The Voice - Part 10
More from the Same Author
- The Voice - Part 9
The Voice speaks and demands complete obedience. You better pray it doesn't speak to you!
From Part 9
“That may be true, but just as the frequency of the murders escalates, the method grows in intensity. In other words, if the killer had been active for all these years, he no doubt would have graduated to face to face confrontations. He would be more confrontational because, with each murder, he becomes more confident. While in his addictive mode, he’s confident, not insecure. That’s what he’s seeking. The more successful murders he commits, the more his confidence grows, the more brazen, and ‘in your face’ he becomes. Even though he’s committed four murders that we know about, the game is still fairly new to him. Well, gotta get back to the office, guys. I’ll study the report, and if I come up with anything else, I’ll let you know.”
Closing Out the Case
. . . Eight Months Later . . .
Lance was gathering the case notes together on the mystery serial killer. In a few hours the case would land in the cold case files for a second time. With nothing new to report for several months, and no leads to follow up, the only choice Chief Gordon had was to put it away, perhaps for another day. Lance wasn’t pleased, but he knew it was the right decision. He had only hoped to catch the killer, and put everyone’s mind at ease.
Peter had an especially bad day. The trauma from his past kept rising to the top. It seemed there was so much to know, to remember, but there were no answers. Frustration weighed heavy on Peter’s face. Of course, as every good mother, Margie was feeling the same, trying to relieve the pain her son was experiencing.
“Mom. I know it’s early, but I’m going up to bed. Good night. I love you.”
Margie yawned. “Good night, Peter. I love you, too.”
Peter lay down and stared at the ceiling – his mind in constant turmoil. Finally, after a long struggle, sleep came. Peter’s dream world began to take over.
Peter Witnesses Another Murder
Peter was being chased by two people through a wooded area. One of them grabbed him and threw him hard to the ground. The other kicked him repeatedly. Peter tried to scream, but no sound was forthcoming. It was as if something unseen was muffling his voice. The Voice spoke. “Kill Peter.” Then the first man took a knife and pulled Peter’s head back. Peter stared into the terrified eyes of a stranger. It was not Peter who had been forced into the woods.
He awoke and tried to call for Margie, but his speech was still muffled – something holding it back. Finally in hysterics, he broke through, and Margie came running.
“Peter, Peter, what is it?”
“I think there’s been another murder. I had this dream. I was being chased by two people through the woods. They grabbed me and threw me down and started kicking me. Then The Voice spoke. It said ‘Kill Peter’. The one pulled my head back to slash my throat. That’s when I saw the face. It wasn’t me. I don’t know who it was, but it wasn’t me. Mom, I think they killed him.”
Margie thought back to a similar dream she had after Peter’s attack.”This must mean something,” she thought. “I’m going to call Lance.”
Within minutes Lance was on the McClanahan’s doorstep. Margie was waiting for him. “Lance, Peter had a dream. He thinks there may have been another murder. He saw two men in a wooded area chasing him. They knocked him down and began to kick him.
“Lance, it was just like that dream I told you I experienced after Peter’s surgery years ago. The thing is, they pulled his head back to cut his throat. That’s when Peter saw the victim’s face. It wasn’t him. He doesn’t know who it was, but he thinks someone was killed. It’s his telepathy at work again. How can we find out?”
“Oh boy,” Lance groaned. “We have the case scheduled for the cold case files tomorrow. We’ve had no leads, no new information for months. There’s nothing to go on, and I’m afraid unless a murder is reported we can’t do anything. If the body’s not found, or until it’s found we can’t do anything.”
Peter peaked around the staircase. “Mom, Lance, something has to be done. Can’t you wait just a few days to see what happens?”
“Lance’s concern showed on his face. “Peter, I’ll do what I can, but I don’t think Gordon’s going to go for it without a body. I promise I’ll do everything I can, but it’s not up to me to call the final shot. We’ll see what Gordon says about it.
“Peter, you saw a wooded area. Do you think you could locate the area? If you could show me, maybe we could find the body.”
“No, it was a typical wooded area – trees and weeds.”
“Did you recognize the assailants?”
“Anything else about the dream that might help?”
“The Voice. It kept saying, ‘Kill Peter. Kill Peter.”
“Still no face to The Voice?”
“No. I only hear it.”
“Okay. Well if you two are okay, I’m going to head down to the station and see if anybody has reported a murder. I doubt that’s the case. It’s too early, but it never hurts to check. I’ll see you in the morning.” The three walked slowly to the door, and Margie held her boys close – just for a moment.
Margie and Peter headed for bed and hopefully a good night’s sleep. Peter tossed and turned, but after a while, he drifted off. Knowing he was safely sleeping, Margie also rested comfortably.
Once again Peter’s dreams took him to The Voice. In the quiet and darkness, Peter saw nothing. He only heard; three phrases made up of two words each and repeated, over and over.
“Kill Peter. Kill Peter. Kill Peter. The secret. The secret. The secret. Medford Alley. Medford Alley. Medford Alley.”
The chant continued for quite some time. It seemed to be guiding Peter to find the secret of his attack at Medford Alley. Quietly Peter got dressed and headed to the front door, being extra cautious not to wake his mother. He started to run down the street as he made his way to Medford Alley. He turned the corner at the next block as the unmarked police cruiser went by him.unnoticed.
Morning found Lance sifting through news reports trying to find anything about a murder. What he found shocked him. The Topeka Daily carried the following story:
“The body of a white male was discovered on the south side of Topeka. It is believed the murder took place about 8:00 p.m. Kansas time. The victim, who has yet to be identified, was found lying face down in a wooded area south of town. His throat was slashed and the right side of his head was bludgeoned. The victim possibly was kicked with a steel-toed boot. Anyone having information on this crime is asked to call Topeka Police.”
Lance immediately was on the phone to Topeka sharing information. Could Lafayette’s serial killer be on the move again? Topeka was half way across the country. The last question Lance asked Topeka’s lead homicide detective was, how did they find the body so quickly? The answer – they received an anonymous tip.
“Margie – Lance here. I got some news. I’ll be right over.”
Margie and Peter were waiting on the porch when Lance squealed his car into the driveway.
Lance began giving the news before the car door closed. “There’s been a similar murder in Topeka, Kansas. I called Topeka police. The description of the murder was exactly the same as the others. I was able to get the name of the victim, Samuel Gibson. I think our killer’s on the move . . .”
Margie cut in, “Wait a minute! Who was the victim?”
“Peter, that’s the boy who lived down the street from your uncle. Remember, you used to like to play ball with him.”
Lance broke back into the conversation, “You’ve been to Topeka?”
“My brother lives in Topeka. We don’t see him much because of the distance, but we did visit several years back.”
“Was this before Peter’s attack?”
“Has your brother ever been here to visit you?”
“Yes, a few times.”
“Peter, did you know any of the other victims?”
“I knew of them. Didn’t really know them well.”
“Did your uncle know them?”
“I’m sure he probably had seen them around town, but I don’t think he personally knew them.”
“Margie, could you describe your brother?”
“Well, he’s about five feet ten inches tall, brown hair . . . “
“What about his personality?”
“Well, he’s a really nice guy; a little on the quiet side, maybe even a little insecure.”
“Would you say his life is out of control in any way?”
“Oh, absolutely. He just got a divorce and his wife took him for everything he has. He lost the house, the car, you name it. Eventually, he lost his job due to the stress - which obviously caused more stress. Why do you ask?”
Lance covered with a lie. “Oh, I never knew you had a brother. I was just curious.” In the back of his mind, Lance was thinking, “This could be our killer.”
Lance took mental notes until he could get back to headquarters, and officially add the notes to the investigation. He knew he would be making a trip to Topeka in the near future.
From the office, Lance made a quick call to Margie. “Margie, I hope you don’t think I’m being too nosey. I never knew about your brother. I find it interesting. What did you say his name is?”
“Actually, I didn’t, but it’s Roger – Roger McClanahan. Lance, what’s this all about?”
“I’m leaving for Topeka first thing in the morning to share notes on the killings. I thought maybe I’d look him up - if that’s okay with you.”
“Sure, Lance. Tell him his big sister sends her love. Oh - and Lance, I’ll be praying for you.”
Lance was standing at the boarding gate when a thought creased his mind. “What did Margie mean by, ‘I’ll be praying for you?’” This religion thing was really beginning to bother Lance. He didn’t want to be prayed for. He didn’t need salvation. He was his own man. Still, in the back of his mind, he wondered where Margie’s prayers were leading.
Once on the plane and seated, he pulled out his notes and began to review them once more. He wanted to be prepared when he met with Detective Hayes of the Topeka police force. It seemed only moments since the plane left Lafayette, but in reality, it been about three hours. The landing gear came down, and the plane jerked as it touched down on the runway. It continued to roll to a stop.
Lance made his way through the terminal. A large bald-headed man, dressed in a white, dress shirt and gray pants waited outside the first men’s restroom on the right – the exact spot Lance was told to meet Detective Hayes.
“Detective Fisher?” Lance nodded. “I’m Detective Paul Hayes with the Topeka police department. I’m glad to meet you and have you be part of this investigation. We might as well be on a first name basis as long as we’ll be working together for the next few days.”
“Yeah – uh sure, Paul.”
“Let’s get a quick bite to eat. Then we’ll head over to headquarters and get started.”
Lance and Paul spent the afternoon discussing each other’s cases. About 5:30 Lance headed for his hotel room. He freshened up and relaxed for a bit. Then he used the rest of the night to search for information on Roger McClanahan. Once he found Roger’s location, he drifted off to a sweet sleep. His first stop in the morning would be Roger McClanahan.
7:00 a.m. found Lance parked outside Roger McClanahan’s residence. Roger was just leaving for work when Lance stopped him. A time was set to meet for lunch at a local fast food restaurant. Although details of the case weren’t discussed, Roger seemed friendly and open – not something Lance would have thought if Roger truly was a suspect.
Big Burgers and Big Lies
Lance and Roger sat down around their Big Burgers and fries. Lance wasn’t about to waste time. “Mr. McClanahan, I’m here to investigate a series of murders in Lafayette. There has been a recent murder here in Topeka that fits the same description as the serial murders. The murders also fit the same description of an attempted murder on your nephew, Peter McClanahan, 13 years ago. You are aware of that case, aren’t you?”
“Peter – oh yes. I remember it well; the poor kid. He didn’t deserve that.”
“You remember it well? What can you tell me about it?”
“I was visiting my sister when it happened. I was scheduled to fly back the next day, but I could tell Margie was too upset for me to leave. I changed my plans to stay on a few days.” Lance allowed Roger to continue, but already things weren’t adding up.
“We took him to the hospital, and . . .”
Lance interrupted. “Mr. McClanahan, if you were in town during that time, why is there no record of it in the police report? Also, if you took Peter to the hospital, why is there a report that Margie called 911 and he was taken to the hospital by ambulance?”
“Okay, okay, the truth is Margie and I have a very bad relationship. I’m not proud of that. I thought it would be more impressive if I injected myself into the story.”
“You thought it would be more impressive if you injected yourself into the story? Mr. McClanahan, I don’t buy that. But even if it was true, this is an official police investigation. You could be seen as a possible suspect. You have to be truthful with me.”
“Well, part of it’s true. Margie and I have a bad relationship. We used to be really close until she started all this religion stuff.”
A bell was ringing in Detective Fisher’s brain. “Tell me about it.”
“Margie couldn’t handle life after Peter’s attack. She outwardly tried to keep it together for Peter’s sake, but inside she was falling apart. Then this preacher came to the door and told her about Jesus; how He was God and how He died for her sins. If she would follow Him, her sins would be forgiven, and Jesus would strengthen her to fight the battles she faced. She bought it hook, line, and sinker. Then she says this Jesus came back to life after three days. She says He’s God, but I’m not fooled by that fancy talking preacher. It’s money he’s after. Money is what they’re all after.
”If Margie wants to believe that stuff, that’s up to her, but then she started trying to cram it down my throat. We had a big fight, and I walked out vowing never to see her again.”
In a moment of weakness, Lance asked, “Do you suppose there could be any truth to Margie’s claims?”
“Oh, come on detective! This is a criminal investigation. You told me yourself. Let’s leave religion out of it.”
Lance took a moment to consider what Roger was saying. After all, he heard the same story from Margie’s own mouth. But then he shifted back to the present. “How about your other relationships? Are they good?”
“Unfortunately, no. My wife left me and has nothing to do with me. She got everything in the divorce settlement.”
“When was the divorce finalized?”
“About two and a half years ago.”
“And you’ve never been back to Lafayette?”
“I went to Lafayette about a year ago, I really wanted to make things right with Margie. I didn’t tell her I was coming. When I arrived, I couldn’t go through with it. We had been apart so long. I didn’t know how to approach her. After driving past the house several times, I decided to drive around for a bit and then head back to Topeka. I got a room in a motel and left the next morning.”
Lance ventured, “It was raining that night, wasn’t it?
“Yes, it was pouring. I could hardly see through the rain as I was driving.”
“You crossed three state lines to repair your relationship with your sister and then once you were in Lafayette, you just turned around and come back to Topeka? That doesn’t sound logical. What else took place that night?”
“Nothing detective. That’s the whole account – honest. Anyway, my lunch break is over. I have to get back to work. If you’ll excuse me . . . .”
“I’ll be in touch, Mr. McClanahan.” Lance looked down on the table. There in the corner was the unpaid check. Lance grabbed it, paid it, and headed out.
On the way back to his motel room, Lance was going over the interview in his mind. Roger was lying about something. His excuse was flimsy, at best.
He was soft-spoken. He had a series of broken relationships. He was in Lafayette during the time the murders were taking place. It seemed to Lance there was more to Roger’s story. What was he hiding? What else did he know?
- The Voice - Part 11
The Voice speaks and demands complete obedience. You better pray it doesn't speak to you!
© 2016 William Kovacic