“Dear, what’s wrong! Are you all right?” Heart racing the woman rushed to the old man’s side. He was gasping while leaning on the dining room table. She had heard him swear, loudly, using words he rarely used. “Son of a bitch” was an expletive she could not remember him ever using. But, the yelling! So loud it had startled and shaken her. At first she guessed there might be an intruder in their house. She had briefly envisioned her husband being accosted.
“Help me sit down,” the old man said. “No, not here. On the patio. Help me outside. I need fresh air.” There was nothing else she could do. She wanted to take him into bed. He was pale and, once again, it scared her.
“Shall I call the doctor?” she almost pleaded to do so.
“No, I’m fine. I thought I saw something; that’s all.” I saw something all right, he thought, I saw something that wasn’t from here. He shook visibly for another minute then waved his wife away. “”I’m fine! I just need to think. By myself.” The old man had almost let slip his having seen the man. He was old, yes, but he wasn’t unaware. A dream was one thing to discuss but a vision of another planet was quite another. Especially at his age and in his health. The looney bin in Stonebridge was not a place he wanted to be sent and this was pretty damned looney; even for him. No, what he needed was time for consideration of something he suspected but, until now, had no idea of. He was, in fact, wondering if he had merely hallucinated the being. Shit! was all he could come up with but he muttered that under his breath.
On the patio she brought him a glass of ice water. The day was warm and the old shade tree always kept the temperature 10 degrees cooler than the ambient temperature. She looked at him as she handed him the glass of ice water; thinking that he looked fine…for his age. She knew better than to start an inquisition though. She had to be satisfied with what she already knew. Which, she figured, was absolutely nothing. “Shall I sit with you, dear?” she asked, tepidly. He shook his head and said he’d be fine; he just needed some quiet for a few minutes.
As she walked away he was already assessing what had happened.