The House of Gnik and Sheba
By Khiree T. Smith
They murdered the chiefs and stole the suns.
Nine year-old Gnik was the reason for the word “shine.” He brightened the days when he rose, and when he slept, darkness fell. Humans rejoiced when he focused and brought warmth to the village and they lamented when his sadness would leave the days frozen. Gnik had a wife lined up and fortunately for them both, they were in love. Sheba, a precious young deity, was the embodiment of grace. Her stride caused the winds and her locs gave the village faith that strength was more than a mere aspiration. Together, Gnik and Sheba were the Universe’s answer to Humans who never believed in destiny.
Gnik and Sheba lived in Karifa, a fruitful village with emerald mountains, streets of gold, endless fields and majestic beasts of unbelievable beauty and ferocity. Their village and all others were governed by the Universe, an omnipresent being that ruled with a mysterious constance, never taking sides and never hesitating. Also, the Universe never made decisions. It would simply do. It never spoke and never offered clear evidence of its existence or explanations for its actions. In fact, the Universe was not even a “conscious” being in the way Humans were capable of percieving. Nonetheless, it broadcasted certain clear morals like suggestions that all Humans and Gods knew to be the virtuous way to live. There were three big ones. 1. Love all, and always. 2. Never decieve with evil intent and 3. Acknowledge and accept responsibility for your transgressions. As children of the Universe, Gnik and Sheba made every effort to adhere to the laws but even they failed occasionally. Humans failed more often.
One day, Humans from a distant village arrived in Karifa. They called themselves the Srékat. With innocent excitement, the Karifans welcomed them with open arms, a gesture they would soon regret. Posing as friends and followers of the laws of the Universe, the Srékat used deception to pillage and destroy the Karifan village. They murdered the chief and kidnapped young Gnik.
They kept him away for generations and in his absence Sheba was forced to fill the void. Year after year she embraced necessity and managed their home, represented their kind, and protected herself to the extent she was able. Though the weight sometimes made her unnaturally angry, it also made her inhumanly strong. She became like magic. But while Sheba nurtured the home, a silent resentment bloomed inside her. The embers smoldered in her subconcious and soon became a flame that grew into a blaze when she thought of how Karifa’s sun allowed himself to be taken. Though consciously she realized the feeling was irrational, deep inside, she blamed him.
After 100 years, Gnik was liberated. But when he returned, his glow was different. His purpose and sense of self worth was diminished, affecting his radiance. His once comforting, confident warmth was now an overbearing, overcompensating, toxic heat. But still he was beautifully vivid and potent and formidable and passionate and deep. Despite the brash exterior he fashioned for his own protection, he was still a reservoir of love.
For the next 75 years, chaos and dissention poured from the windows and out of the doors of the house of Gnik and Sheba. The village and the world witnessed by eye and ear, and judged the daily pandemonium that ensued. Karifa quaked as Gnik thundered while Sheba howled and rained. Their violence grew but separation was no option. Once happily bound by its will, destiny had now become their prison and they blamed each other.
Then, after 75 years of storming, they closed the doors and windows to their home and began to rediscover their beginning. Gnik’s vibrance returned as Sheba’s love filled him with true confidence. Sheba’s grace came home and the winds of her walk carressed the village and complimented Gnik’s rays once again. Soon they returned to the public eye. They danced at home with the doors and windows ajar and the world gathered to feel and learn. 25 years later, 100 years after Gnik’s return, they grew whole again, the Universe was pleased and destiny was reaffirmed. After the unthinkable had torn them apart and unfathomable damage had been done, the house of Gnik and Sheba was rebuilt and believe it or not, they lived happily ever after.