The Tiki Room by Anna Newton
Chapter 1: The Mysterious Conversation
The sun shined, and a light breeze blew. For once, Maria was happy. She and her mother had been sailing on the Monarch, and elegant private cruise bound for Holland. She loved the smell of the salty sea air instead of the reeking city air of San Francisco, the place she had once called home. She also loved the clear, cloudless sky instead of the gray, stormy sky that had been looming over the ship for days. It was a wonderful day at sea.
“Maria! Come down! Dinner!”
“Coming mother!” Maria scurried down the stairs to the dining room. The smell of beef stew overcame her senses. She ran faster.
When she reached the bottom, she took her seat in between the captain and her mother.
“My darling Maria. Are you hungry?”
“Oh yes I am.”
The chef soon came out with a steaming pot. He set it down on the table and returned to the kitchen. A steward came down the steps with a ladle in hand. He started to spoon the stew into the china bowls. Maria looked down into her bowl. Carrots, steak, potatoes, and celery were all floating in the broth just as she had hoped. Immediately she started to eat the delicious food. To their surprise, the first mate of the ship came into the room with a worried expression on his face.
“Miss, Captain, may I speak with you?”
“We just started on dessert. Would you care to join us?”
“No. It’s urgent. I need to speak with you immediately.”
“Alright. Maria, go ahead and eat without us. I’ll see you in the morning.”
Just as Maria was dressing for bed she heard a knock on the door. She opened it, and her mother was standing outside. She had puffy eyes which made Maria think she had been crying.
“Maria, dear. I’m sorry but we have to leave.”
“We just do.”
“Will we come back?”
“I… don’t know.”
There was a moment of silence.
“Maria, please pack a small bag with all of your jewels, a dress, a pair of stockings, and a blanket. Oh, and please get dressed. We have a long trip ahead.”
“Meet me on the poop in one hour. We will then leave.” At that her mother walked out of the cabin to leave Maria to her getting ready.
Maria quickly undressed and pulled on a thick, gray dress. She then opened her drawer and stuffed all of the things she needed in her messenger bag. She scrambled up the stairs to the poop deck. Her mother was waiting there, eager to leave. There was a life boat at the ready.
“Hello dear. We must leave now.”
Maria put her leg over one side of the ship. She took a deep breath then jumped. It was a short jump, but it was scary enough with the ocean looming below. The wind whooshed her hair back. She landed with a thump on the bottom of the boat. Her mother came down next, nearly squashing Maria along the way. Then the sailor that was to escort them in their escape started to row vigorously. Maria’s mother leaned down and whispered one word into her ear.
“Pirates,” she said. Maria turned white with fear. What are pirates doing near the Monarch? Maria wondered.
Her fear soon turned into exhaustion and she was lulled to sleep by the constant crashing of the waves on the side of the boat.
Chapter 2: The Two Men
“Maria,” a distant voice said. “Wake up.”
“It’s morning sweet.”
Maria yawned, “Are we on dry land yet?”
“Yes. Breakfast is served.”
Maria sat up. Their boat had landed on a sandy beach surrounded by tall palm trees.
“Come on Maria. Aren’t you hungry?”
Maria sat up and sprinted over to the blanket where her mother and the sailor sat. Small corn cakes and sausages were sizzling on a pile of hot coals. There were three tin plates and cups on the blanket.
“Help yourself,” the sailor said in a grunting kind of voice.
By then Maria was practically drooling. She sat down and grabbed some food.
“Mother, may I go exploring? There are endless possibilities for fun here.”
“No, it is too dangerous.”
“But, mother, you used to love the forest.”
Ever since her father had mysteriously disappeared, her mother had lost her adventurous spirit in fear of losing her daughter too. But that had been a year ago.
“Maria, I would like it if you could just sit on the blanket, looking at the wonders of the beach.”
“Alright,” Maria sat down with a huff with no further comment. So instead of exploring, she had to observe “the wonders of the beach”. She sat all day, watching the waves and the seagulls.
After a dinner of apples, bread, cheese, and a bit of pound cake, Maria spread a blanket on the soft, warm sand. She fell into a deep, deep sleep.
Maria awoke with a start. There it was again, the sound of whispering. Then she saw a silhouette of a two men. One was tall, had long hair, and an odd looking tricorner hat. The other was short and plump. He looked slightly familiar. She sat up taller to get a better look at the two men. But the blanket shifted, making the sand below it shift. The sailor turned to where shy lay. She frantically covered back up and closed her eyes, not wanting to be caught eavesdropping. Maria could make out a few words: Attack; steal; captain; and mistress. Then the other man left, and Maria went back to sleep.
Chapter 3: The Islander
“Ouch!” Maria jumped up. She had woken just in time to see a crab scuttle away. “You pesky little crustacean!”
“Good morning Maria.”
“To you too mother. Who is this?”
To Maria’s surprise, there was another woman sitting next to her mother. But she looked different. She had long, jet black hair. She had brown eyes, and she had on a short dress made of tan animal skins. She had many seashells strung along the bottom. The woman stood out next to her mother. This is odd. Maria thought as she sat down on the blanket.
“Maria, this is Kannanii. She is native to this island and brought us some food.” Her mother said. “This is my daughter, Maria.”
“How do you do.” Maria curtsied.
“I have young one in your year. She speak better American than I.”
“Oh, and she has just learned English. From explorers of course.”
But Maria was thinking something different. “Oh, great. When can we meet her?”
“You just did.”
“Not Kannanii. Her daughter.”
“You may go after breakfast.”
“We sip milk of coconut also.” Kannanii said, gesturing towards three large coconuts.
“Yes, Kannanii brought us coconut milk.”
“What is coconut milk?”
“Well, you’ll just have to try it.”
Maria skipped alongside Kannanii as they walked through the rainforest. When they reached a clearing, her eyes widened. There were wigwams everywhere! Maria and her family had been to almost every continent, but she had never seen anything like this. In the camp there was a flurry of activity. Sewing, ceramics, construction, cooking, playing. It was all happening at once. Kannanii led her into a large wigwam in the middle of the clearing. Kannanii must be royalty to them. Maria thought. When she ducked in, the smell of strong, natural fragrances overcame her.
“Ku’u aloha*!” Kannanii called in what sounded like Hawaiian.
“Coming makuahine**!” A young girl’s voice called back. At that a young girl about Maria’s age emerged from behind a large leopard skin drape.
“I have new hoaloha*** for you.”
“Great! Is this her?”
“Ooh! Do you like animals? Do you like art? Do you like cooking?”
“Yes to all of those.”
“Meet my keiki****, Naanii.”
“Naanii, this is Maria.”
“How do you do,”
“Do you want to see something cool?”
Naanii snatched Maria’s hand and hauled her out into the forest.
“What does your father do for a living?”
“He is an explorer. He taught me many languages including Hawaiian.”
“Yay! I can speak to you in my language. I would like to meet him. He seems kind.”
“He is missing though. Mother and I are worried about him.”
There was a moment of silence.
“Have you ever seen a monkey before?”
“Do you want to see one?”
“Come on! I know where some live!”
So Maria followed Naanii into the forest.
Chapter 4: The Mysterious Object
Maria stopped dead in her tracks. There was a large cylinder that stood out from the vines it was covered in.
“Oh? Hmmmmm. I’ve never seen that before.”
“I want to go check it out.”
“Ohhhh, no you don’t. If I don’t know what it isn’t it could be dangerous. Or worse! Deadly!”
“Well, how about you go in with me?”
“I guess in that case…”
“Come on.” Maria rushed into the vines. She couldn’t see the object any better.
“Ooff.” Naanii had ran into the object. “I think I found it.”
Maria tore through the vines to her friend. She gasped. Looming over her there was a large tiki. It’s cruel expression frightened her.
“Huh. I wonder what a tiki is doing in the middle of the rainforest.”
“I know. Tikis are normally in civilization.”
“Do you have a pencil on hand?”
Maria had no idea why she’s would have a pencil on hand. But she dug around in her satchel, just in case. Oddly enough, she soon found an old pen in the bottom. She handed it over to Naanii.
“Would this work? It doesn’t have any ink.”
“Yes, it’s perfect.”
Then, to Maria’s surprise, Naanii drew a small notebook and a bottle of ink from her bag. She took the pen and dipped it into the ink bottle. It emerged dripping in the black liquid. She then opened the book to a clean page and started to vigorously scribble, looking up at the tiki every few minutes.
“How does it look?” She asked, holding up the paper. There was a very elaborate sketch do the tiki.
“Wow! I didn’t know you drew!”
“Oh, it’s kind of a hobby. I’m not very good.”
“You are good.”
“Thanks, we should be heading back now. It’s getting dark.”
“I guess you’re right. But…do you think you could take me back to the beach? I don’t know my way back yet.”
“Of course Maria!”
Chapter 5: Gone!
When they reached the beach, the sailor was sitting on the blanket looking flabbergasted. The girls soon noticed why he was so worried. Maria’s mother was nowhere to be found. She was gone! All the food, other blankets and bags were gone. The beach was deserted.
“I wonder where everything has gone.” Naanii said, shaking her head.
“I have no idea.” The sailor said with a frown.
“I-I guess maybe she just left to do something off the beach.”
“I think you’re right.”
There was a pause. Maria’s face brightened. Maybe that man that I saw last night had something to do with this! She thought.
“Maybe we should just wait until she comes back.”
Chapter 6: The Discovery
The girls sat on the blanket to wait. The sailor cooked some dinner. After they ate, both girls went to sleep inside the lifeboat. Maria fell asleep instantly, but Naanii stayed up studying her drawing of the tiki.
“Maria! Maria wake up!”
Maria opened her eyes.
“Naanii! It’s early!”
“I know. But I found something!”
Naanii nudged Maria her sketchbook.
“Look at the Tiki!”
Maria turned to the tiki page. Maria looked closer. There seemed to be a lever.
“Yeah. I do.”
“We should go check it out. It could be a booby trap, or a mechanism of some sort.”
“Are you sure it’s not just a mistake?”
“Whatever you do you should eat first!” the sailor called from the blanket. “We’ve got flapjacks n’ honey!”
“Coming!” both girls said at the same time.
After breakfast, Naanii and Maria started their trek through the rainforest to where the tiki was. They looked through every clump of vines until they came to the tiki. Maria searched under his chin and came to a lever.
“Wow! I was right!”
“We should pull it!”
Maria tried to pull it down, but it wouldn’t budge.
“Naanii! I need your help!”
When they both pulled it it went down. The ground started to tremble, and a crack was opening. Maria and Naanii stepped back. A large hole had opened right where they had been standing. There was a long winding cavern. Naanii looked at Maria. Maria nodded. They slid down the side of the hole. They heard music at the other end of the tunnel. They started to walk down the narrow passage single file, strangely lulled into a sleepy trance by the strange music.
When they reached an opening, they walked out onto the ledge beyond. They saw light. They looked down below. There was a bright, colorful room. There were many people dancing, eating, drinking, and talking. Naanii walked a little ways along the edge. There was a ladder on the side of the cliff.
“Maria! Come look!”
“It’s a ladder!”
“Isn’t it obvious? Let’s go down!”
“I’m not sure…” But Naanii was already halfway down the rope ladder. Maria had no choice but to follow.
I was a tricky descent. The side of the cliff wasn’t smooth but jagged and rocky. The ladder would sway every few minutes, making Maria loose her footing. The ground soon came. When she and Naanii touched down, every one stopped, staring at them. A woman stepped forward. She looked very similar to Kannanii. But she had a few more gray streaks.
“My name is Akia. Why don’t join our party? We’d love the company.”
“Uh…Sure! We’d love to!” Maria looked at Naanii. “What do you think?”
Naanii nodded. She was pale, and had a wide eyed expression on her face.
Chapter 7: The ESCAPE
The girls followed Akia through the room. She showed them to a small table and gestured for them to sit.
“Would you girls like something to eat? Drink?”
“I wouldn’t hurt,” Maria shrugged. “I would like a glass of lemonade please.”
“Coming right up. And you dear?”
“Uhhh… J-just coconut milk please.”
“Okay. Be right back.”
As soon as Akia left, the girls turned to each other.
“Naanii, what’s the matter with you? Ever since we met Akia you have been acting weird.”
“Please tell me.”
“Sigh. Okay. There is a legend.” Maria leaned in closer. “It is about a young woman named Akia. She dreamed of adventure. One day she went into the forest to collect bananas. She never returned. Some say that she went into the mysterious Tiki Room. No one knows for sure.”
“What do you think?”
“I used to think it was just a myth, but now I believe it. Everything.”
“Here are your drinks. I also put some bananas and mangos on here too,” Akia said. But she soon left again to speak to a man.
“Wow! Amazing! The legend is true!”
They were soon distracted by the delicious food in front of them. The tastes almost seemed magical, it was so sweet. They both grew very tired from their adventure. They both fell asleep on their table.
Maria awoke with a start. Someone was shaking her.
“What Naanii?” Maria mumbled.
The shaking stopped. “Who’s Naanii?”
Maria’s sight came into focus. Hovering over her was a man. He smiled.
“Papa?” Maria asked, bewildered. “Is that you?”
“Yes my dear,” The man lowered his voice. “I am being held hostage. These people are mad! I was exploring. I came down, ate, drank, and fell asleep. The next morning, when I tried to leave, they refused to let me. We have to go now, or you’ll suffer the same fate as me!”
“Okay, I’ll wake Naanii.”
Maria’s father roughly pulled her aside. His left eye was twitching.
“Where-is your mother?!”
“She disappeared yesterday. I-We don’t know where she is.”
“Wake your friend. We have to leave before they wake.”
“Alright, alright,” Maria turned to Naanii. “Wake up! We have to go!”
“I’m up! I’m up! Who’s he?”
“My father, long story, we just have to go!”
They all rushed up the ladder, and through the tunnel. They heard loud voices behind them. They ran faster. Just as they reached the opening, they looked back. They saw Akia and a whole army. When they closed the passage, they could hear her yell after them,
“How dare you leave the Tiki Room!”
Naanii, Maria, and her father rushed through the forest towards the sailor’s camp. They were eager to get started on a search for Maria’s mother.
Chapter 8: The Rescue Plan
“Oh! Maria, Native Girl, you’re safe!” The sailor said excitedly as they approached the camp. “Who’s this?”
“Long story short, we found him in the Tiki Room. He’s Maria’s father.”
“Father? Great. Tell more about the room please.”
Naanii told the whole story.
“So, it had many riches you say?”
The next morning, Maria and the whole group were seated for breakfast. A surprising realization came to Maria.
“The pirates kidnapped mother!”
The sailor gave an overly dramatic gasp. “Oh my! How horrible!” He then turned to the side. Maria thought she heard snickering.
“I know that this is a crazy idea, but we could look for a pirate ship and rescue your mother!”
“That’s a great idea Naanii!”
“Yeah, but it’s crazy! How could we possibly locate the pirates?!”
“Excuse me,” the sailor cut in. “I think I know where they’re hiding.”
“I don’t know how you know, but okay!”
“Naanii, I’m not sure we can trust him. He seems suspicious,” Maria whispered.
“What are you thinking Maria? He’s our only ticket to the pirates. And your mother!”
“Girls, are you coming or not?”
“Coming! Maria, are you going?”
With a sigh, Maria stood and walked off with the sailor, her father, and Naanii towards where the pirates were dwelling.
To Maria’s surprise, the sailor was mysteriously correct about the position of the pirates. They could see the silhouette of a large ship, and smoke from a dying fire.
“Maria, Naanii, stay here while Mr.Sailor and I go check it out. If we don’t come back, DON’T go after us. Just return to the native camp. OKAY?!”
At that her father and the sailor left the forest to see if the pirates were home.
Chapter 9: Pirate-napped
The men walked into the sandy clearing. In the center of the sand there was a dying fire. Logs were around the pile of sticks for seating. A very large ship was anchored in the harbor. Surprisingly, it was dead silent.
Though they didn’t know it, a few dozen pirates were watching, crouching in the trees, ready to pounce. The acting first mate held Maria’s mother in place. She was squirming and trying to scream through her gag.
“Well, I guess we should go,” the sailor said. That was their signal. Over thirty ugly men jumped down from the tree tops.
Just as a pirate was about to put a sack over Maria’s father’s head, Maria’s mother managed to shake her gag off.
“Leo! Look out!” Maria’s father ducked out of the way just in time.
Clump! Everyone stopped and went silent. A tall man with long hair, beady eyes, and a large scarlet tri-corner hat had jumped down.
“Ah, my trusty first mate has returned!” Everyone broke into applause. “I see you have successfully captured the girl?”
“No sir. But I found the father.”
“Where…is the girl?”
“In the forest with her friend.”
“I need a girl!”
“Both could be of value. They have seen riches, and could take us to the location.”
The captain’s eyes glinted with greed. “Take me to them.”
“Right away,” the sailor said with a smirk.
“No!” screamed Maria’s father.
“Tie him up, and re-gag the woman!”
Meanwhile, Maria and Naanii were sitting in the forest, drawing in the dirt with sticks. When they heard the screams and yells, they thought that it was just the natives hunting in the woods. They started to doodle again.
Tromp! Tromp! The sounds of many pairs of feet rang through the forest. Maria and Naanii looked up just in time to see a glimpse of two pirates put sacks over their heads.
Chapter 10: “Captain, we’ve been tricked!”
The bright sunlight surprised Maria from being in the dark for so long. She saw her mother, her father, and Naanii tied and gagged. The sailor was grinning, while over seeing their capture.
“Hello Maria. I suppose you have already seen what we’ve done. But there’s more!”
A pirate pushed back the leaves on a bush. The captain of The Monarch and it’s whole crew were tied up!
“Gag her!” Maria couldn’t speak. The captain walked over, with his revolver at the ready.
“You, and your friend, lead us to the treasures of this island. If you don’t, say bye-bye to your precious captain and crew!”
Maria squirmed. The pirate captain put the tip of the revolver closer to the captain’s head. With hesitation, Maria nodded. Her parents lowered their heads in sadness. Oddly, Naanii had a mischievous glint in her eyes.
“Well then. Untie the girls, but keep a close eye on them.”
A few pirates roughly untied Maria and Naanii.
“We will take you as soon as we can confer with each other,” Naanii said. “We need to jog our memory.”
“Fine. But make it snappy.”
Maria and Naanii turned to each other and lowered their voices.
“Naanii! Are you crazy!”
“Yup. I have an idea.”
“It better be good.”
“We’ll lead them to the Tiki, not go in with them, when they go down we’ll lock them in.”
“We could try that,” the girls turned to the pirates. “When do we leave?”
“Tonight at dusk.”
Chapter 11: Safe at Last
At sunset, the band of pirates set off, trailing behind Maria and Naanii.
After a ten minute walk, the crew reached the vines that enclosed the tiki. The pirates started to clear the vines with their swords. Soon the tiki was in plain sight.
“How do we open it?”
Naanii took a deep breath and stepped forward. She searched under the chin. She gestured for the sailor to come over. They both pulled. Then, the captain and crew jumped down into the passage. Before the sailor jumped, he asked,
“Are you coming?”
“No. We didn’t want to ruin the experience for you.”
“Fine then,” the sailor jumped.
The girls let them get a little ways down the tunnel, then they shut the entrance. They heard angry swearing and yelling coming from below. They ran back to the abandoned beach to free the prisoners.
Maria went to free her parents, while Naanii went to untie the captain and crew. Maria and her family shared an embrace.
“What condition is the Monarch in?”
“Negative. It is at the bottom of the ocean right now.”
“Oh my! How do we get back to the mainland?”
Maria’s father grinned. “We could take their ship.”
“Brilliant! Let’s go!”
“Naanii, would you like to come with us?”
“I have already been away for too long.”
Maria and Naanii hugged each other goodbye. Naanii ran into the forest, back to the native camp.
Meanwhile, the pirates were admiring the Tiki Room. The captain and the first mate stood to the side, supervising the plundering. They were all still very angry with Maria and Naanii and wanted revenge. When they told Akia what had happened, she was willing to help them. She led them to a secret passage that led out of the room. They could finish those people on the beach.
Maria and her crew were boarding the pirate’s ship. It was one of the best example of “Don’t judge something by it’s appearance”. While it looked beautiful on the outside, it was horrible on the inside. There were rats everywhere. All of the rations were moldy and rotten. To top it all off, there was the smell of unclean men, and rotting fish. It was disgusting.
As the captain was pulling up the anchor, Naanii came running towards the ship. She climbed the still dangling ladder, and onto the ship. She was sweating.
“The village was abandoned. Nobody, nothing. I was worried that the pirates took them.”
“I’m sure that ther-” At that moment the pirates ran out of the forest, shouting.
“That’s my ship!”
Maria and her family were already too far away for them to reach. To their surprise, there was another kind of hollering. It wasn’t in english, but it was recognizable to one person: Naanii.
“Makuahine**! And the tribe!”
Naanii jumped off the side of the boat. With a splash, she landed in the water.
“Naanii! Naanii, are you down there?!” Maria frantically yelled from the ship.
Naanii popped up, gave a smile, then dove down again. Maria took a deep breath.
As soon as Naanii got onto the beach, her mother gave her a quick hug. Then, they surrounded the pirates.
“How dare you!” The captain yelled at the natives. Then he turned to the ship. “That’s mine!”
The pirates were stranded on the island, under the protection of the nobel natives. Everyone who needed to be was safe.