The Flash: Evil to Burn, Chapter 3: Confrontation

by Hitman 44077

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A short time later, back at the parade site, the Flash arrived to see police officers still proceeding through an ongoing investigation, doing what they could to be both fast and accurate when it came to the crime scene at hand.

Doesn’t look like there’s been any more trouble since earlier, but you can’t expect anything when it comes to maniacs. And that means to always be on guard, the Flash thought, growing angrier as he looked at the long stretch of road and the damage marring it.

“Hmm… I was wondering when I’d get to meet the fabled fastest man alive — or are you?” a sarcastic voice called from behind.

The Flash turned around slowly, still angry but keeping his temper in check. He saw a man wearing a badge on his trenchcoat, and the rest of his dress more or less resembled something a detective in Miami would be wearing. The man, whose height and build were close to Flash’s own, had long brown hair tied back into a ponytail and a thick moustache. “Fast enough,” Flash responded civilly.

The man smiled back at Flash, though it was anything but friendly. “Doesn’t look like it!” he said, waving his arms in the direction of the street. Some of the police on the scene looked on as the well-dressed man continued. “Honestly, I love it when you heroes screw up. Makes those of us who enforce the rules look so much better.”

“I’m sorry you feel that way, friend,” Flash said, keeping his cool. “I’ll tell you this much: I’ve known a lot of cops over the years. A lot of good cops. They’ve made a difference in Central City. However, sometimes even they are overmatched — by people who have weapons or powers well beyond the average person. That’s where I come in.”

“But they keep coming back, don’t they? Sure, they’re in jail for a while, but they always escape — every time,” the man responded, rubbing his chin. “Maybe one of you heroes needs to make a point. You know, to do something where these–” He wriggled his fingers in mock fear. “–criminals learn a valuable lesson.”

The Flash knew what he meant, and the thought disgusted him. He narrowed his eyes and responded, “None of us are above the law, pal. Not you, not me, not anyone.”

“It’s just an excuse to play dress-up with other nuts, isn’t it?” the man responded calmly.

Quit it, Paul!” yelled a female voice, one that Flash recognized as Patty Spivot. She walked toward the well-dressed man and pointed at his face. He smirked, even as she continued. “All of us would be in a world of hurt if not for the Flash!”

“Like Captain Frye?” the man said coldly.

The Flash took a super-speed swing at Paul’s face, stopping within an inch of his nose. Paul, who was at first startled to see the red-gloved fist of the Flash in his face, grew bitter even as Flash enjoyed a calm smile. “That’s for Captain Frye,” he said, refusing to stoop to Paul’s level.

Paul shoved Flash’s hand away from his face and screamed at Flash. “Get out of here! You’re interfering with a police investigation! Leave, or I’m placing you under arrest!”

“He’s deputized, Paul, by both the City Council and Mayor Pinchot. Get off his back, or you’ll be reported for harassment,” Patty ordered.

Paul, even more angry than before, simply glared at both the scarlet speedster and Patty before mumbling something incoherent and finally walking away in a huff. When he was far enough away, Patty spoke to Flash. “I’m sorry about that.”

“Don’t worry about it, Patty,” said the Flash. “I’m fully aware of the good cops, like I informed that guy. I’m also aware of the bad guys, like Paulson several years back.”

“To be honest, Paul Margolin, despite the record he brought from Philadelphia, fits more in Paulson’s company,” Patty said, obviously bothered by the confrontation.

“Margolin — that’s his last name? Angie’s… husband?” Flash said, disbelieving.

“Yeah,” was all Patty could say at the moment.

The Flash stopped for a moment, remembering how bruised Angela had been when she appeared at the hospital, then addressed Patty.

“This guy — is he violent? I need to know, Patty.”

Patty paused, obviously thinking something, but she finally replied, “No.”

“Really?” Flash said, not quite believing his friend.

“No,” she responded sharply before changing topics. “We found more of those devices like the one used in last month’s bank arson.”

The Flash felt conflicted, feeling in his heart that there was more to what he already knew about Angela and Paul Margolin. But since he was unable to prove any type of suspicion, he tried to concentrate on the original matter at hand. “Show me,” he said reluctantly.

The two walked over to a small stretcher, where several hollowed-out devices lay side by side. “Unlike before,” Patty said, pointing to the sides of each device, “it seems that the chemicals were mixed before release. In these cases, small amounts of plastique were used to detonate the devices. And here–” She pointed toward a small, charred box. “–is what remains of one of the timer devices. That’s a big reason they went off in such rapid succession.”

“I want your gut feeling, Patty. Is this the work of last month’s arsonist?” Flash asked civilly.

Patty nodded her head in agreement. “Definitely.”

“Then I’d better get to work before something worse happens,” Flash said, his anger beginning to build.

“How is Captain Frye?” Patty asked cautiously.

The Flash eyed the concern on her face and answered her honestly, “They’re operating on him as we speak. He’s got some broken bones, but it doesn’t look like he’ll be paralyzed. But we’re not going to fully know anything until they’re finished.”

“I’ll keep him in my thoughts and prayers,” Patty said.

“He needs all we can give him,” Flash replied. “It’s going to be a long day.”

“Good luck, and thanks for being on the job, Flash,” Patty said, her voice and eyes echoing her words.

The Flash nodded his head in agreement and, looking back one last time, sped away on foot, prepared to search the entire city for the whereabouts of Central City’s attacker.

***

In the present, the Flash began to stir, though he was almost oblivious to the hellish surroundings around him. Uhh… got to… do something… or I’m… finished! the speedster thought, even as he started to cough from the amounts of smoke surrounding the scene of the crime. The terrible heat was only a minor discomfort, as his predicament slowly returned him to the state he’d been in moments earlier.

***

Flashback:

Several hours had passed, and the afternoon slowly turned to evening. The Flash was in the midst of his search for the arsonist even as he examined one of the crime scene areas. So far he’d come up with nothing, but this only fueled his desire to bring Central City’s attacker to justice. But he wasn’t alone.

There you are!” a feminine voice called nearby. Flash recognized the voice of his girlfriend and watched her slowly land on the street, still clothed in her identity as Polara. “You took off so fast that I didn’t know where you’d be heading.”

“I’m sorry about that. There’s been so much on my mind. I just felt I needed to throw myself into the investigation,” Flash said, regret in his voice.

“I called your folks, Wally, and I told them what happened earlier,” Polara said cautiously. “They told me to tell you they understood completely.”

“That’s right!” Flash said, rubbing his temple. “Damn it — I forgot to call them. Thanksgiving became an afterthought with all that happened today. I’m going to have to call them myself later.”

“Look, despite your powers, you’re still human, Wally,” Polara said with encouragement. “That means handling things responsibly. You’ve done that.”

“Thanks for calling them, Polara,” Flash said appreciatively before turning toward another matter at hand. “Any news on Darryl?”

“Not yet. They had to set some of the broken bones, and they had to find just where the internal bleeding was coming from. Right now, I’d try not to dwell on it,” Polara said, reminding Flash of other priorities. “And don’t push yourself to exhaustion. I think that’s what this jerk wants.”

“You may be right, Polara, but I have a suspicion this guy is still in the city somewhere. If you want, just head back to my place. If I don’t come up with anything, then I’ll join you soon for some pie, and we’ll try to make the best of what’s left of the day,” Flash offered.

“You sure?” Polara asked, unsure whether or not to listen to her boyfriend’s advice.

“Trust me,” Flash said with a reassuring smile. “All of us have something to be thankful for this year. And I’m very thankful to still have you in my life.”

“Same here,” Polara said as she pulled her mask up slightly, revealing the lips on her face. The two shared a quick kiss, even as the sun continued to set. “Don’t be out longer than you have to, OK?”

“Don’t you worry about a thing,” Flash said with a friendly look on his face. “I’ll see you in a bit.”

With that, Polara took to the air and slowly flew in the direction of the Kingsley Apartments. She turned around briefly to wave at her boyfriend and, upon seeing him wave to her, turned back toward her destination.

She’s very special to me, Flash thought as she finally faded from visible view. I don’t know what I’d do without her.

But Flash’s thoughts were disrupted by the sirens of a Central City Police Department squad car, which stopped at Flash’s side.

“Thank God we found you, Flash!” the driving officer said after quickly rolling down his window.

“What’s up?” Flash said in the most serious of tones.

“The arsonist — he’s made first contact. We recorded the message he left with one of the detectives at the station, and he’s made some bizarre demand for a confrontation with you!”

Obviously, he’s planning something, Flash thought before addressing the officers. “I’m on my way!” With that, he headed toward Central City Police Headquarters at super-speed, even as the sun finally set in the distance.

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