Ghosts Next Door

Ghosts Next Door
by Lopaka Kapanui

Oct 7, 2023

100 Ghost Stories Counting Down To Halloween 2023. #77. Hulu No'eau.

 Feather work is a tedious task and requires focus and saint-like patience.

This is why traditional Hawaiian feather work is not for everyone; that is not to say that no one can do it. Of course, one can do the job, but the quality of work separates the novitiate from the expert. Although a physical task, there is also a measure of spiritual transference. One must be of a certain mindset within an environment conducive to the labor of feather work. There can be no interruptions unless death is imminently standing at the door. Literally, one's mind, body, and spirit must be cleansed of all negativity lest that negativity be transferred to the feather work. You'll begin to make mistakes that you will not see, and you'll continue to do your job, but in the end, those mistakes will be glaringly obvious. If you have no care and are perfectly fine with what you've done, not caring that the world will see your mistakes, then carry on. However, if you care and are firmly committed to the task, you will undo the entire thing and start over again. That will speak volumes in regards to your character. 

On a day when Richard Haena was nearly completing an 'ahu'ula or a feathered cape, he only had a hundred feathers left to go. Until then, life had been somewhat challenging with the neighbors who encroached on his property all day and night whenever they felt like it. Richard took matters into his own hands and put up a fence around his property which was the physical boundary on a map that clearly showed the separation between his side and his unruly neighbors. Matters were peaceful, and no retaliation was forthcoming, so Richard did not trouble himself. That is until he left his workroom for less than a minute to brew himself a cup of coffee. The one hundred remaining feathers' plastic bag was gone when he returned. He searched meticulously through the workroom and found nothing. He left nothing unturned. He then searched the kitchen, the rest of the house, and even the garage. Nothing. It was almost as if the feathers had gotten up and walked out of place, never to return again. Richard even searched his pockets and underpants, but still, nothing. Then, the thought, which may have already been planted in his mind, surfaced at the top. The neighbors. They may not have broken down the fence, but there must be recompense for this little act of thievery, this petulant retaliation. It was dawn when Richard marched down to the far end of his property, near the only back road to his place. There stood the first house ever built on the Haena land. At well over one hundred years old, the great matriarch Tūtū Letty Haena lived there, tooling about her space with the verve of a twenty-year-old. Still sharp, spry, and full of wit, she traveled about on a golf cart decorated with a new horse lei every few weeks. She dressed like a paniolo, and she swore like one too. Many people feared her, but the affection she poured upon you was a fortunate thing if she liked you. Tūtū Haena was already seated on the porch of her old home, having coffee and a heaping plate of cowboy stew.

"You looked vexed, Richard," she spoke without looking at him. "It feels like you will ask me something, yes?"

"Yes, tūtū Haena," Richard replied. "Good morning, by the way; excuse me for being so rude."

"Because you are so vexed, it feels like what you are going to ask is not a good thing, yes?" She mused.

"Not good for him for whom this is intended," he confirmed.

"Is it something you can forgive and let go of?" Tūtū Haena inquired, hoping Richard would say yes.

"No, this cannot be forgiven because it has gone too far! It is thievery, tūtū! They walked into my house and stole from me!" His eyes were bulging, and his nostrils flaring.

"Lower your voice, young man; I am not the one who sinned against you," Tūtū Haena spoke softly, but there was a trace of grit in her voice.

"I am sorry, tūtū," Richard lowered his head.

"What has been stolen will be their own undoing. The item taken will be the item that ends the lives of your neighbors," the old woman spoke prophetically. "But what will you give in return for what you have asked this morning?"

"What would you like, tūtū?" Richard asked.

"I would like to eat uaʻu," she replied. "My father always prepared it for me when I was a little girl. So that is what I would like."

"I can do that," Richard agreed and kissed the old woman before returning home. 

Upon returning to his house, he found his wife, Alyssa, waiting at the door. All the lights in the house were on. She had a dire look on her face. "Did something happen?"

"Remember our black pigs that ran off six months ago?" She stated more than asked.

"Yes, what about it?" 

"Our neighbor and his sons were killed by those same pigs while you were gone," she said.

"What?" Richard was confused. Those bastards stole his feathers, not his pigs.

"Those pigs just showed up and fucked them up; I guess their tusks grew bigger since we last saw them," Alyssa shrugged. This was confusing to Richard. The neighbors stole his feathers, and he was sure that tūtū Haena would devise a way to kill them with those very same feathers. Perhaps, in a way that no one would ever think of. That is until Alyssa produced the plastic bag of one hundred feathers and gave it to him. "By the way, you left this under your feathered cape that you were working on."

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