NOT AT AUSCHWITZ. | By: Terry Collett | | Category: Short Story - Mystery Bookmark and Share



As you take your seat on the train to London a seat near the window so that you can view the passing scenes you notice Anny is there Anny Horowitz opposite you in her 1940s little girl dress her blonde hair tied in a bow her blue eyes gazing out the window her small hands in her lap she like you waits for the train to begin its journey but there is no steam train to listen for no loudness to start up unlike that train journey she had taken those years before that train trip from Drancy to Auschwitz in 1942 which she took when she was 9 years old with her mother and her 7 year old sister Paulette where they perished but now Anny sits sideways on while her ghostly finger makes an oval shape on the glass you notice how the finger's movement continues to make the oval shape you look around the compartment there is a woman on the other side of the compartment with a child and a man in a tee-shirt to your right with mp3 player earphones in his ears his head nodding slowly to the music he alone hears none of them can see Anny even when she stares at them having taken her eyes from the window you notice how she stares at the other child and the clothes she wears I never wore such clothes as that Anny says turning her eyes to you focusing her attention on you now and no stockings or proper shoes she adds you look at the other child a girl of about 8 years old who is dressed in a pink top and white shorts with canvas shoes on her small feet you gesture with your hands to Anny as if to say that's how they dress nowadays where are you going? she asks you feel unsure whether to answer her as no one else nearby can see her and it might seem odd to them if you started talking to thin air as far as they were concerned so you take out your mobile phone and speak into it so it might seem you were talking to another on it I'm going to the Tate Modern you say the woman looks at you then looks away what's that? Anny asks it's an art gallery in London for modern art you reply I like art she says I used to like drawing you smile at her taking in her rosy complexion and the brightness of her blue eyes I'm going to see a Damien Hirst exhibition there you say the girl on the other side stares at you with her brown eyes focusing on you seriously as if she has concerns about you speaking you point at your mobile phone as if this gesture might explain why you are talking but she looks away who is Damien Hirst? Anny asks is he an artist? yes a modern artist you say she nods her head making the ribbon in her hair shake slightly then she looks away out of the window as the train starts up and the journey begins and the station passes by and the countryside opens out as the train moves faster along the track you look at her moving side to side to the motion of the train her black old fashion shoes swaying slightly you hold your mobile phone in your hand in case she begins to talk again but she doesn't she seems content to watch the passing view or now and then studies the passengers on the other side of the compartment it seems strange to you seeing her there in front of you her eyes gazing out of the window her body close tight to the compartment wall yet none of the others can see her there even when she sings in her soft voice some song in French and so the journey continues you staring out of the window or at Anny or now and then at the other passengers and Anny gazing out at the passing view at the fields with cows or sheep or horses or houses flashing by hedges trees all go by in a fast moving show-piece she doesn't tell you about the journey to Auschwitz or about the train or the voices or cries or smells or the camp or the deaths or smoke she has told you that many times before when she has visited you now she knows you know she is content to come see you when she wants to sometimes unexpectedly like today but times passes by now and before you know it you are at London Bridge railway station and the train draws to a stop and the other passengers get up and leave the compartment the woman eyeing you as if she is uncertain of your sanity her daughter moving by you holding he mother’s hand tightly Anny looks at them then at you are we there now? yes you say this is London Bridge station it's not far from here and you stand up and she does too taking hold of your hand in hers and you sense the coolness as if you had put your hand in chilled water but not unpleasantly just different then you get out of the train and walk along the platform others passengers passing you by or walking alongside I remember getting out of a train before she says softly but then there was people shouting and crying and dogs barking and noise noise noise yes you say gently you told me Anny told me of this often and her hand grips yours tighter and the coolness becomes colder and she moves closer to you as you approach the barrier the loudspeaker bellows out information about train times and platforms no one else sees her near you as they pass by some pushing in front of you she closes her blue eyes her grip getting tighter her phantom hand seeming so real just you and little Anny Horowitz at London Bridge station not as she fears at Auschwitz.

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