❝In fact, the landlord did not seem angry at any other word of his tenant; the words like “You are tight as the bark on a tree”, “you old fart” and many insults of him; just like he was not the one who debtor… However, when the tenant said that he was a senile who must be locked in a madhouse, his face had changed and he promised that he will live what he said. He was going to drive him crazy and provide him to locked up in a madhouse, at all costs.❞
Here you can read the horror story I wrote for a competition in June 2020 and ranked third. Of course, this story is completely imaginary. Thanks to Enes Talha Coşgun for translation.
With the shadow of his stubbly beard growing on his face, the man ran his finger across the border that separated the flickering shadow of candlelight from the ring of light. For the last twenty days, Tuna’s life had taken on a strange path. The argument between him and the property-rich landlord, which is caused by his rent debt, was harder than he expected; the guy he accused of being stingy because of he couldn’t tolerate the late money from a small flat among the hundreds of rental income, had threatened him by saying “I am stronger than you think” and “You will live the last thing you said”.
In fact, the landlord did not seem angry at any other word of his tenant; the words like “You are tight as the bark on a tree”, “you old fart” and many insults of him; just like he was not the one who debtor… However, when the tenant said that he was a senile who must be locked in a madhouse, his face had changed and he promised that he will live what he said. He was going to drive him crazy and provide him to locked up in a madhouse, at all costs.
Tuna had laughed about this intimidation. However, the failed attempts of the landlord, of whom he was even more certain that he was a senile by that last event, was enough to spoil his mood. He was not being surprised by the absence of electricity, he was lighting candles in the dark room and sitting down to find out how to prove in court that the landlord was the one who had done all this. At the end of the sixth power cut, “Enough!” he said, stood up, and took a glance at the furniture of his humble bachelor house. When he had the chance of to move the house, why the hell he was bothering himself by dealing with this mess?
The next day he started transactions. While he was filling a parcel of supplies, he was talking to the shipping company, with the phone in his other hand. He borrowed a big sum of money from a close friend. He had to give some of the money to the shipping company, and he had to pay off the rent debt, and than he had to call the landlord on the purpose of tear up the contract and to get out of this stupid situation. He handled his phone and tapped the number with the name of Kamil Maraş. He listened to the tone.
“Good day sir, i…”
“Did you call to apologize?”
The young man sighed.
“You still have a chance.” said the landlord with his dead sound. “Apologize for calling me senile and crazy, and I’ll leave you alone.”
Tuna bit his lips, it could be called a smile; mixed with disgust and obstinacy. “I’m sorry for delaying the rent.” he said. “I am sorry for everything i said, but i don’t apologize for calling you ‘senile’. Make peace with your old age, Mr. Kamil.”
His strange smile turned into a grin as he imagined Kamil’s facial expression. After a few seconds of silence, “Well!” said the landlord. “You have chosen your path. Send your debt to my account, i will end the contract.”
Turned off the phone the former tenant, leaned against the wall and lit a pleasure cigarette. This overcoming led to secretion of the happiness hormone and erased all negativity from his memory. So, when his phone rang in the afternoon, Tuna could not remember why his sister called him.
“What a surprise!”, he answered. “What is the noble cause of this phone call? Ah, it didn’t make much sense when I changed the idiom.”
“Brother!” said the woman, on the other end of the line. “The appointment…”
As soon as he heard this word, Tuna’s face fell. “Do not tell me you forgot it. We have no chance to rearrange this meeting with the doctor. There are so many people who want to be examined by him. He is one of the best psychiatrists in the country and has done many studies on Capgras syndrome…”
Capgras syndrome was a delusional disorder. Patients with this syndrome believed that their acquaintances, sometimes even themselves, were replaced by identical ones.
“Allright, Tülay.” the older brother interrupted his sister’s word. “How many times will you tell? Mr. Mehmet Ali is Turkey’s top psychiatrist, he can swimmingly solve my problem, but i do not want to go.”
“My brother…” she said once more. Her voice was muted, between a whisper and a murmur. “”I don’t want to experience again, what we experienced last month.”
Tuna swallowed, and touched his fist to his mouth. Ten days before the argument, they had met with his sister in a cafeteria. Everything seemed fine, but suddenly; the bad intuitions came to visit him during the meeting. Tuna felt himself completely artificial. As if the person sitting next to him was not his sister; but a stranger disguised as her…
“It was a moment thing!” he objected. “I… No, i am not sick. Look, there is no such thing right now. You are who you are. I’m sure of i’m talking to my little sis right now.”
“Get examined just for once.” said the woman on the other end of the phone line, she insisted. “If it’s not something dangerous, the doctor will tell you anyway. I’m coming to get you, okay? I’m in the car now. See you.”
Phone closed. The fact that Tülay was in the car meant that she was speaking by turning on the loudspeaker; and this explains the reason of why her voice were heard so hoarse and excessively… -Tuna thought for the right word- … artifical. No, he wasn’t sick. He hadn’t gotten that strange syndrome, which had a strange name like “Capo-grass”. Just to prove it, he would get into his sister’s car and hear from the doctor that he was healthy.
APPOINTMENT WITH THE PSYCHIATRIST
Soon after, Tuna found himself in the front passenger seat of his sister’s gray car. After they had a small daily talk, he got nervous and frowned when an amusing song playing on the radio. He sensed that a stranger was in the car, as if something was wrong, as if something is artificial. Here, his feelings in the cafeteria were coming back! Ghosts were once again filling his brain.
“No…” he said from inside his mouth, pressing his fingernails into his palm. “There’s no such thing.”
“Huh…?” said the sister, lowering the radio. “Did you say something?”
“No…” said the man, hiding his tension behind his smile as he sweats cold. “The song, just got around my tongue…”
Tülay turned the volume up without saying anything. Twenty minutes later, the car was parked in front of the psychiatrist’s private clinic. Before the woman got out of the car, asked him, “Did you say that your power cut with no reason?”
“There was a reason.” said the sighing man. “The man does it.”
“The landlord, Kamil Maraş. He’s closing the fuses.”
“Well, why would he do something like that…” the woman said hesitantly. “Isn’t it so unreasonable? And don’t get me wrong, but the building you are sitting in is quite old and it can fail on its own…”
Tuna raised his voice. “Stop talking nonsense! Did the fuses that never failed ever, started to break out by chance after the discussion, over and over again? Do you not believe me? Do you think I’m paranoid?”
“I do not think anything. Lately I can’t understand you, brother.” said Tülay, taking a deep breath. She got out of the car and went to the other side and opened the door.
The clean floor paved with black marble revealed that the clinic belonged to someone whose socioeconomic status was at the top. They knocked on the door decorated with an elegant sign, written in an italic font “Prof. Dr. M. Ali Kaşmar”. After they heard from the secretary that the doctor was available, they entered. The doctor was a thin man with gray hair and no beard. Straightened his shoulders, and “Please come in,” said with his dead sound, as he pointed to the seats. All these features reminded to Tuna of Kamil Maraş.
When he describing his experiences in the cafeteria, this analogy gradually turned into a new delusion, as if the doctor was the landlord himself. It was as if he is in a court as a suspect; a court that Kamil Maraş was the judge. His tension grew and his hands began to tremble.
This situation did not go unnoticed by the doctor.“Is there any problem, sir?”
“I’ll be honest.” said Tuna, he was looking at Tülay. “I guess, i just… Feel like you are not you are. And my sister is not my sister. Who are you? I mean…”
M. Ali Kaşmar frowned. He tied his arms and continued to listen.”
Am i, well, have i that syndrome which i couldn’t remember its name, that thing-gras or something?”
The psychiatrist nodded and calmly asked, “Have you ever watched the movie called Shutter Island?”
“I watched.” said Tuna, after he thought for a while. “Years ago. Why did you ask?”
“Do you remember how things were resolved in the movie? What said the doctor to Teddy in the room at the lighthouse?”
The man who turned restlessly, looked first at the door and then looked again at the doctor’s face.“I don’t know.”
“Why is the full name of the character Tom Riddle different in the translated versions of Harry Potter? For example, when the name was ‘Tom Marvolo Riddle’ in the book’s language, why was it ‘Tom Marvoldo Riddle’ in the Turkish translation of the book?”
“I do not know.” said Tuna, shout, and repeated. “I don’t know!”
“Which method does Dan Brown love in his books? Anagram, huh? Haven’t you ever heard this before, Tuna?”
He didn’t say “Mr. Tuna”, he said “Tuna”. It was a rapid transition from the safe formality to the uncanny sincerity.
“Why are you asking these, why are you saying these?”The young man had stood up already, his face reddened. “Anagram? What are you talking about? What is the connection with my illness?”
“Calm down.” said the doctor. “Could you please tell me my name?”
The other man took a deep breath, and tried to calm down.“Mehmet… Ali…”“It isn’t Mehmet Ali. It is as it says on the sign. M-Ali.”Anagram means to produce a new word by replacing the letters in a word. Tuna envisaged the name “M. Ali Kaşmar” in his mind, divided its letters. Kaşmar… M. Ali… Maraş… Kamil…
“No!” he jumped to his feet, yelling as if to tear his vocal cords. “You senile scum! You are him!” He turned towards his sister.“How did you become a partner of that? How much money did he give you to be a partner for this tricky game?”
“Who the hell is Tülay?” said the woman, leaning firmly in her seat, with a triumphant smile on her face.
“It was so easy…” the doctor smiled. “Plastic makeup, a professional actor, this building, this room… I spent a few hundred times the rent I get from you, but it was worth it. You fooled so easily, Tuna. By the way, how dare you call me ‘senile’ when you had problems with your mind? Didn’t you ever think that i could use this deficiency? Didn’t i warn you, didn’t i give you one last chance? Didn’t i tell you i’m stronger than you think? What was your surname, by the way?”
The standing man was threatening him to call the police. However, he was unaware that the phone signals were cut with the jammer and the cameras were turned off with a planned malfunction. The doctor took out a paper and a pen and wrote the name of the angry man: Tuna Umut.
“Now as a psychiatrist,” he said, “I’ll report that you went crazy and attacked us. I will petition about you to be put in a mental hospital at court ruling. You won’t be able to appeal because -accidentally- you’ll have run away from home. So you ran away to avoid going to the hospital, let’s say. The world will never find you again and you will be forgotten, gradually. Meanwhile, you will be paying the price of your word in a straitjacket in my basement. Electroshock… Heavy drugs… “
There was a word in piece of paper on the table, it was apparently cut from a magazine: “Hell is not the place where we suffer, it is the place where no one can hear that we suffer. (Al-Hallaj)”
Below the word there was a name, and below the name there was a new anagram: Tophet*, forget it.