Commander Alan Swan had been with MI6 since his late twenties. He was now sixty seven. He was ex-military. A tall man for his age, over six feet, still fit and muscular with a full head of well groomed silver hair and a small pencil moustache. He looked every bit a Commander. He could have retired a few years before but loved his job too much to give it up just yet.
He remembered the Ray Samuels case well, very well indeed. He’d been asked to look into it back in 1982, due to the “special circumstances”. He was just forty five back then and a long way off from being a Commander. But, he was well respected in the Service and was pleased to be given the responsibility.
It looked straight forward at first, a missing person, no big deal. But then some very interesting reports came through from other agencies that made him look at it in a completely different light.
After all these years he’d been waiting for Ray Samuels to reappear. He didn’t really believe it would happen, but nevertheless he’d been waiting.
Ray slept for the first couple of hours of the journey from Buxton, but was now wide awake and asking Tom lots of questions. Tom told him as much as he could. His biggest wow factor was the Twin Towers. He just couldn’t get his head round it. He kept saying “All those people, all those poor people.”
Tom told him about, Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, The Falklands, and The Gulf War.
Tom received a call from someone telling him to go to a Travel Lodge on the A12 just outside Romford. He and Ray were to go to room 37 where they would be met by someone from Romford CID. Tom kept thinking that this wasn’t normal procedure but had to go along with it.
They arrived at The Moby Dick pub at four o’clock. Attached to the pub was the Travel Lodge. Tom parked the car, he looked across at Ray. He could see he was nervous.
“Tell you what Ray, how about a pint before we meet the welcoming party. It’s been a long drive.”
“I thought you’d never ask.”
They walked into the pub. At four o’clock in the afternoon the place was practically deserted. Just a few people here and there. Ray pointed to Fosters Lager on one of the pumps.
“Bloody hell, nothing changes, I used to drink gallons of that stuff years ago”
They had a couple of pints each and then went to find reception. A blonde haired girl smiled at them from behind her desk.
“Can I help you?”
“Yes, I’m looking for room 37. We’re meeting some friends there.”
The young polish receptionist said that she’d been told to take them to the room as soon as they arrived. They walked down a long thin corridor and found the room. She knocked. Spencer opened the door. He gave the girl a £5 note and thanked her.
He smiled at Ray and Tom and said “Welcome to Romford.” He then glanced towards the Commander “This is Alan Swan.”
The four of them sat down, it was a fairly good sized room but only had two chairs so it meant that Ray and Tom were sitting on the bed.
Alan Swan took charge.
“Ray, this must be very confusing for you, just as it is for us.” he smiled, he took on a gentle voice when he needed to, it was warm and charming. Not a side that Spencer had seen before.
“ First, we’ve got to make sure, absolutely sure that you are who you say you are, and that’s not me saying I don’t believe you, because I do. But this is such a big thing that we have to be absolutely certain. Does that make sense Ray?”
Ray liked the way Alan Swan spoke to him, it was direct but it was honest. Ray smiled.
“Perfect Sense Alan, it seems I’ve waited over twenty years, so I’m sure that I can wait a just a little bit longer.”
“Thanks Ray. We’re going to be a team, the four of us, until all of this is sorted out, now I need to take Sergeant Lucas and DCI Spencer to the station and go through some paperwork. There’s a plain clothed policeman outside who will stay with you until we get back, is that okay?”
“Sure, how long will it all take do you think?”
“Couple of days Ray, just a couple of days.”
The three of them left Ray alone in his room. Outside was a policeman dressed in jeans and a sweatshirt. Swan had already told the girl on reception not to let him make any calls from the room.
They drove back to the station in Toms car, very little was said.
Back at the station, Spencer led Swan and Lucas to the small office they had been in before. Then he went to the front desk to speak with the Sergeant. He raised his voice so that others could hear.
“What a load of bollocks, turns out to be a complete waste of time, Ray Samuels my arse more like Ray bloody Parlour.”
The desk Sergeant laughed as did a few others that heard what Spencer had said.
“No good then Sir?”
“No, this guy was about 40, been out on a stag night, got pissed, ended up trying to run home cos he’d run out of money, his mates had stripped him down to his vest and pants, got picked up and came out with a load of bollocks. Said he couldn’t remember who he was or where he lived. Shit scared his new missus would beat him up.”
Now everyone laughed.
“Typical bloody northerners.”
Spencer walked away confident that he’d quashed the Ray Samuels rumours.
He joined the other two in the small meeting room. Tom Lucas and Alan Swan were drinking coffee.
Swan went to his briefcase and brought out a file, it contained some papers, he gave them each a copy.
“These are NDA’s, read them, then sign them and then we can move forward.”
Tom spoke up.
“What’s an NDA?”
“Non-Disclosure Agreement, basically it means that you agree not to disclose to anyone outside this room what I am about to tell you. If you sign then I will tell you everything we know. If not, you go back to what you were doing before. So just sign the bloody papers.”
They didn’t bother to read them they just signed them as instructed.
Swan took them back quickly and returned them to his briefcase.
“Good, that’s the legal bit done, if you disclose anything to anyone, its instant dismissal, no pension, nothing. Then of course you’ll both be prosecuted and end up in prison. Prison’s not a nice place for people like us.”
It suddenly dawned on Tom that this was not a usual situation that he found himself in.
“Okay, introductions first, my name is Commander Alan Swan, I am with Special Intelligence Services, SIS for short, it’s a posh new name for MI6. We collate information from all forces and try to make sense of it all. So we get intelligence from, MI5, Scotland Yard, Special Forces, Army, Navy etc, in fact everyone. We try to put the pieces of intelligence together and complete the jigsaw.”
He took a mouthful of coffee before continuing. Tom Lucas was even more uncomfortable now, a Commander, he’d never seen a Commander before, not even at training college. He thought they only existed in James Bond films. Spencer just sat quiet, he was anxious to learn the truth.
“You call me Sir, not Alan or Commander, just Sir. Sergeant, I will call you Tom. Spencer, I don’t know your first name so I’ll call you Spencer, okay?”
Spencer was relieved, his first name was Albert.
“The story as far as we know, starts in Iran in 1942. It may have started earlier but this is when it was first recorded. Reports reached us that a religious leader was prophesising the return of “The Chosen One”. He said he had a vision, a vision about a man who would come to us soon. He would be called Eslam Yarus. Nothing happened. The whole thing was recorded and put on file. This was of course before my time.”
Then, in 1948, another religious leader, this time in Israel, said he had a vision about a new prophet that would come to save us all. He would be “The Chosen One” and be called Saul Raymes. His followers were to be ready for his arrival. But, once again, nothing.
In 1954 another man, this time in England, not a religious leader but a very religious man, said he had a vision. He said “The Chosen One” was coming soon. But this time it was different. This time it was more specific. The man said that the “Chosen one” would be his son. His name was Eddie Samuels.”
Tom spoke up.
“Ray Samuels Dad?”
“Exactly. When I joined the Service in 1970, I was given these files and started to cross reference them. These people had never met each other as far as we knew, but they all had the same story, a man was coming to save us all. They all mentioned the same words “The Chosen One” But were they talking about three different people?”
Spencer had been taking notes. He put down his pen and spoke.
“But they’re not three different people are they Sir, they are all the same person, Ray Samuels is just an anagram of Eslam Yarus and Saul Raymes, their names are made up of the same letters.”
Swan was impressed.
“Well spotted Spencer, yes they are all the same. It’s a lot to take in I know, but I may as well tell you everything, then you can ask questions. When Ray Samuels went missing we were alerted because of an old tramp called Peter. Old Peter had seen Ray on the morning he went missing. We couldn’t make much sense out of what he was saying, he mumbled a lot. But we managed to understand a few words, he kept saying it was the rain, the rain took him. He said it over and over again. When we started doing house calls along the route that Ray took that morning, a young lady answered one of the doors. We asking her some questions and she said that her six year old daughter had woken them up at around 5.45 that morning and said quite clearly, the running man has been taken by the rain.”
Spencer spoke up.
“But what does that mean Sir?”
“Well we have three visions by three different people some twelve years apart, the similarities don’t stop there. In their visions they were all told the same thing. I will quote word for word, He will come, be taken by the rain, he will return after many years, the same. He will lead his people from despair.”
There was a silence as Tom and Spencer took this in. Finally Spencer spoke.
“So this prophecy has come true, he was taken by the rain and he has returned years later, exactly the same.”
Swan ignored Spencer and continued.
“So, when Ray Samuels went missing in 1982 and having been told by two separate sources that he was taken by the rain, we were sort of waiting for his return. Then we heard about Buxton and the lonely runner. In the next forty eight hours we have to run tests on him to make sure he is who he says he is. Now I don’t have any religious beliefs at all, the last time I went to church was when my old mum died twenty years ago, you two?”
They both shook their head.
“Well this might come as a shock. But that blond haired blue eyed guy sitting in a small room in a Travel Lodge on the A12, might just be the next messiah.”
There was a stunned silence.