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The Voice - Part 12

Updated on July 9, 2016

From Part 11

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.


Twice Marx had witnessed Peter turning the corner at Medford Alley only to instantly disappear. Marx knew that Medford Alley was the place of Peter’s attack many years ago. Maybe there was something psychological about his trips to the alley. Maybe, but that didn’t explain his sudden disappearances.

Later, back at headquarters, Marx fired up his computer. He googled Medford Alley. Medford Alley indeed held a secret. An interesting article popped up. An underground newspaper, The Underground Wall, carried the following article under the column title, Graffiti on the Underground Wall.

The Time Portal at Medford Alley


The Underground Wall

“There is a new thrill at Medford Alley these days. No one seems to know who made the discovery, but it would appear there is a time portal at Medford Alley; a portal through which one can travel into the future.

“The teens of Lafayette High have made Medford Alley their official hangout as they take turns coming from and going into days ahead. The thrill is in the belief that if one does not retrace their steps exactly, they can be lost forever in time, never to return to the present.

“It is likely the portal opens and closes based on weather conditions. It is said that it is more likely to open when the atmosphere reaches a specified humidity. Rain most definitely causes the portal to open.

“Can any of this be verified? Probably not, but it does make for interesting speculation. There has never been an official report. There has never been any proof. Next time you are out on a rainy night, be sure to stop by Medford Alley and take a ride back to the future.

Marx began to think. Had Peter entered a time warp? Is that why he disappeared in an instant? As outrageous as it sounds, could Peter be lost in the in days yet to come? Marx’s mind was in a whirl. He knew he would have to be patient. He knew he would have more investigating to do, but he also knew he was on to something. He just didn’t know what. He would continue to keep a late night eye on Peter McClanahan.

Back home, Peter was dealing with the question he faced so many times before – how did his clothes get wet? There was no recollection in Peter’s mind of his trip to Medford Alley. Peter began to put another scenario together. The murders took place on rainy nights.


Missing Pieces

The missing pieces of time in Peter’s life also took place on rainy nights. His only knowledge of Medford Alley was that was where he was attacked years ago, and that The Voice would repeat the phrase, Medford Alley. Things were beginning to make sense, at least somewhat. His telepathy was stored in Medford Alley. The generalities were there, but the specifics were not. Peter had his own investigating to do. In the morning Peter would make a day trip to the alley and have a look around.

The fear of returning to that place of horror kept him awake most of the night, but still, Peter rose early, had some breakfast, and headed on his way. On his way out the door, Margie asked, “Where are you going so early?” Peter told one of his few lies. “I’m going over to see Steve Watson. I won’t be long. Love you, Mom.” The back door slammed behind him.

Going to see Steve Watson? Well, he was headed in that direction. His purpose on this dry, sunny morning was to retrace his steps of the night of his attack. The trauma of that night began at Steve’s house, and that’s where he would start his search. Step by step he would have to relive the nightmare of that night hoping to stir his memory.

The sun shone brightly. The sky had never been clearer or bluer. It was not evening, but morning. The retracing of Peter’s steps began at Steve Watson’s house. Peter quietly crept up on the front porch hoping not to be seen. He didn’t want to have to explain his actions to anyone.

From there he hopped down three steps and headed toward Worthington Street. He allowed himself to go back to that terrible night so long ago when his life was changed in an instant. As he approached Jackson Street the memories took on a life of their own. Peter felt the rain. He could remember that night as if it were happening in the present. Not sure he wanted to continue he made the turn on Jackson and headed for Medford Alley. With each step, he was experiencing the same feelings he had years ago. Surely Medford Alley would release her secrets this time.

From a distance, Peter could see the street sign that read Medford Alley. The fear was mounting in his mind and spilling over to his body. He took a deep breath and swallowed hard. Then he intentionally placed one foot in front of the other. He knew he was on a mission, and that mission needed to be completed at any cost. Slowly he approached. Standing on the far corner of Jackson Street, Peter could look straight down the alley. His next move would be to cross the street and see what Medford Alley had to say.


For years he had avoided this part of town in his conscious being. For years the same fears that were tearing at him now were held inside. All were ready to be expelled in a flash of time. Peter crossed the street waiting for his memory to be restored; to learn the secret the alley held.

To Peter’s surprise as well as disappointment, the reliving of the moment was short-lived. The rain he imagined turned into the blue sky of reality. He stood looking down the alley. Nothing stirred his memory. He started step by slow step down the alley. When he came to the intersection of Medford and Mockingbird Lane to turned around and looked back – nothing but a trash-strewn alleyway bordered on both sides by project tenements.

Officer Marx continued to develop his time warp theory. If Peter had entered a time warp, perhaps he was traveling back in time, trying to relive the event of May 12 so many years ago. If that were possible, Peter may be able to identify his attacker, and maybe even the serial killer of Lafayette. Marx knew he had to be careful. He had to remind himself it was only a theory. There was more research to do. Then a plan of action would be needed, followed by implementation of the plan. In short he had a long way to go, but all things considered, it would be worth it.

Bobby fired up his laptop and clicked on The Underground Wall. He found the article he previously read and began to examine it more closely. “Hmmm – the article uses the term time portal. Is that the same as a time warp?” Marx research was officially underway.

He went on to learn that time portals are doorways in time. They exist as permanent or semi-permanent fixtures linking specific points in time. Time portals can be represented as vortices of energy, which allow matter to travel from one point in time to another by passing through the portal. If his theory was correct, Peter could actually have the ability to go back and relive the night of his attack. Bobby kept at it well into the night. The next day he would be ready to present his findings to Chief Gordon.


Chief Gordon was ready to brief his men on the day ahead of them. Officer Robert Marx stood in the back trying to be as inconspicuous as possible when Gordon shouted out, “Marx, what are you doing here? You’re working the night shift.”

“Yes, Sir. I need to speak with you after the men are dismissed. It’s very important.”

“Yeah, I’m sure. Go to my office. I’ll be there shortly.”

Marx felt proud. Gordon would at least take the time to hear his theory. Hopefully, his notebook full of research from the night before would be impressive. Still, he knew he would have to do a great sell job to convince Gordon to move on it.

“Okay, what is it, Marx?”

“Chief, I need your undivided attention.” This gets complicated, but I think we might be able to solve the McClanahan case, and maybe even nab the serial killer. This is going to sound off the wall, but just consider what I’m saying because I really do believe this is the answer.

“I’ve had Peter McClanahan under surveillance especially on rainy nights. Twice I’ve followed him to Medford Alley. Chief, I know this is going to sound crazy, but both times as he entered the alley, he disappeared right before my eyes. I don’t mean he jumped behind a garbage can or something to hide. He literally walked into nothingness. One second he’s there. The next split second he vanishes – not once, but twice.”

“You’re right Marx. You’re sounding crazy, and I have important work to do.”

“No chief, listen. I can explain his disappearance, but you have to hear me out – the whole thing, then it will make sense.”

“You really think you’re on to something?”

“Yes Chief, I really do. May I continue.”

“Go ahead Bobby, but I’m only listening because we’re desperate for answers. That doesn’t mean I don’t think you’re crazy.”

“Thanks, Chief. I Believe Peter may have entered a time portal to the past.”

“A time portal?”

“Yes, that’s right – a time portal. I think Peter is trying to go back in time to discover his killer by reliving the events.”

“So that should be easy. Bring him for questioning. Bobby, do you really believe this stuff? It’s ridiculous. But just to humor you, bring in. We’ll see what he has to say.”

“It doesn’t work like that, Boss.” This is where it gets tricky. What Peter is hoping to find will never be remembered. He’s living in the past. When he comes back from his trip he’s living in the present. He has no recollection of the trip at all. When he’s in the past, the present hasn’t happened yet. When he’s living in the present, he remembers his past just as he does now. He only has that information in the past as it happens. When he moves back to the present he has his present memory which doesn’t remember what happened. I told you. It gets confusing.”

“What’s that article in your file? May I see it?”

Marx handed Gordon his article for The Underground Wall.

“Bobby, you’re really losing me now. This article on Medford Alley talks about going into the future, but yet you’re saying McClanahan returns to the past. Which is it?”

“Here, read this article. A time portal can work either way. It would make no sense for Peter to move into the future, but if you consider he’s trying to find his attacker, moving into the past makes a whole lot of sense.

“I was going back over Lance’s notes. Remember Peter has these episodes where he blacks out. Doctor Welch can’t even explain it, but if Peter is in the past during those times, technically he’s not here. Literally he’s located in another dimension. That makes it appear as if Peter doesn’t exist during that particular time frame. . . Chief, are you still following me because there’s more? I don’t want to confuse you.”

“Go on.”

“Now back to your suggestion to bring him for questioning. You see, it would do no good. He doesn’t remember anything of the other world.” So aren’t you going to ask what is the solution?”

“Okay, okay, Marx. What is the solution?”

“I need to enter the portal with him and observe.”

“Absolutely not! Bobby, even if your theory was correct, there are too many problems with it. For one thing, The Underground Wall article – what if you don’t retrace your steps correctly. You could be lost in the past forever. For another, you yourself said Peter isn’t able to remember what he experiences. Even if you do come back, you’d have no memory. I may get on you from time to time, but I’m not about to lose a top officer to a time machine.”

Feeling proud of the compliment Bobby returned, “It’s a time portal, chief.”

“But I do agree if indeed that is what Peter is doing, we need to find out. So again, what’s the solution?”

“Here, check out this article.” It explains how these microphones work in an electro-magnetic field. You’ll have to wire me. I’ll be able to communicate to you what’s happening in the past in real time – if that makes sense. Also, while I’m in the past, you will have to keep reminding me of my mission. When I’m in the past I won’t be aware of you or what’s happening in your present. I’ll only know the past as my present. Chief, believe me, I know it’s confusing. Are you sure you understand this?”

“I think so, but you’re still not going through the portal. Hold on just a minute.”

Chief Gordon reached for the phone and dialed Lance’s extension. “Lance, Marx has some information on the McClanahan case. I’m sending him over to discuss it with you. Let me know what you think.”

Bobby headed down to Lance’s cubicle. He shared all the details of his extensive research, but Lance was unmoved. Bobby looked sincerely into Lance’s face and asked, “Do you have anything better to go on?”

© 2016 William Kovacic


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