Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Aug 11, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #20. Kihawahine

 I remember telling my mother that nothing she wanted me to do made sense.

I told her it was for the old Hawaiians from her time and my grandmother's time. "No," she nearly spat the word out. During my time and your grandmother's time, we couldn't talk about things like this out in the open, and our own language if we spoke it? Beatings from our teachers and whoever else, and more from our parents when we get home. This is not from THOSE old Hawaiians; this is from the Hawaiians before those Hawaiians," my mother said. "So, you are going to do this, and yes, I am telling you, not asking you,"

I must have growled from my deep subconscious because I don't recall doing it, but my mother said I did, and I got my ear pulled. "Ow! Gotdammed it!" I screamed, rubbing my ear. Soon, I'd be rubbing my other ear because she pulled that one too. A homeland parcel was passed down to us, and some contention was raised as to whether my mother was the legitimate inheritor or if it was her sister, my Aunty Serah. Clearly, it was my mother, but jealousy and greed muddled what should have been an easy meeting of the minds. No agreement could be made, so my mother proposed a contest. Whomsoever should win this contest will receive the parcel on behalf of his mother, be it my cousin or me. What was the game? We were told we would find a lone woman in the depths of Kaneana Cave on the night of Akua. My cousin and I were to find a spot to sit, and the woman would approach us and test our mettle. "No matter what this woman does, sit perfectly still, do not speak, and remain un-bothered," my mother emphasized. "No matter what."

His mother, my Aunty Serah, said the same to my cousin Lono. The night came, and it was exactly four in the morning when myself and Lono were escorted into the cave by our families. They were all loving and supportive until they saw the woman sitting before a fire toward the bottom of the cave. They quickly hurried out and wished us the best. Lono assumed a seat on the large flat boulder on the left side of the cave, which led to a smaller, more claustrophobic cave. I sat where I stood, at the mouth of the cave as it sloped down toward the bottom. Sitting in front of the fire, the flames cast the woman's body as a shadow, muting out any discernable human features. After a few tense minutes, she stood up, slowly turned, and faced Lono. She was very tall, naked, and blanketed by her long black hair. Her beauty was unearthly to the point where it struck fear in your heart if you were not forewarned. Above the surface of her skin, there floated a vibrating yellow aura. Every part of her exuded a physical yet otherworldly mana. She looked directly at Lono the whole time, but I sensed she was also keenly aware of my presence, even though she never gave me the time of day. Lono quickly glanced at me, winked, and then rubbed his hands together as if he were about to partake in a delicious meal. Ever so slightly, I scowled at him, trying to non-verbally remind him of what we were instructed to do. It was too late; the woman stood before him, gazing up into his eyes because where he sat on the flat rock was a bit higher than the woman's height. In less than a second, Lono didn't so much scream as he howled in sheer pain as if his skin were being flayed from his bones. This went on for what must have been a minute, but never once did his eyes leave the gaze of the tall, naked Hawaiian woman. Suddenly, she stepped away from my cousin and turned in my direction. Screaming bloody murder, Lono ran out of the cave and into the deep Makua night, where his mother and their part of the family waited in the dirt parking lot across the street. My cousin was never the same person after that. His hair grayed prematurely, and he always stared on the side of you as if someone or something was there. Did he marry? No. Could he hold down a job? No. But he could always be found under his house sitting in the blackened dirt, talking incoherently to something that wasn't there.

She sat before me on the hand-sized rocks, pebbles, and grayish dirt. Her voice filled my mind and every inch of the cave. She whispered, but even that was too loud, hurting my ears. In the din of that sound, she planted in my mind all the benevolence she bestowed on those who cared for her, fed her, and descended their bloodline from hers. She also showed me a vision of all those horrific acts she visited upon those who attempted to destroy her and her lineage. It was not comprehensible to the human mind, yet I never flinched or moved. At that moment, a soothing breeze filled the cave, and as it left, so too did the Hawaiian woman with it. My lone and solemn figure emerging from the cave must have been an eerie sight to my family. They were curious if they should rush to come and get me or let me go to them. I honestly can't recall which action they chose, but in the end, the homestead land went to my mother, and out of kindness to her sister Serah, my mother let her and her family build a house on our land as well. According to my mother, Kihawahine has been our 'aumakua since time without beginning, and it was left up to her to decide who was the rightful inheritor of our homestead parcel. So, she did.

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