❝In the middle of an old bathroom where the bulb emittet a dirty yellow light, a woman was standing naked, the tiles were broken, and the bathroom was warming up by a bath stove. Her wet hair hung like a cat’s tail between the shoulder blades, water drops shining like fireflies on her skin. She left the towel in her room. In this place, where the unknown clicks are heard and where the unknown shadows pass, she turned to the mirror with a trembling fear in her heart.❞
This is the horror story I wrote for the competition organized by Cem’den Dinle YouTube channel in June 2021. Thanks to Enes Talha Coşgun for the translation.
٭ song in the story is here.
In the storm of troubles, a quiet bay can’t be told a man blowing in the wind like leaves. The dream of a resin which blue sky shined on in the trunk of bright green pine trees could not enter the mind of someone who is wrestling with darkness. The mist would be always in the eyes, the mist would cover the baby pink hopes of the future, the mist would stand like a layer in front of the clarity of mind. Human could flee from home, flee from relationships, flee from countries where was razed to the ground by wars, but it couldn’t escape from itself and from the mist that clung to its soul.
In the middle of an old bathroom where the bulb emittet a dirty yellow light, a woman was standing naked, the tiles were broken, and the bathroom was warming up by a bath stove. Her wet hair hung like a cat’s tail between the shoulder blades, water drops shining like fireflies on her skin. She left the towel in her room. In this place, where the unknown clicks are heard and where the unknown shadows pass, she turned to the mirror with a trembling fear in her heart. She hadn’t seen her reflection -because the mirror was misty- she had seen scattered and fluid color zones. It was like the Munch’s brushstrokes who’s the painter of The Scream…
Her restlessness grew. She drew her gaze, bit her lips and turned the knob of the door.
The yellow light in the bathroom hit the narrow hallway. Thus, the dark and desolate house was brightened a little. The woman who came out of the bath, Şimal, held her breath. There was a choir singing on the TV in the living room. It was like an opera, the sound was spiritual. The voices of women and men were mixed and were turning to a solid tone between these two genders, a tone both a thin and thick.
“The dew rained on a spring night
Upon those colourful flowers
They turned pale, got dried…”
Şimal shuddered at the sound. Her face turned pale, just like the colorful flowers in the song. Although she was alone at home, the nudity embarrassed her, made her feel cold and vulnerable. All the hairs on her body were rose in the air. She walked to her room in small short steps, while the song continuing to tell a story.
“A boy loved a girl
They ran away without being seen.”
This verse had added a bit of sadness on restless feelings of the woman. Şimal had spent her childhood in a small town, and like many young girls, she fell in love with a boy when she grew up. Kemal… With his little black eyes and moustache, he looked like a star of Yeşilçam Cinema. It was a time when their hopelessness about the future had peaked. Şimal knew that she could not study after high school because of her conservative family, and Kemal was bankrupt and struggling with his debts after he began to work at a very young age. And now, the woman was alone with her memories, in a fusty house on the outskirts of a big city. When she couldn’t open the wooden door, which swelled due to the moisture inside, she got angry and kicked the door. Her leg was so numb and slow that there was almost no sound from the door.
“No one knew that.”
They used to meet in the ruins of desolate houses built on worthless plots overlooking the villages of the town, which abandoned by their owners. Kemal used to say Şimal that he wanted to run away with her, whose he crowned with white flowers he had plucked from the apricot trees. “We die.” Kemal used to say. “If we can’t live together, we die together.”
She spent her youth shuttling between her father’s prosperous house and her lover’s ruins. She was dithering over run away and that was spoiling her peace, but she could neither break her connections with her house nor give in to it. She spends her days waiting at a crossroad. And then, in a spring night, she made her desicion.
The next morning she ran to the ruins, she was scared a little. She wanted to disclose her secret and be relieved. When she saw Kemal’s face, the pain that squeezed her ribs increased. She broached the subject quickly, she didn’t even say “Hi, goodmorning.”
“I… I want to break up.”
Kemal frowned first, then smiled. “So, we won’t spend our lives together.”
Şimal’s lips curled, but that wasn’t a smile, that was like the face of someone having cerebral palsy. “Unfortunately. I hope you find someone you’ll love more than me.”
She wanted to turn around and leave. Then she felt as if her arm was being squeezed in a vise, and she felt her body swaying. Kemal took her by the arm and leaned her to one of the standing walls. He had no longer a humane expression on his face. He had a certain rage of demons.
“Let me go, please?”
“So, we can’t live together. Do you remember what I told you?”
“You’re hurting me! Let me go! Help… Mmm!”
Her scream had gone out in the palm of Kemal’s hand. “Then we’ll die together. I told you, Şimal, I told you.” said the man who took a syringe out of his pocket with one hand. The needle went into her spinal cord. The concept of “cold” shaped in flesh and bones, flew from the tip of the needle and spread through her body. Shimal began to writhe and tremble in the torment of Hell. Her lips became bruised. Her teeth were pounding against each other. “What have you done to me?” she asked, having difficulty pronouncing the words. She didn’t know, from that moment on, she would never be able to warm up again.
“You will die, Şimal, if you don’t come with me.” said Kemal, stepping back. “We should get in the car, I’ll tell you there.”
The car was a panel van, heated by an electric stove. Şimal felt a little relaxed. “I paid the debts,” Kemal said. “I still have a lot of money.”
“Damn your debts. What did you do to me?”
“My dear love. I hit two birds with one stone. From now on, we’ll never be apart. If you try to run away from me, you’ll be dead before you could move away. Even in the hottest days of summer… Fortunately, it’s not that hot around here.”
“What are you saying?” Shimal said angrily. She opened the door. The spring air blowing through the door touched her skin like a knife from the poles. “Ah!” she cried painfully and immediately closed the door. “I’m freezing. What is this, you god-damned, what the hell is this?”
“You asked for it,” said Kemal, clenching his teeth. “If you hadn’t rejected me, I was gonna take the medicine myself. For you, I would have agreed not to go out for the rest of my life. I risked my life as a test subject just to give you a good life. And what did you do, huh?” His facial muscles relaxed.
“It doesn’t matter, my love, we will get the money from them again somehow. Maybe you’re the subject, maybe you won’t see the sky again, but don’t be afraid. I’ll give you a rich life. We’ll be so happy…” He laughed after saying that. In the middle of his laughter, tears began to flow from his eyes. In five minutes, Kemal had passed from one emotion to another. He cried, begging, “Forgive me, my love, I regret it.”
He told that his creditors had made a deal with the mob, put a gun to his head. “I was scared,” he said, “I was so scared.” In those days, Kemal saw an advertisement of a pharmaceutical company abroad on the internet: A drug that makes warm-blooded human metabolism permanently cold-blooded.
Birds and mammals are warm-blooded. Their body temperatures are stable. No matter how cold or hot the outside environment, warm-blooded creatures keep themselves at the same temperature so they could live in any environment. Cold-blooded animals’ internal temperature such as reptiles or insects vary according to the environment. They couldn’t be active in cold weather. They have to warm themselves first for actions such as hunting and breeding.
Şimal listened this information in horror. “You’re lying.” she said. “No state would allow such a drug.”
“Deep web…” said the man. “The Deep Web has everything you think is forbidden. Arms trade, drugs, that sort of thing.”
“You are lying!” said the woman. “So my body… Became cold-blooded? Will it not be able to warm itself anymore? So why am I cold, explain that.”
“Isn’t it obvious?”
“It isn’t. Because we are warm-blooded creatures, we get cold or sweat, to balance body temperature. If I don’t have a temperature to balance, I can’t be cold. You did something else to me.”
“That’s exactly what the company is working on.” Kemal said. He turned around and rested his arm on the driver’s seat.” Those things on your body…” He waved his hand. “Huh, what are the chemical reactions consistent with? It’s consistent with a temperature of 36 degrees celcius. You’ll be cold when it is below that temperature.”
“Reaction, huh, he is talking like he knows shit.” Although she normally speaks in a very good accent, for a moment she spoke her peasant grandmother’s dialect.
“My love…” said Kemal, grinning. His tears were still in his eyelashes. It was a pathetic, ironic sight. “From now on, you are always witm me. Always…”
The cost of keeping an environment at a constant temperature for four seasons was too much. Considering that rents were also high in the city, the money they received from the pharmaceutical company was only enough for this house. Şimal had lived in this desolate house for years, where the thermometer was always hung in every room, and the internal temperature was always 36 degrees celcius. She hadn’t stepped out of the threshold. She had never opened the windows and the dark curtains. Because if the wind blows or the sun hits in and warms the house, her health would deteriorate. Sky-blue, cloud-white, pine-green even came out of her memories. Happiness was gonna always hit her cold body and mist her up. The mist would never leave her again.
“They wandered around for a very long time
They found no hope, no happiness.”
Every moment she passed without drying herself with the towel, wetness on her body was evaropating. This process was causing Şimal to chill just like a cooling half watermelon left in the sun. As she got colder, she was losing her power, and as she loses her power, it was harder to open the door. The vicious cycle…
Before long, Şimal was unable to stand and collapsed to the ground. She was sleepy, her thoughts were getting blurred and slowed down. She wouldn’t be able to get up until Kemal came, thus she would be hungry and thirsty, but she could hang on. Eventually, she wouldn’t have to wait too much over there.
And then something just dawned on her. It wasn’t just her arms and legs that lose its power. Her heart and diaphragm were both muscles, and muscle tissue could only function at ideal body temperature. It was the very last thing she was able to think.
As the choir finished singing, a life took leave of a drowning body.
“Eventually they disappeared…”