Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 1, 2020

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2020 #91

'Umi, the king of the island of Hawaii heard rumors of a wonderous Leho (cowry shell) which contained the magic to catch squid without fail. He sent for the owner of the Leho to come before him that he may see it.
The humble fisherman in whose company the Leho belonged was known as Kea'au. Because of the Leho, Kea'au's canoe was always full. On the day that 'Umi's sacred messenger appeared before the fisherman, relaying to him the Chief's desire, Kea'au knew that 'Umi would take the Leho from him and that he would not be able to refuse. Begrudgingly, Kea'au went and appeared before the Chief. The Leho passed from his hands to the messenger and then to 'Umi. Kea'au was bid to leave as if he were a second thought; the Chief saw to it that Kea'au's canoe filled itself with all the good things that would please any maka'ainana.

Kea'au's heart harbored many dark thoughts, but he was powerless to act upon them. It was not long before he traveled the land in search of a skilled thief who might be able to steal back his Leho, but none were foolhardy enough to undertake such a task. He sailed to Molokai and Maui but was given the same reply. As magical as the Leho was, not a thief worth his weight in Kapa would dare the task. Kea'au landed on 'O'ahu and met a fisherman to whom he expressed his plight. The fisherman told him to sail to Makapo and look for a boy who wore no malo.


Kea'au found such a boy who identified himself as Iwa. Moved by Kea'au's plight, the boy thief agreed to help him. Soon they boarded Iwa's magic canoe, and within four paddle strokes, they lay before the coast of Hawaii where 'Umi and his lesser chiefs were fishing. Diving in the ocean, he walked the seafloor and caught hold of the Chief's long line. There he cut the Leho away from the rope and tied it around a rock. Swimming back to the canoe, Iwa successfully returned the Leho to Kea'au.



As thieves go, Makalena is known as the best in his circle. Indeed if there was ever honor among thieves, Makalena would be a patron saint or 'aumakua. He only stole from the rich and never from the less fortunate or impoverished. More importantly, he never stole from other Hawaiians. One day Makalena received a text message regarding a job whose price had no limit. The text required a face to face meeting to take place at a house in Kalihi valley at the top of Pahulu street. Chills swept over Makalena's body when he heard the name. "What the hell kind of a name is that for a street where people actually live?"



The ramshackle of a house was a testament to its old architecture. Although it presented a facade of complete deprivation, there was not a crevice or larger opening which allowed the torrential Kalihi rains to penetrate its outer exterior. A Hawaiian boy met Makalena in front of the garage and led him into the home. The quiet interior reminded him of his own childhood home in Hau'ula.
The boy leads Makalena to a bedroom toward the back of the house, where a frail old Hawaiian man lay covered with a Hawaiian quilt up to his chest. His aged hand beckoned Makalena forward and pointed to a small stool next to his bed.

"Noho," the old man said. "Sit."

Makalena sat and observed the old Hawaiian man with respect. The years and deeds of his life were reflected on every wrinkle and every line on his face. Still, the name of the street upon which the house sat caused him much worry.

"I am Maka..." the old man cut Makalena's introduction short.

"You are Makalena, from the old place called Makapō. You are descended from Iwa, the boy thief who boldly stole a prized leho from the chief ʻUmi, which ʻUmi himself took from Keaʻau," the old man stated. "It is for this reason I have called upon you so urgently."

"What can I do to help?" Makalena asked.

"If you are so moved, I need your services to retrieve an important item and place it back in my hands. Time is urgent, I need it as soon as possible," the old man intimated.

"Where would I find it?"

"My grandson has the information for you in an envelope, he will give it to you before you leave. You will find your payment in it as well," the old man pulled the Hawaiian quilt up to his chin.

"No disrespect Tūtū but I havenʻt named my price yet," Makalena smoothed out the wrinkles on the quilt and tucked the edges under the old manʻs body.

"What you find in the envelope will more than match any sum you can imagine," the old man closed his eyes. The meeting was done.

On his way to his car, the Hawaiian boy handed Makalena a large hefty envelope. With an acknowledgment of thanks, Makalena made his way to his car and left. He later stopped in a parking space at the Kam shopping center and opened the envelope. He discovered that it was two large envelopes taped together. One was marked #1 and the other #2. He began to open the first envelope and found the map to the location where he was to go. It looked like a simple home on West Hind drive in Hawaii Kai. The item to be retrieved was a curious one, it was a hand made macrame bag colored green. The instructions demanded that Makalena find it in the very left-hand corner of the garage. On the map were written instructions that the second envelope not be opened until the task was completed and only after heʻd left Pahulu street. Simple enough.


In less than an hour, Makalena found the home on West Hind and found the garage of the residence easy to enter, but the house itself was the spitting image of the one on Pahulu Street. The sight of it gave the expert thief a moment of hesitation, but the job was the job. A rusted old Pontiac took up most of the space in the garage, but as clear as day, there sat the green macrame bag in the very left-hand corner of the area, just as the instructions had specified. Makalena retrieved the bag and walked back to his car. Driving past the home, on his way out to Kalaninaʻole, he saw an old Hawaiian woman hobbling out of the garage wearing only a lite blue shirt, blue shorts, and slippers. The wrinkled skin hung from her frame, and liver stains dotted her legs. The thief could barely hear the aged woman, "Stop, stop, wait,"

Makalena thought that he might have been hallucinating. The closer the old woman got to the sidewalk, the less her age showed. The wrinkles and crows feet appeared to fade away, her posture slowly went from being bent to standing erect and tall. When she fully emerged into the noon sunlight, she was young, beautiful, and the picture of health. "Tell Luther I am thankful! After so long, I am thankful!"



Makalena sat on the stool next to the old Hawaiian manʻs bed, still trying to make sense of what he saw earlier. The Hawaiian boy helped the old man sit up, all the while making sure that the old quilt stayed tucked up under his chin. Makalena placed the green macrame bag on the old manʻs lap.

"Did you see her?" The old man asked. "Did she come out to the garage?"

"The old woman?" Makalena asked. "Yes, but she appeared younger each time she took a step."

Nodding his head, a look of content came over him.

Carefully, he put his hand in the bag, feeling around at first and then finally resting his hands upon his prize. Removing it, Makalena saw what looked like a bird's nest within the old Hawaiian manʻs hands. It appeared that there were human teeth, fingernails, and a dark gooey substance he didnʻt recognize. Black feathers were apart of it, but what was worse is that the whole thing moved. It undulated like it was alive. Before he knew it, it covered both the old Hawaiian manʻs hands and pushed up his arms. Makalena jumped and shouted in surprise to get out of the way. The Hawaiian boy grabbed Makalena and escorted him out of the house.

"Your job is done, as instructed, you can open the second envelope once you leave this street. Thank you for your help." With that, the boy closed the door and locked it from the inside.



The note in the second envelope read:

Do with this payment what you will for you have earned it tenfold. It may seem to be an ordinary leho heʻe, but it is the very leho heʻe that belonged to Keaʻau, taken from him by the great Aliʻi ʻUmi, and thence rescued by your great ancestor Iwa, the boy thief, he being from the same locale in Makapō. I thank you for helping me to rectify an old grudge held by a once foolish young man. Now, she lives as she once did, ageless and beautiful with a second turn at a life of which she was nearly robbed.


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