by Hitman 44077
In Fallville, Henry and Nora Allen found themselves watching television. For little over a year, they had started their lives over in this city and had slowly made peace with the memory of their dearly departed son, Barry Allen. “Henry,” Nora said, “these haven’t been the easiest times in our lives, but I know Barry will always be with us.”
“Nora, I think we needed a break from Central City. We managed to grieve for our son, and Wally has done a fine job protecting Central City as the Flash. He really made the identity his own and honored Barry’s memory properly,” Henry said proudly.
Suddenly, there was a knock on the Allens’ front door.
“Gracious!” Nora exclaimed, surprised. “Who can it be at this hour?”
“I’m not certain, dear,” Henry answered, equally surprised. “I’ll see who it is.”
Henry stood up from his chair and walked over to the front door. Upon answering the door, Henry Allen received the biggest shock of his life. Standing in front of him was — Barry Allen. “Oh, my God…” Henry’s voice trailed off as he stared at the man in front of him. His next word was anything but a whisper. “Barry?!”
The sudden yell from her husband alerted Nora, who rushed to her husband’s side. She, too, stared at this man who looked exactly like her deceased son. She began to cry as she placed her palm on this man’s face. “Oh, Lord… is it you? Is it really you, Barry? Oh, please… please be you.”
The man placed his hand over Nora’s hand and spoke with compassion. “It’s me, Mom… Dad. I’m Barry,” the man said.
“Dear God, it… it’s really you, Barry?” asked Henry, who fought against tears.
“It’s me. It’s Barry,” the man said, maintaining his stance.
“Oh, Barry! Oh, Lord, we missed you,” Nora said happily, embracing the man. “We thought you were dead!”
“Come on in, son… please. Tell us how you came back,” Henry said, placing his hand on the man’s shoulder.
“Let’s do this… inside,” the man said, as a hint of darkness echoed forward.
“Of course,” Henry said, holding the door open for the man he believed was his son. After the man walked inside the Allens’ home, Henry shut the door and locked it. Nora walked to her husband as the man walked forward. He bent his head down as Nora hugged Henry.
“How did you come back, Barry?” Henry asked eagerly before kissing Nora’s forehead.
“Barry? I think you have the wrong man,” the man said, his hate brimming forward.
Nora’s face turned to horrified shock as Henry grew equally angry. “Huh? Just what are you saying? Who are you?” Henry asked, his anger evident.
The man that the Allens thought was their son turned around, holding a gas-gun. He wore an evil grin as he fired the sleeping gas at the Allens. “Barry Allen is dead, just like the Flash will soon be, you old fools. My name is Ross Malverk. Remember that in your nightmares,” Ross said, slipping a gas mask over his face.
The Allens had no chance. They fell asleep, the love for their son leading to this ultimate horror. Ross stood over the fallen couple and pulled out a knife. He bent down to Nora and Henry and rubbed the blade across Nora’s face, careful not to break the skin. “The two of you never suspected this, did you?” Ross said to the fallen couple, not caring that they were unable to respond. “I have your damned son to thank for the prison sentence I served. I’d hoped to repay the Flash for his trespasses, but both of you will serve nicely in the hands of my employer. I can only hope that the time you two have left will be the most terrifying of your lives.”
Ross searched Henry’s pockets for car keys, which he located. Since it was night outside, Ross was able to drag both Henry and Nora to Henry’s car, and he placed them inside the vehicle. He drove off, his part of Mota’s plan complete.
The Flash arrived back in Central City and made his way back to his apartment, still haunted by what he’d learned at STAR Labs. Upon entering the apartment, he removed his Flash costume, placing it in the washer and starting it up. He walked back to his living room and sat down in a reclining chair. “I keep thinking about what’s happened today,” Wally said to himself. “And I wonder why I never felt any pains before today. I pushed myself to the limit many times since regaining my top speed and never had anything remotely close to these pains.”
Wally walked to his kitchen and stared at the mess he’d left earlier. “I was in such a hurry to take care of Captain Cold, that I forgot to clean this up,” Wally continued, referring to the lemons and sugar. He cleaned the area and threw the trash away, then walked to his bedroom. He entered it and shut the door behind him, then walked over to his bed and sat down on it.
“Making my way back to Central City, I tried to think of what I could say to Mom and Dad… and Fran. I just haven’t even come close to finding the words,” Wally said sadly. “I have so much inside me. Part of me wants to break down, part of me just wants to lash out, and I know full well that it won’t make any difference. I don’t want to accept the fact that I’m dying again, but I don’t have a choice.”
Wally looked at the Flash ring on his hand and continued thinking. “I decided to continue as the Flash, but I can’t let myself die. People looked up to Barry, and people are looking up to me. Somehow, I don’t know how, exactly, I’ve got to find a cure. Is there one? I really don’t know.”
He turned the lights off in his room and laid down in the bed. Whether or not I can find a cure for the disease, I need to make the best of the time I have. There’s a lot that I’m going to need to complete before it’s too late, he thought as the tears came. I’m trying to be strong, I really am, and I know crying isn’t going to help, but I’m dying. God help me, I’m dying again, and I’m scared to death. And it’s all beyond my control. I’m so sorry, Mom, Dad. I’m sorry to do this to you, Fran. Barry always said there was hope, but it’s hard to look at things that way in light of what happened today. But I’ll try to. I’ll try.”
Upon that thought, Wally slowly fell asleep.
Ross Malverk drove slowly from Fallville to Central City so he wouldn’t draw any unwanted attention to himself or his unconscious captives. Eventually, however, he arrived at the warehouse that Manfred Mota was using. He drove the vehicle inside and parked it. Upon stepping outside the car, Ross looked at the other three captives, whom were tied to chairs, and he smiled.
“It looks like we were all successful,” Ross said aloud as Lady Rogue walked toward him. She had removed her disguise from earlier after tying Cecile Horton to a chair and removing the unconscious woman’s gag from her face.
“Of course we were, Barry. Justice needs to be done. I know I wanted to kill my captive. She defended the Flash for murder a few years ago… and that bitch scratched deeply into my hands, see?” Lady Rogue said to Ross, showing her hands to him.
Ross grew angry at the sight of the bloodied hands. “Damn you!” he shouted to Rogue. “Don’t you understand? That will draw too many clues as to what’s happened to the woman! We can’t afford any mistakes! I’m not going to piss my revenge away over your blundering, do you hear me?!”
“Enough, ‘Barry.’ I already had a discussion with Lady Rogue,” Mota’s deep voice boomed. He walked from where he had been working on his suit of armor and stood in front of Ross, even as Lady Rogue developed tears from angering the man she believed was her fiancé. “Despite this slip-up, there is nothing that ties any of us to these abductions. Rogue, here, disguised herself as Ms. Horton and managed to bring me the first of a series of captives. Doctor Alchemy brought me the father and son duo of the Nathans, and you have brought me those who betrayed your memory the greatest, your parents.”
There was a slight glint in Mota’s eye that Ross spotted immediately. I almost slipped up there, Ross thought to himself stupidly. Had I blown my real identity, Fiona would pose more of a threat to Mota’s big plans. And we can’t have that, not until the Flash and those he cares about have been eliminated.
“You’re right, Mota,” Ross said, feigning embarrassment. He turned to Lady Rogue, who had wiped the tears from her eyes. “Fiona, I am so sorry,” Ross lied in convincing fashion. “You have to understand that this is destroying me on the inside. All of these people who claimed they were my friend, or friends of that Flash character — they all plotted against me. They wanted me dead, do you understand?”
Lady Rogue shook her head yes and spoke, her voice somewhat shaky. “O-of course, Barry. I — I lost y-you once… I couldn’t bear to lose you again.”
Ross placed a passionate smile on his face and embraced Lady Rogue. “I know, dear,” he continued to lie as he shared a kiss with Rogue. “I wouldn’t want to leave you, either. You were so important to me, and you still are, but we need to complete this, so I can be at peace. No more slip-ups, all right?” Ross brought his hand up and slightly placed it under Rogue’s chin, bringing her head slightly upward.
“Of course not, my love. I’ll do anything for you. Forever,” Lady Rogue said as she managed to enjoy another kiss with the man that she thought was Barry Allen.
“Hey, anyone want to help me with these two?” Doctor Alchemy said in regards to the Allens, who remained asleep in Henry’s own car.
“Let’s secure them,” Ross said, walking over to the vehicle. Together, Alchemy and Ross dragged Henry to a chair and tied him to it, then did the same to Nora.
“You mentioned the possibility of someone suspecting us, ‘Barry,’ but they won’t after tomorrow. There’s an dinner honoring a special guest visiting Central City tomorrow, someone you know very well. Daphne Dean is the special woman’s name,” Mota said, a slight smile growing on his face.
“I see,” Ross smiled evilly. “How will a public event like that be beneficial to us, or to ward off suspicions?”
“That’s something I discussed with Doctor Alchemy before you arrived back here. I can assure you that there will be no connecting us to this event, isn’t that right, Alchemy?” Mota asked.
“Of course not. And what’s happening next gives me some personal pleasure,” Alchemy said, his face grinning like a boy on Christmas morning. “In fact, I’d better prepare for this now.”
“That would be a good idea, Alchemy. But first — destroy these cars,” Mota said, waving his arm in the direction of the stolen vehicles. “I do not wish for any connections to what I have planned remaining.”
“My pleasure,” Alchemy said as he pulled out the Philosopher’s Stone from his belt. He used it to transform the cars into simple oxygen, mixing into the air present with incredible ease.
“Very good, Alchemy. You, as well as your partners, have proven very reliable to me and my plans. I hope you continue being reliable — for the sake of all concerned,” Mota said strongly.
Unknown to the four villains or the unconscious captives, all were being watched from a sky window. A figure shrouded in darkness thought to himself, staring specifically at Ross Malverk, It has taken a long time to track you down, my friend. It seems since our last meeting, you’ve gained a few strong friends. That places the odds in your favor, something I cannot tolerate. But, for now, there is nothing I can do… except to watch and plan. Rest assured, Ross, I will collect. I always collect.
The shadowy figure lurched away, waiting for the right time to strike, even as the villains celebrated Phase One’s completion.