Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 27, 2019

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2019 #67


Settling into your new home is a wonderful experience especially when it’s not a rental but a home that you own. It’s an even greater feeling of freedom when you’re a single parent, many single parents struggle but they do their best to provide for their child and give them the best life possible.

Kama was more than elated when the bank informed her that her loan was approved and that the three-bedroom house she’d wanted in Kapolei was finally hers. It was the freedom she’d been longing for after being on the run from her ex-husband, it was not easy having to go into hiding with her seven-year-old daughter Kui, but it was for their own protection.

There wasn’t any need for hiding anymore and Kama could send Kui off to school without worry of her being kidnapped by her father. Kama could also go to work and have a normal life without having to constantly look over her shoulder. Katherine, Kama’s mother who previously lived in Hilo decided that the time was right to move in with her daughter and granddaughter now that everything in Kama’s life was better. Life was simple and Katherine loved spending time with Kui while her mother was at work or while she attended a night class in order to complete her degree in business management. The home itself was simple but beautiful, it was surrounded by a high wooden fence but for some reason, it managed to catch the Kehau and Waikoloa winds. Kui would often help her grandmother trim the finely manicured grass for a while but she was always attracted to the nohu and ma’o blossoms which grew in their yard. One was part of a puncture vine while the other bloomed as part of the Hawaiian cotton plant. The two variety of flowers were not found in the yards of the other Kapolei homes except for this one, the older neighbors told Katherine one day that the vine and the plant had already been there before the house was built, and it grew back again after the house was completed. Kui always stood there entranced by the vibrant yellow colors of the flowers and would often be found by Kama or Katherine either playing near it or just staring at it.
One weekend when Kama and her mother found a moment to sit and relax at the breakfast table, they found that their conversation gravitated toward filling the nearly bare yard with more decorative plants and flowers and perhaps a little gazebo where the three of them could enjoy barbecues and a get together with friends. The idea prompted the two to take a shopping trip to a local hardware store, grabbing their purses the two noticed that Kui had left the breakfast table and they began to call out for her. She was nowhere in the house, but when the two women stepped out into the back yard, they found Kui sitting on the grass with a spool of yarn and a pair of scissors in front of her. She’d been weaving the Nohu and Ma’o blossoms into a lei, not as a child of her age would do, but as an adept; as if she’d been doing it all of her life. Kama and Katherine were amazed at how well placed the flowers were and at the little girl's style of Wili. She used a half hitch knot to keep the wili in place. Kui’s eyes were fixed on the placement of the blossoms and her fingers moved expertly as she placed, wound, and pulled with ease and tension. Not so hard that it would tear the flower but just so; Kama and Katherine were almost afraid to brake Kui’s concentration but Kama was not going to leave her little daughter home alone.
“Kui, let’s go, we’re going to the store then we’ll go eat after and come back home. You can finish your lei later okay?” Kama rubbed Kui’s shoulder gently.
“Nawahineokama’oma’o, you don’t really expect me to stop do you?” Kui addressed her mother by her full name and her reply was so articulate and mature that her mother did not know how to react.
“KUI!” Katherine scolded her granddaughter. “That is not how you talk to your mother! Where did you learn how to be so rude? Is that what they teach you in school?”
The little girl eyed her grandmother evenly and replied, “Why don’t you use your Hawaiian name anymore Katherine? Are you ashamed of who you are?”
The two women were very old school, however, Kama did not want to enforce any physical discipline on Kui unless it was absolutely necessary. This just happened to be one of those necessary times, but before Kama could do anything, little Kui’s body went limp and she fell back on the grass.
While Kui slept upstairs in the bedroom, Kama intimated to her mother that maybe their plight in regards to being on the run and having to sleep in shelters may have had a negative psychological effect on her daughter. Katherine’s reply was that personality disorders are not derived from being on the run.
“She was someone completely different mom,” Kama said it more to herself than she did to her mother. “You saw, her mannerisms, the ways she looked at you, that was someone else.”
“She’ll be fine,” Katherine reassured her. “It’s just residual stress and having to adjust, every child goes through it.”
“Kui is not every child, not every child could do what she was doing just a little while ago,” Clearly Kama was scared and even though she did not voice her thoughts, she blamed herself for it.
Everything was fine for the next few days until one early morning when the next-door neighbor rang the front doorbell. He complained about some kind of weird mumbling noise in their backyard. Kama apologized and went to her backyard in order to see what sort of noise it was that woke the neighbor. To her shock she found Kui standing in front of the nohu and ma’o chanting something in Hawaiian.

“ E lei ana ke kula ‘o Ke’ehumoa I ka ma’o
‘ohu’ohu wale na wahine kui lei o ka nahele
Ua like no a like me na lehua o Hopoe
me he pua koili lehua ala I ka la…”

Kama grabbed her daughter by the shoulders, demanding to know why she was in the back yard before sunrise chanting so loudly that it woke the neighbor?
“She’s coming,” Kui replied. “She’s coming and we have nothing to give, nothing! How bereft are we that we have nothing Nawahineokama’oma’o?”
With that, Kui marched pass her mother and returned to her bedroom. Kama went after her only to find Kui fast asleep under her covers. Just then the alarm went off and Kui woke up fully rested, she greeted her mother with a good morning kiss and proceeded to get dressed and ready herself for school as if nothing happened. That following Sunday while attending church, Kama, Katherine, and Kui went forward to be blessed. The ritual was beautiful and it gave Kama the feeling that all would be right and that whatever it was that was bothering Kui had gone away, never to return. On the way home, Kama and Katherine couldn’t help but notice how overcast the sky had become despite the weather stations call for clear weather. There was something ominous and unsettling which churned in Katherine’s gut, she could see that Kama put on a brave face but she knew that her daughter felt the same thing in her gut. The two kept a close eye on Kui for most of the night but nothing happened, that is until Kama and Katherine simultaneously awoke in their bedrooms and walked out into the hallway. Both of them walked to Kui’s room but found her bed empty, they then walked to the back yard and found Kui standing in front of a radiantly beautiful Hawaiian woman, who wore nothing but a decorated kind of skirt made from the ferns of palai and laua’e. It gave off a heady aroma. The woman’s hair was of such a dark color that it was hypnotizing but there appeared to be flecks of red here and there. Her eyes were most expressive and her beauty was as natural as the elements. Kui then reached up and placed each lei made of nohu and ma’o around the Hawaiian woman’s neck until she gently placed her nose beside that of the little girl’s and smiled after. The sound of the wind returned suddenly and it took the woman’s form with it as if she were a mere wisp of smoke.
Kama and Katherine grabbed Kui and returned to the confines of their home, all the while, the wind tore off branches from trees or toppled them. Newly laid grass was kicked up and cars were nearly turned over in the Kapolei neighborhood. The lawn furniture in Kama’s yard was carried off by the wind and landed in the front parking lot of the high school, and then as suddenly as it began, the wind was gone. Other than a few minor nicks and dents, Kama’s house was fine and mostly untouched. However, the horrific wind did manage to uproot the vines and the plants from which the nohu and ma’o grew. Lo' and behold, it revealed an old burial of two full-sized female skeletons. Upon doing further research, Kama discovered that there are night marcher trails which come through Kapolei. The one specific processional trail that stood out to her was the one that happened on the night of the gods or the night of Muku when the moon is dark. It turns out that the goddess Hi’iaka, Pele’s youngest sister, has her own trail. It’s near a place where Nohu and Ma’o blossoms grew in profusion in the Kapolei, 'Ewa area.

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