Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Jul 12, 2022

Church 2022

Growing up, a kid in our group didn't attend church with us on Sundays.

We weren't there for christ; we were there because of the great food and drinks afterward. We readily accepted god into our lives as long as we got to eat the great spread after. Colin Akama was the only one of us who never showed on Sundays. So, out of curiosity, we woke up earlier than usual on a Sunday and prepared sandwiches and cans of juice. Then, we skipped church and went to go follow Colin to see where he went on his Sunday when he should have been in church with us, the group. Across the street from Colin's house was the Tanaka home with high mock orange hedges which made it easy for us to hide behind while spying on Colin's house. In less than fifteen minutes, Colin came skipping out of the front door and headed down the street toward the end of Ponohana Loop. Beyond that was the wide-open expanse of nature that led to the river, where we all hung out after school or on Saturdays. That's where he was going. We followed as closely as we could without being seen. Colin went right past our usual spot and went deeper into the overgrowth until he stood before what he called the Wao Kele, the realm of the gods. He walked for another mile until he came to a clearing where the sun filtered through the canopy, which sent down otherworldly beams of light to the forest floor. Colin took a seat on a large pohaku where Colin made himself comfortable and then removed a sandwich and a drink from a paper bag he'd been carrying. For the next hour, he sat there basking in the majesty of the Hawaiian forest and all that it was. For the entire period, silence prevailed, and Colin appeared to be at one with his surroundings. When he was done, Colin put his drink can in the brown paper bag, dusted the crumbs off his shirt and shorts, and hopped off the rock, landing almost silently on the ground. He turned to leave and stopped in his tracks. He was surprised to see us standing there with our mouths open as if we'd seen a ghost. 

"What the fuck are you guys doing here?" He scoffed and laughed simultaneously. 

We were speechless because we didn't know how to tell him that for the duration of the time we watched him, we saw processions of Hawaiian ali'i, warriors, and the like. Then, there were female processions and one only with hula dancers. The sounds, the music, and the chanting were earthly and primal. Then came the processions of shape shifters, half-animal, half-reptillian, and mere wisps of rain like mist and smoke. The last to appear was a massive looming shadow that manifested out of every dark shadow in the forest, standing before Colin as if it revered him. Then, in one swoop of a wind that came in from above the canopy, the entire tableau was gone. That is when Colin collected himself and his belongings and gave a tiny little hop off the large pohaku, thus turning to us, the group, his friends. I believe we pissed our pants. We had nothing but respect for Colin after that because we became his converts and attended church with him every Sunday. 

1 comment: