The Gun Man

by tkos on August 17, 2012

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The highway was long, relatively empty and nursed strolling hills. A few driveways dotted along the road, with houses set back some distance behind high fences. In between these randomly allotted homes seemed to be largely enclosed and private farmland. As empty as this stretch was, there did not seem to be any public land. If we were going to find somewhere to camp, we were either going to have to either trespass discreetly and hide for the night amidst some trees or well… I’m not really sure what else we could do. We were about 200km passed Istanbul and 90km from the next Turkish town, Bolu.

The sun was falling behind the horizon quickly and daylight was with us for no more than twenty minutes. As we got to the top of yet another hill, I noticed a couple sitting on some sort of bench facing the road. They were in their late fifties and were enjoying themselves watching what little traffic was passing before them, amidst the fading sunset. Perhaps they knew of some public land we could camp?

I started to approach the ascent to their seat, situated on the outside of a fence. Their faces brightened as I did so and they encouragingly waved me to continue as I started to reconsider. I began the game of charades and tried to communicate what we were looking for. Kimmi remained on the side of the road and looked on amusingly as I made an ass of myself. My charades is not my strongest point. I pointed to my tent and then pointed around the area and shrugged my shoulders in a question like manner. I put my hands together and then to the side of my face in a sleeping gesture. The older couple beamed in recognition! They understood! Yes! They got up from the bench and started walking to show us which direction we should head. Or so I thought…

They opened the vine covered 10 foot cast iron gates before us and unveiled a paradise of a mansion. Kimmi and I stood there gobsmacked as the two hundred meter driveway led our eyes passed the trees, ponds, swimming pool and tennis court, to a four storey manor. Yes, there was definitely somewhere on this two acre plot that we could camp, even if it was with the company of the dozen or so free roaming ugliest Turkeys I have ever seen.

They walked us and our bikes around to the back door, near the unused and dirty pool. Unlocking the back door, Kimmi noticed that something wasn’t quite right. The house was vacant. This wasn’t their house, yet they had the keys. It was a little weird and probably something easily solved if we spoke a little Turkish or if they could speak a word of English, but neither was the case.

We had gone too far to back out and refuse what hospitality was being offered, so we entered into the living area as our ‘hosts’ turned on lights. Our bikes outside and our shoes left at the back veranda door, we found ourselves on a blanket covered couch, opposite the deliriously but delightful older couple, beaming with pride with the travellers they had lured into this mysterious empty mansion.

The language barrier forced silence between us as we sat uncomfortably in the dimly lit room. Dust covered wooden furniture sat deep as our eyes wandered amongst our surroundings. Kimmi is generally better at these situations than me as she attempts to fumble through introductions and a well rehearsed charade parade of our trip on the bicycles across Europe so far. The couple nod along eagerly as if they understand, but it may well have been through politeness. Silence lingers once again as the night overcomes what was left of the fading sun. Whether we liked it or not, we were staying on this property, we were trapped.

A deer’s head hung proudly from the wall, next to a wild boar and a host of other animals. Their dead eyes seem to be gazing straight at us making this uncomfortable and unusual situation closer to straight out nervous. Kimmi points to the dead animal and says ‘Deer’ in what would be the beginning of English 101 for them and a potential Turkish lesson for us, or at least just something to communicate about. The man launches into a devilish laugh as Kimmi and I exchange a nervous glance, and laugh along accordingly. ‘Wild boar!’ Kimmi continues as she points to the respective dead animal’s head, hanging on the wall. The man’s laughter deepens into a roar as his face beams with excitement.

Kimmi points to the animals again, and then points to the man and asks anxiously… ’Did you kill them?’

It was at this point that the man, grinning mischievously, reaches into the back pocket of his dirty jeans and pulls out a gun. Not a hunting gun in which to shoot animals for sport, but a revolver. A hand gun. A gun that he had in his pocket from the moment he saw us and lured us into this big empty, mysterious mansion.

To be continued….




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