An historical fiction story about a young Hawaiian man accused of breaking the strict kapu system who must risk his life to reach the Place of Refuge.
It was a nice and warm sunny day. It was 1802 and King Kamehameha was still in rule.There wasn’t a cloud in the sky and Alika was going to work. He worked as a helper. He didn’t have an official job, but he was really handy and could do almost anything. His father had passed away a few years ago. His father was a very skilled fighter and a respected warrior. His father gave him and his brother lessons about self defense every day. Ahe, his brother was a fisherman. Everyday he made the long journey down to the seas to do his job and bring home food for his family. The village was on a massive plateau. So getting down was always a problem.
When they were little Alika and Ahe would climb down the very steep mountain and over time got really good at it. While Alika walked to his next job for one of the towns respected elders, he thought about what had happened the previous night. Last night he had been walking home from his last appointment of the day and ran into this man he’d never seen before. This was unusual because he knew everyone in the village of a mere 400 people, and it was on a plateau and they rarely saw travelers. All the man said was, “Aloha.” Alika replied with the same greeting, but Alika knew something was off. He felt that, that man was up to no good. As he passed the man, he brushed off the feeling and walked away.
Before he went to the job he had that day, he decided to stop in a sewing/clothing shop. As he entered he saw that same man again, and the same feeling washed over him. This time he tried to shake it but he couldn’t. As he walked up to the counter he heard some screaming. He ran to see what the commotion was and saw that half the cloth and sewing supplies were on the floor. The man that he saw earlier had something in his hand. He ran but then suddenly DISAPPEARED. Alika stood in shock.
Finally the lady came to the counter and said, “What happened here, why are you making such a mess in my store?” Alika replied with, “Sorry.” Then he started to help clean up. Then the lady asked a peculiar question, “Where is my shell necklace?” Alika shrugged and kept cleaning then the lady saw something in Alika’s pocket. Her SHELL NECKLACE! She screamed and started yelling, “Thief, Thief, this man stole my shell necklace!” Alika said, “I don’t have your necklace.” Then he saw a shell necklace hanging out of his pocket. The second he saw that he knew that he got framed. He knew the only way he could survive through the harsh laws of the Kapu system was to run to the Place of Refuge.
The laws were insanely tough. No one could walk in a chief’s shadow, or even sometimes eat a certain banana. The worst part is that all these laws result in death no matter which one you broke except if you got to the Place of Refuge. The Place of Refuge is the place where people went to get cleared of their crimes. When someone would arrive there, a priest will perform a sacred ritual. It’s a long, long way away, and it could take him days if not WEEKS. It is also really hard to get into it without being beaten to death by guards. Alika always wondered if anyone ever survived getting to the Place of Refuge. He was about to find out.
He saw people start to come in the shop he knew his first priority was getting out of the shop ALIVE! He ran for the door but realized there were too many people to get by. He then decided to try and climb over the counter and escape out the other door. He saw the lady through one of the clothing racks and saw that she was looking for him with half the town. He knew he had to run. He decided to make a run for the counter before he was spotted. He made it but it didn’t go as planned. He got spotted. And before he could blink everyone was running after him. He got an idea, “The only way I could escape is from rooftops. Then I could get down the plateau and make my way to the Place of Refuge.” So he started to act. He swung himself on a bar that was above the shop and pulled himself up on the roof before anyone could see him.
He was safe, FOR NOW. Now he slept on the roof until darkness fell. There were only three people left looking for him with their torches ablaze. He hopped roof to roof until he got to a dark part, and he made his way down. When he touched ground he couldn’t see anyone, so he kept moving to get to the Place of Refuge.
He traveled for about another 2 hours then the sun started to come up. He HAD to find shelter. The climb down the mountain took only about an hour because he was in such a rush he wasn’t very cautious. He went over to a little cave and hid out. Then an idea struck him. He knew he couldn’t survive on his own without a weapon. Before he went into the cave, he went to chop down a thin piece of ironwood to start working his way up the chain. He started out with a little piece of ironwood, then with that eventually he chopped down another piece. About 2 hours later he had a strong ironwood staff. Then he went to the cave and prepared to rest. About an hour into his sleep he heard a rustle. He stood up briskly but wasn’t prepared for what he saw.
He saw a giant boar standing right next to him. His dad taught him that boars can always be deadly to even the greatest fighters. He jumped up and grabbed his staff. He trained using a staff and knew how to protect himself. The boar only got more mad and he started to charge. He swung his staff, and with one brisk swipe he clonked the boar on his head. The boar got back up and charged again. Alika dodged, then swiftly whacked the boar on the back. Then he brought the staff back over his head and hit him again. He knew he could deal with this. He hit the boar two more times in the same fashion, and finally the boar dropped dead. Now if he made a fire he would have his food for the next week.
He was hesitant about starting the fire. He knew it would alert people if he was followed but he decided he didn’t have a choice. He then went to sleep. He slept without a problem, and when night fell again he set out. It was a quiet night all he heard were the birds and the distant rustle in the bush. He traveled for another hour until he was ready to sleep again. He had been weary all night but he knew he had to push through. He was about to sleep when he heard talking. Then he saw torches behind him. He dove into the bush and was trying to be as quiet as possible. He decided to climb the nearby tree to get a better view. The people were guards and they were headed right to him. He climbed the tree and was well hidden in the branches. He had an idea. He might need a better weapon other than a staff. A club would work well if he ambushed the guards.
He only wanted to ambush one of them then hide the body so no one would know he did it. He waited until the guards split up. One of the guards went toward the tree he was hidden in. Then suddenly the guard started to climb it to get a better vantage point. Alika waited until the guard was at the top (which took ten minutes because the tree had plenty of thorns and you had to be careful.) He knew the other guard was far away and it was only him and this guard. The guard was about a foot away from Alika but he didn’t even notice because of how well Alika was hidden. Then “Wham!” Alika pushed the guard out of the tree with his staff. The guard hit the ground with a sudden thump and that was that.
He climbed down and grabbed the club from the guards body. Luckily for him the guard wasn’t dead, he was only knocked out cold. He took the club and was on his way. The guard never saw him in the tree because he was facing the other way. That meant there was no way he could know it was him. He escaped that situation just barely. The sun started to rise, and after he was far away from the guards, he went deeper into the forest and set up camp for the night.
He slept perfectly until the sun fell. He awoke to the sound of rain beating against the trees. It was raining really hard. He awoke and moved his way further towards the Place of Refuge. About an hour in he heard something moving beneath him. He looked down and saw a CENTIPEDE. He knew if he got bit he would never be able to move on with the trip because of the immense pain that it would cause. He quickly jumped in the air and hung onto a tree. He just had to wait for the centipede to pass then he would be fine. Except it wasn’t that simple. The centipede started climbing the tree that Alika was on. He hopped off the tree and went into an all out sprint. When he was convinced he was far enough away from it, he slowed down.
Then about 20 minutes later he saw ANOTHER Centipede. He knew he had to get out of the forest. He started making his way back out into the open path. He continued longer. Then finally when the sun started to rise he set up camp over in the shallow part of the forest and began to sleep. All he dreamed about was those creepy crawlies with 100 legs. He really was scared of centipedes. When it became dark he rose; he had to start back on the journey again. He was almost positive the guards were going to get there first because he had to journey in shadows and at night and the guards could travel during the day and at any pace.
He walked mindlessly for hours upon hours towards The Place of Refuge. He had never seen it in person, but he knew where it was and how far away it was from their lonely plateau. He was getting tired, but it was still dark so he pushed himself to keep moving a long and keep putting one step in front of the other. That night he didn’t encounter anything or hear anything. It was kind of eerie quiet but he didn’t mind. He went to the side of the path to go camp up. When he laid down he was so tired that he went straight to sleep, and in what felt like an instance he woke up the next night. Alika was positive that he would make it there within two days. He rose happily and started to walk straight away.
His body was growing tired after the first 3 hours but he didn’t notice. He was thinking about how he was almost safe and life could go back to normal. He thought about his brother and how happy they were as kids. He thought about his dad’s lessons in fighting and about how his teachings helped him. After his long train of thought he finally came back to earth and saw it. The Place of Refuge! He had never seen it in person but it looked a lot harder to get into than he imagined. There was a giant wall that looked about 10 feet thick. The jagged lava rocks looked threatening. Though it did look somewhat beautiful. The glorious ocean front statues and buildings looked over the land gave him a sense of power that he couldn’t seem to shake.
If all went well he would be there the next day and would be saved before it was over. That’s if all went well because he knew there would be many guards there and maybe even people from other villages. He knew that if he got cornered or tripped and fell it would be over. That night, in his dreams he was mentally preparing for the battle if not battles ahead. He woke up the next morning feeling rested. He slowly rose to his feet. He knew his body was tired but all he was thinking about was being safe.
After about an hour of walking, The Place of Refuge became more visible. Though it was still a couple hours away, he could see the height of the walls and how terrifying it looked seeing it, let alone trying to get in. As he was walking he was in such a deep thought, he didn’t realize that he was spotted by yet another boar. As the boar charged, he left his thoughts and readied his club. With one swift swing the boar got hit in the head and fell over. It got back up though and charged again. He swung his club, but the boar moved his head and hit the club away. He now didn’t have his club. He would have to use his hands. The boar came again and Alike swung; 1,2,3. The boar fell but didn’t seem to be shaken. He rose again and charged. Then Alika remembered a move that his dad taught him. He punched the boar across the face then elbowed it in the face. When the boar was staggering, he ran at the boar, grabbed his legs, and threw him hard on his back. The boar tried to get up again but he couldn’t. Then to Alika’s surprise the boar sprung back up like a gymnast and was ready to fight again.
This time Alika knew he had to kill it because the boar was to strong. The boar ran at him, and Alika kicked it in the face. Then when the boar was staggered he used all his strength to pick up the boar for a split second and threw him against a hillside. The boar wasn’t dead though. Alika was getting frustrated but he knew that he had to kill the boar if he wanted to move forward. He ran at the boar, grabbed his head and bashed it against the hill side. The boar slumped down. Luckily Alika didn’t have to kill the boar (because he dislikes killing animals). The boar was unconscious, but he knew he would be like that for a while. He picked up his club that was on the other side of the trail and started off on his journey again.
After he traveled for the whole day again he decided that right when he got to The Place of Refuge he would rest to prepare for the days worth of fighting. He was about an hour away when he laid down and fell asleep. In his dreams he thought of tactics he could use. Alika thought about maybe trying to sneak by, or trying to climb over the wall before anyone saw him. What Alika was going to do that day was a lot different than he planned.
He rose quickly that night; he was excited to finally be cleared from his deeds that he didn’t do. The whole time he has been on the run he was thinking about getting revenge for being framed. About 30 minutes later he could clearly see the guards, warriors from his city, and: HIS BROTHER. Everyone in his village would want to find him. That is because they have a strong belief that if something is out of line or a crime has been committed, the gods would punish them with a natural disaster. That’s why they needed to rid the world of what they thought was evil.He always thought that it would only be the warriors from his town and his brother would continue his fishing job, but NO he has to be here! Alika was very upset. But he knew he had to continue forward and do what he was here to do: get cleared. Alika partly felt bad for his brother Ahe. Ahe was conflicted and had to make some very tough choices.
When he was 15 minutes away, he had to walk slowly and tried to stay in the shadows. He carried his club on a strap that he had before he had been framed. He was slowly but surely moving forward. He hoped to face the guards one at a time. He decided to climb a tree to see if there was a way around the guards. He got up there and realized he would have to face them head on. His heart was beating really fast. He was scared but not terrified. If he used positioning and sneaking, he could take the guards down. His brother would be the problem.
Ten minutes later he was ready to pounce. He set himself up behind a giant rock and waited until a guard got separated. Then he jumped. The guard was heading to relieve himself unsuspectingly then BAM. He hit the guard on his head with the club and put his hand over his mouth to silence the sound. Luckily no one heard. One guard, down 29 more to go.
He did that same tactic for quite a while, but no one else came. He knew he had to do it tonight. He was hesitant to make a run for it, or fight his way through. But before he could think a guard came up behind him and made the decision. They were on search. The guard wasn’t alone; he had two more guards with him, but they were seperated by the rest of the group. He clobbered the guard in the head. It didn’t kill him but he fell face first. The other guards ran at him. He picked up the guards club. Now he had two clubs. He used the one in his left to block as the guard attacked then with the right he did a super hard swing and killed the guard. The next one was easy. He simply kicked him in the stomach and while he was staggered hit him with both his clubs in his head. He would be happy for his accomplishment except they alerted the other guards. They were all after him, even his brother. Everyone started to run at him but they couldn’t touch him.
He was too fast. He ran past them. He knew he couldn’t climb the wall that way with about 30 guards behind him. So when they least expected it, he turned around and was ready to fight. He tripped one of the guards when they were running then smacked him when he was on the ground. The next one came from behind with a spear. Alika ducked then smacked the guard two times in the head. He took his spear in his left hand and was ready to fight again. He climbed on a big rock and with the length of his spear was able, one by one, to impale them. After Alika got about ten of them, he jumped down and with his club started smacking his way through the wall of guards. It was going well until it wasn’t.
He tripped on the rock and fell to the ground. He was on the ground and got surrounded by guards. They were all about to club him when he got an idea. Alika boosted himself onto the rock and jumped towards the guards. He hit two of them and was free again. He broke the circle and could run into open ground. He hit them one by one with his club. Occasionally he would get one on the end of his spear. There were two people left: His brother, and another guard. The last guard was the leader of the squad and was fitted with the best gear and longest spear.
The guard hopped on the giant rock and lunged at Alika. While the guard was in mid air falling, Alika threw his spear before the guard could react. The spear hit him square in the chest and got stuck. The guard was dead. It was only him and his brother.
Alika’s heart was beating very rapidly. The whole adventure had come down to this. Alika kept trying to convince his brother that he was innocent but he wouldn’t listen. They kept bashing spears like they used to when they were kids, except this time it was with meaning. Alika would never kill his brother; he just had to buy himself time to convince him. Alika started by saying, “I couldn’t have been at the shop at that time. I was at work!” That was a lie but he was simply trying to convince his brother in anyway that he could. His brother replied with, “Ya right.” After about ten minutes of fighting and failing to convince he said this, “You know I dislike shells. Why would I steal a lady’s necklace.” That statement was true he never liked shells (which was weird) he thought they were ugly. That statement seemed to stump his brother.His brother faintly replied with, “Ok, I believe you.” Then they walked briskly into The Place of Refuge and were reunited again.
Two years later: Alika and his brother became guards. They passed the test and are now the most respected leaders in the whole guard organization. Their mission was to track down the real thief of the shell necklace. They caught him later that day and brought him to his deserving demise. They didn’t even have to kill him. When he was running away, he tripped and fell off the plateau. Nature did it for them. Alika and his brother didn’t have to do the boring jobs of the normal person; they were guard LEADERS and were very wealthy and respected. It is hard to believe that two years ago Alika was on the run and was fighting his brother. Now they live life like kings and rid the world of evil!