Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Nov 12, 2022

Paʻakai 2022

My old neighbor was a Hawaiian mother who advocated using natural salt from the sea, for blessings, to salt meat, and for regular table salt.

She made her own salt, which she gathered from the ocean by asking permission before collecting. She was one to share with her neighbors, never keeping it all to herself because she believed the ocean salt was for everyone. One day, the Hawaiian mother's neighbors were going up and down the street, introducing the newly single man who moved in at the end of the block. He was young and very handsome, and the ladies adored him. They made a spectacle of themselves while their husbands were away at work, walking arm in arm with the young man, holding his hands and snuggling close to him. Finally, the Hawaiian mother heard the ladies calling out to her from the sidewalk in front of her house, "Pua! Pua! Pua, come outside and meet our new neighbor Matthew!"

From her kitchen window, she saw everyone waving, so she waved back. The young man standing in the middle of the group basked in the attention he received and made no effort to hide it. Pua had just finished filling a few empty mason jars with sea salt to give to her friends. She thought she might give one to the young man as a welcoming gift. Washing her hands in the sink and then drying them off on her apron, Pua went out sided to formally say hello. The greetings were cordial and friendly, and indeed the young man was very handsome. However, upon handing the young man the small jar of fresh salt from the ocean, he recoiled suddenly and dropped the jar on the sidewalk, sending the salt everywhere. His hands were burning, and they began to smoke as if they were on fire. Matthew collapsed to his knees, screaming bloody murder until his voice became a high deafening shriek. Then, he was gone. The ladies also screamed and ran back to their homes up and down the street. Pua stood right where she was, looking at the dark gooey spot on the sidewalk that was, up until that moment, her brand new, young and handsome neighbor.

Credit: Mallory Francks

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