While Ray slept, Tom began to read the Police file on Ray Edward Samuels. Born 16th February 1953. Analyst at IBM. Married to Laura Edmonds in 1977. One child, Stacey, born in 1979. Keen sportsman, played rugby and football at county level for Essex. Was training for the London Marathon and went running every day. Last seen on Sunday March 7th 1982 by his wife Laura. He’d woken her at around 05.30 and said he was going jogging. He was wearing Nike running vest, Nike shorts and New Balance running shoes.
Tom looked over at Rays shoes. He could clearly make out a motif on the side, NB in large bold blue letters.
Tom sat back in his chair. He wasn’t a man that got spooked easily. He was a practical man. He didn’t have any religious beliefs, no point, no proof. He’d even given up believing in Father Christmas when he was five. Even at that age he knew it was impossible for a man to fly round the world giving out presents to everyone all in one night.
But something about Ray Samuels intrigued him. This was either the biggest con trick the world has ever seen or the most amazing story in history. At the moment he couldn’t work out which one he thought more probable.
If it was a con trick, what would this young man have to gain. Insurance money? No way, not after all this time, the file would have been closed years ago. Besides, the only way it would work was if he came back as Ray Samuels, a fifty one year old man.
But sitting in front of him was no fifity one year old man. This was Ray Samuels, still looking exactly the same as his did the day he went missing. Why hadn’t he aged in twenty two years? And where the fuck had he been?
He thought it best not to mention this information to anyone else until he’d heard back from Romford. Perhaps then he could make more sense of it.
Tom’s shift finished at 06.30am, Ray was still asleep.
The Station door opened and a tall dark haired man walked in. He shivered from the cold then rubbed his hands together and put them on the radiator just inside the door.
“Morning Tom, fucking freezing out there. Quiet night?”
It was Sergeant Keith Price who did the day shift.
Tom pointed at Ray.
“Yeh, nothing happened really. Doctor Steele brought this bloke in early this morning. Bloody idiot was out jogging and collapsed with the cold.”
Keith price shook his head.
“That’s what Doctor Steele thought as well. I’m gonna drop him off on my way home, okay?”
“Yep no problem Tom, see you tonight.”
“If anyone from Romford Police calls for me can you take a message and then call me on the mobile?”
“Yeh will do Sarge.”
Tom gave Ray a poke. “Come on lad, you’re coming with me.”
Ray got up and followed him to the car. Before he got in he turned and looked at Tom.
“Where we going, you taking me back to Romford?”
“Not yet lad. Let’s get you fed and watered, get your strength back and then we’ll see about getting you home. You’ll stay with me for a while.”
Ray just shrugged his shoulders.
Once inside the car Ray leaned back in the seat and fell into a deep sleep within seconds.
Tom Lucas lived five miles outside of Buxton in a small town called Fairfield. He lived alone. His wife Margaret had died six years before. She died of Breast Cancer and Tom had nursed her through the illness. He still missed her, every day.
Just fifteen minutes later they pulled up outside a small stone cottage with a small front garden covered in thick snow. Tom gave Ray a nudge.
“Wake up lad, we’re here.”
Ray got out of the car and the two of them walked to the front door and went inside. Ray looked around and smiled. The house reminded him of something but he wasn’t sure why. Ray noticed a daily paper on the mat just inside the front door. Instinctively he picked it up and began to read the front page.
Tom tried to take it from him but it was too late. The colour from Ray’s face drained away. He stared at Tom.
“This paper says that today is the 26th December 2004! What the fuck’s going on?”
He started to shake. Tom grabbed his arm.
“It’s okay son, it’s okay, come and sit down, I know it doesn’t make sense yet but it will. I’m sure it will.”
Tom guided Ray into the front room and sat him down in a very old worn out but very comfortable looking armchair. Then he did what he always did in these circumstances. He went and got a bottle of Malt Whiskey.
His Dad had once told him, “Whenever you’re ill, confused, upset or generally pissed off. Pour yourself a large whisky, have one or two then put the bottle away. Everything looks clearer after a couple of Whiskies. Tom had taken his advice on board. He’d drunk a lot of whisky over the past six years. He took two crystal glass tumblers from a cabinet and poured them each a large glassful.
“Get that down you, it’ll warm things up and might kick start the old brain matter, then in your own time, tell me what you can.”
Ray drank the whiskey down in one. Tom poured them both another.
“I know my name, I know where I live, I work in computers, I have a wife and daughter, I know that much. But I can’t remember their names.”
“That’s good Ray. Now how do you think you ended up in Buxton?”
Ray’s eye were closed. He was desperately trying to remember.
“I’m not sure, I remember saying to someone, a woman. I’m going now. Then I remember closing the door of a large house and running. That’s it.”
Tom decided to take a chance and see what reaction he got.
“Do the names Laura and Stacey mean anything?”
Rays face seemed to come to life, he stood up.
“Laura is my wife! It was Laura I was saying goodbye to as I left the house. Stacey is my baby girl.”
He sat back down and started to cry. He didn’t know why he was crying, he was happy, he was remembering again, but his emotions were running high.
“Told you Ray, didn’t I. A couple of Whiskies always helps.”
They both started to laugh. Tom broke his golden rule and poured out a third.