Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 10, 2022

Kaula Hao 4 2022

 "No parents or grandparents?" Manu asked. 

"My grandparents were killed by Indians right before my father when he was a little boy," Abner said. "They rode off and left him for dead, but he stayed there for days until some trappers came across him and dropped him off at the next city. By the time he was a man and met my mother, he wasn't much of a husband or a father. My mother died young from the cholera, and my father never returned."

Manu thought for a moment and sighed, "You have no generations before you that you can remember and none to follow your bloodline. Mister Abner, you're a broken man; your mind, body, and spirit are all broken." 

"I'd like to be broken out of this jail if you wouldn't mind, your highness?" Abner wasn't blustering or threatening his release this time. Instead, he simply wanted his freedom.

"How has the food been?" Manu asked.

"I like that pork for sure, and I have to say, that poi thing has grown on me," Abner replied. "I sort of look forward to it, if I have to be honest,"

"And the doctors have been attending you regularly?" Manu regarded the slave trader with genuine concern.

"They have," Abner nodded. "I can't complain."

"It looks like participation on the work crew has done you well; you're not as swollen as you were when we met on that fateful day," Manu smiled ever so slightly.

"I feel better," he nodded. "I had to ask for different-sized britches because the old ones were getting loose around the hips."

"And what of your pride and your ego? Are both still swollen and bursting at the seams of your humanity and common sense?" Manu adjusted herself on her stool.

Abner straightened up and threw his shoulders back. Then, crooking his head to one side he asked, "What is that supposed to mean?"

"Your conversational skills have improved, but are you still intolerant of the darker-skinned race?" She clarified.

"Your highness, this is how I was raised," Abner began. "Things like that can't be helped."

"Who raised you to believe such things when you said that your father was not much of a paternal figure and even less of a husband to your mother?" Manu asked. "Or was it your mother who taught you that any person who did not resemble your countenance was much more base of a human being than you were?"

"I learned it on my own," Abner growled. "It's how you separate yourself from the animals; how you learn to survive in the world."

"Animals, is it?" Manu asked. "Not human beings, but animals?"

"Every single one," Abner got to his feet and slowly walked toward the bars. Manu stood up and did the same.

"Are you certain?" Manu's tone was clear to Abner; she was daring him. Now they were face to face with just the iron bars separating them. Abner's hands shot forward, and he wrapped them around the princess's throat. Manu dropped to a low squat and put her entire body behind the fist she unleashed to Abner's liver. He went sprawling backward while the air left his body. There was a searing, burning pain that would not allow him to breathe for the next few seconds. He heard the princess say something to the guards in Hawaiian, and the guards laughed. Only when the pain subsided did Abner see the princess standing on the other side of the iron bars. "Tomorrow, you will find yourself in a situation that could prove advantageous or uncomfortable. How that fares will depend on how you use your time, mister Abner." be continued

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