It was a few days later, and Doctor Scott had called round after evening surgery to see Ruth. He was made comfortable and had a cup of Camp coffee in his hand soon after sitting down. Ruth always had Camp coffee available; although not liking it herself, she knew it was James’ favourite drink.
‘Ruth, I want you to tell me everything about the time you took the picture of Walter, what you were doing, where he came from, and what he said. It is important you tell me everything just has it happened. I have got Doctor Simpson interested, and we both want to help you.’
‘Well, that’s very nice of you both, James. I will try and remember it exactly as it happened. Let’s see now: I was out in the garden -- we have a gardener as you know but I still like to potter about dead heading and pulling any stray weeds. I had left the house door open -- I was out about half an hour. When I came back in the house I sensed straight away that someone was there. It was Walter; he was sat in his chair.
‘I wasn’t frightened, but you could say I was astounded. I wanted to rush up to him but he stopped me. He told me I hadn’t to touch him, indeed he told me not to go too near to him.’
‘That’s fine, Ruth, this is what we want. What did he say then? Try to remember clearly.’
‘Oh I do remember, James, very clearly. He told me that normally no one is allowed to return when they pass over, but there are very rare exceptions, for instance when peopled are very troubled. He told me that he was very troubled and could never settle until he got his problem sorted. He apparently had to explain everything, and the outcome was that he was allowed a short return visit.’
‘You’re doing fine, Ruth, will you make me another cup of Camp please and try and remember what Walter said next whilst you make it?’
Ruth returned from the kitchen with the coffee and continued---
‘Walter was worried about his brother; he hadn’t left him anything in his will. I didn’t know much about his brother, but Walter had told me he hadn’t made anything of his life, and he then told me that he had helped his brother financially from time to time. I have never met Walter’s brother; I don’t even know his name. Walter told me he was worried his brother might contact me or start to harass me and that troubled him immensely. He was also genuinely sorry that he had ignored his brother in his will, him being his only relative. He really was very troubled, James, and felt he should have treated his brother better.’
‘I can well believe it, Ruth; it would have troubled me too. What happened next?’
‘Walter knew that his will couldn’t be altered; he had left a large amount to me, just a few personal bequests to his charities, and of course the house which must be quite valuable now. I am also quite rich in my own right so I certainly won’t have any money problems. I have already got you down in my will, James, you have always been so kind to both of us.’
‘Ruth, I wish you hadn’t told me that. I considered you and Walter to be my friends and friends should be kind to one another. What happened next?’
‘Well, Walter wants me to send his brother five hundred thousand pounds. He wants me to do it from my own money. He has told me exactly how to do it, and promised me that his brother will never make any contact with me, or bother me in any way. I had at the last notice about two million pounds in my accounts, Walter has left me another two million and the house must be worth at least three million---I don’t mind you knowing this, James, I wouldn’t tell anyone else.’
‘Well, I do feel a little embarrassed being privy to your personal financial details, Ruth, but I feel honoured that you trust me to share them.’
‘I intend to move house, James. Walter and I often discussed it. this house is really far too big for me on my own---I will stay in the area but will buy somewhere smaller, a bungalow perhaps. That will make me a bit richer---won’t it, James? So you can see giving this money to Walter’s brother will not affect me in the slightest financially. And it will help dear Walter to come to peace and move on.’
Walter had been a very successful business man: he had been in at the start of the computer boom and been very instrumental in developing web sites. Indeed he had the accounts of some very large companies. He had no trouble selling his investment in his company on retirement which made him a very rich man. Not having had any children, Ruth had always worked, being both a very successful writer and illustrator. Ruth was intending to keep on working; she treated her work as a hobby, although a very lucrative one. Neither Walter nor Ruth had lived what you would call the high life: they invested a lot in their home, having a much-used large indoor swimming pool, Walter had his games room with a full-sized snooker table, and there was the music room with a grand piano and a very expensive organ.
If Walter needed any Medical care he always had a doctor call on him privately. He would never go to a surgery or see Doctor Scott; he never thought it ethical to let a close friend be his Doctor. Ruth, on the other hand, on the very rare occasions she needed a Doctor, always went to the surgery to see James, always claiming if it was anything of importance she would ask to be referred to another Doctor. That arrangement had always seemed to work for her.
They had both travelled extensively together since Walter’s retirement and had seen a great deal of the world. This had brought considerable comfort to Ruth---the fact that they had had over ten years being very close together before Walter’s death.
‘Is Walter coming back again, Ruth?’ James asked.
‘He told me he would try, but he wasn’t sure.’
‘Will you hold on doing any of these financial arrangements until I have had a talk to Doctor Simpson?’
‘I can’t do that, James. Walter was quite adamant that I do it all straight away. And I did---it’s all over and done with…’