I had encountered strange people before but the lady I met during my holidays was the strangest. She looked ordinary and not at all the type of person she turned out to be. When she sat beside me in the tour bus, I smiled at her and she smiled back. I was happy to have a friendly person as a seat companion. The journey to Singapore was a long one and it would have been dull and boring if I had nothing to do but read the whole way. I was especially pleased to note that she was a talkative old soul.
We talked on different subjects and I was glad to learn that my companion was a well-read person. She could discuss anything from the middle-east conflict to Pharaoh Akhnaton. In spite of all her openness, I sensed that there was something strange about her. She seemed to be keeping something from the world and laughing to herself and at the world.
The young robbers came on board and started yelling and threatening us. As most of us on the bus were ladies and older people, we obeyed meekly. As the robbers were collecting our valuables, the leader came up to my seat. He extended his palm and then my seat companion spoke softly and calmly, ”Stop all this, get down and go, ” she said. The thug stiffened then he looked at the lady. Suddenly, and I saw this clearly, terror came into his eyes. He yelled to his men, ”Let’s go!” My companion fixed her eyes on him, ”Return everything, ” she said. ”Return everything!” shouted the thung. His men obeyed promptly. Then they scrambled down from the bus, jumped on their bikes and roared away.
I was stumped and stared at my companion. ”Naughty boys,” she said and closed her eyes. Next thing I knew she was snoring softly. There was a hushed silence in the bus as everyone kept quiet, obviously because they did not know what to say. I felt eerie and grateful at the same time. I was too afraid to ask any questions. When she awoke we continued chatting on a number of topics as if nithing had happened.