by Hitman 44077
The super-speed approach Flash was undertaking led him to his first stop — a smaller Central City Fire Department branch just east of downtown.
I could be wrong about this, but something about the fire at the United Oil Industries dig seems like some type of diversion, Flash thought, standing outside the building. You ignite one hell of a blaze to lure the Fire Department away, and then you target the stations located all over the city. And from there it’s free reign, especially with the new chemical he’s created. No one would be safe.
The Flash began speeding his body up so fast that he could vibrate through one of the fire station walls, and via this method he promptly entered the building. After slowing down to a stop, Flash didn’t have to speculate anymore. The scent was all around him — the rich scent of a peculiar type of gas permeated the air. Looking around with only moonlight to guide him, Flash saw the floor was soaked with a liquid, and next to the garage doors leading into the fire station was a bomb wired to explode upon the doors opening. The final reminder came in the form of shattered glass lying all over a spot of the building where a ceiling window was located.
Definitely the work of Firefist. I’m glad I didn’t enter through the doors — that wouldn’t have been good, Flash thought to himself, more serious than anything. He could have simply burned the place down, but his murderous mind wants to destroy more than buildings or vehicles.
Surveying the sight briefly, the Flash grabbed a nearby oxygen tank with mask. No telling how toxic that stuff is in the air, he thought, placing the mask over his face before turning on the tank, which he then placed over his right shoulder.
The Flash then sped through the entire station, being careful not to go so fast that the station burn up in flames due to the friction of his feet at super-speed. A quick but thorough search revealed that there weren’t any other traps scattered about, but he did discover an unconscious firefighter lying on the floor of the upper level.
“Good lord!” the Flash exclaimed under his gas mask as he used his super-speed to untie the man. First he checked to see if the man was still alive. He’s breathing, but he’s going to need medical attention, Flash thought as he took off his oxygen tank and mask and placed them on the unconscious firefighter. He then hoisted him over his shoulder and, using his internal vibrations, sped through a wall and carried the unconscious firefighter to the same place he’d been at earlier in the night: Central City Memorial Hospital.
Upon entering the hospital’s emergency room, the Flash carried the firefighter to a receptionist. “This man’s unconscious and needs medical attention!” Flash said urgently.
“Good grief!” the receptionist said, still shocked over what had transpired just a brief time earlier. “We’re working as fast as we can with the others you brought. Bring him back and place him on a gurney.”
The Flash complied, then took off knowing he had to take care of the bomb before the firefighters returned.
Arriving back at the smaller fire station, the Flash vibrated through the wall and tended to the scene. The liquid isn’t the main danger here — it’s the bomb. As far as I can tell, there isn’t anything attached to it like the chemical on the floor. But I have to assume otherwise, knowing what type of person I’m dealing with. Same with the possibility that this guy could have a detonator built into the bomb in case he gets anxious, he thought to himself as he studied the bomb. And if this is dynamite, I can’t afford to lend speed to it, as it becomes more unstable with time. And time’s something I’m running out of.
With that, the Flash ran toward the bomb at near-light speed, vibrating super-fast so he could phase through the wall with very little effort. He solidified his arm briefly to pull the bomb from which it was affixed and then returned to his vibrating form. Outside the fire station, he tossed the bomb into the air and sped around the device, trapping it into an airtight vortex as it exploded. He filtered the fires through the vortex so that when they reached the air, the fires were exhausted rather that function anew.
As he continued his super-speed vortex, the Flash glanced around at the sight before realizing that, luckily, the bomb wasn’t dangerous in any other way. That, in turn, led to him slowing down and letting the manmade vortex wither away. What remained of the device dropped to the ground softly. The Flash eyed the remains and saw that there was indeed something resembling a detonator.
I know it was reckless, but I couldn’t take a chance knowing that Firefist has used such devices before with the bank arson, among others, the Flash thought grimly before looking back toward the main city. If he’d been here, he’d have definitely detonated the device himself to try and take me out of commission. His absence tells me he’s busy at Central City’s main fire station, no doubt preparing for the return of Chief Grindle and the rest of the firefighters. And since I left them with no fire to fight…
The Flash didn’t even finish the thought; instead he simply sped toward what he believed was the next target, knowing that lives were on the line and that a very unpredictable foe would stop at nothing to see the city in flames.
Elsewhere in Central City, as the night continued to unfold, a car pulled up to the home Patty Spivot lived in and stopped. Opening the car door was Angela Margolin, still shaking even as the events of a short time earlier continued to gnaw at her conscience. She wiped some tears from her eyes before closing the car door and took a few deep breaths.
I’ve gotta remain calm and focused — that’s the only way I’m going to get through this, she thought, trying to put on a brave face as she walked toward the front door of Patty’s home. It was an ill-fated effort, as the events continued to dominate her thoughts. I took the first step, but I don’t know what I’m going to do. God, I’m so confused, she thought as tears began to well in her eyes. She took some more deep breaths and managed to knock on her friend’s door.
A short time later, the house light over the front door lit up. Angela could hear the sound of steps from within the home growing louder before stopping at the door. A brief pause followed, and shortly thereafter the front door opened up. Patty Spivot, wearing a purple robe and aqua-colored slippers, saw her younger friend standing in front of her and knew by the look in Angela’s face that something was wrong.
“Angela?” Patty asked aloud, though she suspected she knew the truth. “What happened?”
“Look, um, Patty, I know I should be at the lab, but, um,” Angela managed to say before the tears started.
Patty’s concern grew greater as she responded, “Come on in, Angie.”
Angela quickly entered the home as she wept. Patty quickly shut and locked her front door, then tried to comfort her friend. “It’s all right, Angie. It’s OK,” she said as she hugged her upset friend.
For several minutes, all the two did was hug. Patty had been Angela’s confidant for some time, but there were some things Angela never made mention of. It was emotional, bordering extremely close to a physical level, but she’d believed Angela when she said the injury to her arm was a spill. Now, in sight of her friend, she knew that the injury was no accident. It also explained why the Flash, only a few weeks earlier, inquired about Paul Margolin’s behavior.
Finally, Patty slowly released the hug, by which time Angela had calmed down. “Thanks for being here, Patty,” Angela said with genuine appreciation, doing her best to muster a smile. She placed her right hand on her forehead before brushing her hair from her eyes. “It’s been a difficult day,” she confessed.
“Is it Paul again?” Patty asked, concerned.
“Yeah,” Angela said, placing her right hand in front of her mouth as the day’s events returned to light. She managed to keep strong and continued to speak. “It’s reached a level that I can’t just deal with anymore. Earlier this evening, Paul came home from the station. With the ongoing business regarding that Firefist arsonist, they had to place him on first. We don’t see each other as often, and that’s only made the last few weeks that much more worse. At least when we were on the same shift — jeez, who am I kidding?” Angela shook her head, knowing that finally there weren’t any excuses for what had happened.
“Look, Angela, just sit down. I’ll grab you a glass of water, and then you can tell me what happened,” Patty said before walking toward the kitchen. Seconds later, Patty returned to Angela, who had sat down on Patty’s couch during the interim, and handed her a glass of water.
“Thank you,” Angela said as she took a long sip from the glass.
Patty sat down nearby and spoke. “What happened tonight with you and Paul?”
Angela took another sip from the glass and began speaking. “Paul came home tonight, pissed off as usual. He wants to know what I had to do with the force changing his hours a few weeks ago. I was shocked, to say the least. I told him that the force wants the best detectives available to solve the arsonist crimes. He tells me he knows I had a hand in this, and that I better never interfere with his life like that again.”
Patty’s face was written with shock. “He’s paranoid! What is wrong with him?!”
Angela nodded her head in agreement and continued. “He informs me that work and personal lives stay separate, and that he makes the decisions regarding his life and mine. I made the mistake of mentioning that the Flash would probably wrap the case up soon, and then he went off on me.”
Patty’s shocked expression turned to horror even as Angela continued. “He flipped out and grabbed my right arm, spouting out words I don’t dare repeat, and demanded I apologize for comparing him — a real cop and a real man — to a young, costumed punk. I started to apologize when he slapped me across the face.”
“My God, Angela,” Patty said with compassion, reaching out to Angela’s right hand. Angela looked up at Patty and, by grasping her friend’s hand, managed to keep strong and continued.
“We both paused. I’m not sure what went through Paul’s mind, but for me the pain was at first second only to the shock. Neither of us really responded, but I grabbed my keys and took off for the police lab. You know, I should have known after what happened early on Thanksgiving morning that it was time to leave, but I didn’t, and here we are.”
“You’ve got to leave him, Angie,” Patty said sternly. “Maybe I shouldn’t say this, but I’m afraid he’s going to kill you!”
“Believe me, Patty,” Angela said with a laugh that was anything but happy, “I made that decision before I arrived at the lab. As I was going over the reports you and Dean left for me, I heard the door open. I guess I was so rattled I forgot to lock the door when I entered.”
“Paul followed you to the lab?!” Patty exclaimed.
“It’s not the first time, you know. He did it back in October, right around the time of the first arson,” Angela responded calmly before continuing. “Needless to say, round two began, and I told him if he didn’t get some help, we were through. I told him I refused to live this way any longer. He went nuts and tried grabbing me once. I avoided it, but he grabbed me the second time, throwing me into a wall and placing his hand around my neck. He was going to hit me again, Patty, and I don’t know why, but I raised my left arm up to block the slap. Let’s just say it worked.”
“Good for you!” Patty shouted, nodding her head.
“I knew Paul would probably go all out when the pain subsided, so I managed to grab his gun from its holster. Don’t ask me why he had it, but he did. I shook in fear, and he told me that there was only one way either of us would be single, and that would be through death. I was scared to death, but I managed to reach the car, and I came here,” Angela said, her voice starting to quiver. “I didn’t know what else to do, Patty. I can’t go back to the lab, and I can’t go home. I needed to… I just needed someone to talk to, you know?”
“You can stay here as long as you need to, Angie. Mi casa es su casa!” Patty said reassuringly. “But we will have to tell the station about what’s happening. You do understand, right? It’s for your own safety.”
Angela reluctantly agreed. “I know. I don’t want him to go to jail, but I don’t want to end up dead, either.”
“I think Wally suspected that something was happening along those lines. I wanted to say something to him, but I couldn’t bring myself to do it, not even after he asked me point-blank. I didn’t want to violate the trust you placed in me,” Patty confessed.
“I understand, Patty,” Angela admitted. “He’s a good man — the type of man Paul used to be.”
“He really is. I think you need to get some rest now. I’m going to prepare my guest room for you, and in the morning we’ll head to the station. We’ll file whatever’s necessary to keep Paul away from you until some type of marriage dissolution can be made. OK?” Patty said, standing up.
“All right, Patty. And one more thing: Thank you — thank you so much,” Angela said, standing up herself and giving Patty a warm hug.
“Never a problem, Angie. You have friends here in Central City, and we’re all here to help any way we can,” Patty said reassuringly before releasing the hug. “Now come on upstairs. You can take a shower while I finish preparing your room.”
Together, the two friends made their way upstairs, knowing that tomorrow would begin a new phase in Angela Margolin’s life.