17.1.10

Dream A Little Dream

I left the living room, worried that Karl and Morgan were more confused by my presence than ever. But I couldn't leave Jason melting in a tub all night, so I finally excused myself and made my way deeper into the house to find him resting languidly atop the king-size bed in our guest quarters. As soon as I walked in, he opened his eyes and beckoned me to bed. An hour or so later, we finally went to sleep. And I began to dream.

The room glows orange and yellow. Is it a cave? The walls are painted so crudely. The only way is forward, so...

A circular room. Six torches lit and glowing. A pool of lava, calm and steaming in the center. A beautiful slender woman. Skin brown as the Ti tree, hair black as obsidian. Lips red as blood.

"So, you've returned home. Did you bring with you what is rightfully mine?"

I notice a small reddish pumice rock in my hand. "You mean this? I'm sorry. I found it on a hike. We were here for our... honeymoon. I regretted taking it the moment I got back to our hotel."

Her eyes bore into me. "You were punished for your thievery, were you not?"

How did she know? "Who are you? Where am I?"

She laughs. "So full of questions, are we? Don't worry. I'm not mad anymore." She spreads her arms wide. "We are close to a place long forgotten by people. This is good, it keeps me safe. But you surely must know that others are watching. Waiting. Looking."

"Looking for what?"

She looks at me like a mother does a child. "Why, you of course. You're not like other kane. You know this. You know more than you realize, without realizing. Do you think any mortal can gaze upon this path before you? Your line is old. The nui kupuna kane of your kupuna kane knew me well. He worshipped me and kept me safe from my sisters who feared what I would do."

"Were they right to fear you?"

She sighs and moves in close to me, so close I can feel her heat. She radiates warmth like a fire. "I do not beleive so," she whispers in my ear. And I believe her. "It has been a long time since anyone feared me like that, a long time since I desired protection. I fear that time is ending." She shakes the concern off her face like an annoying stray hair, moves back a step and smiles warmly. "Did you know I love to dance? In the days of old, they would perform so many hula in my honor."

She moves her body to a rhythm that comes from nowhere, yet I hear it inside my body like a heartbeat. She beckons me with her hand to dance with her and I can do nothing to resist. The lava dances out of the pool and surrounds us, but does not touch our feet. Her hips move closer to my own and the lava begins to boil.

She takes the rock from my hands and presses her lips to it. Fire engulfs the stone for a moment and it becomes so small and dark. She pulls a hair from her own head, fashions a necklace with the stone and hands it back to me. " has brought you here. He believes you can keep me safe," she says. "So in return I will watch over you. But know this: The ki is sacred. The ki must not be used. Even I accept this kapu, though my sisters always feared I would unleash its power. They were fools. And... so was I.

"You must go. They are watching you, even now as we dance. My power is great, but it is unseen. Protect me from those who seek to use the ki for their own selfishness. This is the task of the Nui Kahu."

"Nui Kahu? I am no guardian. I'm just an imaginative imp."

She gives me that look again. "So was Maui. He, his Kamali'i and their Kamali'i and you. Do not underestimate your role in this, keiki. Know that the ki is useless without your hand to wield it."

"What about Kahoʻolawe?"

"I have long been free of the prison of Kanaloa's skull. Your companions will find little more than stories there. If you seek me, let the winds carry you to the East and South. Protect the ki and you shall protect us all. Fail in this, and fire will consume all we see, hear, breathe and touch."

"So, no pressure," I say.

Her movement slows, her dance ends. The lava flows back into the pool...

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