“God damn it!”
I muttered as I sped down the Hawaiian interstate. Why wasn’t it possible for my family to have one vacation without any drama? Angry thoughts raced through my head as I thought about the fight that had broken out between my family during dinner.
I had managed to get out of there before it escalated, choosing to go to bed earlier. Later that night, however, I found myself unable to sleep, troubled with thoughts of frustration and disappointment.
Now I was on the road, in search for a place where I could seek refuge and empty my head of any negativity.
As I glanced at the dashboard my thoughts were interrupted. The speedometer had reached 85. My anger had taken over the steering wheel once again. “Thank God this road is deserted”, I thought to myself as I eased my foot off the gas pedal.
I peered over the steering wheel, taking in my surroundings for the first time. A ray of silver moonlight dimly lit the road before me, bathing it in a pale glow. To each side of me was black igneous rock, the hardened remains of a once active volcano. I rolled down the windows and listened closely. Sure enough, I heard the faint sound of waves crashing against the shore.
Bingo. I knew there was a beach somewhere around here, now all I had to do was find it.
I drove on in silence for what seemed like an hour. Strange… I thought. I hadn’t passed one car since I exited the resort. You're just used to the fast paced environment of city life, I reasoned to myself. Island life is much more laid back. Most of the island is probably asleep by now. I glanced at the clock, it was already 1:15.
A few minutes later I saw a sign ahead of me. It read Makapu’u Beach Park.
I turned into the side road that led to the beach, without hesitating to flick the turning signal on. My tires crunched on the gravel; the only sound in the dark, narrow tunnel that the encroaching foliage formed around the path. Finally, I approached a clearing. Before me lay a beautifully desolate beach. The perfect refuge.
I parked the car and hopped out. Kicking my shoes off, I began to pace along the white sand, my feet sinking in with each step. I searched the ground before me, looking for smooth stones to skip along the ocean’s surface. I found one and with a flick of my wrist I skidded it across the water.
One, two, three skips. Not bad. I repeated this about three or four times until I noticed an abnormality in one of the rocks. As I ran my fingers along the flat stone, I noticed what felt like a series of grooves along its exterior. Curious, I flipped it over and squinted at it in the dim moonlight.
Etched deeply into the stone was the simple outline of a man’s body with what appeared to be a dog’s face.
“Neat!” I exclaimed aloud.
I pocketed the stone and headed back to the car.
On the way back to the resort, the roads were empty once again. I turned on the radio in order to drown out the silence of the Hawaiian interstate. Suddenly I saw a large figure sprint across the road ahead of me. I slammed on the brakes and the car screeched to a halt. Illuminated in my headlights, was a large Hawaiian mutt.
It stared at me unblinkingly and then as suddenly as it appeared, it bolted into the darkness.
"Strange" I thought, as I fingered the stone in my pocket. I shook my head and continued towards the resort.
When I got back everyone was sleeping. I plopped down on my bed, placing the stone on my nightstand. Shortly before drifting to sleep, I heard the distinct howl of a dog.
The Next Day:
The day passed slowly and easily. I decided to spend most of it sunbathing by the pool. I asked my sister to put sun lotion on my back. As she lifted my hair up, she suddenly exclaimed “What is that on your shoulder?”
“What are you talking about?” I asked, craning my head back to look. “Did I manage to get sun burnt already?”
“No” she said. “This definitely is not a burn."
As I managed to get a proper look at my shoulder, I saw that there were four deep indentions. My sister pressed them with her fingers.
“Ow!” I cried. “Will you cut it out. That hurts!”
“Sorry", she said. "If it hurts that much maybe you should get it checked out.”
“I’m fine” I grumbled. Lying down so that I could sunbathe.
I awoke that night drenched in sweat. I had dreamt that I was being chased by a large dog… similar to the one I had seen on the road. Why did I always let my imagination run away with me?
I went to the bathroom to wet my face. When I glanced in the mirror, I was alarmed to see that the marks on my shoulder had bled through my shirt. After applying a band-aid, I went back to bed. This time before drifting to sleep, I thought I heard whimpering accompanied by a soft scratching at the door.
The Next Morning:
Early that morning I decided to go to a local doctor to get my shoulder checked out. In the waiting room, I was greeted by a man with salt and pepper hair, a stethoscope hung loosely around his neck.
After examining me for a few minutes he cleared his throat and asked me, “Have you ever gotten a rabies shot?”
“Um… yes?” I said. “I’m pretty sure all of my vaccinations are up to date. Why do you ask?”
“Because it looks here as if you managed to get bitten by an animal.”
“What?” I stuttered. “That’s impossible”
“It’s pretty evident to me that this is an animal bite. More specifically a dog. Wild dogs are common in these parts. Maybe you got it while you were off guard. I’m just surprised that the wound is so clean. Normally these bites are accompanied with significant tearing of the epidermis,” the doctor exclaimed.
After thoroughly cleaning my wound, he sent me on my way.
Later that day:
When I got back to my room, I was approached by two very angry parents.
“Is it too much to ask for you not to vandalize your hotel room?!” My dad shouted
“Huh? What are you talking about?” I stammered
“You know perfectly well what we are talking about. We got a call from the hotel’s front desk stating that the maids found your room in complete disarray this morning” My mom stated. “You and your friends might get trashed at school and tear up your dorm rooms but that type of behavior is completely unacceptable here. Not on my watch you’re not.”
“I told the front desk that you will be left to clean up the mess. You can’t just expect maids to pick up after you decide to carelessly wreck your room,” my dad said.
Speechless, I headed to my hotel room. When I opened the door I shocked to find the floor littered with the items which had once been on the tables. Two of the lamps had been knocked over, their bulbs shattered. The ends of the curtains were shredded, and most disturbing of all were the deep scratch marks on each of the doors. Oddly enough, the stone was still where I left it.
I tried explaining to my parents that none of this was my fault, but nothing seemed to work. I spent the rest of the night cleaning up my room.
Later as I fell asleep, my dreams were once again preceded with the sound of a howl. This time it was closer.
I was jolted awake as I felt something wet brush past my hand. It felt like it had been licked.
"It's just a dream", I muttered to myself trying to ignore the clear presence of moisture on my fingers. "Ive obviously been sweating..." I reasoned before falling back into a fitful sleep.
The Next Afternoon:
We spent the afternoon shopping for souvenirs. As I entered one store I heard the store manager shout, “Sorry, no dogs allowed”. Who brings dogs with them into a store? I thought. A few seconds later, the woman approached me. “Excuse me, no dogs are allowed in the store! If I have to say it again I will have both you and your dog escorted out.”
“What dog?” I asked. “You must be mistaken”.
Turning around, there was nothing but other customers and Hawaiian merchandise.
“That’s strange.” He said. “I could’ve sworn I saw a dog. It looked like a large Hawaiian mutt.”
My hair stood up on end.
“I saw it too.” another customer exclaimed “Seems like you scared it off.”
I sprinted out of the store, not stopping until I got to the resort. I had had enough of this. I needed to get rid of that stone and I needed to do it fast.
That night I wrapped up the stone in a piece of white cloth and headed to Makapu’u Beach. Once on the beach I tried to locate the exact spot where I had found the stone. After approximating where I had found it, I unraveled the white cloth and reverently placed the stone in the sand. I hurried towards the car.
As I drove past the sign that marked the beach, I noticed smaller print. I stopped the car to get a better look. Underneath Makapu’u Beach, was text that read “Home of Kaupe, the Dog God.” I slammed on the breaks. Before I could hit 85, a sharp howl broke the midnight silence.
Note: Curious about what happened to me, I later researched Hawaiian ghost stories and folklore... only to find that I had broken one of the many rules that any native already knew. NEVER pick up any stone possessing any strange markings. It's commonly accepted by many natives that spirits, like Kaupe, inhabit the stones of the island.