Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Sep 22, 2022

Holo 2022

 We arrived at the Nu'uanu reservoir at sunrise.

We wanted to get an early start up the trail to the abandoned mansion of Kamehameha III. Sure, we had no permit, but we figured if we got there early enough, we would be ahead of all the tourists, errant hikers, and other kinds of people who crowd the place like it was lunchtime at the plaza. I always let my wife walk in front of me because I feel a lot better if she's in my direct line of sight instead of having her walk behind me. I've heard all the night marcher legends and folklore, and I never gave it any honest thought because, after all, it was just an urban legend. Besides, they're night marchers. They only come out at night. 

The two of us walked up the road, and along the way, we ensured that we had our water, our go pro, our snacks, and our GPS location, which we gave to our children. We had everything we needed; better to over-prepare than not be prepared. We had only entered the trail's opening when we saw several young Hawaiian men dressed in faded brown malo carrying short spears in their hands. Running at a fast clip, we could see they were headed straight toward us. Unfortunately, they were tall and wide young men, and there was not enough room on the small trail to accommodate us. Barreling past us, they kept screaming, "HOLO! HOLO! HOLO! HOLO!"

My wife and I fell backward into the thicket, and before we knew it, we saw giant spears whistling past us, splintering the bamboo trees in two. Most sickening was the sound of those spears contacting their human targets. The sound of the dull thud and that of bones shattering under the weight of those spears made from dense woods like koa, milo, and kauwila made me cover my wife's ears so she wouldn't have to hear it. Then, in the next instant, warriors of an even greater height and width than that of the young men who unintentionally pushed us out of the way ran past us. Laying still in the thicket, they didn't see my wife and me, but the smell of rotten eggs was overwhelming, and the hissing sounds coming from their bright red torches sent shivers up our backs. The tortured cries of those young men as they were being speared to death broke the quiet air of the early morning. Hopefully, the people who lived in the estates nearby would hear the noise and call the authorities.

Then as quickly as it all happened, there was silence. No birds sang, no morning traffic, nothing. The sound was completely gone. We began standing up to get ourselves out of the thicket when a rush of those same warriors that killed those young Hawaiian men came back, but now they were marching in the direction from whence they came. Except for this time, they carried the mutilated bodies of those young Hawaiian men we encountered. It felt like a whole hour before we were finally able to move. When we did, when we stood and figured that it was finally safe to come out, we went to the head of the trail and found nothing. No shattered bamboo, no ground soaked in blood, no evidence of footprints or struggle. No spears embedded in anything. So what the hell just happened? Did we imagine the whole thing? Or did we experience the full wrath of the night marchers dealing death to a group of young men who were in a place they were not supposed to be? We would never know. But I found out that as long as the night marcher moon phase is in the heavens, they will march on their fixed path night or day. 

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