By Peg Keeley
Lonnie gestured to Kono. "You don't have your purple paint, Mark."
Mark dragged two logs over closer to the fire. "That, Lonnie, is because I am not of royal blood -- Kono is."
Lonnie's eyes widened a little. "Oh."
Kono cleared his throat. "It will be dark soon. Come sit here for awhile." He sat down on the log and began to hum a hunting song. Before long, he was singing the chant softly.
Lonnie sat down next to him, having cast a look back towards Danny who leaned against a tree. "Dad?"
Kono turned around. "Danno, you need to be here, man."
He slowly rose, came over and sat on Lonnie's other side.
Mark sat down on the other log, glad that Kono was a large man and even when sitting was higher than the rest of them. "Our Hawaiian culture is a fragile one," Mark said to Lonnie. "It's heart and soul was never written." He reached out and stirred the pot once. "Ours is a culture of the heart, not paper. We all have 'ohana mele. This is important for a young man to know. Now so much has been lost. 'Old songs go unsung. New voices sing a foreign verse. Hawai'i's band is out of tune, and playing out of time.'"
Lonnie's face brightening. "I know my family song -- my mama sings it on a tape. Dad used to play it for me go to sleep. I can sing it for you."
Mark was openly impressed. "By all means, Lonnie."
Lonnie took a deep breath, wondering why he was suddenly nervous singing before Mark and people he knew. He felt like he was taking a test. In Hawaiian he sang the quiet melody that was all he knew of his mother. "I am Lonnie, son of Malama Kanea, of Norman Kanea, whose mother was Niianu Pulakana, who was dressmaker to Liliuokalani Ali'I Wahine. Niianu Pulakana was daughter of Pulakana Nui head of the servants to Lunalilo Aki'i."
Mark nodded to Danny. Perhaps this man is not the typical haole after all. I have misjudged him. He has done well to keep his son's heritage alive. "Well, done, Lonnie, you have learned five generations."
Lonnie glanced at Kono. "Can I do my other song?"
Kono glanced at Danny.
Danny frowned. "What song?"
"I -- have my other song," Lonnie said quietly. "Mr. Nahele, my music teacher, helped me."
Danny glanced at Kono. "You know about this?"
Kono gave a single nod. "It's time, bruddah."
Mark sensed the discomfort. "Lonnie, you don't have to, this is about your Hawaiian-"
Kono lifted a hand and cut him off. "No, Mark. He needs to do this. Go ahead, Lonnie."
If Lonnie had been nervous with Mali's genealogy song, he was terrified at singing his own composition. Voice shaking, he began singing in Hawaiian. "I am Lonnie, son of Dan Williams whose mother was Ellise Willis Williams." He paused, licking his lips and glancing at Danny who stared at the fire. "Ellise Willis, daughter of Hiram Willis, son of Icabod Willis, son of Caleb Willis who came to Hawaii and married Brunna Cooke, daughter of Amos Starr Cooke."
Mark had taken new interest in this genealogy song.
Lonnie looked again at Danny, who had not moved from his glare into the fire. The shadows of evening were now deepening around them as the sun set unnaturally early beyond the mountain ridges. "Dad?"
Finally, Danny looked at him and gave a little nod. "It's okay, Lonnie. Go ahead."
A little smile of courage crossed the boy's face. "Icabod Willis married Innuikana, daughter of Wahihulu, son of Kamaaneha, lesser wife to Kamehameha III, full brother to Kamehameha II, first son of Kamehameha Ai'i." Lonnie stopped.
Still stunned, Mark slowly slid off the log to the ground, making him a full head lower than Lonnie and Danny. He looked at Kono. "You knew this."
There was a twinkle in Kono's eye. "Yeah, Bruddah. Danno really is my bruddah."
"Eight generations," Mark finally said slowly. He looked at Lonnie in a new reverent way. "These royal lands were a gift from your family to the Hawaiian people. I thank you." He turned his attention towards Danny, really seeing him for the first time on the trip. "You don't tell people this. Why? Are you ashamed of your Hawaiian heritage?"
He shook his head. "It doesn't matter. The line was disowned a very long time ago. Until my aunt found my mother's old family records I didn't even know. There are probably hundreds of white Hawaiian brothers and sisters out there, Mark. I don't think your Hawaiian Cultural Institute is very interested in enveloping them into the family. The cultural preservation movement is a good thing -- but it is making the same mistakes the haoles have. We either live together or we die alone."
With no further comment, Mark scooped up some of Kono's purple berries, and smeared some of the purple-blue stain on Lonnie and Danny's arms. "We are what we are, Williams. All of us."
Lonnie's face beamed with pride in the firelight.
Kono rose, picking up one of the fashioned spears. He lightly tossed it from hand to hand, testing it. "It is dark. We hunt the boar." He started the hunting chant again and Mark and Lonnie quickly picked it up.
Danny stepped back a little self-consciously, watching the painted figures dance before the fire. For an instant he remembered the other figures before the fires of his past, decorated in triangles of red and white, and the cannibal's ritual tools. He again forced it away.
The shadows were deep and cool when she awakened. There were odors of something new in the jungle not too far off -- not a scent of the night. Beside her, a litter of six squealed impatiently to be fed. They were no longer dependent on her, but the attraction remained. There were four more older offspring who still remained close by, but she did her best to make it clear to them that they were to stay clear of the younger piglets. She moved through the jungle, attracted to the familiar scent of the taro. Finding the plant, she routed into the soft, black earth with her strong snout and tusks, quickly uncovering the tasty find which she devoured quickly. She moved on towards her next morsel. Weighing close to 350 pounds, it took a lot of plant life to sustain her. She picked up on the strange scent again and something in her rudimentary brain warned her that the smell was a danger. Once, long ago, when that scent had come so had loud thundering sounds and a fire to her left shoulder that had never quite gone away. She still limped on it when the rains came and it made her ill tempered. She turned away from the scent to find better grounds.
Mark dipped two small torches he had fashioned into the fire, and they caught instantly. Each person on the hunt was now armed with a knife and spear. "The boar frequently come down to the stream running north of here. Danny and Kono, you circle north, see if you can drive them towards us. Lonnie and I will wait on the near side of the stream. Having to cross the water will slow the boar down and give us the advantage."
They started into the brush. "Mark." Danny caught his arm. "I don't have to tell you not to risk anything here, do I?"
"Rest assured," Mark answered quietly. "No one knows the danger of a wild boar better than I. I'll see to it he remains safe." He cracked a smile. "My ancestors were bodyguards to the kings. Fitting, huh?"
Danny nodded and added for emphasis. "Just keep him safe."
Danny and Kono moved through the foliage guided by the torch Kono waved before them. He pointed to the side of a tree. "Pig rubbed himself here." The oil smeared on the bark glistened in the light.
"Big one," Danny remarked noting the height to be nearly three feet.
Kono spotted the gouge in the dirt and gave a low whistle. "Looks like a front-end-loader went through here." The dirt was thrown away in a path nearly two feet wide.
"Gotta be a 200 pounder," Danny guessed.
"Bigger. Look at all the different sized droppings. Female with a whole bunch of little ones."
"Recent, too," Danny straightened from examining the ground. He glanced around into the darkness. "Wish I had my shotgun."
Kono grinned. "Fire one shot and every boar in six miles in outta here wiki-wiki. Nobody takes 'em with firearms anymore. We see if we can break a little one off from this bunch and send it towards Mark and Lonnie."
They tracked the pigs a little farther before Kono motioned that he could smell them ahead. Boar put off a very distinctive odor. Kono cupped his hands to his mouth and issued a birdcall.
In the brush ten yards away the female boar lifted her head at the odd sound, then returned to her hunt for food.
Near the stream, Mark also heard the call. "They've found the boar," he told Lonnie. "That was Kono's call. Any minute now we'll have a boar headed for the stream right ahead. It will probably turn to the side when it sees our torch fire. He'll be broad side to us and we will have him."
"How many boar?" Lonnie asked fingering his spear nervously.
"Hard to say. Maybe many, probably one. You never know," Mark replied. "We have two spears. We can each get one."
There was a commotion in the jungle as Kono and Danny charged towards the boar they knew to be hiding but could not see. There were sudden loud squeals of fear and panic, crashing of trees and brush as the sharp hooves thundered towards an escape.
Kono waved the torch as he ran forward and the jungle before them seemed to come alive with fleeing black bodies. Something turned and two eyes glowed bright red, large white tusks reflecting back into the torch. "My God!" Kono uttered in shock as the large female turned to charge them.
They both pitched their spears towards her in more in self-defense than anything else. There were sudden angry high-pitched screams of pain from the boar, she turned in her charge and was gone, leaving a large path of destruction of foliage behind her.
"You see the size of that boar?" Kono whispered in shock.
Shrieking boar piglets exploded from the dark forest, two splashing into the stream. They headed straight towards Mark and Lonnie. Just has Mark predicted, they turned to the side.
"Take him! Take him!" Mark shouted.
Lonnie stood frozen, speak gripped tightly in his hand.
The first one turned and darted to make its escape. The second started to do the same, but Mark splashed into the stream after it, hurling his spear that pinned the animal to the bank where it now writhed screaming in pain. Mark turned towards Lonnie, hoping the boy would step forward to finish off his catch. "Lonnie?"
He stood there, wide-eyed, unable to move. "I can't."
"Use the knife, just slit the throat. It's in pain now."
Lonnie dropped the spear and took two steps backward.
Mark stepped across the stream and quickly dispatched the piglet. The cries ended abruptly. Mark cleaned his knife off in the water and glanced up at Lonnie. "It was a small one anyway."
Lonnie did not respond. I failed! I couldn't do it! I'm never good at anything! Mark's gonna think I'm a scared little kid. He'll probably send me home.
Mark picked up the slain animal by the feet guessing the weight at about 20 pounds. "It'll give us a good breakfast."
There was motion in the brush and the leaves parted and Kono's torch burst into view followed by Kono himself and Danny. "Well? Any luck?" Kono asked.
Mark raised the piglet. "Breakfast."
"Hey, nice going!" Kono slapped Lonnie on the shoulder.
"I didn't do it," the boy replied, angry with himself. He turned away.
Kono's smile faded in surprise.
Mark glossed it over. "It's late. And it's only the first day. Let's get this pig cleaned and get some sleep."
"You gotta see this first," Kono told him. "We just got a look at the biggest wild boar I've ever seen. It's gotta have been 250 pounds."
Danny noted mentally how the boar had just grown from 200 to 250 pounds. He wanted to talk to Lonnie who was clearly disappointed with his own showing. He walked over to where Lonnie stood apart from the others. "Not what you thought, huh?"
"I couldn't do it," the boy muttered angrily. "I never do anything right."
"Lots of people get buck fever," Danny told him. "Grown men get that first kill in their sites and -- they just can't follow through."
"Buck fever? This was a boar."
"Same thing, Lonnie. You've got two more days."
Lonnie jammed the spear into the soft earth. "You don't get it, Dad. I can't! I can't kill something. I'm not like you."
Danny stopped short. What does he mean by that? For a moment he was tongue-tied, wanting to make Lonnie explain himself, but being in the company of others.
Kono and Mark, each holding a torch were waiting. "You guys want one of these torches or you gonna come with us?" Kono asked.
"We're coming," Danny decided. "Come on, Lonnie."
Lonnie grudgingly followed.
"Lonnie, get the spear," Danny instructed.
With a look of disgust, Lonnie yanked the weapon from the ground and, shoulders sagging, followed the rest.
Kono led the way back to where he and Danny had encountered the boar and held the torch high to show the plowed up ground and destroyed vegetation. Mark examined the area in silence for a few minutes. He fingered the remains of a taro plant whose leaves were already wilting. Kneeling down he waved Lonnie to come close. "See this?" He gestured to the small plant. " Tetraplasandra gymnocarpa."
Lonnie looked at him blankly. The Latin genus name of the plant meant nothing to him except that it suddenly occurred to him that if Mark could talk like that he must be a smart guy.
Mark continued, oblivious to Lonnie's new consideration. "This 'ohe'ohe plant is endangered. Almost extinct -- pau. The boar damage the plants, they eat the food of other animals. There are too many of them. Once there were no boar -- hundreds of years ago. But they are brought here, they don't have any other animals to keep their number down so they destroy everything else." He motioned to the dead pig he carried. "This is a good thing, Lonnie. We eat the pig. And the pig will not destroy another 'ohe'ohe. Sometimes the new and old work together. The old kahana nui and the new way of trying to keep the old plants." He gestured to the various sized droppings on the ground. "See here. Many pigs. One big, several small."
Lonnie knelt down, but was less than thrilled to be checking out pig feces.
"See?" Mark motioned to the scat again. "One real big one. Several smaller, some very small. Probably one was our friend here." He patted the carcass. "Looks like mama wasn't in a big hurry to run off the older litter. Maybe four little ones about and the earlier litter of about three or four more. We've got something like ten boar right around here." He rose from the spot. "With that many young, mama won't go far."
Kono motioned towards the clear path of destruction the large boar had left behind when she thundered away earlier. "We can find her if we go after her tonight."
Mark wiped his hands off on his shorts and shook his head. "Too risky. Something this big in the dark is no good." He pointed to the blood on Kono's spear. "And she's wounded as well. This is one we take in the daytime."
The female boar sought out her young, her feeble mind filled with pain and rage. She'd heard the shrieks of her young in pain, but could not find him before the cries had stopped. The deep wound on her left side made her want to fight back at anything she met. One of her older piglets found her and approached, but in her rage, she attacked him, sending him rolling through the dense brush. He squealed in surprise and pain. She lifted her snout, picking up again the scent of danger, of man. It had been overpowering at the moment of her newest injury. It was a threat to her. Her rage blinded her to everything but revenge. She started to track the scent. It led her back to the site of confrontation. Here she also smelled her piglet, but it was the smell of death. In fury, she routed after the hunters. She stopped abruptly upon coming to the stream. The water washed away the scents. She began to search up and down the banks.
Mark lit several more torches that he placed around their camp in a large circle. He passed the pot of cooked taro around and they all ate a bit. Lonnie did not like the taro. The tuber itself tasted something of a cross between the potato and carrot. Except for the French fry, vegetables were not Lonnie's favorite food. He did not complain though. Right now he was tired and hungry. The strung hammocks looked very inviting.
"We need to get this catch dressed and cooking. You guys want to help?" Mark asked as he fed the embers of the fire.
Danny had Lonnie come over. "This is what we call field dressing." He took hold of the little boar and with a knife, gutted it in one swipe. "See, Lonnie, like this," he said. "We put the inwards into the pot."
Lonnie looked like he might throw up. "That's disgusting," he whispered.
Danny shrugged. "In the wild, you dress your own food. And you don't waste anything." He found the liver, the heart, stomach and kidneys and dropped them into the pot of taro.
Lonnie stood by miserably as Danny and Mark skinned the black hairy coat from the boar. Mark selected certain leaves for flavor and stuffed them inside the body cavity. He then dug a pit, pushed in a large amount of the fire embers, added the pig and covered the whole thing with dirt.
"We sleep, it cooks and we have roast pork for breakfast," Kono explained to Lonnie.
"We're not really gonna eat that," Lonnie mumbled.
"It's what learning to live with the earth is all about," Mark explained. "Tomorrow is your turn. On your own you will face the jungle, hunt, kill, and prepare the feast of your Kahana Nui. Above all, remember Great Pele, mother of the earth, will guide you. She knows this is your land. You are of it, and it of you."
Lonnie rose and headed for one of the hammocks. "I guess I'd better get some sleep then" I guess Mark's trying to impress me, or make me feel like a hunter or something with his talk. How do I tell him and Dad that I can't cut this? I don't know how I am going to pull this off. What am I going to do? How can I disappoint them again?
Kono picked up the taro Lonnie had abandoned and dumped it back into the pot. "That boy doesn't know himself," he said quietly to Danny.
"Isn't that what you said this was all about?" Danny murmured. He'd gotten blood and pig grease on his hands and arms from gutting the pig. "I'm going down to the stream and clean up." The dirty knife in one hand, a torch in the other, he headed away down the path.
Mark squatted next to Kono before the fire. "You should have told me, Bruddah."
Kono's eyes sparkled with joy. "Told you what? Told you that Lonnie was Ai'i? Would you have believed me?"
Mark shrugged. "Sure as hell would not have believed it about his Dad."
Kono mused for a moment then commented. "Danno is a special guy. It wasn't my story to tell. It was his and Lonnie's. Danno's never been big on his Hawaiian background. A lot of haole blood to a few drops of Hawaiian. It was just no big ting to him. Know what I mean?"
"But he told you."
"Yeah. We go way back," Kono commented. "While back he took a dare to go out and spend a week on his own on an island. It was supposed to help him connect with the land -- maybe a little like this. It didn't turn out too well."
Mark poked the fire with a stick. "No?"
Kono did not continue right away. "Afterwards he told me it must have been that little bit of Hawaiian in him that got him through. That was when he told me."
Mark glanced over at Lonnie who had nestled into his hammock, back to them. "The boy go on that, too?"
"No, man, Danno didn't even know he had a son then."
"So what happened?"
Kono picked up a small stick. "Attacked by wild animals." He tossed the stick into the fire.
Danny jammed the torch into the ground beside the stream and walked down into the shallow water to wash off. The water was cool, but not too unpleasant. He heard something and turned but could see nothing in the darkness. Except for the humming of insects, all was quiet. He sloshed water over his arms and began to clean the knife. He suddenly remembered slipping into the spring by a waterfall years ago; being stalked and the shock when he had been dragged beneath the surface. He shook off the feeling. This stuff hasn't been with me in a long time. I better get a grip here.
The boar continued her search upstream, then turned back. As she did, she again picked up the scent of the hunter -- and the dead piglet. She broke into a full run, knowing she had the trail once again. She charged down the bank at breakneck speed. There was a spot of light ahead and something moving at the water's edge. With a roar, she bore down on her prey.
Danny spun from his cleaning task as he heard the running hooves pounding against the muddy bank. Even as he turned, there was a guttural howl and a huge hairy black shape appeared from the darkness. Before he could react, she was upon him. The force of the impact lifted him off his feet into the air as the razor-sharp tusks sliced deeply into the flesh of his abdomen. He splashed down into the shallow water, struggling, air knocked out of him. The boar was immediately upon him, 350 pounds of rage ramming her snout and tusks against his body, forcing him behind the surface of the water. He issued a bubbling scream of pain and fear and as the scream ended, water rushed in his mouth. The tusks gored him again as the water caused his lungs to launch into a spasm of coughing, bringing in more water with each cough.
I am going to drown here in less than two feet of water! I've got to stop her! His frantic flailing hands pounded against the greasy, hairy body. By random chance, a hand hit her eye.
The boar jumped back and Danny came to the surface, coughing spasmodically, clutching his wounds attempting to get towards land. Unarmed even with the knife that had fallen into the water when she struck, Danny knew his only chance was to outdistance her. He doubted he could do that.
The boar charged again.
He had just a moment to glance back as she came splashing towards him, huffing with each bound forward. Fire! The torch! He turned direction just as the she-boar slammed into him once again. He smashed against the rocky stream bank, elbows and knees cracking against rock. There was horrific pressing pain against his lower left leg as 350 pounds of boar ran over him, then a sharp snap that he heard as well as felt. Just as he cried out from the broken bones the boar rammed her large head against him again, stabbing into his left back. He stretched towards the flickering light, but the torch was well out of reach.
The boar rammed him again and Danny collapsed on his face half in half out of the water, hoping that if he could not run, playing dead might help. He tried to lie still and stifle the rasping coughing as the boar snorted over him. She viciously butted her strong snout against him two more times, the razor-sharp tusks slicing deeply into his back. He dug his fingers into the soft humus to keep from screaming. When he did not move the boar stopped and snorted around him. She issued a fierce growl like sound, poked him with her head a few times in curiosity, then sniffed around in search of the missing dead piglet. She picked up the lingering scent at the bushes near the path that led back towards the camp.
Danny watched her, head to one side in the dim light of the torch knowing Kono's guess of 250 pounds was grossly underestimated. He lay still, dirt and rotting leaves smeared all over him, praying she would not turn back.
She swung her head back towards him and his heartbeat quickened; then she lumbered off into the jungle.
He lay a moment longer, feeling his strength trickling out into the soil along with his blood. He attempted to move. The pains in his abdomen, back, and leg were overwhelming. He tried to move away from the water as he clawed through the dirt trying to use his good leg, but shock and exhaustion were taking their toll. He went limp on the ground.
Mark, sitting before the fire with Kono, suddenly looked up. "Did you hear that?"
Kono listened. "What?"
Mark listened carefully, but the sound did not come again. "I thought I heard a boar."
Kono chuckled. "Great. There are only about ten or some of them around, right?"
Mark did not answer him, but got to his feet, head cocked as he listened. "Something doesn't feel right." He glanced around. "Where's Danny?"
"At the stream cleaning up."
Mark picked up a spear and walked to the edge of their circle of torches. "I'll be right back." He took two steps up the trail, issued a sudden shout of warning and was on the ground with a gurgling scream of pain.
Kono was on his feet instantly; finding only a knife at hand as the huge female boar barged into the lighted clearing. She seemed confused by the multiple lights as she turned her huge head towards Kono, blood staining her large sharp tusks. She issued another bellow and pawed the ground; glowing red eyes fixed on Kono.
The sound awakened Lonnie in the hammock. He opened his eyes to see Kono and the boar in a face-off. "Kono!"
"Don't move!" Kono shouted, not taking his attention from the animal. She charged and he managed to get past her taking a swipe with the knife that missed. The glistening wound from earlier was obvious on her side. She spun and came around again instantly as Kono danced to avoid her.
Lonnie saw the spear against the tree several yards away. He could not reach it from the hammock and Kono had said not to move. But if he could reach it -- he hesitated.
Kono tried to sidestep around to get the smoldering fire between him and the beast, but she was not easily deceived. At least he knew he had her moved away from Lonnie. She started a charge towards him and stopped short as he danced to the side, accurately judged which way he dodged, and moved to intercept him. She grazed his right calf with her tusks, but he managed to miss a full blow.
Lonnie slipped from the hammock and snatched up the spear. "Hey!" he shouted at the boar.
She turned her head away from Kono, saw a new target and started towards Lonnie. Lonnie hurled the spear -- it missed, but as the boar began her run at him, Kono leapt forward on her hindquarter with the knife, sinking it deeply into her hip. With a raging roar, she swung her enormous head back, catching Kono squarely in the chest. He gave a yell of pain, but held on to the stiff black fur. With a powerful lunge, she literally ran him over, driving her tucks deeply into his chest, ramming him four times, then, pulling free of his weakening grasp, she thundered off into the brush dazed by her own wounds.
Lonnie stood frozen in the fire light, wondering if the boar was really gone. "Kono?" he whispered. "Kono?"
"I'm okay," he lied grasping his bleeding chest.
It was obvious to Lonnie that Kono was anything but all right. Kono's breath came in painful gasps and blood streamed from three gaping wounds, two in his chest, one in the stomach.
"Lonnie, check Mark," Kono managed to gasp. "We need his help."
Snatching up a torch and spear, Lonnie went into the darkness at the edge of the clearing. Mark lay sprawled in the dirt. Lonnie's breath caught in his throat as he knelt down next to him. Mark's lifeless eyes stared widely back at him. Mark's had been neck pierced through by the boar; the tusk had hit the carotid artery and most of Mark's blood was in a puddle on the ground. Upon realizing Mark was dead, Lonnie staggered a step or two backward, nausea washing over him. I wish Dad were here! I need to get Dad. He'll do something. He rose and staggered back to Kono. "Mark is dead," he announced.
Kono had his eyes closed, teeth gritted in pain.
Lonnie wondered if the large Hawaiian had heard him. "Kono?" He touched his arm.
He managed one nod.
"I'm gonna go get my dad," Lonnie told him. "He'll know what to do."
"Stay here," Kono grunted, trying to breathe. "He'll be here in a minute. That boar is out there. Don't want her....finding......you." It was getting too hard to talk.
Lonnie wanted to obey. He grabbed some large taro leaves, pressed them against Kono's chest wounds, and waited. He didn't know if a lot of time went by or it just felt that way. He could see that Kono was close to passing out. The pressure from the leaves had slowly the blood flow, but Kono was still bleeding. Where is Dad? Why is he taking so long? Has something happened to him? That thought was too horrifying, and Lonnie tried to content himself with thoughts that maybe Danny had found the boar and killed it.
End Part 2
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