One day, in the the eighties, I boarded a bus in Freshbrook with the intention of going to Swindon town centre. It was early evening and the bus was a single-decker. Sitting in the seat opposite the driver was a very odd looking person with his head down. He was dressed in dark, untidy clothing, disheveled in appearance. He did not look at me at all but there was something of a vibe emanating from him that made the hairs on my neck and arms stand up. I sat on the same side of the bus as him at least ten seats behind him. There were several other people between us and others also to the right hand side.
As I sat down in my seat I noticed a new pound note on the floor, I had placed my shoe inadvertently on it. Looking around I could tell that the other passengers nearby were ignoring me and not about to lay claim to it. I placed it in my pocket. No sooner had I done so than the strange looking man at the front of the bus sat upright and then stood up. He turned and made his way slowly up the bus, focusing on me. The other passengers ignored him as if he was not there. Stopping alongside me, he held out his hand..."I will have my pound note back now", he said. My hairs stood on end once more as I looked at him. He seemed dark in complexion and almost sub normal. How could he know I just found a pound note...he wasn't anywhere near...he was at the front of the bus and curled up...his head down...it didn't add up and felt eerie. Was he testing me in some way?
"What pound note is that, mate?" I found myself replying. He laughed to himself and returned to his seat at the front of the bus where he sat down again and lowered his head as if had all been a draining effort for him. He got off the bus in town and vanished, leaving me perplexed and confused at the silliness of it all.
The next day I was in the town centre once again and decided to go into the Paperback Parade bookshop, near the townhall to find an interesting book to read. As I worked around the shelves, taking my time (Thatcher's Britain...we were all unemployed). I was drawn to look out the window facing toward the College. There crossing the road and coming down toward the precinct was the same dark stranger dressed as he was the night before. Looking as if he was bypassing the bookshop, he made a sudden right turn and entered the Paperback Parade. My hairs stood on end once more as I watched him from the corner of my eye. He copied my movements around the shop until he was stood close to me on my left hand side. I pretended to ignore him,difficult as I felt cold and all my hairs on end. He leaned forward and spoke into my ear...telling me what was in my thoughts and in my mind. He laughed again and left the shop.
I never saw him again or told a soul what he spoke into my ear that moment. Certainly I was left in no doubt that this was an otherworldy encounter of the strangest kind. Later I was to come across stories of Men in Black and Trickster spirits who confuse their victims in this manner. Certainly the strangest of bus rides ever. - K