The Voice - Part 3

From Part 2

Peter, are you sure you want to stick to that story? We have the polygraph set up.”

Without hesitation Peter answered, “Let’s go. I’ll take the test.”

The four traveled a short distance down the hall to an adjacent room. Richards opened the door and ushered in Peter. Margie and Larry followed, but were stopped. Richards held up his hand. “This is as far as you go. . ."


Margie was readying herself for her day when the phone rang. She opted to allow the voice mail to take the message.

“Mrs. McClanahan, this is Detective Richards. I know you’re there. Ignoring the situation won’t make it go away. Meet me at the station at 11:00 o’clock this morning. I’ll have the results from the polygraph. We’ll go over them together. Until then . . . .”

Just as Richards hung up the phone, an envelope was delivered to his desk. The polygraph results were now in the hands of the lead detective. He could hardly wait to see how the test turned out. His excitement was short-lived as he opened the envelope and read the report. Peter had passed with flying colors. Richards stomped out of his office and went head hunting for Walter Barton, the polygraph administrator.

“Barton, what’s going on? That McClanahan test – the kid passed. What are you doing?”

“Whoa, Richards! You’re in my territory now. Back off! I’m not into faking test results just so you can get a promotion. Yes, the kid passed. He’s not using or dealing any kind of illegal drugs. Did you bother to read the whole report? I doubt it. Did you see how his memory seems nonexistent when he tries to recall the events of that night? Did you look at anything other than his score?”

“Well . . . uh . . . not exactly. What’s this about his memory of the night in question?”

When I asked him about the events of May 12, the polygraph quit responding. It kind of flat-lined. It’s as if Peter didn’t exist during that period of time. He has no memory of the events, but even more importantly, there’s nothing there for him to remember.”

“How can that be?”

“Possibly the trauma from . . .”

“No, I mean how could it be that Peter isn’t the one we’re looking for. You’re going to have to change your conclusions. Margie McClanahan is coming in this morning to go over the results. I’m sure she’ll have that Goldstein with her and Peter. What are we going to do?”

“Whoa! Whoa! Whoa! What do you mean what are we are going to do? This is your case. You figure it out, but I do have one suggestion if you’re interested.”

The exasperated Richards moaned, “I’m listening. Go on.”

“We know there was blunt force trauma applied to Peter. That in itself could, and probably did affect the brain. Still the brain stores everything our senses experience. I think maybe you should have Todd Welch analyze Peter. He may be able to pull something up that we can’t. It’s worth a try.”

“You mean Doctor Welch?”

“That’s who I mean. He specializes in hypnotism. He’s even been able to take folks back to past existences in other life times. If he can do that, he ought to be able to unlock a few hours from a troubled boy’s mind. Like I said, it’s worth a try.”

The Results Are In

“Oh, hello Mrs. McClanahan. Please have a seat.”

For once Richards was almost congenial. Margie knew something was up. She just didn’t know what.

“Mrs. McClanahan, we have the results back from the polygraph test your son took yesterday. I’m sure it wouldn’t surprise you to know that Peter passed on every question. The problem is polygraph tests are not always reliable. They’re not fool-proof.

“While at first glance it may look like Peter’s off the hook, that’s not really the case at all. We have other areas we must explore before eliminating Peter as a suspect. It’s probable there were errors while administering the polygraph. No polygraph test is ever 100% clean.

When our polygraph administrator came to me just a short while ago to tell me of the failed administration of the test, he suggested Peter undergo hypnosis. If you really want to get to the truth, Mrs. McClanahan, I recommend sending Peter to Doctor Todd Welch. How does that sound?”

“I will be able to be present through the entire testing?”

“I would assume so.”

Margie looked over at Peter and Larry. “Okay, let’s get to the truth. Go ahead and set it up.”

As the group left Richards’s office, Margie noticed Walter Barton peeking around the corner of the polygraph room. Without stopping to explain to the others, she made a beeline for him.

“Officer Barton, Detective Richards says the polygraph test failed. He said Peter would need to see Doctor Welch for hypnosis testing. What happed? How did it fail?”

“Oh, so the lead prosecuting detective says the test failed, eh. Well let me tell you, Mrs. McClanahan, that test was perfect. Polygraphs aren’t fail-proof, but that test was as close to perfect as it could be. There’s no doubt in my mind Peter was telling the truth. As for the hypnosis, that was my idea.

“One other thing – You need to stay one step ahead of Richards. You know he’s up for a promotion. He was up for one about a year and a half ago, but he didn’t get it. He’s been a changed person ever since. But I know Jeremy. Once he gets an idea in his head he stops at nothing until he reaches his goal. Just be careful. If you stay one step ahead of him, you’ll have to watch your back.”

Larry returned to his office. Margie and Peter started for home.

Detective Richards immediately scheduled an appointment with Doctor Welch for the following day. He wasted no time calling the McClanahan residence to let them know they were to meet him at the doctor’s office the next morning. Feeling proud, Richards called it a day. “Done by 5:00 o’clock! That never happens,” he muttered to himself as he grabbed his car keys and turned off the cubicle light.

The late spring air was drenched with the scent of lilac and dogwood as he made his way to his car. Still muttering to himself, he opened the car door, “What a great day to be alive! I might just celebrate by taking Janie and the kid out for dinner.”

The Richards girls were waiting by the door when Jeremy pulled in. “Let’s go get some steak and shrimp,” he yelled from the car.

“You got the promotion!” Janie shouted as she ran to the car and greeted Jeremy with a big hug.

“No, not yet honey, but it’s so close I can taste it; just like I can taste that steak and shrimp so let’s go.” The Richards family celebrated nothing in particular as the night passed quickly.

That was not the case for the McClanahan family. Peter and Margie tried to watch a video, but Peter was apprehensive about the hypnosis test in the morning.

“Peter, this is no different than the polygraph. You passed it with ease and you’ll do the same with this. Maybe we ought to get some sleep so we’ll be refreshed in the morning. What do you say?” And with that, the night ended.

Peter’s night was restless. The horror of that night lived on in Peter’s mind, even if he couldn’t remember what happened. Although Peter was unsure about the hypnosis, he wanted to get to the truth as much as anyone else. It was his mind, his emotions, his security – his well-being that was at stake.

Morning finally arrived to find Peter, Margie, Goldstein, and Richards gathered in Doctor Welch’s small office. Underneath Richards’s professional exterior, Margie could sense the gloating. Remembering she needed to stay one step ahead of him, she was determined not to be pulled into any arguments or allow her temper to rise. She would be in complete control of herself, and as much as possible, also the situation.

After a brief explanation of what would take place, Doctor Welsh began. Peter found himself relaxing much easier than he anticipated. Within a few short minutes Peter’s conscious being went into hibernation as his subconscious came to the forefront. The questioning was ready to begin.

Doctor Welch started, “What is your name?” Peter responded, “Peter McClanahan.”

“Where are you?”

“The office of Doctor Welch.”

“Why have you been brought to my office, and have you come willingly?”

“I’m suspected of dealing drugs. I’ve been brought here by Detective Richards. I’m here to prove my innocence, and I come willingly.”

“Peter, after I bring you back from this hypnotic state, you won’t remember anything that takes place. So you will have a record of what has taken place, do you give me permission to record this session?”


Doctor Welch turned to Margie and Larry. “From this point on, Peter won’t remember anything. You must be prepared to hear things that you may not be aware of; things that might surprise you; things you’d rather not hear. I guarantee you what you will hear will be complete truth. Are you ready?”

They nodded in unison.

“Peter, let’s go back a few months to the night in question, May 12. It’s 5:00 o’clock in the evening. What are you doing?”

“I’m eating dinner.”

“What are you eating?”

“Spaghetti and meatballs. Tossed salad with Italian dressing, and Italian bread - Oh, and a glass of iced tea.”

Margie nodded verifying Peter’s statement as Doctor Welch continued.

You left the house that evening. Where did you go, and what did you do?”

“I went to Steve Watson’s house to study, but we ended up mostly playing video games.”

What time did you leave Steve’s house?”

“It was about 7:30. It had just started to rain, and I wanted to get home before the storm hit full-force.”

“What took place next?”

“Medford Alley.”

“What about Medford Alley?”

There was no response. Doctor Welch repeated the question, but no information was forthcoming. The doctor assured the others that he just needed some time to break through. Traumatic experiences don’t always surface immediately. Doctor Welch tried again.

“Peter, what happened at Medford Alley?”

Peter still did not respond, and Doctor Welch continued to press the question for the next 45 minutes, but he had hit a dead end.

“Folks,” he addressed the group, “I have taken people back through time regression past the birth canal to their past lives. There have been many that have not had a past life – this life is their first. When we get them back to the very beginning, their reaction is similar to Peter’s.

“In essence, they didn’t exist before, so when we reach that point there’s no place to go, and nothing to remember because they were non-existent at that point. What I’m saying is Peter has reached the beginning point of his life. Technically he didn’t exist before Medford Alley.”

Margie barged in, “That’s impossible! He’s definitely been alive for the past 15 years. Maybe what he experienced was so traumatic he just doesn’t want to face it.”

“If that were the case, Mrs. McClanahan, he would show signs of fear and anxiety. Let me try one more thing.”

Doctor Welch turned back to Peter. “Peter, tell me about May 11. It’s 10:00 a.m., May 11. What are you doing?”

“I’m sitting in Spanish class trying to conjugate the verb run.”

“Okay Peter. It’s Christmas day – 1:00 p.m. What are you doing?”

“I’m playing with my new video game.”

Doctor Welch took some time to try to understand. “Well, this is the only conclusion I can come to. Peter existed before May 12 at 7:30 and after May 13 at 1:00 a.m. Now, there must be an explanation, but to be honest, I don’t what it is right now. I’ll get back to you all. The group was dismissed.

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Comments 14 comments

lambservant profile image

lambservant 5 months ago from Pacific Northwest

I love this story Bill.

lifegate profile image

lifegate 5 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

I'm glad, Lori. I'm having fun with it. I want it to be the best it can be before it's published, so keep the constructive criticism coming. Hope your weekend is extra good!

MsDora profile image

MsDora 5 months ago from The Caribbean

This is sci-fi, mystery and more. I'm liking it and waiting for the next episode.

billybuc profile image

billybuc 5 months ago from Olympia, WA

I do enjoy this story....if I may make a suggestion? All the dialogue sounds like the same person speaking.....perhaps change it up a bit, one formal, one slang, and so on?

lifegate profile image

lifegate 5 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

I never thought of it as sci-fi, but you may be right. I really appreciate you following along, and I don't take that for granted.

lifegate profile image

lifegate 5 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Okay Bill - got it. I'll work on that.My only problem is finding time. Sometimes I think I take on more than I can handle, but one way or another, I'll get it done. Thanks for the input. This helps a lot.

Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 5 months ago from The Beautiful South

Great fun to read Bill. Such a weird turn at the end and big question to where it is going!

Back to the future? lol

lifegate profile image

lifegate 5 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi Jackie,


It's been great fun to write. I hope that as we go the story continues to make sense. Later we'll deal with a principle I don't totally understand, thus making it hard to explain. Wait until we get there, and let me know if I'm confusing. I want this to be the best it can be, but I wonder at times if I've bitten off more than I can chew.

Hope your weekend is tremendous.

Jackie Lynnley profile image

Jackie Lynnley 5 months ago from The Beautiful South

No, no wasn't judging, I love a mystery. My moms name was Margie too so that is nice. (Nickname for Marjorie)

Sent you emails tgaf so hope those are best with information so just wanted to let you know for you to check. (Let me know if I am being a pest!)

lifegate profile image

lifegate 5 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Got the emails - no, you are not being a pest. I appreciate the input. Even here I've asked people to critique the story so I can improve it. So feel free to do the same.

lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 5 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


So let me get this right, both the polygraph and the hypnosis are saying that while the body may have been there, there was no human spirit in that body at the time?

I'm not even going to try to guess where this is going, but so wanting to find out!

I like the way Richards has taken the new evidence but still not changing his view, I think he will in the end.

Got to find the next bit.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 5 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Hi Lawrence,

Glad you were able to stop by. I'm not ready to say there's no human spirit, but definitely something is out of place. Time will tell, but not me!

I need to get Part 4 up as soon as I can, but it's been very busy here lately. I need to get over and see what the team is up to. I've had so little time to do anything lately, but I'm heading over now. Thanks for the visit, my friend!

lawrence01 profile image

lawrence01 5 months ago from Hamilton, New Zealand


No worries. Getting the story right is important so we can wait.



lifegate profile image

lifegate 5 months ago from Pleasant Gap, PA Author

Thanks, Lawrence. Hopefully it won't be too long!

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