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The Voice - Part 11

Updated on July 5, 2016

From Part 10

“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?


“Lord, I pray for Lance. I pray you keep him safe. I pray you guide his steps and continue to bring us to the truth. I pray you save him for Your sake.” Margie climbed into bed. She was missing Lance, but knew he had to do his job. He would be home in the morning. As they say, “Absence makes the heart grow fonder,” and Margie’s heart was growing fonder.

At the same moment in Lance’s motel room, he stopped to consider the claims of Christ as expressed through Margie and Roger. One sees it as a good thing; the other as not so good. Lance didn’t know much about religion in general and Christianity in particular, but he decided he needed to find out more. If there was something to it, he wanted to know. He too was looking forward to seeing Margie again.

Before catching his late morning plane back to Lafayette, Lance stopped by Topeka headquarters to quickly share his notes with Detective Hayes.

“Paul, I believe I may be on to something. I interviewed Peter McClanahan's uncle. He fits the profile to a tee – and he was lying about some things. He was in Lafayette at the time of the murders.”

“Well Lance, as I was looking over your report. There do seem to be some major differences. True, the MO is similar, but there were no drugs planted on the body, and his wallet was found – no money or credit cards. We’re kind of approaching this as a robbery gone bad.

“It’s possible that whoever did this knew the McClanahan story and was just trying to cover his tracks with a similar MO. I think we’re looking at a copy cat of the copy cat. I’ll follow up on Roger McClanahan and let you know what I find. Come on. I’ll drive you to the airport, and thanks for your help.”


Something on Lance's Mind

The plane taxied down Lafayette’s runway. Lance was glad to be back on familiar ground again. He knew his first order of business was to see Margie. He decided not to call her, but rather just knock on her door, hoping it would be a well-taken surprise. As he pulled up to the house, he was the one who was surprised. Margie was already in the yard waiting for him. Lance was greeted with a big hug. He thought maybe he should go away more often. He liked the homecoming.

“So how was the trip, Lance? Anything new?”

Lance wasn’t ready to share his new theory with Margie; that her brother may be the serial killer. Instead, he chose to lie. “No, nothing new – at least not yet. There may be some leads, but nothing sure. Topeka’s detective is going to follow up and let me know what he finds.” Maybe it wasn’t a complete lie, just a slight twisting of the truth. Lance justified himself by thinking to himself, “It’s just a little, white lie.”

For the moment, there was something heavier weighing on Lance’s mind. “Margie, if these claims of Christ you make are true, how am I supposed to know? It’s just your opinion. Other people have a different take.”

“That’s very perceptive of you. Two plus two equals what, Lance?”

“What are you talking about? Okay, okay, it equals four.”

“No. it doesn’t. It equals seven.”

“Margie, come on! You’re not making any sense.”

“Lance, you’re right. Two plus two equals four. That’s absolute truth. It’s not based on opinion. It’s hard fact. How many religions do you think exist in the world today?”

“I have no idea.”

“There are well over 2,000. But they don’t all equal four. Some say there’s no heaven or hell. Others do. Some say Jesus was just a prophet. To others, He’s the Saviour. Some say there is one God. Some claim many. Who’s right? They can’t all be right when they teach opposite concepts.

“Each of these religions with the exception of Christianity has a way of being accepted by God through performing good works. For instance, the Catholic teaching of the seven sacraments outlines a series of works that must be performed to earn God’s favor. The Buddhist eight-fold Path of Enlightenment is similar, and within each of the eight steps, there are many other steps that must be taken to be at peace with oneself. The Mormon church actually believes they can become God if they stay true to the teaching and rituals of the Mormon church. The world’s religions are wrapped up in the question, ‘what must I do to find favor with God?’

“The one difference between these 2,000 religions that contradict each other and Christianity is not what I must do to get to God, but rather what did God do to get to me? He left His home in Heaven and came to earth to take on human flesh. Knowing there was nothing we as humans could do to reach Him, He stepped out and came for us.

“God is holy. Man is sinful. How could a just God be loving and just at the same time? He lived a perfect, pure life that we couldn’t live. Then He laid His life down and spilt His holy blood on the cross.

“Consider this, Lance. We’re looking for this serial killer. When he’s caught we will see him sentenced and pay for his crimes. In God’s eyes, all sin is sin. There is no difference between a mass murderer and the one who tells white lies.”

Lance swallowed hard. Margie hit a nerve. She continued, “Oh sure, the consequences are different, but sin is sin.

“One day you and I will stand before God to answer for our crimes. We will without a doubt be found guilty. We should be sentenced and pay for our many crimes against a holy God. But then picture this. Jesus stands up and says, ‘I’ve paid for Margie’s crimes. Yes, she’s guilty, but the penalty has been paid. She is freed as the judge Himself suffered her sentence. Lance, that’s the difference between religion and Christianity.”

“Margie, I have to admit, I never thought of it that way before.”

“Are you ready to accept Him as your Saviour, too?”

“Maybe. I have to think about it some more. How about Sebastian’s tonight?”

“Sounds great! 7:00 o’clock?”

“7:00 o’clock it is.”


Margie and Lance stepped out into an early evening drizzle. A light rain was just beginning to fall. Officer Marx was working the night shift. His official days of playing an investigator were over. He was reassigned to street patrol. Officer Marx turned down Dawson Street just as Margie and Lance were leaving. Marx watched every move from four houses down the street. Almost as soon as Margie and Lance left the house, Marx noticed the light in Peter’s room had gone out. Peter was on the move.

He quickly made a u-turn and followed Peter from a distance. Marx was just seconds behind Peter on Jackson Street when Peter turned on to Medford Alley.

Marx stopped at the corner of Medford and Jackson. He looked down an empty alley – no one in sight; just the light rain falling on the pavement. At the most two seconds had passed. There simply wasn’t enough time for Peter to disappear – but he had. Marx sat at the intersection scratching his head. He retraced his route, but there was no sign of Peter. He continued to make his rounds.

More Long Nights

Peter had another long night of tossing and turning. The Voice that haunted him earlier was finally at rest, but Peter wasn’t. He was feeling the curse of his gift of telepathy. Margie agreed to find Peter some Psychiatric help. An appointment was made with Doctor Raymond Kepler. 2:00 o’clock Tuesday afternoon found both Margie and Peter at Doctor Kepler’s office.

Doctor Kepler began the conversation. “Peter, tell me what brings you here today?”

Peter related the information of his assault and his developing ability with telepathy. He went on to explain how he could predict murders committed by Lafayette’s serial killer. He mentioned his loss of whole periods of time; his seemingly non-existence. He mentioned The Voice.

Twice weekly sessions were arranged so Doctor Kepler could analyze Peter better. There would be many questions that would need to be answered, both for Peter and Doctor Kepler before a full diagnosis could be made.

“I’ll show you to the door,” Doctor Kepler said. Then he added under his breath, “Mrs. McClanahan, could I speak to you privately for a minute?”

“Peter, here are the keys. I’ll meet you at the car.”

"Mrs. McClanahan, do you see Peter as living in a fantasy world? Do you think he imagines these things, or do you think he really experiences them? As an example, do you believe he really possesses telepathic abilities?”

“One thing I’m sure of Doctor, is that Peter knows when the murders take place. He somehow sees them in his mind. The body of another victim is usually found within one or two days after Peter’s visions.”

“Do you have any explanation for these apparent losses of time for Peter? Are they real or imagined?”

“Oh! They’re very real. Peter has been under hypnosis twice. Each time Peter reaches a point when time doesn’t exist for him. It’s been verified by the hypnotist.”

“Would you give me permission to contact him and have Peter’s file released?”

“Of course, you can contact Doctor Todd Welch. You have my permission.”

“Thank you, Mrs. McClanahan. I’ll see you Thursday. Hopefully, I’ll be able to get the files by then. Have a good day.”

Margie headed for the car. It was Peter’s agitation that Margie noticed first. The agitation turned to nervousness, and eventually, the nervousness turned to Peter breaking out in uncontrollable tears. After thirteen years of unrelenting pain and confusion, Peter was finally at the end of his sanity. He began to break down.

The trip home turned into a trip to the hospital. Peter was placed in a private room where he could sleep off the bothersome effects of his ordeal. He was monitored through the night. In the morning Doctor Kepler was called to evaluate Peter.

After a night under the influence of Seroquel, Peter was feeling much better. Still, the dam of emotions was breaking. Doctor Kepler and Margie both felt it was best for Peter to go home to rest rather than being institutionalized. If things worsened, they would have to reevaluate the situation. In the meantime, Peter was perched precariously on the edge of sanity. The slightest slip could send him over the edge forever.

Doctor Kepler canceled Peter’s Thursday appointment but continued to monitor him from a distance. He checked the hypnosis results with Doctor Welch, made some quick notes and called Margie.

“Um yes, Mrs. McClanahan. This is Doctor Kepler. I was just speaking with Doctor Welch. He filled me in on Peter’s tests. Mrs. McClanahan, if I were to suggest again that perhaps Peter is making this whole thing up, what would you say?”

“I’d say you’re crazy, and you’re the one who needs a psychiatrist. Peter has a gift. Peter’s episodes have been documented and the serial murders have been documented. Peter’s visions occur at the time of the murders. Can you explain it any other way?”

“Well, no. Doctor Welch does seem to think Peter may have telepathic tendencies, but I must be more scientific.”

Margie went on, “And what is your hypothesis, Doctor?”

Does Telepathy Really Exist?

“I think he may have some telepathic powers, but I have seen a lot of hoaxes in my time. I need to be sure. People do hear voices, but generally, they stem from one of two sources. One, it could be a side effect of the medication. Is Peter taking any prescribed medication now?”

Margie sensed the direction of the conversation as she answered, “No.”

“Mrs. McClanahan, I have to ask. Is Peter taking medications that aren’t prescribed?”

“You mean is he using drugs?”

“Well, I do see where he has a criminal record for dealing. I have to cover all the bases.”

“Doc, don’t even get me started on that. This is not the day. He was innocent and wrongly accused by a power seeking cop, and crazy school girls. What’s source number two?”

“I’ve seen a lot of people make up sensational stuff to get attention. Hearing voices gets a lot of attention these days. Let’s have Peter come in next Monday and we’ll see what we can find out.”

Margie’s temper was getting the best of her. “No, Peter won’t be back on Monday nor any other day. You can forget it!” And with that, she slammed the phone back on the cradle.

Making the Rounds

Making the Rounds

Night after night Officer Marx continued to make his rounds. His mind raced ahead to the day when he would become a detective. He was a hopeless dreamer. Just then a gentle rain began to fall. Marx headed over to Dawson Street to stake out the McClanahan residence. It appeared that Peter was home alone. A single light shone through the kitchen curtain. Just as Marx pulled up, the light went out.

Marx stayed focused on the door and within minutes Peter was on the run. Marx waited until Peter turned the corner at Westmont Avenue and then pulled out. He went straight on Dawson, up to Jackson, and parked across from Medford Alley. He was in perfect position. He could see the whole length of the alley. Wherever Peter went after turning into the alley, Marx would be sure to see.

He sat in his personal vehicle, not wanting to take a chance of being noticed even in an unmarked car. He pulled an old Atlanta Braves ball cap down over his eyes. The daily news was in front of his face, and sunglasses in the rain made it clear he didn’t want to be recognized. He kept an eye on the rear-view mirror.

After a few minutes, Marx could see a figure running down the street. He focused, not wanting to miss any details. Peter now was in plain sight and running hard. He turned on to Medford Alley.

Marx couldn’t believe what he had just seen; a split second, and - Peter was gone. He was nowhere to be seen. He just vanished. There had to be a logical explanation, but at the moment Marx couldn’t come up with one. Now he was faced with a multiple choice as to what to do.

He could report his findings to the chief and Lance. Maybe they would have some input. More likely they would think he was going crazy. He could sit and wait to see if Peter returned. He could go back to the station and try to fit the pieces together. He opted for choice number three.

© 2016 William Kovacic


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