Detective Chief Inspector Spencer was in his office. He was on his fifth black coffee of the day. He had a mountain of paperwork in front of him but just couldn’t seem to get going today. His desk phone rang and he answered it. He heard a very English upper class accent on the other end.
“Spencer? It’s Alan Swan from SIS (Secret Intelligence Service, formally known as MI6), I understand you’re waiting for someone who may or may not be Ray Samuels?”
“Err yes Sir, should be here in a few hours’ time, why do you ask?”
Alan Swan ignored the question and continued talking.
“Where have you arranged to meet him and who’s bringing him in?”
“He’s coming down with the local Sergeant and he’s coming direct to the station. Why all the questions?”
Once again the question was ignored.
“I am on my way from London, I’ll be with you within the hour. When I get there you’ll need to have a quiet office ready where we can have a chat about Mr Samuels.”
Swan hung up the phone.
DCI Spencer was intrigued. He was forty seven now and only a young PC when Ray Samuels went missing. But, twenty two years ago it was the talk of the station. There was this aura about Samuels, a mystique.
He’d gone missing, nothing unusual about that, tens of thousands of people go missing every year. But this was different. Top brass starting turning up at the Station, in fact they took over the whole investigation. Rumours were they were from Special Services, MI5 and MI6. They wanted to know everything about this man. They questioned his wife for hours, knocked on every door on the route that they thought he’d taken. They seemed to have so much man power and they demanded every inch of the route covered, all bloody nine miles of it. It took forever. He remembered they were particularly interested in a local Tramp known as Old Peter. He’d seen Ray out running that morning. They kept him locked up for ages, no solicitor for Old Peter. Then after a few weeks they just let him go. Then of course there was Eddie Samuels, Ray’s father, some kind of religious nut, wouldn’t stop going on about how his son was so special. But, the general opinion by everyone at the time was that Ray had been a victim of a car accident. Maybe someone had run him down by accident, panicked, bundled his body into their car and drove off and buried him somewhere. That wasn’t his own theory of course; he always thought there was more to it than that. Why would there be so much money and man power, why were so many forces involved, why the relentless search for Ray Samuels for the next three years. It didn’t make sense, none of it.
But the local Sergeant in Buxton had said that he was still twenty eight. That, of course, was impossible. And why were SIS getting involved again? There MUST be something special about him.
He had an hour before Swan came down. He decided to do his own digging.
He shouted out loud to a young admin lad.
“Roberts! Go down to archives and get me everything you can on the Ray Samuels’s case from 1982, and look fucking lively.”
Roberts nodded and went away. Fifteen minutes later he was back with a trolley. It had two Archive boxes on it.
Spencer knew he didn’t have much time. He wanted to look at the notes from Old Peters investigation. He found them. He read through them as quickly as he could.
The one thing that stood out in the notes, was Old Peters answer to almost every question he was asked. “The Rain took him, it was the rain.” he said it over and over again.
Spencer was intrigued. What the fuck did he mean by “The Rain took him?”
Swan arrived at the station an hour later. Spencer was waiting for him at the front desk.
“Commander Swan, a warm welcome to Romford. Hope you had a good journey.”
“Cut the crap Spencer, do you have somewhere quiet we can go? I need to bring you up to speed about Samuels.”
Spencer led him down a corridor into a small office. There was a fresh pot of coffee on the table. Spencer poured two cups.
“Milk and Sugar Sir?”
“Just black, thanks.”
Swan made himself comfortable and looked across the table at Spencer.
“Okay, I’ve read your file, you’re a good copper, done your time. I’ve made some enquiries and it seems you can be trusted.”
“Thank you Sir.”
“If this IS Ray Samuels, and from what I am being told, it’s likely to be, then we need some discreet people to look after him. That responsibility will be yours. Starting now. The plod from Buxton who’s driving him down here will be your number two. I’ve squared it with both your seniors.”
“But Sir, I’m involved with other cases. I’ve got a mountain of work to clear first.”
“Not anymore, they’ve been sorted. You and the northerner now report directly to me. Ray Samuels is special. Special for a number of reasons, reasons I’ll go into later. But for now your main task is to keep him safe and quiet. Then get the tests done. DNA, teeth, hair, clothing, every fucking thing. If it is him great, let’s get him settled. If not, fuck him off back where he came from. But if it is him it’s your responsibility to make sure that no one else knows about it. If his existence gets out we’re all in trouble. Do I make myself clear?”
Spencer was taken aback by Commander Swans tone. As a DCI he wasn’t used to being spoken to in such an abrupt way. But there was something in the way that Swan spoke that demanded respect.
“Yes sir. But what about everyone at the station, there’s a rumour that he’s turned up after all these years.”
“Okay, the northerner has been told to take him to a local Travel Lodge and wait for us there. In the meantime you need to convince everyone here that it was all a huge wind up by Buxton, say it was a drunk that made up a name, tell them anything, I don’t care, but they must believe that it isn’t Ray Samuels. Clear?”
They drank their coffee and left the small meeting room.
Spencer was even more confused than he was an hour ago, but had no option but to go along with it all. He decided to throw a curved ball. As they walked along the corridor together Spencer decided to ask Swan a question.
“What about the Rain sir, are you still concerned about the Rain?”
Swan stopped in his tracks and pulled Spencer to one side roughly by his arm.
“What the fuck do you know about the Rain?”