This is so unbelievable that I can hardly believe it myself. But it is true. It happened to me and it has really shaken me, I tell you. I have not mentioned it to anyone since.
He didn't say much as he sat there wheezing with difficulty as he breathed. I noticed he breathed every thirty seconds or so.
You know how your mind plays tricks on you when you're in a panic? I tried to imitate him by holding my breath every thirty seconds. I could not do it. We humans breathe more often than that.
My fear created more panic in my mind. For something to say I mumbled, "rather terrible weather isn't it?"
"This is so ..." he replied.
An unusual answer, I thought. Normally people say, yes it's cold and wet, or something else about the weather. They don't just make a direct statement like "this is so."
To keep up the conversation, and perhaps to control my fear, I asked him what he was doing walking at this time of night.
"I am looking for the Loch Ness monster," was his wheezy reply.
Somehow, this allayed my fears a little. He was one of those people who believe there's a monster in the lake and spend their time searching for him. I smiled to myself.
Pity none of them ever have a good camera on them when they see such a creature, I thought. It is always a blurry image that could be anything that they claim to have seen. Why is Nessie, as the monster is so fondly named, so inconsiderate and why does he, or she, not pause for a photo with the passing tourists like a good Scotsman would do in his national costume and bagpipes? Why is it alway a grey image with nothing to see or prove?
I continued the conversation as I kept driving not knowing where he wished to be dropped off.
"There are many tourists ... and scientists ... (I added cautiously), from all over the world who visit these parts in search for the monster," I said, "where are you from?"
"I am not from earth," he wheezed, "I am from another galaxy not in your solar system!"
Somehow, maybe it was the way he said it, but those words suddenly felt true and extremely sinister. At first I was afraid, I was petrified. I kept thinking who or what is this sitting by my side.
Terror gripped every fibre of my being. I started trembling again. My knees started knocking again. I had butterflies in my stomach and their knees were knocking too. My skin had goosebumps and the goosebumps had their own goosebumps. In my sudden sense of panic and hopelessness I must have cried silently because I could feel tears trickling down my legs.
For some unexplainable reason, whilst still driving silently, I started thinking perhaps there's a spaceship flying in orbit high above us following our every movement. Perhaps he was in communication with the mother-ship by telepathy. Various films and TV program I'd seen started replaying in my mind. All thoughts jumbled up adding to my fear and confusion.
Until such a situation actually happens to you, you do not know how you will react. What else could I do? Stop the car and run? Run where? As my mind froze at his revelation all I could do is continue driving. Suddenly it all seemed so plausible. So true. So real, yet so surreal.
I said nothing because there was nothing else left to say. What do you say in such a situation? I could hardly ask him inane questions about the weather where he comes from. Or where he'd been on holiday, or what food he likes. You know ... all those inane conversational questions we ask each other to pass the time.
This was not such an occasion. I had with me in the car a strange passenger whose appearance and behaviour had from the start seemed to me to be somewhat unusual; and who had now said he was from another planet, or galaxy, or whatever. Something about it all seemed truly genuine albeit bizarre.
I continued driving, saying nothing. Hoping and praying that this is all a dream, or a nightmare, and that I'd soon wake up.
Five or so minutes later he said, "Discontinue driving here. I wish to alight!"
I stopped almost suddenly. The car stalled as it was still in gear and then jumped once or twice like a kangaroo. When it came to a halt, he opened the door, got out, and said, "with gratitude and appreciations!"
Then he vanished into the undergrowth.
I drove away as fast as my feet could carry me.