Hawaii's Haleakala National Park is rightly known for its stunning natural beauty. Tourists flock there in droves, hoping to summit before sunrise or sunset to view the crater below. Visitors must travel up winding mountainsides, past waterfalls nestled in thick forests, through cloud-covered highways, and high above the tree line to peak at the 7-mile wide crater, “The House of the Sun.”
But as visitors stare in awe at the beauty before them, few know the history of the blood-hued dirt beneath their feet and the terror that happens when the sun sweeps below the horizon and the Night Marchers rise.
Huaka’i po (pronunciation), or Night Marchers, are proud ghosts of ancient Hawaiian warriors sworn to protect the ali’i, god-descended royalty, in life and death.
If, on a moonless night you hear a rumble in the distance, be weary. It sounds like thunder rolling off in the distance but as the procession moves closer, you’ll hear the low strike of drums in eerie unison. The ghostly army chants to the beat and the cry of a conch shell is a tell-tale warning of their arrival.
Do not let your curiosity get the best of you.
This is your cue to run.
Failure to flee has tremendous consequences. As the procession draws closer, a mist will roll in, the ground will tremble underfoot and the flicker of torchlight will quiver towards you.
Listen closely through the thunder of drums, do you hear a warrior call out, “Na’u”? If you do, show no fear, for it means one of the spirits has identified you as a member of its bloodline and you are safe.
However, if a Night Marcher does not claim you, hide from their view: lie face down on the ground, breathe shallowly, and remain as still as possible. Then, and only then, may you be spared by the ghostly army.
Do not look up, no matter how compelled you feel, for a Night Marcher’s gaze will tear the soul from your body, binding you to their ghostly ranks for eternity.
Stay there until the mist lifts, the chants and drumbeats fade away and you can no longer see the flicker of torches. Then, you can rest assured knowing you’ve been spared by the Night Marchers.
You may even get to enjoy another day in Haleakala National Park and look upon the sacred mountaintop with a newfound appreciation.
398 words. The ending of this could use a bit of finessing.
Created: Dec 02, 2015Document Media