by Hitman 44077
Wally West returned to his apartment, unaware of the tasks being committed by Doctor Alchemy at the same time. “I’m glad I saw them,” Wally said with some relief, remembering his visit by Barry and Iris Allen’s graves as he locked his door. “Knowing what’s probably going to happen to me, it felt like I needed to do this, even if I still feel dull pain within my chest.”
Once inside his bedroom, Wally removed his shorts, shoes, socks, and T-shirt and placed his house keys and Flash ring on his cabinet.
“I do know one thing. I can’t drag this out with my folks. My inability to tell Fran probably killed our relationship, though the kiss did more than enough damage all by itself. No matter,” Wally said as he entered his bed. “It’s time to tell them. I can’t leave them without them knowing. And as much as I’d like to talk to them tonight, it’s a little too late to be speaking on the phone.”
As Wally turned his lamp off, his thoughts turned back to the people that were being kidnapped. I don’t know if Darryl’s gained any more leads on this case. I haven’t seen him since I yelled at him earlier. And I still don’t believe that Albert plotted this himself. There’s too many loose ends, and that’s not something I like.
Wally laid down in his bed and closed his eyes. I can’t worry about the disease right now, even if I continue feeling the dull pains in my chest all the time. So far, I haven’t contributed as much to this case as I should have, but no longer. One way or another, this is going to be solved, and once I find out who’s behind this, I’m going to jail this piece of slime for his actions. Within seconds, Wally’s thoughts lead him to slowly fall asleep.
It seemed a few seconds had passed since Wally closed his eyes as he fell asleep. Yet here he was, wide awake, in a red alley bordering on black.
“This is odd… real odd,” Wally said as he walked toward a door that seemed to appear out of nowhere. “Wonder how I arrived here?” Opening the door, Wally found himself clothed in his Flash costume, but he didn’t seem to notice. That was because he noticed something bizarre.
The Flash found himself standing at a dinner table, and aside from one individual, the various people in attendance had all played a role in Flash’s life at one point or another. At one seat sat Trigon the Terrible, whom Flash had faced twice with the New Teen Titans. He found himself trying to figure out a Rubik’s Cube. Another seat sat Barry Allen, who was shuffling a deck of cards at super-speed. Next to him was Roscoe Dillon, whose head was spinning while the rest of him sat still. Across from Dillon was Grant Wilson, who had dolls of Teen Titans attached to his skewer. Next to him was an evil version of Kid Flash, the same version that Raven used to corrupt Wally during Trigon’s attack on Earth. A red-skinned, four-eyed Raven and Frances Kane sat next to each other, acting very friendly toward each other. At the head of the table sat a handsome, blonde-haired man, dressed in an olive green formal suit.
“What the hell…?” Flash’s voice drifted off, not having any idea where to start.
“Never could figure one of these out,” Trigon said, crushing the Rubik’s Cube in his hand. He noticed the Flash standing by the table and smiled. “Ah, there’s someone I haven’t seen in a long time. It’s a shame that things didn’t work out between you and Raven. I’d have been proud to call you my son-in-law.”
“Oh, Father,” the demonic version of Raven said with a silly smile, “you’re embarrassing me.”
“Raven, Trigon, there’s enough of Wally for us all,” Fran said as she placed her palm on Raven’s face. The two women grew closer. “Isn’t that right, Raven?”
The two shared a lengthy kiss, and Raven answered in her usually haunting voice. “Of course there is, Frances. I wouldn’t have it any other way.”
“Hey, Wally,” Barry said. “You’re just in time. Roscoe, Grant, and Wally were about to play poker. You in for a hand?”
The Flash closed his eyes, not believing the nightmare he was witnessing. My God, what the hell is this? he thought, opening his eyes.
The blonde-haired man spoke. “You’re half-right, Wally West.” The man smiled, but there was something sinister in his eyes. Suddenly, the man shouted. “Zoom! The guests are thirsty!”
Out ran Eobard Thawne dressed in his Reverse-Flash costume, carrying a flask filled with a thick, red liquid. He poured the liquid into the glasses at this macabre dinner table, all the while profusely apologizing. “I’m sorry… I’m sorry… I won’t be late again,” Thawne said before stopping in front of Flash.
The Flash stared at the sickening sight that Thawne had become. The Reverse-Flash costume seemed too large for him, but that was the least of his horror. Maggots dropped from the mouth of Thawne and crawled from his eye sockets. He turned his head away and coughed up a mass of maggots before turning back toward Flash and speaking to him. “I’m damned, Flash… I’m damned. I’ve no one to blame but myself.” He grew irrational, reaching out to Flash and begging for forgiveness. “Forgive me! Please. I need salvation! Forgive me! Forgive me!”
“Oh, grow up,” the handsome man said, snapping his fingers. Suddenly, Thawne was gone, as if he’d never been there. The man turned his attentions back to the Flash. “I apologize for that. Thawne cannot seem to keep himself out of trouble.”
The Flash stared at the handsome man, his confusion growing stronger by the second. “Who… who are you?” he asked.
The handsome man smiled. “Does it matter? There will be time for names later. Now, then,” the man paused, raising his glass to his lips and drinking the liquid contained in it. “I understand that you have had some problems in recent days. I know all about the disease killing you. I know the love problems you’ve had with one Frances Kane. I know you haven’t much time left on this Earth. I’d like to strike a bargain with you, Wally West.”
Still puzzled, the Flash responded. “A bargain? What type of bargain?”
“I see a fire in you, a fire that I’d like to have on my side. I’m prepared to make your dreams a reality, Wally. What if I said I could cure you of the disease that is killing you?” the blond man smiled.
“A cure?” Flash responded, surprised by this man’s offer.
The man continued to speak. “Oh, Wally, I can do more than that. I can reunite you with Frances Kane, and I can give you even more than that.” He motioned toward the two women sitting at the table. “I can give you the love that you wanted only a few years before — I can give you both Raven and Frances’ love.”
“I managed to work through the feelings that I had for Raven earlier. I have no intimate love for her — or that mockery sitting at your table,” Flash said with determination.
“I can accept that,” the man said, and as suddenly as he said that, both the red-skinned Raven and Trigon vanished. “I sense more. Allow me to sweeten the pot. I can cure you of your terminal illness, I can reunite you with your lover, and… I can resurrect the man whom you hold in the highest regard — Barry Allen.” The man smiled.
Suddenly, the other guests at the table vanished, and only Barry and Fran stood in front of Flash. “Oh, Wally, I love you so much,” Fran said. “I want to be with you forever!”
“Imagine the adventures we could have, Wally! The scarlet speedsters, reunited once more. There would be nothing we couldn’t do!” Barry said.
The Flash stared at the pair and then, in anger, addressed the well-dressed man. “Just what do you want? What is so important about me that you seem to need me?”
The well-dressed man stood up and walked toward Flash. “Dear boy,” the man said, “I wish to grant your greatest desires, and you feel the need to question me? I made reference to the fire that drives you. What keeps that fire ignited inside you? A rather small thing. It’s called a soul.”
The Flash grew quiet. “That’s what this is about? My soul?” he whispered. “Who are you — the Devil?”
The well-dressed man smiled and spoke. “I said before… there will be enough time for names later. I can give you anything you want — anything. Trust me, you will not even miss it.”
The Flash smiled. “Well, since you put it that way,” he said, before his anger arose, “Never. I could die tomorrow, and I’ll never sell my soul to you or anyone. I’ve already given my soul to someone. You might know him. His name’s God.”
The well-dressed man grew angry as fire erupted all about. “You will learn to regret your decision, boy! We will meet again!”
Suddenly, Wally woke from his sleep, drenched in sweat.
“My God! What a nightmare! It’s already fading fast,” Wally said aloud. “I don’t remember much, but for the most part, I was horrified. Yet, I can’t even explain it; something happened that was important, like I made the most important choice in my entire life, and it was the right choice.” Wally rubbed the sweat off his head with a nearby towel and laid back down in the bed. No matter how long I have left, at least I can live the rest of my life knowing whatever happens, somehow I did what was right, Wally thought as he quickly fell asleep.
Elsewhere, the well-dressed man sat at his throne and thought, A shame, really. Apparently, Wallace West possesses a soul as noble and pure as his uncle, Barry Allen. I suppose I could plague him with nightmares, but I have no desire to reveal myself… yet. And though I failed with Wallace West, there are others that are not immune to temptation. Yes, there will be more than enough heroes and villains who wish to strike bargains with Neron!
Doctor Alchemy drove the van supplied to him into Manfred Mota’s warehouse and parked the vehicle. After exiting the van, he walked toward the back of the vehicle, opened the back door, and removed the belongings stolen from Barry Allen’s grave. I never thought Mota could possess such a sadistic passion when it came to his desire of destroying the Flash, but here I am, holding the suit of my foe, all because he planned perfectly, Alchemy thought as he carried the suit, urn, and rings that defined Barry Allen’s life and legacy. Just what drives this motivation of his?
Alchemy walked forward and finally reached Mota, who stood with Ross Malverk. Together, the two men had supervised their guests accordingly, as they had for the past few days. “Here you go, Mota,” Alchemy said with a grin. He handed the suit, rings, and urn to Mota, who stared at these items, the finest victory yet in his quest to destroy the scarlet speedster.
“Perfect,” Mota said with a whisper. His lips slowly turned into a sadistic smile as he held the red suit in his hands. “Perfect! You have done well, Alchemy! Your work has made up for your impulsive behavior yesterday, and now I have this. A shame his family and friends aren’t awake to see this. Of course, there will be more than enough time to show them before the Flash breathes his last.”
“Don’t forget the rings, and those ashes, too,” Alchemy said. “You have nearly everything you need in your war against the Flash.”
Mota paused as Alchemy’s sentence snapped him out of his sinister glee. “Almost everything… that’s right, Alchemy. Where’s the girl, this Frances Kane?”
Alchemy grew nervous, as he realized he’d reminded Mota of his other big plan. “She… she wasn’t at her apartment, Mota,” he said cautiously.
Mota grew quiet as he held his rage inside his body, but finally the rage exploded. “Where is she, then, Alchemy? I told all of you before — no mistakes!”
Alchemy grew concerned. Even though he felt he had an edge with his Philosopher’s Stone, there was something truly evil about Manfred Mota, something that would have placed more fear in him than he was ready to face. “Mota, the first thing I did was collect the remnants of Barry Allen, but I was almost spotted by Wally West himself. He didn’t seem his usual sure self, as if something had happened to him. At first, I thought it was just the kidnappings we committed that rattled him, but when I searched for the dear Miss Kane, it seemed that the girl split town. I also found a shattered picture of her and the speedster on her bedroom floor. It appears she’s out of the picture, literally, and she’s no longer a part of Flash’s life.”
“I do not like wild cards, Alchemy,” Mota said as he restrained his anger. “Not that I haven’t faith in you, but when dealing with one blessed with the powers of magnetism, there could conceivably be a serious threat posed to my efforts.”
“I made sure I trashed the place just the same, Mota,” Alchemy said, with a slow smile. “Though she may be out of the area, the sight of a vandalized apartment may help break West’s spirit that much more. And if we plan this right…”
“Then the scarlet speedster will fall that much faster to despair, thinking that his love is dead. Impressive, Alchemy. Very impressive,” Mota said with a pleased look on his face.
As Mota finished his words, Lady Rogue arrived in another van that Mota had supplied. Parking the vehicle, Lady Rogue walked to her comrades and reported her success. “I have them, Mota,” Lady Rogue said. She smiled as her happiness and hate meshed together. “I have West’s parents! I did it for you, Mota, and for you, Barry.” Suddenly, without warning, Rogue spotted the Flash costume held in Mota’s hands. “What is that?!” Rogue demanded in anger. “Get that — that suit away from me! That suit took Barry away from me!”
As Lady Rogue fumbled with a gun once used by Heat Wave, Mota spoke calmly to her, trying to soothe the fear creeping into the woman. “Lady Rogue… Fiona… there’s a reason that this was needed. The Flash took Barry away from you, but I brought Barry back. This has always been about destroying the Flash, my dear. I know the suit disturbs you, but we need this to win. Barry needs this, too.”
Ross Malverk, knowing he had to keep the ruse going, joined in the conversation. “This is hard for both of us, my love,” Ross lied. “But this is an eye for an eye. To win, we must conquer our fears.”
“You… both of you… you’re right,” Lady Rogue said slowly, calmly. “It’s still hard to face, but the two of you are so wise.”
“Fiona, you and Doctor Alchemy retrieve the Wests and secure them to some chairs,” Mota ordered as he realized Lady Rogue was still in his grip.
“Of course, Mota,” Rogue said, reassured. She and Doctor Alchemy then walked toward the van she used, and each villain removed Wally’s parents from the vehicle.
“That was close, Mota,” Ross said, wiping away some sweat from his head. “I don’t want her turning her hate towards us, at least not until I reveal myself.”
“She will hold it together until I kill the Flash. Tomorrow is the day. But now…” Mota narrowed his eyes, as if he could stare straight into Malverk’s soul. “…it is time for you to become my ace. There was more than one reason I had these artifacts stolen. One was to break the Flash’s spirit, which you know. But another reason was to do more to his mind than just a simple grave-robbing could hope to accomplish.”
Mota tossed Barry’s costume to Ross, who caught it in his hands. “Ross, you’re about to become the Flash’s greatest nightmare come to life. Get dressed and assume the role that I’ve always intended for you.”
Ross Malverk stared at the costume and remembered the hatred he felt when the Flash entered his life. “Wait a second, Mota. I’ll be right back.”
He walked toward a dark doorway as Mota checked up on Lady Rogue and Doctor Alchemy. The two placed the unconscious parents of Wally West in chairs and secured them with rope. “Are they set?” Mota asked the two foes.
“They’re as secure as the others, Mota,” Alchemy said.
“Lady Rogue, you need to be aware of something I asked of Barry. To conquer his fear of the man who destroyed his life, I’ve ordered him to wear the same suit, so he can become as strong as the man you remember,” Mota said convincingly.
“It’ll be hard, but with Barry at my side, I know I can handle this,” Rogue said with some confidence.
“That’s good to hear,” Mota said.
“Very good to hear, my love,” Ross said who, now dressed in the scarlet costume, was a dead ringer for the late super-speedster. He walked toward the other villains, smiling.
“It looks like the suit fits, Barry,” Mota said, before speaking to Lady Rogue and Doctor Alchemy. “There is one more thing to accomplish. It can wait for tomorrow, but it requires both of you.” Mota walked toward a desk and pulled out the last set of plans he’d made. He then walked back to the two foes and handed them the plans.
The two foes looked over the plans and seemed content. “I trust there are no problems with this task?” Mota asked.
“None whatsoever, Mota. Rogue and I’ll get the job done. Don’t worry,” Alchemy said with confidence.
“Good,” Mota said. “It’s only a matter of limited time now as the Flash’s life ticks down to its final seconds. Victory is within our grasp, and no one will interfere.”
The shrouded man who’d spied on Mota the past few days looked on through the skylight, knowing that the time was almost ready, though for him it was of a different nature. You hid well, Malverk, I’ll give you that. But I’m ready myself. I know the perfect way to even the odds, and you’re going to find out in a few short hours what I have planned. I always collect, even when you least expect it, the shrouded man said, leaving the warehouse area to embark on his own mission.