Inspired by a truish story!
The photographs of a block of flats which appeared in the national press went viral with the title, The Haunted Block. The ordinary looking apartment building, under the sunny skies of central Antalya, roused the curiosity of readers, and soon became a myth instigated by questionable sources.
Allegedly, the tenants complained about strange noises heard at night, furniture and items in wardrobes and cupboards, changing places, and objects moving before their eyes. A bouncing ball, clothes and china scattered around or turning up in other rooms or flats. The weirdest rumour was about a man who one day found himself in a strange apartment across the street. Although the legend of the mysterious block called Akyuva grew over the years, the said occurrences lacked concrete evidence. Events reported to the authorities, though documented, were not sustained by independent witnesses.
Curious visitors from around the country travelled to the city to see the haunted building. They took photos of the unattractive concrete block, and asked around for more information, and in particular, details. Someone said it was because a murder took place in the building some years ago. Another person mentioned strange things happened at the supermarket situated on its ground level. Every night the merchandise on the shelves changed places and had to be re-assembled in the morning. Many people tried to talk to the manager of the company who refused to comment, and the sales clerks denied the rumours.
Disappointed with the lack of evidence, they returned home, wondering how such an ordinary place could be haunted. “Silly, really. It doesn’t even have the physical characteristics of a haunted place, like a decrepit house in the middle of nowhere,” said one of the visitors.
Despite the lack of evidence, the residents in the block slowly moved out, and the owners, cut the rents in half, hoping to find new tenants.
When four university students viewed the spacious flat with two large bedroom, they signed the lease straight away. They didn’t care if it was haunted or that it was situated opposite a cemetery surrounded by tall cypress trees. All they needed was a place of their own, within their budget. The rumours made the place more exciting for them, and a cab rank across the street, called The Haunted Taxi, situated next to the cemetery, an additional bonus.
Fast asleep, they hardly noticed any paranormal activity at night. When one of them did, and woke the others, they were convinced it was due to the restless souls lying in the cemetery that resembled a park. Planning to conduct a séance at the weekend, they Googled ‘How to call up spirits’.
On Saturday night, the half empty block was enveloped in silence. They’d invited a couple of friends to join the ghost party to share the excitement. Lights turned out, candles lit, they sat around a coffee table and joined hands. They closed their eyes as the speaker addressed the spirits. “Ghost of Akyuva show yourself, tell us your tale. We are ready for you.”
The words were repeated a few times before all hell broke loose. A distant sound magnified as the walls began to quiver. Furniture rattled, the windows shook, and the glass cracked into shards. The students staggered to the door, and trying to negotiate the stairs with the other residents, poured into the street. “Earthquake!” they screamed, watching shattered glass mixed with big chunks of concrete fall and smash on the pavement. They took refuge against the cemetery wall and held hands. Before their eyes, the block moved back and forth, and from side to side. At last, the noise faded, the building creaked and moaned, and stilled, immersed in darkness.
In shock, the residents of Akyuva turned their eyes to the other buildings on the street. They were all intact, their windows undisturbed, and the inhabitants still indoors. Those who managed to grab their mobiles, on the way out, searched for notifications of an earthquake, but there were none.
“It must be a gas leak from the boiler,” said Ali, one of tenants.
Ahmet, his next door neighbour, nodded. “Maybe we should call the Fire Brigade.”
“But there’s no fire,” Ali replied. “This is weird. Maybe we should go inside and check.”
“No, Ali, don’t do it,” his wife screamed. “It’s those dreaded ghosts again. I don’t want to live here anymore.” She clung to her baby and tried to grab Ali’s arm.
“Relax, be calm.” Ali patted her hand and stroked the baby’s head.
“Ahmet, let’s have a look and solve this mystery.”
Despite the protests from their wives, Ali and Ahmet entered the building. Their mobiles used as torchlights, they descended the stairs, leading to the basement, and gawked when they saw a huge hole in the middle.
A strong wind coming from inside the hole, whipped around them, and sucked them into the void, as Ruta and Mott emerged to the surface.
Ruta gasped. Eyes burning with anger, he faced Mott. “Didn’t I tell you to check the maps?”
Sweeping off the dust from his clothes, Mott replied. “I did, but it looks like the maps were outdated. The portal was supposed to be at the cemetery, an open area. There were no buildings on the maps.”
“This is developing country. They’re building everywhere. How can the Exchange Authority be so ignorant? So much for their scientific knowledge on multiverses. Idiots!”
Ruta closed his eyes and composed himself. “Remember this. Mott is no longer your name. You’re Ahmet and I’m Ali. We have their clothes and identities. You and I have families. We’re friends. Recall the names and the characters. We should be out of here in two minutes.”
As the sirens of the Fire Brigade deafened the ears, Ali and Ahmet exited through the front door. Ali turned to Ahmet and spoke in the local language. “Don’t make any mistakes.”
They talked to the Fire Chief about the curious hole in the basement. The Chief advised the residents to spend the night elsewhere while they carried out their investigations.
During the following weeks, the tenants evacuated their flats and moved to other locations. The owners had chains threaded through the handles on the front doors, and the block remained deserted for a couple of years, while they negotiated with a contractor to renovate the building. Four years later, after filling the hole in the basement with tons of concrete, Akyuva had a facelift and became a desirable business centre in the heart of Antalya.