by Hitman 44077
Wally West stood inside his apartment, numb after the events that had transpired minutes before. My God, it’s over between us, he thought as the pain and sadness grew heavy in his heart. And I hold a good portion of the blame. Instead of being able to tell Fran about the disease, I allowed myself to be distracted with all that happened earlier.
He stood a few seconds until a picture frame caught his eyes. It contained a photo that had been taken back two years before, when he’d been battling the disease for the first time. He walked over to it and stared at the happy couple that were frozen in time by this photograph. He picked the picture frame up and continued to think. I love you, Fran, and I screwed up. Wally sadly rubbed the glass containing the photo. I don’t love Raven, but the kiss she gave me didn’t do anything to help the situation. Raven and I made peace with our past, but I’d trade it back for another chance with you.
He placed the picture frame back in the place where it had been on a shelf near his television. He slowly walked toward his bedroom, still in thought. I should have told you I was dying, Fran. Not that it would have made things simpler, but maybe we could have had more time to fix the mistakes I’ve made in the past few days. Going to STAR Labs, traveling to Rokyn and to Titans Tower, facing different foes, both by myself as well as with the JLA, and trying to discover who’s been kidnapping people close to Barry — it’s been overwhelming for me.
Wally entered his bedroom and slowly took off the Flash costume. He rested the suit on his bed as he dressed himself in a pair of shorts, a worn BVU T-shirt, socks, and tennis shoes. He stared at the suit and then picked it up. He then used his Flash ring to suck the costume back inside the ring. After closing the ring’s compartment, he stared at the Flash ring on his clenched fist. I’ve spent the better part of two years trying to keep Barry’s memory alive, he thought, closing his eyes and remembering various adventures he’d had with Barry during the days he had been Kid Flash. In that time, I’ve grown up more than I ever believed I could. I made a place for myself in the JLA and faced foes of Barry’s that thought they could beat me. Now things are worse than they’ve ever been before. I’m dying, and I lost the woman I love.
He opened his eyes and was about to sit on his bed, when he spotted a picture of Barry Allen and Iris West on their wedding day. Dear Lord, Wally thought sadly, though the sadness wasn’t directed at himself. He stood up and walked to the picture, which may have been one of the happiest days of his life, forever preserved. (*) He picked it up as a sad smile appeared on his face.
[(*) Editor’s note: The wedding of Barry Allen and Iris West occurred in “One Bridegroom Too Many,” The Flash #165 (November, 1966).]
Next month would have been your tenth anniversary, Wally thought as the memories continued to flow through his mind. It’s so hard to believe that both of you are gone, even after all this time. You had such precious little time together, and you deserved more.
He set the picture back on his shelf as a realization struck him. There’s something I need to do, something I should have done more often.
Wally grabbed his wallet and house keys, and then began to walk. First, outside his bedroom, then to his front door. He opened the door, left his apartment, then closed and locked his apartment door. He then walked downstairs to ground level, being careful not to use any super-speed, as he took a short walk on the streets of Central City. Within minutes, he’d arrived at his destination — the Central City Cemetery.
“I could get in trouble for this since it’s dark,” Wally said as he walked through the front gate, “but this is something I feel I need to do.” It wasn’t hard for him to find what he was looking for, and so he stopped in front of the graves of Barry and Iris Allen, the two people he held with the highest regard as he did his parents.
“It’s been a while, you two,” Wally said solemnly as he stared at the two graves. “I should have visited more often over the past few years, but dealing with the fact that both of you were gone… it’s something that constantly hurt. I’ve dealt with my grief the best I could over time, and I know both of you understand.
“I’ve done my best to live up to the standards the two of you — along with my parents — taught me, and I think I have. But I’ve seen better days.” Wally closed his eyes and continued to speak. “I learned that I’m dying again. The disease I had has come back with a vengeance. This is something I’ve had a hard time dealing with.
“I’ve visited different people, and even traveled to another planet, and I’ve had no luck finding a cure. But that doesn’t compare to another situation. Someone’s out there, kidnapping people you care about — your friends and your family. I have no clues as to whose behind it, but the CCPD and I are doing what we can to find them.
“You know, I miss you both, and when I saw the picture of you two, I knew I had to see you. I don’t know how much time I’ve got left, but I knew I had to visit both of you one last time. I made my peace with Raven as well, though that cost me more than I’d ever imagined. I’m not even sure If I can salvage what I had with Fran.
“My chest hurts, my muscles ache, and I know it’s only a matter of time before I die. But I swear to you both: I will save Henry, Nora, Cecile, Daphne, and the rest. I owe you more than either of you can imagine, and I love both of you. I always have, and I always will.”
With a renewed strength thanks to the visit, Wally left the cemetery, oblivious to the fact that he had been watched from a great distance the entire time by someone tied to the abductions.
Doctor Alchemy stepped from a nearby tree and walked toward the Allens’ graves. I wasn’t expecting him to visit, but at least he didn’t catch me, Alchemy thought with a small grin. That wouldn’t have pleased Mota at all. But I don’t have to worry about that now, especially since he didn’t seem like his usual self.
Reaching to his side, Alchemy pulled his Philosopher’s Stone from his holster and used the Stone to transform the ground upon which Barry Allen’s coffin laid into oxygen. He then did the same to the top of the casket, revealing the ashes of Barry Allen contained inside an urn, Barry’s Flash costume, and the two rings that defined Barry and the Flash: Barry’s wedding band and his Flash ring.
Perfect! Alchemy thought as he retrieved the four items from the now-topless casket. If anything’ll break his spirit, this definitely will! Doctor Alchemy moved quickly, careful not to be spotted as he made it to a van supplied by Manfred Mota. Resting the items in the back of the van, he shut the back door, then entered the van. He started the van up and began his next trek in Mota’s quest to destroy the Flash.
There it is, Doctor Alchemy thought to himself as he slowly pulled to a stop near an apartment complex. Of course, this may be harder than the last task. I do have the Philosopher’s Stone, and that’s the best advantage one can have. Alchemy exited the van, which was parked out of public view and, after he used his Philosopher’s Stone on the locked door of the apartment, entered the building.
Moving quietly and quickly, Alchemy made his way down several hallways until he found the apartment of the person Mota wanted next: Frances Kane. I have to be ready for her, Alchemy thought cautiously. This chick has magnetic powers, so she may pose a threat. Not anything I can’t stop, of course.
Alchemy looked in each direction twice, as he had no desire to be caught in this act, and once he was assured that there were no witnesses around, he used his weapon of choice on Frances Kane’s apartment door. Once the lock had been undone, Alchemy entered the apartment, being careful not to make any noise. That was simple enough, Alchemy thought with a sneer. Now, it’s time to take care of business.
With the use of night goggles, Doctor Alchemy walked through the various rooms in the apartment as he searched for Fran. I was under the impression she was here, but I haven’t found her yet, Alchemy thought, puzzled. It’ll just make it that much more perfect when I do find her.
Alchemy continued his search until he found Fran’s bedroom. She’s got to be in here, so I’ll just make things easier for me, Alchemy thought as he cracked the bedroom door open a little. He then used his Philosopher’s Stone to generate a sleep gas that sprayed into the room. He waited a few seconds before entering, but finally he walked into the bedroom, turned on the light after removing his goggles, and found…
Nothing? Alchemy thought as he stared at the empty bed. Where the hell is she? Mota’s going to be pissed if I don’t find her. Alchemy looked all over the room and finally located something that seemed to explain the young woman’s absence. Hmmm… he thought as he bent down to the floor and found the broken picture frame that Fran herself had destroyed earlier in the evening. Lovers’ spat? he thought, kneeling down and clearing away some of the glass embedded on the couple’s photo. Sure looks like it.
Alchemy stood up and ground the photo into the glass once more with his foot. He then searched the room and discovered that several items were missing. “It looks like Mota’s plans aren’t the only thing on the scarlet speedster’s mind. That might explain his demeanor at the cemetery beforehand. Still,” Alchemy said with some glee, “there’s no reason to leave this as it is.”
He used his Philosopher’s Stone once again, this time flooding the entire building with sleeping gas, which promptly placed all inhabitants of the apartment asleep. Without the threat of being noticed, he began destroying items of personal importance to the unsuspecting Frances Kane, who had left town earlier in the evening, and made sure to leave nothing untouched. It took minutes, but once it was over, the disturbing results were evident.
“That was fun,” Alchemy said, surveying the damage he’d caused. “Whatever happened between the lovebirds left her packing. Not the original plan, but the next time Flash sees this place, he’s going to be in for the shock of his life. If you thinks you’ve got it bad now, just wait until tomorrow, speedster.”
Alchemy left the apartment, closing the door behind him, and once he’d reached the apartment entrance, he transformed the sleep gas back into oxygen. He then walked toward where he’d parked his van earlier and entered the vehicle. Once the van was started up, he sped back to Mota’s warehouse, ready for what tomorrow held for the Flash.