor, but for me to hurt them while they're defenseless, to even kill them with this Ko' would make me no better than they are," Kalau shook his head in disappointment.

"I understand, but what happened to those horrible boys?" The Hawaiian woman's curiosity was genuine.

"Last night I asked my parents to take pictures of my bruises and scrapes. This morning I went to the school principal and showed it to him. After that, he followed me to the P.E. locker room where I pointed out the three boys. They were arrested for assault and expelled from the school." Although the news was good, Kalau still wept.

"Ah I see, but don't tell me your crying over their confinement?" The Hawaiian woman asked.

"No, it's because I failed the voice in the dream. I now have all this knowledge of how to hurt someone with this Ko'i but I chose my honor instead. I'm afraid that the voice from my dream will be upset and haunt me with nightmares from now on." Kalau put his face in his hands and wept in fear of the fate that might await him in the realm of his dreams. When he finally looked up, the Hawaiian woman was gone and so was the Ko'i. All that remained was a stain of tepid pond water on his lap.

Sometimes the heart of a warrior is not so much about the battle, but more so about honor, and making the right choice.


Come listen to Lopaka's storytelling LIVE - Friday, August 23rd, 7:30pm, at the Honolulu Museum of Art Doris Duke Theater

In Hawaii, one of the most common questions when meeting someone new is, "What school did you grad from?" In Lopaka's world, the question has become, "Is your old school haunted?" Come hear about which schools are most haunted, which neighborhoods are most haunted, and which shopping centers are most haunted on our island of O‘ahu. Could it be yours? Join us, you might just be surprised.

Please note: This is not a scientific study; the "most haunted" stories are purely based on the number of ghost stories and haunted tales shared with our storyteller about each place.

7:30pm, Friday, August 23rd

$15 per person/ $12 museum members

Get your tickets HERE

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