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The Voice - Part 14

Updated on October 22, 2016

From Part 13

Margie was hysterical. She took one step toward the portal. Lance yelled from across the street, “Margie, stop!”

Peter’s disappearance and Lance’s urgent call caused Margie to collapse in the street. Lance and the men ran to her as rapidly as they could, and Lance was quick to take charge. “Bobby, take the rookie and get the vehicle over here ASAP.”

Within minutes Margie was carefully placed in the back of Bobby’s car. “Heading for the hospital, Boss?” Bobby asked. Just then Margie began to show signs of recovery. Slowly at first, then . . . “Where’s Peter? What’s happened to Peter?”

“Margie, calm down. Everything’s okay.” Lance tried his best to reassure her.

“You’re not taking me to the hospital. We’ve got to find Peter!”

“Margie, it’s okay. I can explain. Let’s get you back to the house.”

On the way back, Margie sat shivering. She wasn’t feeling well at all. Lance was able to calm her enough to wait until they got inside. Then he would explain. Bobby jerked the car into the driveway. Now Margie was really feeling sick.

“Want something cold, or something hot to drink, Marge?”

“Nothing, Lance. Just tell me what’s happened to Peter.”

“Okay . . . Okay, but first you need to promise never to repeat this to anyone. This is part of an official ongoing investigation. If you slip up – even once, it can blow the whole case. It can get me fired.”

“To be perfectly honest with you Detective, your job security is the least of my worries right now. WHERE’S MY SON?!”


“Margie, Peter could be in grave danger if you tell someone, especially Peter. Your word is good enough for me. Just be glad I’m not the Chief. Promise?”

“Yes, now tell me what’s happened to my son!”

“He entered a time portal.”

“What! Lance, what are you talking about! Come on! Level with me.”

“I guess I was a little too straight forward. Let me start again. We believe that a doorway to the past exists in Medford Alley. Peter is driven there on rainy nights by The Voice. The Voice is a manifestation of his subconscious. The memories are too painful for him to deal with, but subconsciously he knows he needs to, and the voice of his subconscious is The Voice. He’s being guided to the alley to go through the portal and back in time to try to make sense of it all.”

“Whoa. This is heavy stuff. You can’t be serious, Lance.”

“I wish I wasn’t. It took some convincing on Bobby’s part, but I do believe that’s what’s happening. The time periods that Doctor Welch can’t account for – are the times Peter is in the past. During the time on the other side of the portal, technically Peter is in the past. He’s really not present.”

“That can’t be. Peter told me himself he’s never been back to Medford Alley until the other day. It was too frightening for him so he wanted me to go with him tonight. When we got to the alley he said he had to go the rest of the way alone – and poof! He disappeared. You’re telling me Peter is lying; that there have been other times?”

Bobby joined the conversation. “Margie I have some material back at headquarters on time portals. I’ll bring it over and you can read through it. It might give you a better understanding of what we’re dealing with, but did Peter lie? Margie, he’s been to the portal before. I’ve seen him with my own eyes, but he doesn’t know he’s been there.”

“Now, hold on guys. You’re asking me to believe the unbelievable and then to believe he doesn’t know where he’s been.”

“That’s exactly right, Margie.” She rolled her eyes, and gave that really? look. “You see Margie, when Peter enters the door to the past he doesn’t exist anymore in the present. What he’s trying to do is really never going to happen, but he’ll figure that out when he’s ready. He’s being led to the portal by The Voice. He has no conscious recollection of it. Then to complicate things even more, when he’s in the past, he’s doing just that – living in the past. He has no knowledge of his present circumstances.

When he comes back to the present all he remembers is what he already knows because this is his present.” Margie rolled her eyes again.

“I know, I know, but that’s how it works,” Bobby continued. "So Peter has no present memory when he enters the portal, and he loses all new information from the past when he enters the present?”

Lance cut in. “Margie, I know it sounds wild, but that’s about it. It will take some time for it all to work its way into your thinking. I’m still dealing with the twists and turns.

“But Margie, the other thing is this. We believe Peter is being led by The Voice, or his subconscious. If he is aware of what’s happening he may try to manipulate the portal to find the answers. He’s not only led to the alley by The Voice, but he’s led back out. If he consciously enters the eye of the needle, as it were, he may be lost forever in the past. To come back out means you must retrace your steps exactly. It’s likely that if you miss a step or a turn, you’ll end up in a different time and/or place with no way out except by trial and error. If Peter knows about this, you’re likely to lose him forever. Please – please keep this to yourself.”

The rookie spoke up. “We still need Peter to make the trips. As long as he does so led by The Voice, he will be led back out, but we need to try to find out what he’s experiencing. It could be that as he enters the past he may be solving his own attack, but we need the memory he has when he’s in the past since he can’t bring it out with him.”

Margie gave one more of her eye rolling glances.”And may I ask, just how do you propose to do that?”

There was a rattling on the front porch. Then the front door opened. Peter just returned.

“Mom! Where did you go?” I turned around and you were gone.”

“Peter . . . “, Margie began hesitantly.

Lance wasted no time cutting in. “Peter, that’s my fault. I apologize. I was coming up Jackson when I saw your Mom and called her over. In the rain, it looks like things got a little confused. Sorry about that.”


Peter was too tired to think through the flimsy excuse. He just nodded and headed for his bed.

“Lance, this is Detective Hayes with the Topeka Police. Our boy is scheduled to arrive in Lafayette tomorrow morning at 6:32; Flight 73. Can you follow up on your end?”

“You betcha, Buddy. I’ll be on Roger McClanahan from start to finish. I do believe the finish will be an arrest. How does that sound?”

“Sounds good to me, and let me know what’s going on. This could be a feather in both our caps.”

The night passed slowly for Lance. He tossed and turned until the alarm clock let him know he needed to get to the airport.


It's Off to the Airport

Lance’s adrenaline rush was beginning. He planted himself inside a crowd near the arrival gate. Passengers began to step off the plane. It wasn’t long until Lance picked out Roger McClanahan from the line of exiting passengers. He watched with his detective’s eagle-eye until Roger started down the concourse. Lance fell in step about fifteen feet back.

“Roger – Roger” Lance shouted over the tops of heads. Roger never turned around. Lance shouted again. Still no response. Lance quickened his step – then he stopped. “Wait a minute! Anyone in a crowd would turn if they heard their name. That means his name isn’t Roger McClanahan.” Lance was off and running to the baggage carousel.


He glanced at each piece of baggage and noticed the name on each. His detective mind committed the information to memory as he slunk back in the crowd to wait. Roger turned the corner and headed over to get his luggage. Lance watched. He picked up the black and red duffle bag which carried the name, Alex Barto.

Lance circled around and began to walk toward Roger. “Roger – Roger McClanahan. What are you doing here in Lafayette? You here to see Margie?

“Yes, yes I am.”

“Well, that’s wonderful. I know she’ll be excited to see you. Come on, I’ll take you over to the house. I was just heading over there anyway. I’d love to see the happy reunion.”

“No, no I can’t right now. I need to get checked in. I’ll be going over later.”

“Get checked in. Well, you came to the right place. Forget about all those crummy taxi drivers. They’re way too expensive and the cabs are like death traps. Come on. I’d be honored to drive you to your motel.”

“Thank you very much, Detective. I do have other plans right now.”

Lance had played the game long enough. “Wait a minute, Alex. You just said you needed to get checked in now. Which is it? Better yet, what are you doing here? Lafayette’s quite a ways from Topeka.”

“Look, Detective, I’m here on business. I’ve committed no crimes, so what’s with the interrogation?”

“Let me give you a chance to clear your name, Alex Barto. What is your business?”

“You wouldn’t believe me if I told you.”

“Then humor me.”

“You want the truth? Okay, here goes. I’m a special agent for the FBI, and I’m here undercover investigating a crime. You stay out of my way, and I’ll do my best to stay out of yours.”

“I really thought you’d come up with something better than that. I should have known, but know this, Alex Barto, I’ll be watching you very, very closely. I’m investigating my own crime, and right now you’re the prime suspect.”

“Oh, while I’m thinking of it Detective, do you remember the Jesse Allen Case from a few years back? You know, the little boy that disappeared from Montgomery Park?”

Not wanting to seem out of touch, Lance lied, “Of course I do.”

“But you don’t know what happened to him, do you?”

Realizing his game was up, Lanced answered, “No, no we never did put a lid on the case?”

“Do you know why?”

“No. Tell me, smart guy.”

“It’s because you don’t know the secret of Medford Alley.” Alex turned and walked away.

Lance thought to himself, “Okay, this guy isn’t going to get away with this. I’ll be on him like superglue.”


Stuck Like Superglue

Lance followed him to the sleazy side of town and watched while he checked into the Gables Motel. Then he began to think. “Jesse Allen disappeared from Montgomery Park. How come I don’t remember that?”

That thought sent him back to headquarters. He fired up his computer and searched for Jesse Allen Disappears from Montgomery Park. The search drew a blank. He tried Jesse Allen disappears. Still nothing. Finally, he tried Jesse Allen.

Bingo! Jesse Allen, the rock musician; Jesse Allen, the chef, Jess Allen, the real estate agent, but no disappearing Jesse Allen. Alex was just playing games. The evening was getting late and Lance knew he had to begin his stakeout of the Gables Motel early. It was time for bed.

But morning came too early, and Lance was rudely awakened by his insistent alarm clock. He knew he had to hurry. He had to check in for the morning meeting and get over to The Gables Motel as quickly as possible. He always liked to be the first one at the precinct. He was able to enjoy a cup of coffee in solitude before taking on the pressures of the day. On the way to his cubicle, coffee in hand he grabbed the morning paper from the front desk.

As he reached his cubicle he sighed, kicked back his chair, and propped his feet on the edge of the desk. His right hand occupied with the coffee, he reached for the newspaper with his left. The morning headlines jumped off the page – Three Year Old Missing from Montgomery Park.

Lance was now running on all cylinders, and he didn’t even have a sip of coffee. He focused in while he read: Jesse Scott Allen disappeared at Montgomery Park yesterday afternoon about 3:30. He accidentally was separated from his mother, Rita Allen, while walking through the crowded park. Anyone with information please contact Lafayette police.

Lance was beginning to focus in. Barto was at work, this much Lance was sure of. Bobby came running down the aisle. “Lance, Lance, Chief’s called an emergency meeting. Get down here right away.” So much for a leisurely cup of coffee.

Chief began. “Okay men, listen up. Night shift has been on this all night. Now it’s your turn. A child went missing from Montgomery Park yesterday afternoon in case you haven’t heard. We have to find him while the trail is still fresh. Fisher – take the rookie and go over the park with a fine tooth comb. Marx – you and McGee go door to door in the Project behind the park. The rest of you, Take these pictures and description and hit the streets. Now move it.”

Lance ran toward Chief Gordon. “Chief, I know who did it!, I know who did it!” Lance relayed the results of his investigation of Alex Barto. Could Lance know for sure that Alex was responsible for the kidnapping? Probably not, but it seemed like a good bet. Alex’s mention of a crime at Montgomery Park wasn’t meant to be a past crime at all, but about a crime that he would commit later that day.

Chief shouted out, “Marx, you stay here. McGee, you take the rookie.”

“Bobby, listen to what Lance knows. You’ve been working the McClanahan case with him. There might be a tie-in. This Barto character used the alias Roger McClanahan and posed as Peter’s uncle. See what you think.”

Lance passed the information off to Bobby. Bobby looked at Chief. Chief looked at Bobby. Lance looked at them both. “What? What’s going on, guys? What?”

Bobby felt a little smug. “And you’re the lead homicide detective on the McClanahan case, Lance?”

“Yeah. Now, what’s going on?”

“This uh, Alex-Roger guy – he asked you about the disappearance of Jesse Allen that supposedly happened a few years ago, right?”


“He mentioned almost in the same sentence as he mentioned Medford Alley, right?”


Bobby looked at Chief. Chief looked at Bobby. Lance was still confused.

“Lance, this Alex, he’s from the future,” Bobby began. “To him, Jesse’s disappearance was a few years ago because he is in the future. To us, here in the present, it just happened. Medford Alley was his travel vehicle”

© 2016 William Kovacic


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