The rat climbed over a crushed soda can taking care to not let it clang noisily. He gingerly avoided the thorns of the bougainvillea bush as he crept slowly underneath it into the shadows. A deep voice greeted him.

“You’re late, Manini.”

“I’m sorry boss,” said the rat in a whiny voice. “It takes time to get there and back again.”

A pair of savage-looking eyes glowed in the darkness. “You...found it then?”

The rat pointed at a small pile with his stick. A half-eaten strawberry-guava, a rusty nail, a nickel, and a peculiar-looking seashell were all thrown in a jumbled mess on top of a muddy old key.

A set of teeth gleamed now under the eyes. “The storm is tonight.” said the terrifying voice. “If nothing goes wrong, the way into Hunaia Awāwa will be open by morning. Use this key to open the shed and wait there.”

Manini shivered as he spoke uneasily “Y-yes b-boss. What is so important about this H-h-hunny place, why go through all this trouble when we have such a g-good life here Kailua?”

“That kind of information isn't for your nāwaliwali mind, rat.” The voice grew impatient. 

“I can-” Manini started to say, but was interrupted.

“SILENCE. Gather your brothers. Tell them to be ready and waiting in the shed by first lightning. I need to know that this will work and you're going to prove that for me. Now go." 

The small rat snatched the key with one paw and fled out of the room on his other three legs, running unsteadily and careening from the weight of the heavy metal he was carrying. 

"It's time to finally end this madness. This is our island now." The voice said as it's teeth and eyes slowly moved back into the shadows. Outside, Manini continued to run as quickly as he could, his fear of the massive creature fueling his pawsteps. 


"Bro!" The loud voice of the girl echoed through the small house.

"Nah, don't even with that" her brother said as he walked out of the living room. "Let's go." Kilikina stared, unwilling to move, hands on her hips. Kaimana shrugged and put on his slippers. "'Kay then, stay. I don't care. It's just a hike."

Kilikina stomped towards Kaimana. "Dad said we aren’t allowed to go there." she said as her hands flung forward. Kaimana smiled "So? He’s not here.. Besides, it's not like it's hurting anyone. We're just going to see what's up there. Sure, it's private, but Vinnie says there's some sweet lilikoi up there and Dad did say to go outside some today."

Kilikina's mind whirred: she wasn't supposed to be at home by herself and he made it sound not-that-bad. She could go next door to Auntie's and hang out there until her dad got home but Auntie was always cooking and super loud, so she'd be stuck watching the news or playing in the back yard by herself, which was no fun at all.

"Okay" she relented. "But if anything happens I'm YOUR responsibility and Dad's gonna give you big time smacks if we get caught."

"Who's going to catch us?" Kaimana smirked. "Everyone is probably at the beach.”

“Why aren't WE going to the beach?” Kilikina asked.

I don't want to take the bus today." Kaimana said, as he slung his backpack over his shoulder.

Kilikina put on her slippers, grabbed an asian pear off the kitchen counter and went outside with her brother, slamming the screen door behind her.

The trade winds shifted directions and tossed her long brown hair into her face. As they walked up the road toward the sharp green cliffs, the clouds overhead gathered and grew ever so slightly darker.


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