Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Jun 23, 2020

Four On The Mountain

The ancient Hawaiian volcano rises at an astonishing 33,476 feet from the Pacific ocean floor. Its last eruption was seen in the year 2460 BC, and today it is known that the summit of the mountain is the realm of the supreme gods of the Hawaiian pantheon but most especially Wakea, the sky father.
The air at the summit is thin, and if one is not adequately prepared and acclimated, breathing can be quite tricky. Like a lone spotlight coming up on a bare stage, the sun slowly illuminates the lake Waiau parking lot. The pre-dawn quiet is only disturbed by the minuscule sounds of winds that whip up momentarily and disappear before they can incarnate as anything significant. The three Nissan SUV stands like guardian sentinels while their human charges gather in a tight semi-circle staring toward the entrance of the parking lot. Four young men standing at an average height of five feet ten inches tall, they are muscular and compact. Their families are newly arrived within the last twenty years—one from Brazil, the others from various parts of the continent. All acclimated well to the local culture.

They are awaiting the arrival of someone, they are intense and are periodically reminded by one another to control their breathing. Just then a black 1966 Cadillac Coup de Ville comes over the rise, the car ambles into the parking lot and makes a slow and purposeful U-turn until the front end of the vehicle is facing the entrance. The younger men are taken aback for a moment when, the older Hawaiian man exits the car. He is dressed in a black coat and tie with pressed black slacks and dress shoes. His hair is neatly in place, and his beard is trimmed to fit the frame of his face. His eyes are a light brown color and in it are years of experience and stories which could fill a library.

The four young men eye one another and grin eagerly, they think to themselves that this is going to be easy but only one among the four steps forward to address the older man.

"Did you get our message?" The first young man demands more than he asks.

"Yes." the Hawaiian man replies as he reaches into his coat pocket. The young men immediately assume a fighting stance, but the older man puts his hand out to them in a gesture of peace and slowly removes a piece of Kapa. Unfolding the barkcloth, they can all see that there are two round stones in it. One is colored black, the other is white.

"Which one do you choose? The white stone means life and peace, the black stone means war and death. Which one do you want?" The young man is confident as if the battle has already been won.

"I don't think you know what you're doing," the Hawaiian man replies.

Angry at being questioned, the young man retorts with bile, "Choose."

"You sent me a letter claiming that I killed your father and that you wanted revenge, right? Then you express mail me this Kapa Pu'olo with these two colored stones in it. I know what they mean, but I don't think you do. You want revenge for the death of your father, but yet you're giving me the option of life or death? This is REVENGE your asking for, this only ends one way. Credits don't roll once this thing is over, no one gets to go home." The Hawaiian man stared stoically at the four young men who have a whole life in front of them, an experience that has the potential to be a long and fruitful and not cut short by false bravado.

"End him!" His friends urged. "Fuck him up!" They said. "Hurry up," another exclaimed. "I have to get home before my kids wake up!"

"Twenty-five years ago, you killed my father in front of our house! You killed him in cold blood because of a gambling debt, but you didn't understand that my father was out of work, and he was doing the best he could to keep our house and keep us fed! He couldn't handle seeing my mom cry, so he did what he had to do! I was the oldest, and so I was the one who had to raise my three brothers! I had no life! I gave up everything for my family! EVERYTHING!" His face was red with anger, and the veins bulged all over. Tears balanced at the precipice of his eyes, ready to fall at any moment.

"I don't know who your father is," the Hawaiian man began. "I've killed so many people for so long…..their faces are just one big blur. I couldn't begin to tell you about the number of people I've widowed, the number of kids who ended up without parents. School teachers, business tycoons, politicians, grocery store clerks, the list goes on. I know this doesn't help you in your quest for revenge, but if it makes you feel any better, I'm sure his death was quick. I don't make it a habit of torturing people, that's just cruel."

Without warning, the young man threw a straight punch at the old Hawaiian man's face. He countered with blinding speed by throwing the same punch. Meeting fist to fist, he instantly broke the knuckles on the younger man's hand. Not wasting any time, the older Hawaiian man delivered a knife-edge kick to the younger man's knees and shattered it in half, breaking it in an odd angle. Before the pain could register in the young man's brain, the Hawaiian man drew his hand back, and in a snap, scooped out the eyes of the young man and consumed them quickly. His own eyes rolled over white for a second, but in his moment of ecstasy, he remembered the other three. He looked at them and prepared himself for their charge, but it never came. They were mortified to the spot. Everything happened so fast and with such brutality that their minds had not completely comprehended what they'd just witnessed. The Hawaiian man had seen that look many times, and it always worked to his advantage. Mercifully snapping the neck of the young man and delivering him his own death, the older man had the Kel-Tec P11 9mm handgun out before the three young men could even react. They were dead a second later because of it. The Hawaiian man removed the black stone from the Kapa bundle and tossed it on the pavement between the bodies.

"No credits at the end," the Hawaiian man deadpanned. Walking to his car, he opened the door and sat in the driver's seat and took a moment to inhale a deep, deep breath. Looking down at the steering wheel, he shook his head. At his age, he was beginning to hate killing, but it couldn't be helped; the job was the job. The bodies of the four young men would later be found by visitors to the mountain who would then report it to local law enforcement. The murderer would never be found.

All the while, a lone Hawaiian man sits at the counter of an old dive bar in Kona sipping on rotgut whiskey, hoping that at least tonight, he'll be able to sleep and fight off any nightmares that try to prevent his slumber.

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