Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Mar 13, 2022

Pilikua 2022

Growing up, I recall meeting some of our other Hawaiian neighbors who were very nice people like ourselves.

Congenial, affable, and jolly. The food was always hand-made, grown, or caught and plentiful. Then, in September of that year, 1973, the Pilikua 'ohana moved in next door. They, too, were good people and their kids and myself and the other neighbor's kids got along very well. One night, while we were all gathered in our garage, enjoying dinner together as a tiny community, my father asked David Pilikua what his last name meant? He chuckled and said that Pilikua meant 'Giant' and that it was said that his family was descended from giants, one of them being Omaukamau, the eleven-foot giant warrior who fought for the big island chief, 'Umi. A good laugh was had all around, except I didn't laugh. Instead, I sensed a morsel of truth as to what Mr. Pilikua just told us, and I would ask his kids about it later. 

"It's true," Vanessa told me. "My whole family, we can call the giants when we have to."

It goes without saying that none of us believed her and her brother Ronald. But they insisted it was true, and so I tested them. "Alright, call the giant right now, right here; we all want to see it."

Vanessa and Ronald took a deep breath and squinted their eyes really hard. "Please, Pilikua," Vanessa emoted with drama. "Show yourselves to our neighbors who don't believe." We were all silent and on edge, waiting for the shoe to fall. Nothing happened, and we all groaned and laughed, but Vanessa and Ronald stood there with tears falling down their cheeks. "Don't cry," I said. "We're still your friends."

"That's not why we're crying," Ronald replied. "After the giant shows himself, no one wants to be friends with us."

"It's true," Vanessa whispered.

"That won't happen," I assured them. But sure enough, the following day at school, I came upon the other kids in our small community surrounding Vanessa and Ronald. They were yelling at them and calling them names, and accusing them of sending a giant to each of their homes. "Leave them alone!" I screamed at them. "They didn't do anything!"

"Go check outside your bedroom window when you get home," they warned me. "You'll see!" With that, one girl yanked on Vanessa's hair before the group walked off, and another pushed little Ronald to the ground. 

"Are you guys ok?" I asked while helping Ronald to his feet.

"I told you, people ask us to see the giant, and when he leaves proof that he was there, nobody wants to be our friend after, even though they asked," the expression on Vanessa's face told me that she wasn't lying. So I stayed with them the entire school day to ensure that no one harassed them. I even walked them home after. I could hear Vanessa and Ronald's mom yelling at them about the giant. "This is why you keep losing friends, Vanessa!" She shrieked. "And you always drag your brother down with you! Stop talking about the giant!"

Man, I really felt bad for her. I was heading back to my house and walking around to the back door while passing my bedroom window when I fell into something, landing entirely on my face and stomach. I got the wind knocked out of me, needless to say. When I finally shook it off and got to my feet, I saw that I was standing in some kind of crater. It wasn't too high that I couldn't climb out. How did this thing get here? It wasn't there yesterday. "Go inside and look at it from your bedroom," the voice came from behind me. It was Vanessa. "Go in your bedroom and look out the window; you'll see what I mean." I did precisely that, and I was in complete shock a minute later. She was correct; the giant came after all.

credit: iStock 

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