Commander Swan walked up the few short steps that took him to the entrance of the impressive building and was met by the Porter.
“Good afternoon Commander, nice to see you again, let me take your coat Sir.”
“Thank you John, has my guest arrived yet?”
“Yes Sir, he was a little early so I’ve put him upstairs in the Library. It’s nice and quiet up there today. He’s having a gin and tonic.”
“Thank you John, would you bring one up for me as well?”
“Of course Sir, Bombay Sapphire?”
Swan walked into the large atrium with its beautiful marble floor and up the grand staircase of the Reform Club at 104 Pall Mall and found Professor James Conroy sitting in a large winged Chesterfield armchair.
James Conroy was Head of Religious Studies at Oxford University. He and Swan had served together in Special Forces many years before. They hadn’t seen each other in nearly six years. Swans face lit up when he saw his old friend.
“James, great to see you, good journey?”
“Yes, I got here much quicker than expected. The Porter brought me a gin and tonic to keep me company, I was looking for a newspaper to read but apparently they’re not allowed?”
Swan pulled up a chair beside him.
“No, no papers or mobiles allowed in the Reform, so best put yours on silent if you haven’t already”
James Conroy smiled.
“Already done, this didn’t look the sort of place where you want a mobile going off!”
The Porter brought Swan his usual, large Bombay Sapphire Gin with tonic water, slice of lime and a handful of crushed ice. He took a long sip then put the glass down on the table in front of him.
Conroy waited for him to swallow his drink then spoke first.
“So Alan, I take it this meeting you set up is about Ray Samuels?”
Swan wasn’t used to hearing his Christian name used in conversation and was also impressed that James had worked out why he’d asked to see him.
“You always were quick off the mark James, yes I wanted to get your thoughts on what has happened so far and what we might expect to come.”
“In which case Alan you’d best tell me everything there is to know. And please, no secrets, if I’m to give you my honest thoughts, I need to know everything.”
Swan smiled. James knew him too well.
“Okay, okay. No secrets. I promise.”
Swan then recounted the story so far, the visions, the disappearance and then reappearance of Ray Samuels and of course the Spanish incident earlier that day.
James Conroy was staring at Swan with a look of absolute joy on his face.
“This is amazing Alan, absolutely amazing. I heard the story on the radio as I was driving down, at first I thought it was an early April fool’s joke or some kind of newspaper prank so I changed the channel to Radio 4, but it was on there as well. Everyone was talking about it. All of them coming up with weird and wonderful theories, but now you’ve told me everything, it’s bloody amazing.”
“Yes I thought you’d like it, right up your street.”
Swan pressed a button on the wall beside him, as if by magic a waiter appeared within seconds, Swan ordered two more drinks.
“So what I want to know James is what does it all mean, you know, in religious terms.”
James Conroy sat back in his chair and stroked his chin with his right hand.
“Well, just about every religion talks about someone or something coming to save the world. It’s possibly the only thing they can all agree on. However, anyone that has tried to change the world has met with an early demise. If you look through the history books it’s littered with leaders or saviours, whatever you want to call them and not one of them has lived to see their work through. If you think about it, even in our lifetime it’s been the case, Martin Luther King, JFK even some would say John Lennon, all tried to change things and all met with an early death.”
Swan listened carefully.
“But none of them quite in the same league as Ray Samuels. Here’s a man that’s doing things that he simply shouldn’t be able to do.”
“That’s my point Alan, all the people I mentioned were, shall we say, normal people and yet they were all killed because of their views on the way we should live our lives. Now Ray Samuels is something out of the ordinary, he certainly isn’t normal, so he’s probably in even greater danger of an early grave.”
“But who from, who would want to get rid of him?”
“Are you kidding Alan, just about everyone! As I said, every religion has a belief about a saviour, but it has to be the one they want it to be, not some white middle class Baptist boy from Romford. It just doesn’t fit their criteria. Think about it, do you really think that Catholics and Muslims would want the new saviour to be Ray Samuels?”
They both took a swig of their gin and tonics. James Conroy continued.
“It’s not just religious leaders either Alan that won’t welcome him, its world governments, no one wants the world order to change. They like it the way it is, even with all its flaws. Governments don’t want someone coming along and trying to change the way they run things. Imagine if he does become a leader of some kind, followed by millions around the world. Imagine the power he would have, imagine what he could influence. He could influence the way people vote, he could put people in power and remove them just as easily, the people in charge won’t like that Alan, you should know that better than anyone.”
Swan knew exactly what he meant. Already the Home Secretary was very worried about Ray Samuels and if he was then it was definitely coming from the man above him as well.
“Well we’ve got people watching him around the clock, we’ll just have to keep our eyes open and see what he does next.”
“There’s one other thing as well Alan, something to consider. Let’s go down the route that Ray Samuels IS some kind of second coming. Some sort of mystic or prophet sent from up above. Then according to all the scriptures there will also be a force of evil coming as well. The Bible is a book of great stories but they all centre around right and wrong or good versus evil, for every force of good there is a force of evil. There is a god but there is also a devil, so if Mr Samuels is a god, where is the devil?”
Swan was confused.
“So what does that mean?”
“According to the many books on the subject, if we have a new god among us we will certainly have a force of evil here as well. We don’t know what form it will take but we might just expect to start seeing some nasty things happen around the world. For example, Ray Samuels appeared on 26th December, correct?”
“Yes, early hours of the morning.”
Conroy continued with another question.
Swan thought for a second.
“A local Doctor picked him up around 3.00am. Found him wandering around suffering from hyperthermia.”
Conroy couldn’t wait to explain further.
“So it’s logical to assume that he’d been out in the cold for an hour or so before he was picked up?”
“Yes, I suppose so. Why?”
“The Tsunami in the Indian ocean occurred at exactly 1.00am, claiming the lives of hundreds of thousands of people. Possibly exactly the same time that Ray Samuels reappeared. Coincidence?”
Commander Swan hadn’t thought of that. He took another sip of Gin and tonic.
Tom Lucas got the news from Spencer about Ray. He was okay with it, it would make a nice change to be away from the dreary life of Buxton for a while, besides he liked Ray, he felt close to him and in some way wanted to protect him. It didn’t feel like spying at all.
He was on his way to see Ray, driving along the A12, listening to his favourite Country and Western music, the sun was shining, the world was good today.
He was coming up to the roundabout at Gallows Corner in Romford, another five minutes and he would be at Eddie Samuels home, he put his foot down softly on the brake as he entered the roundabout, nothing happened, he noticed a damp, putrid smell in the car and then a shadow on the back seat, he never saw the seven and a half ton vehicle as it hit him side on, he died instantly.