I finally got a Hawaiian ocean view, and I couldn’t even enjoy it! As I sat on a rocky cliff and stared out at the choppy waters, I couldn’t concentrate on anything but all of the drama that led me to this point! A simple birthday dinner turned into a chaotic misadventure that took me away from a cozy home and a dream job, and if sharing a space with eight family members and eight cats wasn’t enough, I also developed health problems that required surgery! Oh sure, the dangerous felon who caused us to go into the Witness Protection Program appeared to have a close proximity to our household in the region, but somehow, this operation haunted me more! I bested Wade before, so I felt confident in my ability to do it again, but I had never gotten any surgical procedures prior to this juncture! Fighting with a dastardly criminal, well, it’s not easy, but I’m in control when it happens, but I would be completely helpless once I fell under the influence of the anesthesia! I kept beating myself up for not taking better care of my health and preventing this from occurring! I mean, I was eating better and exercising more, but I still felt I could have done more to mitigate this damage! I did my last gynecology exam a few years ago, but they told me I could wait three to five years to do my next one! Should I have been doing it more? I had no inkling what I did to cause this problem, but I grew shameful of myself for letting this happen! Doctor Iona said that eighty percent of women have fibroids, but I hadn’t heard of any else having them, so, at that moment, I felt so alone! Yes, I was actually alone right then, but I really felt isolated because of this!
Or maybe I wasn’t by myself! The pressure of someone resting their hand on my shoulder surfaced in mid-thought, and initially, I assumed it was Aidan coming to console me. When I glanced up, I nearly fell off the edge as I beheld a pale, old man with white hair and knobby knees standing next to me! Thankfully, I maintained my stance, and I admonished myself or getting duped like that! Aidan had smooth, warm skin, and this guy had dry, balmy palms! I took a mental note to utilize more caution in vulnerable positions like that in case that reprehensible convict decided to show up, and preceding me collecting my wits enough to enquire about his identity, the old man asked, “Are you looking for the Moku Oka Make?”
“Unless that phrase translates to sanity, then no, not likely,” I answered somewhat bitterly. I regretted allowing my emotions to become transparent to him because I was certain that he would question my well-being, and I dreaded having to relive all of the awfulness of my latest drama! Unless by some miracle he contained a remedy for my woes, I would have preferred to have returned to doing wallowing in self pity!
“Yep, I’ve been searching for it for years now!” the old man prattled on as though he hadn’t heard my agitated remark. “It would be swell if I could obtain the cure for everything that ails these aching bones! I thought I found it once, but it turned out to be a seafood restaurant! A darn good one, but it didn’t solve much…”
I perplexedly responded to that, “Uh-huh! So, is this Moku Oka Make a remedy or a place?”
He filled me in, “It’s both! It’s a sacred site that can rid you of all your ailments! Everyone in the area’s been searching for the Island of Death!”
“The Island of Death?” I questioned. “The Island of Death helps restore your life?”
“Legends say if you visit this land, it will save you from dying!” He mulled over this information for a bit, and then he commented, “I suppose the name is somewhat misleading, but the natives swear the gods called it that.”
A territory that can heal the terminally ill? All I could think of was that this sounded right up Wade’s alley! Then it registered to me that perhaps this was the reason that reprobate had come to this locale! “So, no one has ever discovered this terrain?”
He relayed to me, “Some people have stumbled upon it, but no one can ever seem to find it again. One bloke found this bejeweled broach that a lady lost during her exploration of the big blue- it was missing for over a century! When he tried to show his mates where he found it, it was gone!”
“So, if someone wanted to hide something valuable, they could put it there and it would stay hidden for ages?” I queried with the wheels in my head spinning in a very specific direction…
“Possibly,” the old man assessed. “They’d have to know where the Moku Oka Make is though in order to retrieve it again, so I don’t fancy that as probable. Why? Are you a pirate?”
I affirmed, “No, not at all! Quite the opposite! I’m actually… a farmer.” I almost revealed my background in law enforcement, and once I gave him that illogical statement, I hoped that he wouldn’t call me out on it!
He did! “How is a farmer the opposite of a pirate?”
“Uh… Well… Pirates bury treasure, and farmers dig it up!” I judged that reply to be fairly clever, especially with the limited time I had to concoct it, but the old man had to think about it for a stretch. Before he extended this inane argument, I posed to him, “What if someone stole the mo’o’s gift from the gods and didn’t want anybody to ever see it again, could they stash it there with some assurance that nobody would come across it again?”
“Who the bloody hell would do that?” the old man exclaimed. “Don’t they know what kind of disaster that would bring upon the region? Upsetting the mo’o causes famine, floods, earthquakes, and…”
I supplied for him, “And droughts?”
He confirmed, “Yes, definitely! Someone would have to have a real disregard for humanity to do something so reckless! Or a complete ninny!”
If my nemesis hadn’t been in a prison cell when Lake Ana Wai was evaporated, I would have completely blamed him for this incident! Since it wasn’t the case, I wondered if he had an ally in this state that may have abetted Wade’s crimes here, but he was such an unlikeable wretch that I couldn’t imagine anybody coming to his aid like that! Then again, he convinced a respectable police officer to sacrifice her long career to bust him out of prison, so I reckoned that it was a possibility! But if the culprit behind the theft of the mo’o’s most prized possession had an alliance with that scoundrel, he or she most likely would’ve given him this location to assist in his efforts, so they probably didn’t ally themselves with that prick! I couldn’t figure out their motive for doing such a heinous act, but it was becoming more and more evident where they put the mo’o’s gift at least!
“Care for a taste of brandy?” The old man pulled out a flask from his pocket and offered it to me.
“I…” I nearly turned it down due to my desire to stay vigilant in the event that I had to engage in an epic battle with my enemy, but it was so tempting to have a drink after all of the grief I endured in the last couple of weeks! It generally seemed like a dangerous notion to take any consumable substance from a stranger, but I reasoned that if this fellow had intended to kill me, poison would have been pointless- he could have pretty easily pushed me off of this cliff! It felt odd to entertain the concept of partaking in liquor again, but I remembered that I wasn’t pregnant, and guzzling down some booze seemed like blatant defiance somehow, so I accepted, “Yeah, alright!”
I took a few sips, and it had a stronger punch than I recalled! I handed it back to him, and he took a swig as well. Phew! It wasn’t poisonous after all! He delightfully opined, “Ah! This isn’t the Moku Oka Make, but it makes you feel like you’ve been there!”
After a few minutes, Aidan approached us and joked, “Oh, so this is what you do when you disappear from my sight! Are you enjoying your date?”
“Don’t say that! Me wife would kill me!” The old man surveyed the perimeter as though she was lurking around the corner watching and waiting for him to mess up.
“Babe! I got something to tell you!” I attempted to sit up, but I suddenly felt slightly dizzy! “Wow! That brandy sure is strong!”
Aidan rushed towards me to assist, but the old man was quicker and aided me in regaining my balance. When I was propped up, an old lady came hobbling over here. She shouted at my new acquaintance, “Seymour! Who exactly is this trollop?”
Seymour refuted that accusation, “Hey! She’s no trollop! I don’t think… Are you?” I shook my head, though admittedly, I didn’t entirely know what a trollop was! I was fairly certain I wasn’t whatever unflattering characterization that she accused me of though! When Seymour got that confirmation, he contended to his wife, “Yeah, see! Neither of us were up to any mischief! We were simply searching for the Moku Oka Make!”
“You’re both thick!” Seymour’s wife spat.
“Excuse me, I like my women thick!” Aidan stated firmly. Seymour’s wife ogled at him peculiarly, and it rapidly occurred to him what she meant. “Oh, by thick, I mean…”
Seymour’s wife ignored Aidan and scolded her husband, “While you were out trying to find your blasted Island of Death, you made yourself late for your appointment with a doctor who can heal the stuff you’re trying to get a mythical place to save you from! Now, come on!”
“If Doctor Kidd could make my aches and pains vanish, then I wouldn’t need to keep going to her!” Seymour bickered as they walked away.
“So, you and this English dude were looking for an Island of Death?” Aidan surmised as they elderly couple continued their squabbling while they grew distant from us. “And it’s a beneficial site to visit…?”
I explained, “It’s an island that saves you from death, but I’m assuming that this description fo it wasn’t catchy enough of a name for the original inhabitants…”
Aidan nodded his head, but his expression reamined baffled. “I see… So, you’re hoping that this ancient magic will spare you from surgery on Friday?”
“Oh! I didn’t even consider that! I wonder if that would work…” I espied Aidan’s visage preparing to debate that subject, so I let him know, “But that’s not why we need to locate it! Seymour said that people lose things there ’cause they can’t find the area again!”
“So, you want to go treasure hunting?” Aidan guessed.
I folded my arms in a slight irritation of his hypothesis. “Really? You’ve known me for two years, and you picture me getting excited about digging around for antiquated keepsakes?”
Aidan shrugged. “Maybe! I don’t know how much of that guy’s alcohol you drank!”
His argument still sounded assinine to me, but I opted not to engage in an altercation over something so minor. I chose to table that issue, and I illuminated him, “Whoever stole this mo’o’s gift could have taken it there!”
Finally, it dawned on him that this discovery had major significance! “Alright, so it’d be worth checking this site out! But no one knows where it is?”
“Nope,” I affirmed.
“And nobody knows anything about its appearance?” Aidan probed.
I sighed, “No!”
Aidan emitted an exasperated exhale, and then he articulated, “Gosh, this may wind up being a waste of time, but so what! Your mom and my sister are at the animal shelter wiating to see if someone claims that cat, and I have no interest in joining them! Seriously, before we went into Witness Protection, I contemplated getting a pet for our apartment, but I’m kinda burnt out on pet care now!”
We both chuckled as we wrapped an arm around one another’s waist and initiated our quest to find this legendary setting. As we ambled by the seashore, I prayed that Seymour hadn’t told me an inaccurate account of this terrain!