“C’mon Namarrkun! Throw something down!”
“I don’t feel like it”
“Oh come on. We’re on vacation, live a little!”
“We’re always on vacation now, no one believes anymore.”
Haikili slumps down next to his brother Namarrkun as they look down over London. “Come on bro. Lighten up – literally. Just because the times move on doesn’t mean we are not still useful to some.”
He looks at his brother closely. The god of lightning, sitting heavily on the edge of a cloud dejected and sighing. Haikili, the god of thunder nudges his brother and stands up. “Just a little one. Send one down – you’ll feel better. It’s what we do.”
He claps his hands once. Deliberate, practised and firm. A roll of increasing bass hits a crescendo and then softly dies and he smiles.
Poking Namarrkun with his foot he tries again. “Just a little one?”
“I’m not sending anything down. It’s too destructive. They don’t see us anymore, just the destruction, the fire. It scares them.”
“Then make it a sheet.”
Namarrkun sighs deeply. Looking down past his swinging feet at the tiny yellow and red lights of a city still on the move in the small hours of the morning.
He raises his hands palms down and closes his eyes. Sheet lightning appears, chasing through the clouds around them. Haikili claps his hands with joy and thunder follows the light show.
“See brother? It’s what we do!” He dances on the cloud, foot to foot with excitement.
Namarrkun looks at him. “Don’t you remember?” he asks.
“Remember what?” Haikili is still shuffling, looking down at the population.
“When they were believers. When we had power.”
Haikili stops dancing and cocks his head. “Brother that was so long ago,” he says as he stretches down to take a seat again. “These people don’t live in the fields anymore. Their lives don’t have the same meaning.”
“Then why are we here?” asks Namarrkun. The change in faith has hurt him more than his brother and he scans the city lights with sad eyes. “Why are we still here?”
“Because we have to be,” replies Haikili. “It does not matter what they believe. You and I still have our role to play. We’ve had so many names. Been to so many places. Why do you think I brought you here?”
His brother looks over in askance.
“Because the British love to talk about the weather!” Haikili smiles broadly and claps his hands again. Thunder rips through the skies and they see tiny faces peer upward towards them.
“They do not see us. They no longer talk to us, but wait brother. I will show you something. Keep trying.”
Haikili gets up and offers his brother a hand. Together they walk the sky northward to the point where the city lights change their shades from flashing colours to residential darkness.
“Again!” Haikili shouts.
Together the old gods create their art. Lightning plays through the clouds from the finest points and delicate shimmers to blinding brightness and wide open flashes that light the whole heavens. Thunder follows Haikili’s footsteps as he prances and turns on the dark clouds. Rolling and fading, crashing and roiling.
One by one the lights in the homes switch on. Listening with a god’s precision, the brothers hear children wake up and parents become brave heroes that will protect them. Brothers and sisters hold hands and grandparents look out past net curtains, remembering the great storms of their pasts.
The gods pause, panting and looking down at the results of their wild activities. Namarrkun’s brow creases. “How does this help brother? They look up, they remember, but they don’t look to us.”
He spreads his fingers with frustration and sends sparks through the nearest cloud.
“Well look at you brother,” notes Haikili. “You’re looking strong. Why do you think that is?”
Namarrkun pauses and inspects his palms. “You’re right. I do feel it brother. But it is so fast. How can this be?”
“Our times are changing,” says Haikili. “Let me show you. We’ll head down there. Make yourself invisible.”
Floating like spirits the brothers descend into the city and shrink to fit a pavement in step with each other. Here and there late night lights are still on in the flats around North West London. People woken by the storm.
“You’re right about the old days,” says Haikili. “We had great power you and I. The children were afraid, the men respected us and their wives made things for their homes for protection. In making things with their hands, we grew powerful from that creation. That energy.”
Namarrkun nods. “They wrote of us, made pictures. Those were good days, I felt solid, so real!”
Haikili smiles excitedly at his brother. “And that still happens brother, I’ll show you.”
He stalks over a garden toward an open window to an apartment and they both peer in.
“You see this machine?” Haikili points at a laptop computer, the human owner stripped to the waist is typing comments that appear on a screen. Each time he writes something, other words appear but Namarrkun can’t see where from.
“What is he doing brother?” Namarrkun asks.
“Writing about us. He is creating our names in electricity and light. He sends them to others all over the world and they too say our names back to him.”
“They will create us again.” Namarrkun breathes. “If they do this, we will get stronger.”
Haikili draws away as a breeze makes the human look over his shoulder at the open window.
They ascend once more to the dark clouds above the city and look down. “How many humans have those machines?” Namarrkun asks.
“Almost all of them,” Haikili remarks. “Those machines and more. They take small machines with them everywhere from which they can create our names and our images in captured picture art.”
Namarrkun looks at his brother with narrowed eyes. “How long have you known this? The humans cannot brith such things immediately.”
Haikili looks sideways back at his brother and appears to be embarrassed. “I went out dancing alone,” he admits. His brother looks appalled.
“Alone? Without me? Why?”
“You were not working brother. They broke your heart and I had to find a way to restore it.”
Namarrkun presses his lips together and nods once, looking away.
“I had heard from others that some strength could be found from these machines. That the humans could fortify us with the sheer volume of their creation. They don’t just talk about us in fleeting conversation, they make these things.”
“And will we be able to tell them a story again?” Namarrkun asks.
“I don’t know,” admits Haikili. “It will not be like the past, but we can try.”
Namarrkun looks at his brother and grins broadly for the first time in a century. “Then we must try. You are right brother, the British love to talk about the weather.” And he turns, his palms down, and spreads light across the sky.