Tales of time

I propose a game today. Here is a sketch of a story:


Twin Windows

Left window: In a Turkish bath of Turkish Buda, six Turks bathe. And one non-Turk. He looks strangely and occidentally stringy in the lush environment.

Six more Turks enter. Armed to the teeth, they lunge at the non-Turk without hesitation. He jumps up, gathers his odd blankets, and leaves the bath through the window.

The guards, surprised by their failure to surprise, make for the window, and try to squeeze through together, and they fail again. Their weapons make a splashing noise as they fall in the water.

Right window: A young girl opens the window, and airs the room beyond. She may be a servant, or the daughter of the house, we’ll never learn. The house hasn’t seen a master for several years.

The girl brings heavy duvets to the window, to freshen them up on the windowsill.

When the non-Turk jumps out of the other window, he falls to the street right under the duvets, which cover him, and some mud.

The girl exclaims in frustration, but then heaves the duvets and the man in the room. Both of them disappear that night, and the Turk guards never find him.

Street: Some centuries later, a descendant of this man and this girl looks at both windows, and wonders at the family legend.


The photo at the top shows two buildings: on the left is a corner of the Király baths or Királyfürdő, a 15th-century Turkish bath in Budapest*; the house next to it is from 1859. The game is simple: look at a building or a place, anywhere, and come up with a short story that the building or place might have seen. The story may be about the previous buildings on the site.

I noted down this story five years ago, and I could have sworn I had taken this photo around the same time. But after I virtually turned over every digital stone to find this photo, I was left but with one option: walk down to the city center—a perilous journey these days—, and retake the photo I thought I had.

(Care to share your stories?)

* The city of Buda was under Ottoman occupation at the time. The photo does not do justice to the historic building (which has breathtaking parts), hence the link.

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