Welcome! Here are the first two chapters of Papatya Tarlasında Rönesans (Renaissance in the Daisy Field). Rights of the book are in Başlangıç Publishing House, and the book is not yet available in English, but studies are ongoing to make it. Thanks to Övünç Yaşar for the translation.
A Woman Body in the Rain
Those waking up grumbling and going into the new day reluctantly; those running to catch up their heart yearning with the calling; sportspersons leaving their beds quickly to befriend the early mornings they love; poets searching for inspiration like chasing butterflies in the meadows; the little kid sneaking out without his mother’s permission to play… Briefly, everyone who woke up at six in the morning and got out in the first Thursday of the March were aware of the mysterious woman body at the foot of the Hisar.
To the contrary of the customary climate of the city of gloom, raindrops had wetted the holes all night. A small flood had covered the unprepared ground secretly. A gift of the rain had been left at the foot of Hisar: A Body… No ID, seems to be in her twenties. She has a smooth skin, but her clothes seem like as if they were made of hay. So yellow, so worn out… The marks of the painful conditions make one question himself, the faith, what we live missing even though the God has given possibilities to be enough for everyone. Even this questioning is far from being sincere as it came up by the effect of the appearance of the girl.
Seven o’clock. The crime scene is full of cops. The yellow barrier tape is set, the public isn’t allowed in. A limited number of cameramen try to shoot for the news. The young lady, whose face is photographed by the police, is being put on the stretcher like a large size doll and taken to the hospital.
Nine. Hisar is completely evacuated. Apart from those satisfying their conscientious feeling via social media posts, the entire Istanbul gets back to their lives.
Twelve. The action is now in the corridors of the Police Station. Archives, missing persons files are being incessantly scanned. If the ID or family of the girl cannot be found in a few days, her photo will be added to the “Unidentified Bodies” page on the internet.
The next day… The body is moved to the morgue of a hospital nearby. Blood and DNA samples are being taken. Three days later, the autopsy will be performed before the district attorney.
The footage of the day she was taken to the morgue is a bit strange. An employee goes down to check the bodies. He checks each cabinet one by one and ticks the list off. When the turn comes to the compartment where the girl is, he looks at the open, working cabinet, lifts the list and moves his pen and he freezes with the squeezing feeling in his wrist. The list falls off the man’s other hand. A few seconds before dying due to a heart attack, looking up a little, he suddenly sees the surprised violet eyes of the girl who held his arm firmly.
The completely naked girl gets scared and bends her legs to her stomach. Meanwhile, she looks around carefully. After sitting there for a while, she stands up, wanders inside the room with her arms wrapped around her body, takes the sheet off from one of the empty stretchers, wraps it around her waist leaving one shoulder open. Then she quietly leaves from the door.
Despite months of investigation, no one could find who she was or where she is. She doesn’t appear in other records of the hospital as well, as if she had vanished.
This incident devastating the hospital management was not leaked to the press to protect the reputation of the hospital. At the end of the search period, the records were destroyed with the permission of the police and shortly after, the girl is forgotten.
Even though it was summer, there was a painful cold in the dungeons of a tower only four years far from its third hundredth anniversary.
The London Tower. It allowed mostly noblemen, sometimes the common public to pass through its doors. Has been the middle square of the chessboard, determined the winner in the bloody civil wars. The tower is the iron fist of the crown and the reign, also a prison built in the nightmares – a special guesthouse the king had prepared for his high ranked enemies.
It was noon; however, this place wouldn’t get even a single drop of sunlight.
The ground and the walls were made of stones, the doors of the cells from iron. The cells were for one man, had such a low ceiling only to allow to stand up and narrow as much as for one’s feet to touch the wall when laid down. There was a separate compartment on the corner for toilet, but there was no tap.
The only sources of light that let the huge guard walking with an oxtail-like whip in his hand and a never-ending rage in him to see were the torches placed between each two doors.
The guard was bare foot. The cold ground would make one feel a refreshing coolness at each step. The guard stopped in front of the door he aimed. He squeezed the flask filled with water in his left hand a bit more and pinning the whip in his right hand between the fingers of his other hand, he looked for the key in his leather belt, on which there was no empty space.
The old lock opened clacking. Inside was seen a man kneeling. His clothes were new but torn down. His fingers were on the ground. The guard looked carefully to see what he was doing, could only understand a few minutes later. The young prisoner was writing something using the dirt on the ground.
Going mad, the guard threw the flask aside. Grabbed the prisoner from his hair, “Didn’t… I… Tell… You… Not to… Write… Things… Here?”
Hitting his face to the wall at each word.
“Stop, please!” said the prisoner desperately. When the guard left him, blood was leaking from his nose. When he gathered strength enough to talk “I am just doing what needs to be done for the prosperity of our people,” he said, “I won’t veer away.”
“Good for you.” The guard was talking mockingly. “Wait for the trial to pass, then we’ll see. Let’s see if you will still be so determined groaning on the scavenger’s daughter sweet boy?” – what he meant was a round torturing tool famous for breaking the backbone of the accused – “Ah, if only I had the authority, ah! My fingers itch!”
The guard threw the flask, all the water in which had scattered around, in front of the prisoner.
“Mr John Joseph Daisy, get ready. You have your trial in two hours.”
The door, which left a thin beam from the light of the torch when it opened, closed slowly, and turned inside over to the dark.
“My God…” grumbled Joseph. Took the flask on the ground and wetted his bone-dry lips with a few drops left in it. “You know God…” he said. “You know.”
This was the only sentence he said until the trial.
The square was thronged. The poor Londoners had gathered at places where the trial would take place to watch another public event which was their only fun. “Wow…” whispered people around, “Look at the doc!” Their dear doctor whom they admired with goosebumps only one week ago was now a man to belittle. When devoid of a bounding consciousness, the majority was not a good mate. As much as a falling star could divide the darkness of a sunless sky, so much could the love of unconscious masses help one.
Doctor John Joseph Daisy, who was an idol for good people and was even the topic of discussions whether he should be deemed a saint, had published an article titled “Immortality” exactly eight days ago. This article involving arguments which the King and the Church was not a fan of had been enough to bring the doctor from the saint level down to a pervert being tried for irreligion. Joseph had been waiting in a narrow cell far from his warm house for seven days. He was weak due to the cold, dirt and the moisture and had started coughing seriously – and he wasn’t even cracked yet! If a little later this young man doesn’t admit before the judge that he tried to subvert the holy British Kingdom and apologise stating that he gives up on everything he had written, he would be returned back to prison and until he comes clean, he would be tortured with methods which no one should have even heard of.
Amongst the crowd, a woman with messy blond hair looking like hay held a boy in his arms even tighter. She looked for a place where she could both see the trial to begin and to avoid attention from people. This young woman, Sarah Daisy, was one of the most well-known women of London after the nobles. Her name would be uttered with a little admiration and a little envy as she was one of the hundred people who were literate, was both rich and generous at the same time and most importantly, was the wife of John Joseph Daisy, one of the most important doctors of the country. Sarah, just 22 years old, had given birth to a son in the eighteenth month of her five-year marriage.
Sarah got to the side of a wall and held Orson even tighter to avoid seeing people’s pitying looks almost screaming “Poor you, how the mighty have fallen.” She got lost in thoughts while the chairs of the judge, the clergy, and the interrogators were being prepared.
Towards the sunset, the wind patted her hair. Sarah felt more and more incomplete at every touch of the wind. She wasn’t used to have messy, dirty hair. She missed Joseph loving her “Jasmine…” and washing her hair with the jasmine flowers he boiled. And then knitting each knot kissing her, them reaching to the morning like that…
She was “Miss Daisy”, or “Miss Sarah” for everyone, but white jasmines next to Joseph. Whenever he washed her heart with beautiful smells saying “My Jasmine…” she would call her dearie husband back “My Daisy…”
On their door was written the Daisy Field instead of the Daisy House. They would live a flower garden happiness behind this door every day.
“Ah Daisy…” she hummed once more. Soon enough, at the centre of this circle, while he was trying to prove the judge that he is innocent, how much she would wish to hold his hand!
The dead sound of the beadle broke the humming like a dandelion:
“Silence! The trial is about to begin!”
Gong rang. Sarah cringed her corner even more while the public hustled and made more room for themselves to see everything better.
A guard, waiting alone inside the iron passage and eying the solitary places of the tower, squinted his eyes when he saw someone from the crowd coming his way. First, he saw his long dress. A black, bright dress with fur on its collars… He got anxious. What was a man from the judiciary board doing here?
“Sir,” he said stopping the man whose face was shaded. On his face was the worry of a man confronting an officer. “You cannot get in. The trial begins, you need to be ready.”
There was no anger on the face of the board member. “I know,” he said, he was calm; he had a deep but harmonious voice. He reached to the big cross on his chest, hung on a thick silver chain. “This won’t take long. I want to pray to God to be able to make the fairest judgment.” Satisfied, the soldier moved away and let him pass. The member wandered away dragging his long cloak and faded in the dark.
Reaching to a corner where no human being could notice the smallest movement, he ended his long walk. He took off and threw first the neckless with the cross and then the cloak. He leaned on the old walls behind and caught his breath. He took an old mirror from his inside pocket and checked his face. It was dangerous. “They wouldn’t like purple eyes here,” he said, as if he was advising himself.
He focused all his thoughts to one single point and closed his eyes. He hummed a few times: “Menni nomen sakrifin, mutare menum statim”, it was like he was talking in his sleep. “My name is the sacrificed, change me, now.” It sounded like Latin, but it wasn’t.
When he reopened his eyelids, the man saw the change in the mirror. His skin that got a bit darker, his duck egg blue eyes… The pleasure could be read from his face. Maybe not natural but was better than nothing.
He did what he had to, now he had to hurry. Re-dressing his cloak and neckless, the member left his hiding place to get to the court.
The two and a half hours long silence of the dungeon was broken with the guard’s voice:
Joseph startled with the unexpected sound. When the door of the cell was opening, he squinted his eyes with a surprising light. The guard had entered the cell with the torch in his hand.
His never soft voice was still rough but had nothing to do with its previous threatening mood. “You don’t want to look bad in front of the public, I am ordered to bring you new clothes and lots of water.” Throwing the clothes in his hands in front of Joseph, the guard placed the torch next to the door, so inside of the cell became light enough. “Drink some and wash your face and tidy your hair with the rest. Soldiers will be here to take you to the court.” After carrying the bucket full of water inside carefully, he left the door halfway on his way out. All this happened so fast that Joseph couldn’t even say thanks.
The first thing Joseph did was putting the cup inside the bucket left for him to be able to drink easily aside and tossed the bucket off. After refreshing his burning body a little, he cleared his mouth with his sleeve. Maybe, he thought, this was the tastiest water he ever drank.
Right after that, he tossed the bucked off again. This time he didn’t leave it back until he felt that he is full to the neck. He stopped when he can’t drink anymore. He was smiling unawares.
Spilling the one-cup water remaining at the bottom of the bucket down his head, he rubbed his face. He came around.
He changed his clothes, tidied his hair. Stood up and rehearsed standing upright. He felt the pang of grief most when he thought about his family. He decided not to look at the spectators in no way, because he knew if he saw Sarah and Orson, he wouldn’t be able to hold it together.
The rhythmic footsteps reminded the doctor that it was time. Joseph got ready, checked himself one last time and waited for the soldiers.
Those entering the cell at this third instance were two cavaliers. These were low-rank escorts who had small duties such as escorting the messengers to appear before the King or the prisoners before the court. Joseph’s wrists were not cuffed, his arms were not held tightly. Only, one of the soldiers showed the way with the tip of the spear.
The doctor thought whether these attendants treating him well might indicate his exoneration. Maybe he could tell that the theory of immortality didn’t contradict the religious doctrines in anyway. “If I can tell enough…” he thought. “I can even get the allowance for the theory to be put into practice. Just speak well Joshy, speak well…”
He closed his eyes before getting under the sunlight. He could feel the curious looks of hundreds of people, their shaken trusts, the wandering whispers… “I have only one shot to clear off all the doubts,” he hummed himself.
It was hot outside. Getting to the hot weather suddenly from the cold inside made Joseph sweat. His red orange camise was shining under the sun, his boots raised the dust. They walked together till the felon’s dock. Meanwhile such a humming rose from the people that one of the attendants had to silence the spectators for the second time.
Beginning the trial, the judge looked right into the eyes of the judged.
“Mr Daisy… at five in the afternoon at the 4th day of June, you had sent an article to the Science Magazine. In this article, you claim that the human body is not obliged to experience the diseases and the death, and the human life could be extended to hundreds of years with the right nutrition and correct treatments. However, in Bible, it reads clearly that the human body is obliged to death. The wish for a long life is to become evil and polytheism. Defend yourself.”
“I pay my respects to Your Honour, the establisher of the justice, and to all Londoners,” began Joseph his words. “What you said is correct. I argue that by arranging the nutrition and the treatments, it is possible to increase the life quality, triple or quadruple the period of life, and completely eliminate the death arising from diseases.
I argue that we can live in cleaner and healthier streets. Our country can reach to welfare. We can prevent our streets going down like ninepins. We can spend joyous times with our grandchildren, and maybe with their grandchildren. The cold face of the diseases can leave all households of this holy place, as long as we try it hard.
This in no way contradicts the rules of the God.
Just think about it… If the God didn’t want us to live as long as possible, why would he cover our body entirely with reflexes that protect our bodies, the life? If he didn’t want us to dip into the beauties, why would he create these most natural fruits and flowers in numerous colours?
Life is our reality, and my wish is to live well.
Today, you claim that I am an acolyte of Satan. In fact, I learnt that the diseases are sent to increase our patience and strength from your preaches.
How can a challenge that we don’t tackle increase our strength?
The real patience is not just waiting. The real patience is not wasting time with complaining but to do our parts to resolve the trouble. My theory will realise the aim of the God and the humankind.”
Ending his words, Joseph looked in front of him and licked his lips. He was happy that he didn’t stutter.
The judge was consulting with his assistants and cleaning his forehead with a hanky from time to time. After a few minutes of passionate debate, the judge silenced the humming and turned to the doctor.
“Many saints have been tested with diseases to this day,” he said. “Many of them havened in the prayers, showed patience refusing the treatment, and there have even been those dying because of this. Patience is the virtue, but you direct people to worldliness, withholding them from the virtue.”
For a moment, Joseph thought he won’t be able to talk at all, but a single sentence just spilled over his lips like a fall: “If the saints were treated and recovered and were with us today, wouldn’t it be better for the sake of our religion? Wouldn’t the God want that?”
This sentence creating an effect of a stone dropping to a still water made everyone suddenly fall into silence, followed by a whistling clapping from the stands.
There was nothing more to say. The public was convinced that Joseph was right.
The board stood up. The judge and his assistants looked one another but this time no one spoke.
The doctor was startled by the screams supporting him. His eyes breaking up his own words searched for his jasmine and his own piece in the crowd. Not finding them, he turned back.
The rising humming was suddenly cut. All the people sitting, including Joseph, stood up. The doctor tried to hide the grimace on his face, he felt like there were worms in his stomach.
As sure he was from the righteousness and necessity of his theory, so more his predictions that he cannot leave this court with a happy ending were growing. He could accept a bad call but the predictions emerging and vanishing in the fog of the thought, waiting hesitant, ah, the waiting… he would collapse and cry out loud like a child if not embarrassed.
“The verdict…” repeated the judge one more time, “your theory will be examined again, and the final verdict will be left to the next session. Meanwhile…”
Sarah and Joseph caught each other’s eyes from the most inner and outer points of the tower garden used as the courthouse as if they planned to do so.
“… as the case puts the public safety in danger, it is decided for Mr. Daisy to be jailed pending trial.”
While accompanying soldiers were coming with cuffs in their hands this time, Joseph sighed. He expected being arrested again anyway. In the end, which criminal of thought could have convinced the judges to this day? What good does the wisdom have where the power rules?
Everyone clearing away, Joseph’s name echoed in the walls. While Sarah was running inside as a rolling stone with her son in her arms, her cream skirt flew in the wind.
“They can’t take you my daisy! They don’t have the right!” she turned to soldiers, “You hear me, you don’t have the right!”
“My jasmine, don’t make it harder, please. Look, I am not accused. There will be a second trial in a month. I’ll walk free.” He held her hand tightly. “Take good care of our son.” Joseph letting her hand go slowly, Sarah felt the void of one falling down a cliff. She couldn’t even look behind him when he was being taken back.
When the square became as empty as the hearts of those staying up at night, she held her son’s hand “We are leaving Orson.” Turning back to go home, she was scared to death.
A man, seemingly to have a good place in the judiciary with his cloak, had come right next to them. Sarah would recognise this sly smile no matter where it is or how long it has been.
“Eagle… This is you.” She looked away for a moment and then turned back to the man.
“What are you doing here? And… and you are accepted to the trial as a board member! But you… How?”
Her past she left behind opening a new chapter as white as the clouds of a sunny day was standing in front of her as dark nightmares.
“You had my husband captured, right!?” Meanwhile she was poking the man’s chest. The man named Eagle was still smiling like nothing happened while a purple smoke was mixing with his blue.
“You look exactly the same. It is really smart to use a fake name and make your husband call you with your real name as a word of love. I am happy to see you again years later my childhood friend Jasmine Llyin.”
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