The Voice - Part 17
- The Voice - Part 16
The Voice speaks and demands complete obedience. You better pray it doesn't speak to you!
This is a pivotal chapter and must be read for all future installments to make sense.
From Part 16
“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.
Standing at the crosswalk, Peter reached into his back pocket and pulled out a knife. He yelled, “Hey kid!” As the young man turned around he looked Peter in the eyes. At that point, Peter quickly and cleanly slashed his throat. Another victim fell helpless to the ground. While the blood collected in a pool by his head, Peter sunk his steel-toed boot into the victim’s right temple;
Something is Terribly Wrong
Bobby stood in shock. Had he not seen it, he wouldn’t have believed it.
Chief was trying to get through. “Bobby, Bobby. Are you there? Bobby.”
“Yeah, Chief. I’m here. Chief . . . Peter just . . . murdered someone in cold blood. I’ve got to arrest him.”
“Bobby, keep on him until he comes back to the present. You can’t arrest him. You have no jurisdiction in Clementon. Besides, technically he hasn’t committed the crime yet. Stay on him and get back here as soon as you possibly can. We’ll figure out what to do then. You did good, Detective.”
Somehow Bobby wasn’t feeling so good about it. His mind was whirling while his heart skipped every other beat. What had just happened? Why did it happen? How could it have happened? Questions came in groups. Answers didn’t come at all.
Back at Headquarters, everyone was waiting in the conference room for the return of Detective Robert Marx. Minutes later he stumbled through the door soaked to the bone - white as a ghost.
“Bobby, you okay? You don’t look so good,” Lance muttered.”
An exhausted Bobby slouched in a chair at the end of the table. “Chief, how can his be? Peter’s our serial killer. We have to stop him before he kills someone else.”
“You’re right Bobby, but it’s not that easy. . . Chris, get Amy Bauer down here ASAP.”
Bobby began in tears. "He murdered this young man in cold blood. No show of remorse. No show of any emotion; just very matter of fact. We have to arrest him, and we have to arrest him now before he kills again.”
Lance broke in, “Chief, can’t we have the Clementon police pick him up on suspicion of murder? After all, we do have an eye-witness.”
“An eye-witness to what? A crime that hasn’t been committed yet? Don’t you see what’s happening? The man who was killed last night was murdered in the future – he’s still alive here in the present. His body won’t show up as dead for another twelve . . . thirteen years.
“These other victims that we’re finding now, they would have been murdered thirteen years ago when the present was the future. This is crazy. But we can’t arrest someone for a crime that has yet to be committed. The bodies are showing up all these years later where our present meets the future at Medford Alley . . .
“. . . Oh Amy, thanks for coming down. Have you been briefed by Officer Shields?”
“Yes, Chief. I’m ready to go, but as always, I most likely will need more time to look at the facts.”
“Understood. What do you make of this?”
“I don’t think anyone can deny that Peter fits the profile to a tee. It makes perfect sense, at least in the mind of a serial killer. These are all men he sees as a reflection of himself. He abhors them because he abhors himself. He wants to destroy any trace of himself. The attacks aren’t against the victims per se. The attacks are against Peter.”
“Lance, what are your thoughts?”
“Thank you, Amy. Obviously, Alex Barto isn’t the killer I thought he was, but how can we stop Peter? Like Chief says, the crimes haven’t been committed yet, and those that were – there’s no evidence to link them to Peter. In a sense, Peter’s committed the perfect crime, and we’re back to square one. Nothing to link Peter to the killings in the past and he can’t be arrested for murders he technically hasn’t committed yet – even though he has, in the future.”
Chief Gordon dismissed the meeting with the promise to keep working until answers were found. “Lance, what are you going to tell Margie?”
“Nothing Chief. Absolutely nothing.”
Hiking the Subway
A New Day
The day broke clear and dry. The freshness in the new morning air energized everyone that was out and about. That included Detective Lance Fisher. Not wanting to lose time in the case, but wanting to enjoy the break in the weather, Lance grabbed his case file and headed down to Montgomery Park. Maybe new surroundings would bring a new perspective.
He looked up just in time to see Peter turn down the walkway. He looked again, and just steps behind Peter was Alex Barto.
Lance’s mind began to race. Maybe Barto did have something to do with the serial killings after all. What other explanation could there be for an out of state man to be just steps behind a serial killer. Lance put the papers back in the folder and quietly and slowly began to tail the two.
At the end of the walkway, Peter turned left to head back home. Alex Barto took the other fork and headed up the hiking trail. Lance casually walked over to a vacant bench and sat down weighing his options. He decided to wait. Sooner or later Barto would come back down the trail - but he never did.
Lance called for a meeting of the minds; that is Lance, Bobby, Chris, and Chief. Lance shared his new information about Barto and Peter in the park, but there really wasn’t anything to talk about. No crime had been committed and Barto was never reported as missing. Once again, Barto by necessity faded from the active investigation.
The meeting concluded with the group planning for Bobby to re-enter the portal. More information was needed from the other side and the only way to obtain it was to follow Peter into the future. Rain was in the forecast for the following night, and so was another trip into the future.
The plan was the same. Chris would follow Peter from his house. Lance would observe from Jackson Street, and Detective Marx would ride through the time portal on Peter’s coattails. Chief would monitor the entire operation from headquarters.
As the rain began to fall, Peter was on the run. He wasted no time getting to the assigned location. That location was assigned byThe Voice. And of course, that location was Medford Alley.
Bobby stood ready at the alley entrance. Peter was seconds away. Lance made contact. “Bobby, you ready? He’s a half block away. Be careful.”
Peter turned sharply into the alley. Bobby gently, but firmly grabbed his arm and both were sucked from the present. Out of sight, all anyone could do was to wait for Chief to make contact.
“Chief – Bobby here. I’m in.” A collective sigh of relief went up from the men.
“Okay, good work Marx. Now stay with him. Just observe. As of yet, we aren’t ready to take action. If there is any way you can make use of distraction to free the victim, by all means, do it. Other than that, stay out of sight, Okay?”
The night faded into an early morning. Finally about 1:30 a.m. an exhausted Detective Marx staggered through headquarters to where the men were waiting at Chief’s office.
A surprised Shields looked up. “Bobby you made it!”
“No murders tonight, guys. Oh, he tried, but met with no success – thankfully."
Lance broke in, “Chief, we need to let Margie know. If her son’s going to spend the rest of his life in jail, or on Death Row, she has a right to know. We can’t hide it from her forever.”
“Lance, it’s way too dangerous. She’ll tip off Peter. Everything we’ve worked for will be wasted. We can’t – at least not yet. In the meantime, we need to prepare to go back in. Bobby, you up for it?”
There was no response. A still shaken Detective Robert Marx just stared at nothing.
“Chief, this is getting too stressful for Bobby. There’s a tremendous responsibility placed on him plus there’s always that chance of getting lost and never returning. Let me go next time. I’m begging you for Bobby’s sake. Let me go.”
“One day at a time, Lance. One day at a time.” All were dismissed and at the risk of being short-handed, were given the following day off. They all needed to recover. Stress was showing not only on Marx’s face but on the rest as well.
Chief closed with these words, “Okay, take tomorrow off. We all need some rest. Sleep in. Get away for awhile. Do whatever you have to do. Then be back ready to go to work on Thursday morning. Now get out of here.”
Wednesday morning’s sun was just beginning to rise as Lance stumbled into his apartment. Exhausted and overworked, he was thankful for a needed day off. He showered and collapsed on his bed. He indulged in allowing his muscles to completely relax. He enjoyed being able to close his weary eyes. He relished the fact that he had a whole day ahead of him in which he could rest with absolutely nothing to do. He was looking forward to sleep – but sleep never came.
Lance’s mind was racing a mile a minute. He did his best to dismiss the nagging thoughts of the investigation, but unfortunately, they continued to nag. After fighting it for a few hours, Lance knew he would never be able to sleep. Maybe by the evening, he would be ready.
Without any conscious thought, he found himself driving down Jackson Street. Medford Alley would intersect at the next block. Lance slowed down and gazed down the empty alley. It would tell no secrets this day. The sun glistened off the railings closing in the concrete yards of the old, run-down tenements, but evidence of a time portal was non-existent.
As much as Lance had grown fond of Margie as well as Peter, he knew he couldn’t share the new information with either of them. At the same time, he felt he was being dishonest by not sharing the new finds. That’s when a wispy thought crossed Lance’s mind – not clear at first, but then it began to take form.
It was necessary to keep Peter from entering Medford Alley. He couldn’t be arrested for his futuristic murders. But where were the drugs coming from? It seemed that Peter planted a small bag of cocaine on each of his victims. If it could be proven that Peter entered the time gate with cocaine in his possession, he could be arrested on possession charges. That would be a lighter sentence than murder, and still, keep Peter from harming anyone else in the present or the future. Lance’s next stop was 2124 Dawson Street.
Margie met him at the door. “Well, hello stranger. Haven’t seen you in a while! Come on in. I’ll get you a cup of coffee. So, I’m kind of hoping maybe you have some good news about the investigation. How’s it been going?”
Those were words Lance didn’t want to hear. His new found faith directed him not to lie, but he couldn’t share the new developments yet. “Oh, it’s been going. I’m just not sure where,” he answered.
The strain showed on his face. Margie couldn’t help but notice. Lance, what’s going on? I can see it. I can see it. It’s not good news you bring. It’s bad news, isn’t it?”
“Margie, I’m not supposed to be bringing any news at all. I just stopped by because I have the day off, and I missed you.”
“Lance Fisher, I know you better than that. There’s something you want to tell me – so tell me.”
“Look, Margie. We found our man.”
“You mean the serial killer? Lance, that’s not bad news. That’s great news! Your investigation is finally paying off. How did you find him?”
“Margie, I really shouldn’t be talking about this, but it is bad news. We found him by accident. You have to promise me you won’t repeat this to anyone – even Peter, especially Peter. We’ve been through this before, and your word was good enough then, but it needs to be good enough now. Margie, do you promise not to share this information with anyone, and I do mean anyone? ”
“Lance, is it really that serious?”
“Margie, any leaks in the case, and our serial killer goes free. Do you promise?”
“If it’s that important, then yes, I promise.”
“Okay, now Margie prepare yourself. I’m quite sure it’s not who you think. Even after I tell you, I’m not sure you’ll believe me, but there’s more than enough evidence against him. However, there is a positive side to the situation. He can’t be arrested. I’ll explain that in a minute. Now, are you ready?”
”It’s Peter? What do you mean it’s Peter? That’s impossible!”
“It is almost impossible. Now just listen. You know about the time portal at Medford Alley. We originally thought Peter was traveling back in time to try to find his attacker. The Voice, his subconscious, would lead him there, looking for answers.
“We set up Bobby to follow Peter through the door to Peter’s past hoping to find his attacker, and maybe gain some information on the serial killer. What we found is that Peter doesn’t go to the past. He goes into the future. Now Margie, relax. I’m getting to the positive side of things.
“Bobby witnessed Peter committing a murder. He went through the portal a second time, and Peter attempted to kill a boy, but he was unsuccessful. Try to wrap your head around this, if you can because the time element involved in the murders is terribly twisted.
“The first victim we found was murdered about thirteen years ago when the present was Peter’s future. The victim Bobby saw murdered won’t be discovered for about another thirteen years. When Peter enters the time warp, he travels roughly thirteen years into the future. When our present meets Peter’s future the body will be discovered.
“Peter can’t be tried for a murder he technically hasn’t committed yet – and there’s no evidence to link him to any of the past murders. It really is the perfect crime. But we do have to get him off the streets so he doesn’t kill anyone else.
“Margie, nobody would have believed it was Peter, but it is. Let me ask you another question. Is it possible Peter is using drugs?” He places a small bag of cocaine on each of his victims. If we could charge him with possession, he may be able to get some help. There’s even a slight possibility he won’t even get jail time, but we need a way to keep him from Medford Alley. We can’t allow him to go on committing more murders. Margie, is it possible?”
Margie, still shaken spoke softly. “I guess it is. If he’s capable of murder, he could be capable of using cocaine. Oh Lance, are you sure?”
“Yes. I’m positively sure. Do I have your permission to search his room for evidence? It’s probably going to come down to a search warrant, if not.”
“Sure . . . why not . . . but may I come with you?”
“Absolutely. Let’s go.”
- The Voice - Part 18
The Voice speaks and demands complete obedience. You better pray it doesn't speak to you!
© 2016 William Kovacic