09.30am on New Year’s Eve, just four days to go before Ray Samuels’s proposed worldwide protest. DCI Spencer was nursing a very sore head, the two large tumblers of Whiskey had the desired effect last night, but not this morning. His head was pounding. Even the five paracetamols hadn’t numbed the pain.
His day, so far, had gone from bad to worse. He’d heard about Laura Samuels early that morning. The hospital had said she was stable. She was sitting up and speaking. They were doing tests to find out why she’d stopped breathing. One theory was that it was shock at the return of her long lost husband. Spencer wasn’t convinced and had a feeling that there may be a much more sinister answer.
Then, an hour ago he’d heard the news about Swan. A massive heart attack during the night apparently, his housekeeper had found him at 06.30. The Superintendent had called to tell him the news. He also said he should continue with his work on Ray Samuels.
Then there were new reports of a serial killer on the loose, two bodies found in Kings Cross two nights ago and then last night two more were found in Barking, just five miles away. The reports said that they’d been killed and then mauled by urban foxes. Spencer thought this highly unlikely as one of the bodies was found on the notorious Gascoigne Estate. Not even urban foxes were silly enough to visit that estate after dark!
So much going on, so much to take in, what the fuck was going on?
His phone rang. He answered it.
“DCI Spencer, how can I help?”
He heard a voice that he didn’t recognise.
“Inspector, my name is James Conroy, I’m trying to get hold of Commander Swan, I’ve been trying all morning and then someone gave me your number, is he with you?”
Spencer hesitated before answering.
“No he’s not, can I ask why you need to speak with him?”
“I’m head of religious studies at Oxford. Commander Swan and I had a conversation the other day about Ray Samuels. He asked me to do some research for him.”
Now Spencer was intrigued.
“Did you know him well?”
“Yes, we served together in special forces some years ago, why do you ask?”
Again Spencer hesitated before he delivered the bad news.
“I’m so sorry to inform you Mister Conroy, but Commander Swan had a heart attack during the night. He died early this morning.”
The was silence on the phone. It lasted for a full thirty seconds. Then Spencer spoke again.
“Are you okay Mister Conroy?”
The voice on the other end of the line sounded shaky.
“Err, yes I’m fine. Just a bit shocked that’s all.”
There was another pause before James Conroy continued.
“ Look, I need to give someone the information that I have, who would be the best person to speak to?”
“Well, Commander Swan and I were working on the Samuels case together, so I suppose it’s me, let me get a pen and I’ll write it down.”
There was an urgency in the reply.
“No, no, that would be no good, I need to meet up with you and explain it to you personally. It’s extremely important. I could come to you?”
Spencer was keen to have as much information as he could get.
“That would be great. I’m in Romford, where are you now?”
Conroy sounded relieved.
“I’ve been staying in London for the past few nights, I’m at the IBIS just off the A40. Let me get all my notes together and I’ll be with you by midday.”
Spencer decided that it might be best if they were discreet.
“Okay, but let’s not meet at the station. There’s a pub on the way into town called The Golden Lion, I’ll meet you in there at twelve.”
Spencer hung up, this was getting even more intriguing. Swan had someone doing research on Samuels? What kind of research and what was he hoping to find?
Trevor Wilson had moved on. He’d stolen a car early that morning and was driving towards Romford. The victims from the night before had made him even stronger. He was ready, ready to begin the fight, ready to take his rightful place alongside the others.
James Conroy gathered up his paperwork and left the IBIS as quickly as he could. He kept thinking about his old friend Alan Swan. They’d served together in the Falklands helping to secure Port Stanley. He and Swan had “taken out” three Argentinian lookouts just before dawn enabling the Paras to march in an hour later. Although Swan was older than him by seven or eight years they were close comrades. After the Falklands Swan went to Germany and he went to Libya. They met up again three years later at a memorial for one of their colleagues. It was then that Swan told him he was going to leave the Army and go to work for Special Branch. It was another three years before he himself left the regiment to study religion at Oxford.
It took him just over the hour to get to Romford. Parking was a nightmare in this Market town, but he found a place in a quiet side road ten minutes walk from the pub. He got himself a pint and sat down. Spencer arrived ten minutes later. They’d never met before but Spencer could tell an ex- army man straightaway. He walked over and took a seat opposite James Conroy. He introduced himself.
“I’m DCI Spencer. I am so sorry about Commander Swan.”
He put out his hand. Conroy shook it, firmly.
“Thank you. We served together for a number of years in various locations. He was a good man.”
James then spent the next few minutes going through the conversation that he’d had with Swan just two days before. Spencer was keen to know how it was left.
“So, what exactly did the Commander ask you to do? What did he want you to find out?”
Conroy took a swig of his beer and then began.
“Well, he wasn’t sure if Ray Samuels was one of the good guys or something else, I said that I would do some more research and let him know what I found out.”
Swan was relieved. Maybe at last there would be some answers.
“And, you’ve got some results then?”
For the first time James Conroy smiled.
“It’s not quite as simple as that. You have to understand Inspector that you are dealing with something quite extraordinary here. There is no exact science to this, I can only tell you the facts and then my opinions based on those facts.”
Although Spencer was disappointed he understood. He gestured to Conroy to continue.
“There are many faiths in this world. All of them have their own views, mainly defined by ancient writing or scriptures. Christianity for example has the Bible which is based on selected ancient scriptures. The Bible tells us about God and the Devil. The faith of Islam has the Quran and that tells of Iblis, which is a devil like creature whose main mission is to deceive Adams children, which is mankind. So every faith has a God and a devil or serpent.”
“Okay, I’m with you so far.”
“Good, did the Commander tell you about the prophecies?”
“The one about the rain?”
“Yes, all three were exactly the same, He will come, be taken by the rain, he will come back after many years, the same. He will lead his people from despair. What if we have read this wrong, what if these weren’t prophecies… but warnings?”
Spencer looked puzzled.
“Not sure I understand what you’re saying James.”
Conroy leant forward eager to continue.
“We know from ancient Hebrew writings that the Rain was not only seen as a good thing because it brought life to the ground, it was also seen as the start of something evil. It could rain nonstop for days and days, there would be floods, people would die, whole villages would be washed away, people were afraid of the rain. So we have the rain meaning new life but also a sign of Evil. Then there is the word “Samiel”, pronounced Samuel, it literally means in Hebrew, Poison of God!”
Spencer sat back in his chair. Hardly daring to believe what he was being told.
“Fuck me, so you’re saying that our Ray Samuels may not be the saviour that everyone thinks he is. He could be the complete opposite. But what about the bit about leading his people from despair?”
Conroy couldn’t wait to deliver the next part.
“In the book of Revelations it speaks of the Devil or Satan being cast out of heaven to deceive the world, along with his angels or followers. So in the prophecies where it says HE WILL LEAD HIS PEOPLE, Satans people are other Devils.”
Spencer suddenly realised the enormity of what Conroy was telling him. After a few seconds he said the words himself.
“So what you’re saying is…Ray Samuels is born, is taken by evil, comes back years later looking the same but is in fact the poison of god or Satan and is about to become the leader of other Devils?”
James Conroy sat back in his chair and finished his beer.
“As I said before. I can only give you the facts. There is NO exact science. But it is a consideration. There is one other thing that the Bible tells us in Thessalonians. It says, in the English translation…Satan will cause a bad man to come. He will cause this bad man to be very powerful. He will be able to do all kinds of things that people cannot usually do. Those things will surprise people very much. Those things will cause people to believe this very bad man. They will cause people to believe things that are not true.”
Spencer sat there with open mouthed. Conroy waited before he delivered his final blow.
“In the book of Matthew it says about the devils return…he will return to the house from whence he came.”
Spencer couldn’t help himself. He said aloud.
“Fuck me…Ray Samuels has gone back to his family home. The house he was born in!”