Feeling the Vibes

Feeling the Vibes by Annie Dalton

Book: Feeling the Vibes by Annie Dalton Read Free Book Online
Authors: Annie Dalton
though, you feel a little bit of what they feel, and I began to get the strangest feeling that Obi was searching for something, something incredibly precious. But what?
    Several times we swirled back to the eighteenth century where we always saw the same sandy-haired Englishman. The first time he had recently arrived in India, hot and flushed in eighteenth-century riding gear. We saw him at the exact moment he fell in love with the dark-eyed princess who was peeping at him flirtily from behind a curtain.
    The next time we saw the couple they were in glittering Muslim wedding finery, and we saw them again what must have been years later playing a mad game of tag up and down the marble corridors of a huge airy palace with five or six giggling little golden-skinned children.
    I could feel Obi longing to stay with this warm, happy family, but something always pulled him back to his search.
    One scene, though, came back over and over: a skinny old man in a white dhoti talking into an old style microphone while a rapt crowd drank in every word. I’d have known Mahatma Gandhi was a great soul, even without Brice to set me straight.
    “We must BE the change we seek to see in the world!” he cried out in a cracked, urgent voice. “When night falls, it makes NO sense to stand cursing the dark. We must light a candle! We must light hundreds and thousands and millions of candles!”
    I never got to hear the next part of this speech. The instant he said that part about cursing the dark, a pulse of pure fear always went through Obi and a conflicting force whirled us away in a different direction.
    I saw the Gandhi scene five or six times before I spotted the boy in the crowd, his face shining, drinking in every word.
    “That’s Amir!” I gasped. “He really went to see Gandhi in Amritsar!” And I felt a new jolt of terror go through Obi’s hand into mine. This time the fear was so extreme that we were literally blasted out of our whirling, waltzing holding pattern.
    We just - stopped.
    We were on a station platform at night. A rust-eaten sign said LAHORE.
    We’d come right back to where we started - but not when we started. I felt it right away.
    Karmen had told me Indian stations got crowded, but these people were all squashed up together like battery chickens. Nobody could so much as scratch his nose without elbowing his neighbour. No trains could have passed through for hours, maybe days.
    What unnerved me most was the silence. Hundreds of humans packed into such a small space and they didn’t make a sound. A cough or a rustle maybe. Apart from that, deathly quiet. People kept glancing despairingly at the station clock.
    I picked up flickers of panic. The Delhi train had never been this late. Something had happened. Something no one here could bear to think about.
    Obi was trembling all over like a baby rabbit. It was like he knew.
    I can’t tell you how long we stood there. I just know that at last the endless waiting was over, and an old-fashioned steam train came slowly winding towards us through the dark. It had no lights and this was obviously wrong. You could just see plumes of steam billowing, ghostly against the night.
    It was like a dream you want to stop but can’t. The train chuffing so slowly but gradually getting closer, everyone watching mesmerised with that same cold sense of premonition. This nightmare, now it had started, was unstoppable.
    The train came to a shuddering standstill. The doors remained closed. Inside the train nothing moved.
    Everyone seemed paralysed, then suddenly there was a frantic surge as people rushed forward, wrenching open carriage doors.
    Inside was darkness and a silence so heavy it felt solid, until you noticed the frenzied buzzing of invisible flies.
    Relatives forced their way into the unlit carriages where bodies lay piled on bodies like bloodstained luggage.
    I knew “massacre” as a word, but I’d never seen, I’d never smelled , its horror.
    “Amir, Amir!” Obi’s

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