The good people of Cappadocia never saw it coming. Later, the owner of the gas station on the outskirts of Ugrup would claim he had had premonitions from the moment two shadowy figures set up camp across from him on the intersection at 5:30 on a cold Sunday morning. In the early morning light, he said, they radiated a faint, but menacing, red aura. Although this claim has never been substantiated and, like the museum attendant’s claim that he was shown the picture of a vampire on a ghoulish press pass, is dismissed by the region’s more sober inhabitants, it is undeniable that something odd was afoot. If, dear reader, you will bear with me, I will try to reconstruct, from interviews, local records, and the official report of the exorcists called in to re-consecrate all mosques and churches, those cursed, fateful days that turned fairy chimneys into Satan’s furnaces.
We now know that the two shadowy figures at the gas station were foreign travellers of unknown origin. One is described consistently as bearded, with two small horns protruding from his matted mass of shaggy hair, the other as being of a gaunt, Vampire-like aspect with sideburns as pointy as his fangs. Both were first seen at the Ugrup gas station. At dawn that same day, they were observed engaging in some strange pagan ritual near Goreme, involving chants in strange tongues, spirits, both ephemeral and alcoholic, and disturbing, mirthless laughter, staccato ha-ha’s, which, in the words of one witness, “made all the hairs on my neck stand on end.” At sunset, they were seen, smoke rising from their arms and heads, emerging from an ancient cave dwelling in Rose Valley. Police investigations revealed evidence of a fire and unearthed the charred bones of a young child, thus sketching the disturbing outlines of a grotesque human sacrifice in preparation for the next days’ activities, for the worst was still to come.
On Tuesday, four figures were seen ascending Ugrup castle. The aforementioned two unsightly strangers had been joined by two young women, described by an old man who witnessed all from behind a rocky outcropping nearby, as cat-like, dark-haired witches. These four erected a monumental pagan idol overlooking the village. It gazed down malevolently on minarets, homes, and shops, its horns glinting in the sunlight, its exposed breasts mocking the modesty of the town’s God-fearing inhabitants. From this point forward the chronicles of strange and disturbing events multiply. Temperatures fell dramatically mid-day, 13 villagers died in a freak cave-in, and wolf-dogs began running the streets. Haddj Mustapha Beyoglu had to watch, horror-stricken, as one of these creatures made off with his hand, leaving him to helplessly wave his bloody stump.
On Wednesday things went from bad to worse. Suleiman Ahmad, the farmer who, alerted by the red glow of fire in an ancient church, went to investigate and lived to tell the tale tells us the following: “In the morning these evil creatures, their ranks swelled to six, lit a crackling bonfire in the ancient church of the temptation. Whirling and dancing around it like deranged dervishes, they only interrupted their crazed cavorting to erect a grotesque idol, a sphinx to guard their freakish frolicking.” Then the black madness began in earnest. As four went off to roll snow boulders on the unsuspecting town below, two proceeded to consummate the black mass on the Altar of Temptation. That evening, the sun set blood-red on Goreme as the call to prayer was replaced by howls that turned husband against wife and brother against brother. In the Church of Temptation, the six sat smoking glowing hookah, boasting of their wicked exploits. Where they are now, nobody knows. But they will be up to no good.