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The Voice - Part 16
- The Voice - Part 15
The Voice speaks and demands complete obedience. You better pray it doesn't speak to you!
From Part 16
Lance apologetically spoke. “Doctor, we both know a search warrant would never be granted. Thank you for your time.”
Lance headed for the door with Shields in tow. Back in the cruiser the questions began. “So Lance, why didn’t you distract him? I could’ve grabbed the folder and we could be gone.”
“Rookie, let me remind you, we didn’t come here looking for a folder on Medford Alley. We came to get Peter’s evaluation report. Point number two Rookie, what are your thoughts on why a doctor would have a report on Medford Alley? Kepler deals with people, not places. Why would he have a folder on Medford Alley?
“He knows something, and we’re going to find out what it is.” Tonight we break in.”
“Whoa, Lance! Isn’t that just a bit illegal? It would have been much simpler if you just distracted the Doc, and I could have grabbed the folder.”
“Rookie, isn’t that just a bit illegal – theft of privileged material?”
“Tonight we go in, make copies of the files we need, put everything back the way we found it – and he’ll never know that we were there. No thieving, we’re clean. Get it!”
“Not exactly, but whatever we have to do to solve this case.”
“Okay. 10:00 tonight. Be here.”
10:00 p.m. found Lance and Chris outside Doctor Kepler’s office. Lance quickly and cleanly picked the lock and both were inside within a matter of minutes. Chris grabbed the file and handed it to Lance. Page by page he made photocopies of the report while Chris stood guard by the door. Mission accomplished.
“Look Chris,” Lance groaned. “We’ll go over this in the morning. We both have been burning the candle at both ends. Get some rest. I’ll see you then.” They parted ways.
On Lance’s drive home, he began to fall apart. The stress of trying to solve five murders had finally gotten to him. The big, brave man began to weep uncontrollably. He pulled over to the side of the road and looked up into a crystal clear, night sky. The moon shone brightly over the edge of town. That’s when he heard the still, small voice of God.
“Lance, I’ve been after you. Isn’t it time you just accept the fact? You know the answers. The burden you carry is far too heavy. I’d carry it for you if you let me.
“I’ve heard Margie’s prayers, and I’m acting on her behalf. She knows the frustrations of trying to go it alone. Lance, it’s time to let me in.”
“God, if that’s really You, then You know I can’t come to You. I’ve lived such a wretched life, and if You are who You say are, I can’t stand in Your presence with my filthy life. Are the books Margie gave me right? That’s what they say. My sin has separated me from Yourself.”
“That’s precisely the point, Lance. There is nothing in or of yourself that merits my goodness. Remember, the books also said that I came to earth to take on human flesh so that I could die for your filth. Lance, I paid the price of your sin with my own blood. Lance, do you understand? The price has been paid. Please let me in. I’ll wash you clean. I’ll protect you. I’ll guide you. Lance, follow me.”
Another wave of tears poured over Lance’s tired, worn face. “Oh God, I give myself to You. Forgive my sin and wash me just as You said. I admit Margie’s been right, and I’ve been so wrong. I make You Lord of my life right here, right now.”
Relief was followed by another stream of tears, and then joyous laughter. All of a sudden, Lance was fully awake and filled with a new energy. He headed over to the McClanahan’s. His news couldn’t wait until morning. The pounding on the door roused Margie from a sound sleep.
“Lance, what are you doing here? It’s nearly 1:00 a.m.”
“Margie! Margie! Margie! Jesus found me!”
”Lance, it’s late. What are you talking about?” Margie mumbled while still half asleep.
“Margie, I . . . how do you say it . . . I . . . I got saved!”
Margie was beginning to come around. Her day had worn her down, but she was slowly becoming more attentive. “Here, Lance. Sit down. I’ll get us some coffee. Lance followed her into the kitchen spewing out his excitement as they went. His mouth was moving twice as fast as his mind, and definitely faster than Margie could comprehend at the late hour. She needed to slow him down.
“Lance, sit down. Becoming a Christian isn’t something to do on a whim. It’s like marriage. It takes serious commitment. Do you understand how your sin has separated you from God?”
Lance was quick and to the point. “Uh huh.”
“And Lance, do you realize that your sin has reserved a place for you in Hell?
“There’s nothing you can do about it. It’s all about what Jesus did by shedding His blood on the cross. He paid your sin penalty so you can be free to follow Him.”
“Oh! Absolutely Margie. That’s what I want to do. I’ve given myself to Him. You say, ’He wants to live His life out through us.’ Well, that’s exactly what I want. I want him to take me and change me from the inside out. I know now I can’t do it. I understand what you’ve been saying all this time. Margie McClanahan, I’m a Christian.”
Tears of joy were shed by both as they sipped their coffee. For whatever reason, Lance remembered he turned his cell phone off when he was breaking into Dr. Kepler’s office. He looked at his watch – 4:53 a.m.
“Excuse me, Margie I Have some texts I need to read – three of them all from Bobby. He should be home sleeping, but then again so should I.”
Lance, Where Have You Been?
The texts read, “Lance, Chief needs us at headquarters immediately.” “Lance, we’re waiting for you. Get here quick.” Before Lance could read the third text, there was a knock at Margie’s door. Lance and Margie walked over to the door as Margie opened it.
“Bobby, what are you doing here at this hour?”
“I might ask you the same question. I’ve been texting you since 2:15. Chief wants you down at the station right now. They found Jesse Allen!”
Lance and Bobby were out the door and into Bobby’s cruiser within seconds. Chief Gordon was waiting impatiently for them.
“Fisher, where have you been? You know you’re on call.”
“Okay, okay, now look you two. Get over to Madison Memorial right away. They have Jesse Allen. He was found near the dumpster behind the hospital late last night. Zimmy already cleared the scene while we were waiting for you. Oh, and by the way - our serial killer got him.”
While running on the last of his adrenaline rush, Lance tried to sort through the facts with Bobby on the way to the hospital. How did they know this murder was committed by the same killer who took the lives of the others? This was a child, an innocent child. It simply didn’t fit the serial man’s MO.
Bobby and Lance were busy asking the doctors questions and taking detailed notes of the execution. Then it was time to see the body. The small, frail child had taken a terrible beating. His larynx was cut, and a steel-toed boot pierced his right temple. Lance concluded there wasn’t just a serial killer on the loose, but there was an animal out there running wild. The animal’s name – Alex Barto.
Lance was sickened at the sight. How could any human being do what was done to Jesse Allen? He headed back to headquarters with Bobby. “Bobby, call Chris. Tell him to meet us at my office immediately. We’re going to put an end to this.”
All three men crowded into Lance’s cubicle. “Look, guys, this has to stop. I vow to put Barto behind bars within the next two weeks. You with me?”
The three of them would now become one in a do or die effort to end the killings in Lafayette once for all. Nothing would stop them from reaching their goal. They would meet with Chief Gordon when he arrived and let him know their intent. In the meantime, Bobby kept an eye on the weather.
Chief Gordon and Amy Bauer were waiting for the trio to return from their research mission. The three had been to the Lafayette Library checking out some information on time portals. Lance had already made a complete background check on Alex Barto, but it yielded no new information.
Chief Gordon started. “Men sit down. We need to talk. I don’t think we’re going about this the right way. I brought Amy down to share what she knows. Amy . . . .”
“Look guys. I know you all want to nab the serial killer. I do too, but believe me, it’s not Alex Barto.”
Lance wasted no time objecting. “It most certainly is, Amy. There’s no doubt about it, and we’re going to bring him down.”
“Lance, I know I don’t have a stake in this – at least in the way you do. I don’t work for the Lafayette Police. I work for the county, but you brought me into this case to give you my professional thoughts. I told you I needed more time to study the situation and . . .”
“And we took some more time too, Amy. It’s clear who the killer is. We just have to corner him.”
“Lance, interrupt me one more time and I’m outta here! Chief can deal with you. Now will you let me finish?”
Lance’s apology didn’t seem sincere, but nevertheless, Amy continued.
“This Barto – he doesn’t fit the profile at all. Remember I said the killer was insecure, probably a little backward. I’ve studied the file. I’ve gone over your notes and according to the information, I believe Barto is very secure He had no problem challenging you, Lance. Did he?
“A person like that wouldn’t need to attack a defenseless child, but know this, guys. The method of murder is escalating. . . “
Lance broke in again.”How can you say that? Barto’s gone from killing adults to killing innocent children. It’s not escalating. He’s just an animal. He’ll kill anyone he can get his hands on. Amy, we have to stop him – and stop him now!”
Amy sat quietly looking into space with her hands folded neatly on the desk. Finally, after a moment of silence Lance realized what he had done. “Sorry Amy, I do apologize. Please continue.”
“I haven’t seen the complete report on the Allen case, but Chief, tell me if I’m right. Jesse was approached from the front. That is, the fatal injury was given when face to face. Further, this was in an open park – many people around; correct?”
Chief nodded affirmatively as Amy continued.
“That’s escalation, boys. The victim may be young and small, but the killer is upping the ante coming to public places and then looking into the eyes of his victim as he administers the death blow. It’s not Barto – promise.
“Meeting over. I’ll see myself out, Chief.”
Chris was sorting through Kepler’s notes on Medford Alley. There were numerous pages detailing Kepler’s plans for the future of Medford Alley. In short, his plan was to buy the entire block and open the time portal for entertainment. By charging a price, he was sure he could add to his already hefty income. Especially gullible teenagers would fall for the thrill of time travel. Chris couldn’t believe it – and how many teenagers might go missing, never to return, trapped eternally in the past? All the whileg, Kepler keeps their money.
He immediately called Lance and Bobby. The three brainstormed the situation. In the middle of the discussion Bobby excused himself and quickly made his way to Chief Gordon’s office. He hurriedly filled Chief in on the new information and offered his solution.
“Chief, I have to go in!”
“Go in what?”
“Maybe I should say I need to go through – through the portal. We have to get answers, and this may be the best shot we’ve had so far. I’ll wait for Peter at Medford Alley and as he enters I’ll be right behind him.
“I’ll keep in touch with you and the present by using the electromagnetic mics. Chief, it has to be.”
“So you’re proposing to sneak into Peter’s past without him knowing, hoping to find his attacker.”
“Yes Chief, and maybe even Lafayette’s serial killer. Chief, we have to act quickly before Kepler buys the alley. We have to.”
“Bobby, I told you before. I’m not willing to lose you to a time machine. It’s not going to happen.”
“What if Lance and Chris agree? What about then?”
Chief gave Bobby his get back to work look, and Bobby headed back to the others.
“Okay, look guys. I have a solution, but Chief won’t go for it. I figured if I could sell him he would sell you, but it didn’t work out. I need you guys to sell Chief. We have to do this so listen close.”
Bobby continued to lay out his plan for Lance and Chris. After some persuasion, the three were on their way to Chief’s office. A three-fold cord is not quickly broken.
Lance began, “Chief, we’re all for Bobby’s idea of entering the portal, but with one exception.”
Bobby had no idea what Lance was going to suggest.
Chief had to ask. “Okay, what’s the exception?”
“I’m the one to enter the portal. We can’t risk losing Bobby or Chris. After all, he’s just a rook.” Lance threw a playful look at Chris. “This is my investigation and if anyone goes missing, it will be me. I’m taking full responsibility for this.”
Bobby interrupted, “No, Lance. Did you hear what you just said? It’s your investigation. If something happens to you, where does that put us? We need you to continue the investigation. And you’re right about the new kid on the block. He’s not experienced enough yet.
“Me, I’ve studied this out. I know more than anyone else here what to expect. If you lose me, the investigation continues, but believe me, I have no plans to get lost in a time warp. That settles it!”
Bobby looked at Chief awaiting his approval.
“Go make your plans. I want the full details on my desk by tomorrow morning. It’s supposed to rain tomorrow night. We’ll do it then.”
The boys and Chief were meeting one last time before going out to do their field work.
Chief started the conversation. “Okay, it’s nearly time. We have no clue as to how this is going to play out. You all know the danger and the risks involved, especially for Bobby. The rest of the troops are here to send you off. Let’s head down to the conference room.”
The entire force was out to wish all well. After all were gathered in the conference room Chief continued. “Detective Lance Fisher, Officer Robert Marx, Officer Christopher Shields – front and center, please.
The men made their way to the front of the room. “There’s not a man or woman here who doesn’t realize the danger and the sacrifice involved in this mission. We have your back. And may God be with you.
“One more thing – Officer Marx. We know especially the danger you place yourself in. We recognize your bravery and commitment to this project. That is why, among other reasons . . .” Chief handed a badge to Bobby. “ . . . I am promoting you to the status of Detective.”
Bobby proudly accepted his detective badge with a big, toothy smile. It was time.
The Time Portal Opens
The night found Bobby slouched by the light pole at Medford Alley, ball cap in place, sunglasses on, and his nose stuck in a newspaper. He had been wired for sound and was in constant contact with headquarters. Lance was parked on Jackson Street with a clear view of the entire length of the alley. The rookie was parked on Dawson Street waiting for the rain and for Peter to make his move.
The first drops of rain began to fall. Chris noted the time – 7:13 p.m. and he added it to his notes. He continued to keep his eye on the McClanahan house. Minutes passed by. He checked the time again – 7:27 p.m.
The front door opened. Peter was on the move as noted by Officer Shields at exactly 7:31 p.m. He radioed Lance who in turn informed Bobby. The time was near.
Chris continued to follow Peter from a distance. As Peter turned on to Jackson Street, Chris added to his documentation the time – 7:44 p.m. He again contacted Lance who in turn contacted Bobby.
“Bobby, Lance here. I have a visual on Peter. He’s a block and a half away.”
Bobby took the time to raise his nose from the newspaper. “Yeah, I see him. This is it. If you ever said a prayer, this would be a good time.” Lance obliged.
Lance’s video camera caught the scene. Peter walked past Bobby and turned left to go down Medford Alley. In an instant, Bobby turned sharply from his position at the light post, and both were gone.
Lance called headquarters. “Chief, they’re both in. What’s next?”
Just hold tight. I’m going to give him a minute to get situated. Then I’ll try to contact him. Is Shields with you?”
“He is now.”
“Okay, I’m going to patch through the call. You’ll be able to hear everything I say – I hope. Hold on!”
Nothing but static was heard on Lance’s end. Then Chief’s voice cut through.
“Bobby, this is chief. You have left the present and you’re following Peter McClanahan in his past life. This is official work of the Lafayette Police Department. Do you read me?”
“Yeah, Chief. I hear you real good, but you won’t believe this. This isn’t Peter’s past. It’s his future. I’m twelve years away from where you are. And you know what else? I remember everything in your present. I don’t need this mic. I’ll give you a full report when I get back.”
“No – Bobby. Keep the mic on. We want real-time contact or whatever it is when I’m talking to you in the future. So what’s going on? Any idea why he’s not in the past?”
“Not a clue, Chief. He’s heading over to the train station. I’ll just keep a tail on him.”
All were pleased that the mission was seemingly successful. Bobby kept in touch as he followed Peter to the station and took a train to the next town over. The train’s first stop was in Clementon. Peter hopped off followed closely by Detective Marx. Peter was followed down the street where he passed a young man exiting a shop. What happened next was not in the plan.
- The Voice - Part 17
The Voice speaks and demands complete obedience. You better pray it doesn't speak to you!
© 2016 William Kovacic