Before James Conroy could say another word he heard the sound of a door opening behind him, it was Eddie. He was looking down at Ray’s body. James put his arm around him.
“It’s for the best Eddie, he never was your Ray. You do know that don’t you?”
Eddie was shaking but still holding his beloved Bible.
“Yes, I know, but I so wanted it to be, I missed him so much.”
Eddie knelt down beside Ray and made the sign of the cross on his forehead. He said a prayer.
“Please God, take this young man into your care, cherish him just as I have and keep him safe until we can all be re-united again. Rest in peace son.”
Eddie stood up, then went to the kitchen to get a bandage for James’s hand.
When he was out of sight, Spencer looked at James.
“What the fuck happened here? One minute I was with you, Eddie and Stacey, the next I was kneeling beside the body of Ray Samuels.”
James Conroy put his hand on Spencer’s shoulder.
“Believe it or not, that was five hours ago.”
Before Spencer could say another word, Eddie reappeared with the bandage. He gave it to James who wrapped it tightly around his hand. Spencer dialled 999 and requested an ambulance. As soon as this was done he spoke to James and Eddie.
“Okay. Let’s get our story straight. We were here to talk to Ray about the thirty minute strike. We were in the kitchen when we heard a noise from the living room, when we came in Ray was on the floor. If you think about it, it’s not that far from the truth.”
They agreed, while they waited Eddie replaced the light bulbs that had shattered earlier, the house looked back to normal. The ambulance arrived and took Ray’s body away. Spencer went back to the station to write up his report exactly as they’d agreed. He quickly made arrangements for a press conference at nine o’clock that morning.
At exactly eight fifty five, DCI Spencer walked into the packed press room and took his seat. Next to him were Eddie and Stacey Samuels. He stood up and started to read from the notes in front of him.
“I will now read out a short statement regarding Ray Samuels, after which I will take one or two questions.”
He cleared his throat and continued.
“At approximately three forty five this morning Ray Samuels suffered a major heart attack. Both I and his father Eddie tried to resuscitate him but sadly Ray passed away. We had been discussing the thirty minute peaceful protest at the time and Ray had agreed to take a different course of action. Instead of stopping work for thirty minutes he had decided that it would be much more beneficial if people donated thirty minutes of their hourly wage to the new Ray Samuels Foundation for the homeless. The family of Ray Samuels have asked for privacy at this time so that they can come to terms with their loss. As soon as the funeral arrangements are made we will let everyone know. I will now take just a few questions.”
A reporter from a national daily newspaper was the first to shout out.
“Is there anything more known about where Mister Samuels had been and why he hadn’t aged?”
Spencer spoke slowly and calmly.
“Yes, Mister Samuels had recently been through some Hypnotherapy, it appears that he had suffered some kind of trauma back in 1982, work related we believe, the stress of his highly complex job, had caused him to have a complete breakdown, his brain simply shut down his memory making him believe that he had no past, we also know now that Ray was suffering from a form of reverse progeria, where the inner body ages as normal but the outer body, such as his appearance stays the same or slows right down, obviously we are hoping that the autopsy will give us more information about his rare condition.”
Another reporter shouted out.
“So where has he been for twenty two years?”
“Unfortunately we never got that far with the Hypnotherapy, we were so close to finding out, I can only hope that as time goes by people will come forward and remember Ray being at a certain place at a certain time. Now thank you all for coming, we will give more information out as it becomes available.”
Spencer closed his folder, people were still shouting out questions, but Spencer ignored them and walked out of the press room.
Over the next few days, details were given out for the Ray Samuels Foundation. It raised over six million pounds in seventy two hours.
The funeral was held the following Friday in Upminster, Ray would be cremated.
In the front row of the small chapel were Eddie, Laura and Stacey Samuels along with James Conroy and DCI Spencer. The chapel was full, outside hundreds more had gathered to hear the service. After the Vicar had said a few kind words about Ray, Eddie Samuels stood up and began his speech.
“My son Ray was special, very special. He was a kind and considerate man and we all loved him, but he was not the new Christ as I have read lately in some newspapers. The Bible tells us in Revelations, Behold he cometh with Clouds and every eye shall see him, Ray did not come from out of the sky and not everyone witnessed his return, Matthew twenty four tells us quite clearly about false Christ’s, If any man shall say unto you, look there is Christ, believe him not, for there shall arise false Christ’s and false prophets who will show great signs of wonder, they shall deceive the very elect. No, Ray was just a man, but a very special man.”
Eddie sat down; Stacey put her arm around him and held him close.
James Conroy knew exactly what Eddie was talking about, but he’d also done his homework, the Bible also said that false gods will appear just before the arrival of the new true God, James couldn’t help but wonder if something amazing was about to happen.
The funeral ended and people drifted off. Spencer walked with Stacey and Eddie to their car.
“Don’t be strangers okay?”
“You have become like a part of the family now, you and James, I’ll call you in a couple of weeks and perhaps we can all go out for a meal or something?”
“I’d like that.”
His phone rang, he looked embarrassed, he thought he’d turned it off. Stacey just smiled and she and Eddie got into the car and drove away. Spencer answered the call. It was his new boss.
“Has it all finished Spencer?”
“Good, get back to the station now, bring Conroy with you.”
Spencer found James and the two of them drove back to Romford Police Station, both wondering what was so urgent. Spencer entered his new boss’s office. Ron Chandler was the new man in charge.
“Sit down the two of you.”
He had an abrupt voice, obviously ex-military.
“What I am going to tell you, only five other people know and one of those is the Home Secretary, it goes no further than this room, understand?”
They both agreed.
“Certain people higher up the food chain than me didn’t want you to be involved, but I know that you’ve both been extremely close to this case and I believe we can trust you. Ray Samuels body was taken first to the hospital then to the coroner’s office just down the road, because of the sensitive nature of this case, we had two people outside the room at all times.”
He paused for a few seconds then continued.
“Ray Samuels’s body went missing two days ago.”
Spencer looked at James in disbelief, then back to Ron Chandler.
“But what about the funeral, who have we just buried?”
“No one Spencer, the coffin was full of sand!”
Eddie Samuels died in 2012, he was eighty two. Both Laura and Stacey were at his side when he passed.
Stacey Samuels married in 2010. Her husband was a good looking, blonde haired man called Roy. They now have two children. The eldest is a boy. She called him Ray.
James Conroy retired to Berkshire in 2014. He bought an old Mill House in Hungerford complete with its own Trout Stream. He can be seen fishing most days.
Albert Spencer is still working. He gained promotion after the Ray Samuels case and is now Chief Superintendent for the Metropolitan Police.
April 27th 2017. James Conroy is fishing on his own private trout stream when his mobile rings. He answers it. He recognised the voice straightaway.
“James, it’s happening again. Elyas Ramus was just born in Syria. It appears that his father had some kind of vision!”
Before Spencer could say another word James Conroy had packed up his rod and line. He knew retirement was over. He simply said. “I’m on my way.”