Thriller Fiction Suspense


Alicia knew she should have broken up with Darren before their trip to Hawaii, and the fact that she was standing at the edge of a Native burial ground, in the middle of the night, telling Darren to come back to the hotel property line, really reinforced that she should have followed her instincts.

She heard Darren’s drunken laugh as he turned on his phone’s flashlight to see the map he’d purchased yesterday at a musty thrift and antique store in Lahaina. Alicia thought that Darren was going to have the map framed for his office back home. It was a great souvenir because it was unique, not a t-shirt or plastic conch-shell jewelry that said “Hawaii” but was actually made in China. The map had yellowing, curled edges and faded black lettering that looked like it came from quill and ink centuries ago.

“Damn, Alicia, this is sick. I swear to God the shit on this map is moving. Freaking GOAT, I am telling you. Goddamn,” he said. “Come here and look.”

“Darren, we’re not supposed to be here. There’s a fence for a reason. It says to keep out, and the woman who checked us in told us repeatedly not to cross the fence line for any reason,” Alicia said. Maui was beautiful AF, and she could hear the ocean crashing on the shore, and see faint white caps of the Pacific’s wild beauty against the black night, but she was still creeped out. The moment Darren had set foot on the burial ground, Alicia swore the sky turned darker and the wind coming off the Pacific stilled.

“If there was anything dangerous here, they would’ve put up more than a four-foot fence. That fence is almost short enough to step over. Come on,” he said.

He had not stepped over the fence, Alicia thought. He had done a drunken hop, and almost fallen. She was already rehearsing her break-up speech to Darren. She had been going to wait until they got back home to Rochester Hills to break up with him. Now she thought she’d break up with him on the plane, maybe an hour before they landed in Detroit. She couldn’t do this anymore. Darren was a tool. But she wouldn’t say that. Instead she would say, “I’m sorry, Darren. We’re just too different.”

“It’s not just about danger, Darren. I don’t think they want white people here. It’s sacred,” she said.

“I am two-percent Black,” Darren said.

Alicia rolled her eyes at him, even though he couldn’t see her do it. He had been so happy when two-percent Nigerian had come back on his 23andme DNA profile. He had immediately started saying the N-word when he sang along with rap songs. That was when she should have broken up with him. Right then. But she had never been to Hawaii before. And Darren, well Darren’s father, was paying for their vacation, and she had thought Well, I’ll go see Maui, and break up with him when I get back. And this was her punishment for her delay.

“DNA results don’t lie, and basically I’m Nigerian,” Darren said. “Come on, ‘licia, you’ve got to see this. It’s like… animated.”

Alicia heard a rustling near the cliff, a rustling not related to the sounds of the waves. She had seen all the iconic horror movies and there was no damn way she was stepping foot onto a burial ground in the middle of the night with her drunk-ass boyfriend.

She turned on her phone’s flashlight, and pointed the beam at the ancient black stone with its large, chiseled shelf that faced the ocean. The shelf was large enough to hold a small person. It had been battered by the elements, and was stained with something rust-colored. Countless notches ribbed its edge, all the way around its perimeter.

“Do you honestly not see that thing?” Alicia said, motioning to it. “Don’t you see how creepy it is? Darren, come back. Let’s go back to our room, and we can look at the map there,” Alicia pleaded.

“Don’t you think it’s weird that we bought this map just because it looked cool and it turned out to be the map of a burial ground right by our resort? What are the odds of that, Alicia? And now, I’m telling you, shit is moving on it.” He looked down at the map again. “Right here,” he moved closer to the cliff, the ocean, and the ancient black and rust-colored shelf. “It looks like there used to be some sort of palace!” Even in the dark she could see him squint his eyes.

Nope, Alicia thought. No way in hell am I moving.

Alicia heard the rustling again and suddenly Darren shrieked. He was shoved sideways, with great force, was he tripping? Had he tripped? And there was a sickening thud as the side of his head hit the ancient shelf, and he collapsed, the map fluttering out of his hand and landing next to him.

“Shitshitshitshitshit,” Alicia said as she lifted her right foot up and grabbed the fence with both hands to pull herself over. She ran across the lush grass to reach him and saw blood oozing from his head.

“Shit! Darren? Darren?” she shakily pulled out her cell phone. Dammit, she had no service here next to the ocean. She rolled Darren over and took off her sweater and pressed it to the side of his head to try to stop the flow of blood. She needed to get help. “Darren?” There was no response. Not even a groan. Her fingers moved to his neck. He still had a pulse.

She pulled herself over the fence again and then checked her phone. She had a tiny bit of reception. She pressed 911, but it didn’t go through. It was just dead air. Shit.

There was no alternative. She was going to have to leave him and run to the lobby and get help. She took one more desperate look at Darren, and then took off at a full-out run to the resort front desk. She felt the shrimp salad and the two glasses of wine she’d had slosh in her stomach and felt sick. Well, at least, she hadn’t had the God-only-knew how many gin and tonics Darren had. She wouldn’t have been able to even find the lobby then, let alone run to it.

She rushed into the lobby, and saw a handsome Native man, probably in his late 30s, at the desk.

“Please,” she gasped, breathless from her top-speed, half-mile sprint. The resort was huge. “Please. My boyfriend tripped. Or fell. He hit his head. 911, please.”

The worker looked concerned, nodded his head, and picked up the phone. “Where is he?” he asked.

Alicia felt so embarrassed. “He jumped over the fence. He’s on the burial ground at the edge of the property.”

A panicked look passed over the man’s face.

“I’m sorry,” Alicia said, helplessly. “He got an old map at an antique store in Lahaina. And he drank too much tonight and…” he’s a tool, Alicia almost added. No, no, no… she and Darren were different, that’s all. Just different. So, so different.

 The man picked up the phone to dial 911. He gave the pertinent information to the police and then called security as well.

“The police will meet us out there,” he said. “We’ll see if there is anything we can do in the meantime.”

“Thank you,” Alicia said, gratefully.

They jogged back out to the burial ground. Alicia could hear the distant police sirens, and see a security guard in a golf cart ahead of them. The security guard was a Native woman. She pulled the golf cart to the edge of the fence, got out of her cart, and vaulted over the fence easily. Alicia and the man who had been working at the desk, Makani, (she had finally been able to read his nametag) reached the burial ground moments later.

“Where is he, miss?” the security guard asked. She was short but powerfully built. Her long dark hair was braided and pinned to the back of her head.

“What do you mean?” Alicia said and then she saw her sweater, and somehow strangely, the map, which should have blown away, right? She’d made no effort to secure it, or put anything on top of it. But it was still in the same place Darren had dropped it.

The security guard shined her flashlight all around.

“I see the blood here,” the security guard said, pointing by the sweater. “But where did he go?” The security guard looked at Makani, and then walked closer to the cliff.

“Oh no,” Alicia said. She moved to hop over the fence, and the security guard turned to her.

“Stop. Were you in here with your boyfriend when this happened?” the security guard said.

“No. He wanted me to come in but I knew we weren’t supposed to. And then… he tripped. Or fell, or something. I did hear…” Alicia trailed off. She didn’t want to sound crazy.

“What did you hear?” Makani asked.

“I know it sounds like I’m drunk, but I swear I’m not. I heard something, okay? There was a rustling and it was almost like something shoved him into that shelf,” Alicia said.

“Someone,” the woman security guard said.

“Anna,” Makani said. “Don’t.”

“What?” Alicia asked.

“Nothing,” Makani said.

Anna gave Makani an angry look, shadowed by her flashlight.

“A long time ago, a very young princess, daughter of Chief Hoolae, no one even knows the poor girl’s name anymore, was forced to marry King Pi’ilani, so that the east and west sides of Maui could be united. She ‘rests’ here. If this can be called resting,” Anna said, off-handedly, still searching around with her flashlight. Anna sounded almost like a recording, like she had told this princess story a lot. Over and over again.

“Ghost tales,” Makani said, trying to smile. But he was so pale.

“So like, she… haunts this place?” Part of Alicia wanted to laugh at what Anna was saying. The other part had seen the strange angle at which Darren had fallen, and heard the thwack of his head against stone.

“Are you going to go look for him?” Makani asked Anna.

Anna bent and picked Alicia’s sweater off the ground. “If you weren’t in here with him, how come your sweater is here?”

“I ran in after he fell. I put my sweater around his head to try to stop the bleeding.”

“You came in here?” Anna said.

“Just to try to help him.”

Makani turned even more pale.

Alicia heard the police car’s door slam, and heard the ambulance siren cut out as it entered the parking lot. The officers jogged toward the burial ground. One officer was Native, one was a white man. The white man stopped at the edge of the fence while his Native partner hopped over it to join Anna.

“Where’s our trespasser?” The Native police officer said, motioning to the ambulance. “We brought the stretcher.” He got his flashlight out, and leaned to pick up the map off the ground. “Who’s is this? It looks old.”

“It’s my boyfriend’s. He got it in Lahaina yesterday… or the day before.” Alicia was confused by what day it was now. A tiny bit of light was appearing at the edge of the mountains and ocean.

“So, the princess has been at it again, eh?” The police officer said, shining his flashlight over the edge of the cliff. “I don’t see anything, but that doesn’t mean he’s not down there.”

“Listen,” Makani said. “You’ve got to find him, okay? We can’t keep… losing guests. Eventually the tourists are going to notice and then no one is going to want to come here and we’ll all lose our jobs.”

“The only guests who ‘get lost’ are the ones who can’t follow directions and stay on that side of the fence,” Anna said.

“Wait. What are you talking about?” Alicia asked. “How many people have died here?” The white policeman looked down at his fingernails.

“You seem nice,” Anna said. “And I’m really sorry you crossed the fence to try and help your boyfriend.”

“What do you mean?” Alicia asked.

“We should call in some backup. But I bet you anything the body washes up tomorrow. Just like last time,” the Native police officer said. “Does anyone have a granola bar, or anything? I’m starving.”

“There’s some snacks in my golf cart,” Anna said.

“Last time? Do you mean… is she like, going to come after me?” Alicia said. Alicia couldn’t really believe what was going on. Was she dreaming? Was she going to wake up soon next to Darren in their bed here at the resort?

Anna looked at her with pity.

“We’re a little different here in Hawaii,” Anna said, turning off her flashlight. Light was filtering up over the mountains in an incredible ray of pinks, red, oranges, and yellows.

The native police officer turned to Alicia. “Look, this is going to be a lot of paperwork. Why don’t you head back to your room, we’ll call in backup and keep looking for your boyfriend, and then we will come get you and get the paperwork started.”

Anna nodded in agreement. “Got get some rest, miss. You should enjoy the time you have left here.”

Alicia felt her spine contract in fear. “Wait, do you mean enjoy the time I have left here on earth, or here in Hawaii?”

The Native police officer nodded. “Quick, this one.”

Makani gave them all anxious looks and then took Alicia’s arm. “Let’s get you back to your room.”

Alicia allowed herself to be led away. She looked back over her shoulder. Anna gave her a sad little wave goodbye.

January 30, 2023 13:19

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Karen McDermott
12:40 Feb 04, 2023

Deliciously eerie, well done.


Telaina Eriksen
12:51 Feb 04, 2023

Thank you so much!


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