“Çanakkale” is one of the outstanding stories of the first biannual International Short Story Contest 2018 written by Gülay Işık, MEV College Private Ankara Secondary School, Turkey.
Although the winter was about to come to an end, a warm wind was blowing from the sea. Kevin left his shelter to smoke, sat under the tree at the back and thought about his family looking at the ship that brought him and the stars that look like the stars in his own country. He remembered how happy and peaceful he was at his home in Melbourne as he looked at the stars. Who would know how much his family missed him? Especially his brother, who was five years younger than him. They always spent time together. The stars in the sky were exactly the same as the stars they saw when they went camping together. All these things seemed to be showing him something.
Suddenly, heart strange noises. He thought that the voice coming from the enemy front was beautiful. After a little, he understood that it was a Turkish lament. He wanted to listen a little bit more. Even if he did not understand the words, this lament made him very emotional. The lament was so beautiful that he felt asleep in a short time.
Then, he woke up with the sound of Azan. He woke up with this sound every day since he came here, but it was more fascinating today. When he looked at the enemy in the front, he saw the mobility. The enemies in front were preparing for the down prayer. It was still dark. The sun was shining slowly. He watched the sun. He thought that it was the most beautiful sunrise ever. With the sunrise, the distribution of the food packets started. Sergeant James spoke to him while getting his food packet:
- Soldier Kevin, we have no water. There is a creek on the slopes located in the opposite side, try to fill these bottles with water, but be careful! Turks know there. Try to keep out of sight.
- Yes, Sir!
He went to the creek swiftly and carefully. He started to fill the bottles with water, and suddenly he heard some voices.
While he was getting ready to leave there, he lost himself with a gunshot.
When he was conscious, he felt something wet. Someone was wiping his forehead with a wet cloth. He tried to open his eyes, but he could not open. He remembered his family again. He got a fever once upon a time. He thought about his mother. He remembered that she whispered him that he would get well soon with her kind and lovely voice, she was there for him and she was wiping his forehead as it was now. He felt like at home. Suddenly, he heard a voice. This voice was like as kind and lovely as his mother’s voice. He thought that she was his mother for a moment. Then, he suddenly opened his eyes, but he was mistaken. She was not his mother. She looked like an angel. She was a Turkish nurse, who had long black hair. She was seventeen or eighteen. She was kind and she was looking tenderly. When he fully regained his consciousness, he heard that she was telling something in Turkish which was unfamiliar to him. Then, she gave him medicine. After taking the medicine, he tried to remember why he was here. Everything start with command of Sergeant James. He went to the creek to fill the bottles with water. What happened after that? He was shot with a gun while he was getting ready to turn back. That’s why he was there. Everything was clear now. He had a headache. He was shot in his head. It was very diffucult to think of what had happened. Then, he fell asleep because of the medicine.
He woke up trembling in his body. He had a nightmare. In his nightmare, he saw that he was falling down to a well and it was a never-ending fall. Fortunately, he woke up. He looked around and saw that there were wounded soldiers. All of them were like him. All of them had emotions and hopes. Dreams and wishes… And all were wounded. The only differences were their religions and languages. So, why he was in that country? What he was fighting for? Why it was necessary to fight? What had these people done to them?
However, he had got on board cheerfully and he had never thought about either killing or being killed. He even remembered how excited he was when he got on board. He thought that he would embark on an adventure. Yet, they had never been told about the war. And now, he was here. With the wounded soldiers… At a Turkish sick berth which was full of impossibilities and which was a place where he was treated like a Turkish even though he was Australian and he was never ignored.
While he was thinking about all these things, he saw that the nurse was coming towards him. He felt that she was asking him whether he was fine or not in Turkish. He nodded. The nurse smiled at him and gave him some water. While she was passing the glass, he saw that her hands were as white as snow and they were also elegant. Then, he looked at her eyes. They were black as an olive and her lashes were kind of long. Besides, she had love in her eyes. He had never seen such a beautiful girl before.
While he was thinking about these, he heard some familiar words. Someone who spoke English:
He turned his head and saw the doctor who worked in his front line. The front lines were exchanging the wounded soldiers. He understood that they were talking about him. Then, he became both excited and sad. He saw that both his doctor and the Turkish doctor were coming towards him.
-Congratulations! You are better, the Australian doctor said. You can go.
Before leaving, Kevin wanted to see the nurse once again and looked around. He saw that she was looking after a patient and he murmured saying “angel”. During that time, the nurse turned to him and looked at him. Then, she saw Kevin. She smiled warmly as if she was saying “goodbye”. This was the last, they saw each other.
While he was checking the newspapers in the veranda, a piece of news drew his attention: “Atatürk passed away”. He looked at the news again and again. Atatürk, the founder of Turkish Republic, was dead. While looking at the news in detail, he felt proud since he had fought against this great leader twenty years ago. He was crying…