Stanley Hall (Writer), Necmi Sagip Bodamyalizade (Friend, Felezof), James Owen Hall (Uncle, The Chief Engineer of Island-wide Electrification), Maggie Hewson (Sister).
My dearest Maggie,
I know I did not write to you in the last year as often, assuming that you have been hearing about me from uncle James. This time, this letter will be quite long. In the following, I will explain to you something seemingly monstrous, however, in its true sense, an amazing Thing; a work of art as a divine creature that I tried to create for the peoples of this land. Although things did not go on the way I intended them to, it is still a horrendously beautiful, terrifically angelic Thing, my dear sister. I abhorred the society here. Whoever saw this Thing, made with such a frame, was terrified. Nobody understood the grace of it, but one day, they will. The future holds this possibility.
So now I am flying away from thence, especially from the uncle, and I will try my best to come to you, to London. I don't know how long it will take me to. In this world, you are the only person who could understand what I have done - why I did this Thing. I am not sure whether the government would find out that I was the one who made it, but for sure, uncle James will. The moment he sees it, he will. I can not risk being locked up. Now, I would like to start from the beginning of these affairs to have your deep sympathy, which may lead me to have a chance to see your face and hold your hands once again, most tenderly:
In 1946, on a fine early summer day, towards noon, our boat approached Famagusta Harbour. Uncle James came into my cabin to wake me up and collect me. I was late. As I always do, the previous night, I drank a bit too much. I packed my stuff quickly and hurried to the deck beside him. "Good day, uncle James!" said I, for him to respond only by tilting his head to the side while throwing an unpleasant look in my direction. Thanks to his fear of aeroplanes, we are again on another boat, one that has departed from Nigeria and its journey was finally ending. While I was looking at the island's approaching silhouette without a trace of a human, as if it was an abandoned building - a fortress or a church - where the next two years of my life were awaiting me, the latches of my suitcase flicked open. There it was, uncle saw everything that came out of it.
Most unfortunately, he saw one of my books titled Men, the Unknown by Alexis Carrel, a book about the science of anatomy next to others about the nature of electricity. He bent over, pushed everything aside, and found two more books respectively on replantation of limbs, vascular anastomosis, and The Modern Prometheus. He looked at my face and read a sentence from a random page, first from Sir Carrel: "Humanity's attention must turn from the machines of the world of inanimate matter to the body and the soul of man, to the organic and mental processes which have created the machines and the universe of Newton and Einstein..." and threw it overt the deck into the sea. I was almost screaming, but I swallowed back into my guts, where all the sorrow he caused upon me has been reserved, where it created an ocean since I was a toddler. Then he started to read another from Madam Shelley's, which engendered a sudden grin on his face: "He replied, 'Electricity'; describing at the same time the various effects of that power. He constructed a small electrical machine, and exhibited a few experiments; he made also a kite, with a wire and string, which drew down that fluid from the clouds..." and sent it to the Mediterranean waters. Thank God he did not find out my surgical equipment in the lining of my suitcase. After fruitless attempts to keep it calm, and keep it together, cried I: "There is now appropriate technology for these studies to continue. There are antibiotics for twenty years, blood-thinning anticoagulants for at least three years, and new state of art operating microscopes. There is a bright future in this field uncle. Why can't you let me go to Lyon and study what I want?" He replied, "You are going to be an electrical engineer! You will stay with me for two more years, learn a bit more, and will you start your education thus, in England. Affirmative young man? Do not you make me repeat, and do not you waste nobody's time with dead disciplines and ghost stories! No further discussion!"
This was the moment something uneasy started burning within me, in my mind. Over all the terror he unleashed on us, especially on me, since our parents' death, my dear sister, this moment was the last straw: The "Sea of Sorg" was about to overflow. Thenceforth, there has been something at work in me, something I have never truly understood, and after approximately a year of effort putting it under control, I have decided to let it go, let it be, as it wanted things to be. Two months ago, I started to do things even I, in the beginning, could not explain them to myself.
In the first year, I tried my best to follow up uncle's schedule with the Colonial Development campaign for Cyprus: the project with the island-wide electricity distribution scheme on grid lines. We were visiting towns and cities for him to finalise his foresaw plans. Most times he and the people around him, other engineers, did not even talk about technical stuff. It was all about the rural areas' electrification and how much "these peasants who have strong weaknesses towards material means" will make use of prevention against the political efforts of the Church, bragging about himself and his achievements in Nigeria. Almost every week, at least two times in his mansion, he was inviting people for dinners or drinks. All he was talking about with them was the importance of this land, "the fortress" as they call it. And the uncle was often questioning my opinion with a sly, humiliating smile on his face. He never missed a chance to patronise me as I was obliged and expected to attend all of his events. The ties of my life were in his hands. The only good thing about being in Nicosia was that though it was right next to his door, I got to have my own mansion for the first time.
Every evening, to ease my soul from my daily duties of being a puppet to uncle, I began to take long walks through the city before I ended up drinking in a bar. Since the deck, I was in a growing pain, anger, and rage. Managing these feelings became impossible if I did not see the end of a bottle. Before I retired to my mansion, visiting several cemeteries in the environs of the walled city also became part of my routine. There was nothing more tranquil than the cemeteries. I was the only unquiet and disturbing thing that wandered in a scene so unearthly. Engraved names in Arabic, Armenian, Turkish, and Greek that I could not even read. The uncanny familiarity of the other's resting death, the final stationery in which the language you have been speaking during your life starts to have no meaning and becomes untranslatable. After the sixth month or so, I added my practice on animals to this routine. I could not help it. I had to keep my hands trained if I were to be an excellent surgeon of re-implantation, transplantation, maybe even reanimation in the future. Also now, it was giving me an extra pleasure, just because it was something uncle forbid me to do.
In the walled city, I tried to get to know people, at least the ones who can or do speak English. I always ended up being met with another English man with whom the conversation was inevitably turning identical to the ones I had with my uncle. It was so irksome in the beginning, because I knew not why each of these encounters with another Englishman was boring me onwards. However, one night, I acquainted a gentleman with a Muslim name: Necmi Sagip Bodamyalizade was his name, meaning the highest star of the heavens from Bodamya, a village somewhere on the island. It was his chosen name, but everyone in the city called him "Felezof," meaning philosopher.
He was a lot older, a bit shorter than me, had atypical features of a round face for a Muslim, and most interestingly, if not as much as me, effeminate as I am. We recognised each other immediately at a distance for those gesticulations we had in common. He had a bulky body, always very slow, and, if not talking, wore a thoughtfully absent face which made me think: "He must have been a very handsome man in his youth." As far as I understood, he had never married. He felt very lonely. He sometimes wore a British cylinder top hat, rarely dressed like a religiously Muslim, and spoke his native language full of caprice. Most of the time I overheard an English word also used in Turkish that people uttered after a conversation with him: "Eccentric!" For most, he was living in another world. He kept telling me that I looked like someone from a Greek Tragedy, and after the end of each long night that we spent together, he always told "You cost me twenty pages of writing today, again. But it was worth it!"
He studied at Oxford but was expelled before he completed it because of his engagement with the coal miners' movements - mostly writing poetry in support of them - and was deported back to Cyprus after he was tortured and put into an insane asylum. He explained once that his attachment to the coal as a material was the thing that made him sympathise with the Marxists - Leninists as once he tried to kill himself by burning a bunch of coal in a sealed room.
In Nicosia, he founded a school: The Shakespeare School. He teaches to all, especially girls. If educated well, he thinks women are the bright future of humanity. This could relate to his hatred for his mother and sister. He taught predominantly to Turkish but also to Greek and Armenian girls. Although he is a true British admirer, he thinks there should not be another flag waving above Cyprus but its own. He is politically versatile, depending on whom he speaks to. I think it is his survival strategy. Although he appears to be a loyal subject to the King or a true lover of the young modern Turkey, he is a "Cypriot," a word I had never heard of without it having an adjective. Once, he explained to me in length, why the Western notion of the "nation-state" is not suitable for this island's ethnic diversity. "Greek- and Turkish-Cypriots are not the only peoples to be considered native to this country," was saying he, "but also Maronites, Armenians, and even migrated workers who came since the British rule." He is even embracing what he called the "Oleler." I suppose they are the Gypsies of this land. In England, nobody even wants to get closer to them. He also mentioned people of African descent who are cultural-wise, mostly part of and mixed with Turkish-speaking groups, and the Latins, or as he addresses them as the "Linobambakis." The words sound robust in Cyprus. Day by day, I was acquainted with and inferred other dimensions of imperial intentions because of his unstable and changing political arguments based on his gentle and affectionate disposition, challenging my mind effectively. I have never met someone like him, so open in his heart and in his soul to all kinds of people. His benevolence was to touch all and not only humans but also animals and plants. He is a lover of nature.
On one of those nights, when I explained to him about my books that uncle James had thrown to the sea, he told me that he had one copy of The Modern Prometheus himself, a 1939 edition, and offered to give it as a present to me. I was happy. We immediately went to his chamber, which was located right above his school. The moment I stepped in, muttered he hastily "Please do not be afraid!" While I was wondering, what of would I be afraid, I recognised a pair of curious eyes on a hairy face staring at me. I hit my back against the wall behind me, looked at Felezof, and cried "That is a monkey, a chimp! Where did you find it?" But all that he doing was looking at the floor and moving his hands like an orchestra chef. I only realised after that, that some piece of rope was moving towards the depths of the room. "What was that?" I asked him while having another eye contact and stretching out my hand towards the chimp, which made him touch my index finger gently. Felezof answered, "That was Ilan, a snake local to Malta, and this is Kerkop. Kerkop, this is Stanley." I tried to follow the snake. I passed through a corridor full of plants that I had never seen before. I ended up on a balcony with a sticky floor covered with grapes. "Why do not you make use of these grapes?" He appeared on the balcony having a brown leather-covered book in his hand with the remaining golden letters to be read "Shelley." "Grapes are for the birds!" said he.
Sometime in the following weeks, I asked him whether I could address him also as "Felezof," as the locals do. He answered, "Only if I can address you as 'Frenk Bey' in return!?" In Cyprus, it is what people call the Christians out of the Ottoman territories beyond the Balkans. I suppose it also has a negative connotation. I kind of liked it, wherefore it reminded me of The Modern Prometheus' protagonist Victor, and I did not get offended by the fact that I knew he liked me. He liked me a lot.
My nights were befriended with this brilliant person at Hermes Street, which I have never gotten to pronounce correctly. "Frenk Bey! It is ERMOU Street!" as Felezof always said. He was not drinking as much as I do, but away from the segregated "mahallas," - the city parts - around this street, he was enjoying the unity of peoples. Maronites, Armenians, Turks, and Greeks were joyfully running their businesses here in the centre of the walled city. He proudly kept mentioning "Here is the future." Poor Felezof! I was hearing the otherwise at the dinners I had to attend. Although, I knew he was defending the Muslim Cypriots as much as he could against the Church's plans, not only did he try hard to stop Greek nationalism but also the Turkish one. He had no friends.
Our favourite bar was Antonakis, with small metal tables and a narrow bar where one can eat snacks from small plates. Our one-star Cognac was always accompanied by olives and cheese. In Hermes Street, no further than Pantopolio - meaning a place to buy everything, the towns' market - if we were not drinking, we were playing cards or reading and writing poetry. Little boys were continuously serving us either Klitos soda or cups of coffee on a strange metal tray hanging on three metal wires. Felezof had a taste for sweets. He either ate something made with semolina, yogurt, and syrup they called shambali, starch pudding, or drank Lemonade with his coffee at all times. Sugar made him gayer and more playful at nights like a glowworm, more than alcohol.
Rarely, went I to that town's market in the mornings if I had time. You must see the stand-owners, my sister, and how they promote their goods by rhyming sentences that I only get the phonetic harmony of what they say. Of all of the smells one would recognise by walking through the market, I especially liked the one from the section of the butchers. The smell of the dripping blood from the slaughtered beasts hanging on hooks was touching my spirit. This was also the end of the market from the direction of my mansion, where I exit and was welcomed by the then-Gothic Cathedral, now the Ayasofya Mosque. Imagine; a Church-Mosque. It is much charming the nights.
In the middle of the summer this year, Felezof started to seem to be depressed in his spirits. He was melancholic. I guess what drew him into this mood was something about his school. There were not much student registrations as before, and it was facing the danger of being shut down. He was worried about what he would do without teaching. There was something off by his last bye. That was the last time I saw him. He was not coming out of his chamber. I felt alone. The rage within me that was eased with his company started to seise me back. This time even stronger and was getting uncontrollable. I started to spend more time in cemeteries.
It was on a night in August that I found how to relieve my toils in the absence of Felezof, my only friend. With this idea, my agony became anxiety, and then it turned into excitement. I had to plan carefully and be precise. I was unable to compose my mind with this idea. It led me to several sleepless nights. Instead, I was calculating. When I was able to sleep, I had the same dream: Delighted and surprised, I was in the arms of our mum as a grown-up toddler. Her tender caress was turning deliberately, in an undemanding way, into a strangle. I realised that it was a deadly strangle only after quite a while of feeling safe in her arms. Waking up from it was getting longer each time I saw this dream. It took me about two weeks to collect the instruments around me: A kite with an attached silk string and keys to draw the touch of God from the sky: Electricity. Essential chemicals, minerals, drugs, additional surgical equipment that I did not own myself and had to steal from the hospital, wooden boxes with aluminium lining to store ice blocks from the ice factory. And for these cold wooden boxes, the body parts and organs I assembled.
For each of the precious pieces of the body, I investigated. I knew the cemeteries well. When combined with the hospital records, a small change in them had become obvious to me to find the exact smell of the fresh unsealed earth and the new gravestones that I was looking for. I summoned two heads, one from a Greek, one from a Turk, an arm from an Armenian, a torso with an arm till the wrist from a Maronite, the following hand from a Latin, one leg from an African descended person, and the other from a Gypsy till the foot and the foot from a copper mine worker Pakistani immigrant. Finally, I needed two hearts and an extra lung because the Maronite-torso's heart failed as the reason for his death, and I thought a body with two heads would need more powerful blood circulation. I found a Jewish refugee from the detention camps and an Arab merchant both of who died from Cholera, at the hospital.
Before each operation of acquiring a body part needed either from a cemetery's new dweller or from the morgue of the hospital, I visited the reassembled broken statue of Apollo Citharodus in a room full of other disassembled sculpture parts of the Archeological Museum to encourage and make myself believe in the ingeniousness of my plan.
I worked eight nights: stitched fibre to fibre, nerve to nerve, artery to artery; modified the bones, fed the skin with essential oils, and filled the veins with a primordial solution I prepared with drugs and full of minerals to be replaced with my own blood I extracted from my body with some more units of the same blood type added from the hospital which I restored beside the bodies to infuse at the final moment. I have become a fully manifested resurrectionist. The more I worked on my Thing, the more I was confident about what I was doing. At the end of these eight nights, the only missing thing was a storm of rain and its charged holy fluid that will give life to my Thing. I was waiting for days and nights, those nights, I continuously prayed to saint Cosmas and Damian.
At last, on the evening of 17th October, the dark clouds I sought advanced behind the Five Fingers Mountain, located on the North of the island. The dusty and matt towers of the Mountain were about to get wet after a long hot summer. I was holding my breath when the clouds started to dive down between the fingers of the Mountain towards the city like an extremely slow avalanche. It was already apparent that the clouds were full of charge since some sparks were visible in the humid atmosphere capsulated in them. For a little more, I stood still and observed them coming toward me with curiosity. I was delighted to see the development of this wonder. There appeared a sharp border in the heavens, where on one side there were strata of colours on the evening sky with orange, purple, and dark blue; on the other, shades of grey mixed with pink.
When I realised that it is going to for sure be a rainy night, my pulse started to beat quickly. So much that I was feeling every artery in my body. I run into my cellar to prepare the Thing that I assembled with the hard work of sleepless nights. I opened the biggest cooling box's four side-faces in which my Thing was already laying on a table I installed into. I extracted the primordial solution, infused the blood, and made his body warm. The proficiency of what I have been practicing on animals and of the books I have memorised was about to wake up in some minutes. I entangled the metal wires that followed up with silk string attached to the kite and run to the roof to let it fly. It did not take thirty seconds for the first lighting to hit the keys.
"Hey, you! There is another annunciation to those who had believed: the victory is coming with the aid of God. Oh, the opener of the gates, open ones that lead to the good."
I run downstairs.
The Thing's head, the one on the left side, opened his eyes. The color of his pupils and irises faded. It looked scared and uneasy. Most of his body was wobbling without control. Although terrifically insane, only the left head showed a sign of a deliberative move. It was dangling left and right as if it wanted to save itself from the frame it was captured in. All I witnessed with the Thing, ended in about fifteen seconds with the left head biting the right head's black lips and ripping it off until the middle of the cheek. This was also the end of the electrical flow pouring down the clouds. I remember I was feeling extremely disappointed and wanted to elaborate on the reason why? What could have caused my failure? Then a crashing sound followed my thoughts with a blinding light that seized my sight to my unconsciousness. I don't remember the rest.
I returned myself to the crowded voice of a lot of people outside of my broken windows. When I looked out, I saw high fires jumping above the electrical powerhouse across the street that belongs to the Pierides & Michaelides Ltd., The Nicosia Electrical Company with which my uncle had long debates, including the governmental and municipal offices too, about the new power plant and the new upcoming scheme. Did I cause this? Was it my kite that fell on the powerhouse and pulled the lightning that caused this malicious event? I would never know it for sure.
Then I looked back at the Thing. Oh, my beautiful Thing. I cried "Thou are still and not alive. Why? Thou canst do this! Listen to me! Thou ought not to be just a parody of resurrection. What did I do wrong?" The lifeless clay, molded in human flesh. The dysfunctional automaton I wanted to animate was not moving. My love of science did not meet with God's will. All the prospects from Galvanism, maybe more accurate now, the Galvanistic delirium, I had in the last two months was done. The secrets with which I thought I was acquainted, the illusion of having an agency in infusing life into an inanimate and constructed frame, was it all a delusion of my deep sorrow? "I felt my heart sink within me. I felt the bitterness of disappointment:" dreams that had been the reason for me to stay alive "were now become a hell to me."
Adieu, my dearest sister. Hope to see you soon, and if not, Farewell.
Always yours, your brother,