The Flash: The End of the Line #1 (of 7) Jul 21, 2019 10:08:37 GMT -5
Post by Charlie on Jul 21, 2019 10:08:37 GMT -5
ONE YEAR AG0:
My name is Barry Allen and I am the Fastest Man Alive.
In the eight years since I gained my powers, I’ve faced so many threats that it sometimes hard to keep track.
Up until recently, the Rogues were a constant thorn in my side, their efforts spearheaded by the villainous Captain Cold. It felt like a month didn’t pass without one of their number causing problems for Central City, but they’ve not shown their faces for twelve months. That can mean nothing good.
I’ve had other things to worry about in the interim.
A year ago, Eobard Thawne, the evil speedster known as the Reverse Flash, killed my father and cast my new born daughter Cassie into the timestream. Before I could race down the timestream to save her, my wife Iris and I found out she’d been adopted by a loving family in the future and went on to live a happy life away from our own. The timeline couldn’t be altered. We lost our daughter forever.
It’s been a year since my identity was revealed to the world. I’ve been through so much, and I know that this marathon has barely started.
My name is Barry Allen and I am the Fastest Man Alive, but you can call me...
Part One (of Seven): "Teachable Moments"
HoM / RIMMER
ZZZZAP! The Flash skidded underneath the beam of sub-zero energy that erupted from Captain Cold’s ice gun, coming to a stop next to a wall by using his booted foot to stop his face colliding with the surface. He immediately turned to face Snart, who was already aiming at him. “--Oh, crud.”
Central City hadn’t seen hide nor hair of the Rogues-- the Flash’s archenemies-- for nearly a year.
Everything had been quiet on the super-villain front up until someone flipped the silent alarm of the First Street Bank, and it was at that point the Flash came running down main street and vibrated his way into the vault, where Captain Cold was already busy stuffing a duffel bag full of cash.
The fight started immediately, and they were thirty seconds into it, thirty seconds full of close quarter ice blasts and close quarter speed bursts, when Barry finally decided to engage his old enemy verbally.
“Come on, Snart. You’ve been off the grid for ages and this is how you show back up? A bank heist? Really?”
“Man’s gotta eat, Barry,” replied Captain Cold.
Instead of aiming at the speedster, Snart swapped up his strategies, aiming for where he thought he might be running, and thanks to years of facing down with the Flash, he guessed right. Barry came to a stop instantly, encased in a block of ice.
“Besides… didn’t you miss us?”
Cold activated the secondary function of his cold gun and darted out of the vault as the Flash began to vibrate his molecules and melt the ice that encased him. Within a few seconds, Barry Allen was free, but when he started to run his muscles refused to warm up and he struggled to pick up speed.
“Cold field. Damn!”
He’d been stuck in the mire of the Captain’s ambient sub-zero environmental field before, and he knew that it stopped him from getting up the speed he needed to fully access the Speed Force, but that didn’t stop him from trying. He increased his internal vibrations, hoping to shake off the full slog of the temperature dragging him down, and followed his enemy.
Jogging out of the vault, Barry saw Cold at the front door, waving his cold gun in the Flash’s direction before darting out of the door. Allen scanned the room, sending a surge of speed into his visual cortex to take in every aspect of the bank in a split second. The security guards-- the only armed men and women to be seen-- had collars attached to their throats.
“Dammit, Snart,” said Barry, as he approached the first guard. “What is this?”
“Hey, hey, hey, Flash-y man!” buzzed a voice from inside the collar. Barry recognised the voice as belonging to Jesse James, the Trickster, another one of the Twin Cities’ Rogues. “Have I got some fun planned for you!”
“They’re bombs, Flash,” said the security guard. Thanks to the collar, his voice was distorted to sound like a cartoon character, and the weird juxtaposition of ridiculous voice and dire circumstances would have caused a weaker willed speedster to chortle. "Oh, God. I'm going to die, aren't I?"
“Not on my watch. It’ll be okay,” replied Barry.
“C’mon, not even a giggle?” said Trickster. “These voice-changing necklaces didn’t come cheap, especially considering the mods I added just for you!”
The Flash ignored the Trickster’s incessant chatter and placed a hand on the security guard’s shoulder. He began to vibrate, taking the man out of sync with the metal around his neck. With his spare hand he grabbed the collar, wrenched it away from the man and then darted to the roof, hurling it up into the sky with one superspeed discus throw as it exploded.
A C4 blast that sent confetti floating down to earth followed, but Barry wasn’t around to watch. He repeated the action with every other boobytrapped hostage, and once he was confident everyone was safe, was at the bank door, trying to figure out where Captain Cold had got to.
The newly installed mirrored windows opposite made Barry’s skin crawl. He zipped over and saw Captain Cold running away from him, inside the mirror. When the Flash touched the surface, the window shimmered, as if he’d touched the surface of a body of water. Cold turned and grinned, and then the ripples came to a sudden stop-- Snart was gone, his escape courtesy of the Mirror Master’s dimension-hopping reflection technology.
“Damn damn damn,” said the Flash.
<Barry, this is Chyre,> the voice of Detective Fred Chyre, filled his ear receiver, <Reports are coming in that you’re at the scene of the First Street Bank, everything okay?>
The Flash shook his head. “Cold got away. Boobytrapped the hostages. Just the armed ones, though. Typical Snart.”
<Damn, at least there were no fatalities, yeah? Thing is, the heist was a distraction. I got some bad news.>
“Hit me, Fred,” said Barry, as he arrived in the office where Detective Chyre was still on the radio to him.
"Jesus H Christ--!" Fred bellowed.
Fred Chyre was old school. At a ripe old age of 58, he looked like he was carved out of granite, and up until the Flash was on the scene, he was the oldest beat cop in town. But after a series of events that dragged him into the orbit of the Scarlet Speedster, he’d found himself at the centre of numerous Rogue-related cases that made him a hero to the public at large. Seeing an opportunity for an easy PR win, CCPD promoted him up the ladder and put him as co-lead of their new Department of Metahuman Hostility, where his bad attitude and brusque nature would be put the best use.
Chyre lowered his radio. “...You’re trying to give me a heart attack. Eh, anyways, I just got word that there’s been a breakout at Iron Heights. Mirror Master just materialised inside the Pipeline and took Heatwave and Weather Wizard back out with him.” He grabbed his jacket and holster. “Morillo was already over there and he’s with the warden now.”
Flash grimaced. “Cold’s heist was a distraction. They’ve been off the map for so long I just got sucker punched by the first trick in the Rogues’ book. Make you watch the right hand while the left is busy pulling a fast one with your wallet. I’m an idiot.”
“They’re super criminals, Barry. Nobody died, and we’ll collar the bastards next time they show their faces. You wanna head over to Iron Heights and hook up with Morillo, and I’ll get there under my own speed?”
“Thanks, Fred,” said Barry. He vanished for a moment, then returned. “You don’t want to carry you over?”
“Get lost, Barry. You know I get motion sickness when you pull your running man crap on me.”
Barry shrugged. “Just offering.” And then he was gone, hurtling at top speeds toward Iron Heights.
COLUMBUS CIRCLE, NEW YORK CITY:
“Ohjeez--!” Jesse Chambers awoke with a start, and it almost gave her whiplash. She was clutching at her throat, as if she was trying to paw somebody off her neck.
She’d been dreaming again, and it was the kind of dream that you couldn’t really call a nightmare but was close enough to make the wake up traumatic in execution. What was it about being in the superhero business that made sleeping a god damn experience unto itself?
Rick Tyler rolled over, eyes sleepy, and reached out to her, brushing his fingers gently against her cheek. “Hon--?”
“I’m okay, I’m okay,” she whispered. Her heart was racing, just like her mind. She wrapped her fingers around his hand and squeezed ever so slightly. She was grounding herself. Feeling his pulse along with her own. She was here. She was awake. Everything was okay. Or as close to okay as she could expect.
“…The same dream?” Rick said, shuffling up the bed so he was sat straight.
“Yeah. The same,” she replied, quietly.
What went unsaid was enough. The same dream she’d been having every other night for the past month, the same one that made sleeping an ordeal, an ordeal barely mitigated by speed equations and that one blend of coffee Adam Strange delivered when he was back on Earth visiting from Rann.
She exhaled and in a resigned tone, repeated, “The same.”
Rick watched as she tried to make herself small, tried to escape restless nights and the creeping inevitability that dragged her through the days.
“Okay, then today we’re going to S.T.A.R. Labs. I know you don’t want to go to the others with this, but I spoke to my dad, and there’s a metahuman specialist working out of the New York branch that might be able to help.”
“Rick…” started Jesse. She didn’t want anyone to know. She’d been having the dreams and for a while she thought she was going mad, but Rick knew a thing or two about weird thoughts in one’s head and had helped her keep her head. He’d even promised not to go to the Society with this, but he never made any promises about talking to his father.
“I know, I know, but I threatened him with all sorts if he went out and snitched on us,” said Rick.
Her lips scrunched up, and she wore an expression that told him that she didn’t know whether or not to be mad with him, but it must have been his lucky day, because she craned her neck up and awkwardly kissed him on the chin. “Okay. S.T.A.R. Labs.”
He nodded. “And we’ll get to the bottom of this. We always do. Now come here and try and get a few more winks. I’ll stay awake and stand guard.”
Jesse smiled, and snuggled up in his arms. “You promise?”
“First sign of trouble, I’ll wake you up,” he said.
“Promises, promises,” she said, closing her eyes, trying not to show how scared the thought of it made her.
...If Rick saw the bruises around her throat, he didn’t say anything.
As an investigative journalist with Central City News, Iris Allen had a habit of finding herself asking the kinds of questions that drove people into getting nervous. Those were certainly the days…
Now? The main problem she had since her husband’s identity as the Scarlet Speedster was revealed to the world was simply: She couldn’t get into the places she used to or speak to the people she wanted to. Her working life took a massive hit, but she had moved with the times, with trends, and the fact that she was a smart woman with access to a smartphone made this sudden change in circumstances survivable.
But still, news became something other people investigated and reported, stories were told without her input, because she had no input to give on something she had no experience of.
Iris missed the stories, the chase, something that Barry never had a problem with, considering his profession.
So, how did she end up here, sitting across from the city editor of the Keystone Times, when she would have preferred to be digging into a story somewhere, far from the steely, glassy heights of the publishing district of the city that neighboured the one she had lived in since a child?
“…What do you think?” said Miles Thacker.
“Repeat that last part?” she replied.
“Honey, this is the opportunity of a lifetime,” said Miles as he put his hands up to frame his words. “‘The Secret Life of a Superhero’,” he leaned forward “--or title pending-- written by you, telling the stories behind the man who runs between Central and Keystone, saving lives and fighting crime. The Twin Cities’ greatest protector, Barry Allen, the Flash.”
“Oh, wow, that’s, that’s something,” said Iris, slowly.
“I know,” said Miles, pleased with himself as he leaned back.
“It’s just, I took this interview because I thought it was an opportunity to do what I love, and that’s write for newspapers. Write the news. Tell the stories of the people who can’t speak out for themselves. And you want me to, uh, ha, umm, tell my story? My boring story about my boring life, that just so happens to intersect with the life of the Flash?”
“Iris, I’m going to be honest with you, I can’t tell if you’re being sarcastic or not. But your stock as an investigative journalist dropped as soon as your husband was outed. Your face is known to every single man, woman and child who owns a television set or reads a gossip rag. I can’t give you an actual story because as soon as you’re involved, the story becomes about you. No matter how hard you try, you’re going to become part of something you have no right to be part of and that’s not me saying something to be a prick, that’s me saying something honest. I send you to look into the housing commission’s questionable ethics violations and suddenly it’s not ‘Housing Commission’s New Policy Leaves Families Homeless’, it’s ‘Mrs Flash Iris Allen Appears At Housing Commission Hearing Asking Uncomfortable Questions That Suddenly Become About Mr Flash Barry Allen’s Deodorant Choice’, you see?”
“And I appreciate that, but it doesn’t mean I’m going to tell you about what Barry and I do when he’s not running around saving lives. He doesn’t deserve it, and I’m better than that.”
Iris stood up abruptly.
“Now, I’m sorry if that’s not what you wanted to hear, and I’m sorry if I’m being rude, but I never ever wanted to become the story. Unfortunately, life doesn’t always go the way you want it to and now I’m reduced to this. Thank you for your time, but I don’t think this is for me.”
Iris picked up her coat and laptop bag and headed for the door. Miles cleared his throat and she turned, and the city editor was shaking his head. He put up his hands in a gesture of surrender and began to explain.
“Okay, you got me, you got me, I’m the worst interviewer in the world. That’s why I check for grammar and syntax and story quality, without inserting an editorial voice that overpowers that of the journalist who did all the hard work. That’s what I’m best qualified for. That’s why I’m being promoted out of this job and going to land a few floors up. I only asked that I get to choose my replacement, and that’s what this is for. This whole thing. I wanted to get a read on you, and a read I was given. Iris, the Keystone Times wants you to be its new city editor.”
“Uhh..." started Iris.
“I know, I know. But here’s how I see it. Most of what I said before was true, you know? You can’t do what you did before, but you can help educate a whole new generation of fresh-out-of-school journalists into doing what you’re good at. Getting to the root of a story, pulling away all the weeds until people have what they need-- what they deserve-- to know, that’s what you can do.”
“You’re right,” said Iris.
“Yeah? Which part?”
“About your being a terrible interviewer,” said Iris. She put her coat back on the hook and sat down in front of Miles. “But tell me more about this job opportunity.”
IRON HEIGHTS PENITENTIARY, KEYSTONE CITY:
The prison guard’s pocket exploded in shards of light, rotating snowflakes of glistening energy that dimmed only when an orange-and-green clad man climbed out of the small portal that had formed inside the man’s trousers.
Mirror Master turned and looked at the shocked guard, showed off a gap-toothed grin, then smashed the guard in the face hard, knocking him out instantly.
Mirror Master moved quickly, checking the cells lining the Pipeline section of Iron Heights prison. He ignored lesser villains, leaving Murmur and Girder-- amongst others-- safely behind their locked cell doors, until he found what he was looking for.
With one blast of his fractal gun a mirror formed where a door once was, and out stepped Mark Mardon, aka Weather Wizard. They exchanged brief pleasantries and Mardon indicated a cell across the hall. Another blast of the fractal gun, and Mick Rory stepped out of the mirror, freed from his cell.
Mirror Master fired off one more blast of his gun, led the two other men through, and then the mirror shattered, along with the two other mirrors he’d created. Blackened, opaque shards were all that were left to show for the breakout.
“Thus endeth the lesson,” said Detective Jared Morillo, turning off the security camera footage.
Harrison Wells, warden of Iron Heights, tossed a pocket mirror across his desk at the Flash, who stood next to Detective Morillo as they went over the events of the afternoon. There were three men in his office; Wells manoeuvred his wheelchair behind his desk and came to a stop facing the two detectives as they compared notes.
“That’s all it took,” said Wells, gesturing toward the mirror. “One prohibited item and Mirror Master was able to get in and out of Iron Heights without so much as an alarm going off. I thought we were past this.”
“You have to admit, it’s smooth as silk, very much Mirror Master’s MO,” said Morillo. “Who’s the idiot who snuck in the contraband?”
Wells grimaced. “One of the guards we kept on from the old regime. A mistake on my part, I have to admit. Former-Warden Wolfe encouraged a certain kind of personality type back in his day, but I thought our screening measures were enough to prevent this kind of corruption sneaking back in. I was wrong.”
“We keep moving forward,” said the Flash. “I just checked again, and no other cells have been compromised. So, we’re down Heatwave and Weather Wizard. Two of the worst.”
“Looks like the Rogues are getting the band back together,” said Morillo.
“Looks like,” said the Flash. “Nearly a year's worth of quiet, and now this. I wonder where they went?”
“None of your friends in capes caught wind of them?” said Morillo.
“Nope, and they know I’m always looking. No, this is different. They’ve laid low before, but not for this long. They always get that itch for causing trouble.”
Wells removed his glasses and wiped them with a cloth from his pocket. “I’ve not been in the Twin Cities as long as the two of you, of course, but the Rogue culture is a fascinating case study. The loyalty these criminals feel toward each other is borderline. This isn't Gotham, but they sure come off as crazy.”
“You get used to it,” said the Flash. “I’m just glad the rest of the cells are sealed up nice and tight. I don’t want a repeat of last year. Not one bit.”
“No trouble there,” said Wells. “We finished installing the Turtle beneath the cell of your doppelgänger* earlier today and he’s taken to standing still instead of running circles inside the containment sphere. My boys are prepping for other old favourites, whenever they decide to rear their heads.”
* Check out Justice League #46
“Yeah, I was actually up here talking to Harrison about his plans for dedicated Rogue containment,” said Morillo. “The cell he designed for Grodd alone, that’s the kind of thing with application across the board, I swear.” The last point was made with a wink, and the Flash smiled.
“I best get going,” said the Flash. “Run down some old haunts of the Rogues. I doubt I’ll have any luck, but you never know.”
“Stay safe, Barry,” said Harrison. “You know where to find us if you need us.”
Carthage House, not far from Hudson University’s densely populated campus, was one of the more upmarket apartment buildings in the city. Most tenants were monied, but this one wasn’t particularly. Sure, he had some cash, but that was thanks to a youth spent running around, picking up sponsorship deals when his costume still fit, and he thought of himself as nothing more than a sidekick.
Nowadays, with money in the bank and education on his mind, Wally West didn’t think of himself as much of anything, apart from a student, a boyfriend, and a superhero in semi-retirement.
One of those things was about to change, if he got his way.
“What do you think, Lin?” Wally asked.
He held up one costume, and Linda Park leaned back in her chair as she checked it out. She bit the tip of her pen as she compared it to the last one he’d showcased, knowing full well how much this whole thing meant to her other half.
Gone was the red and yellow of his Kid Flash costume-- not that he’d worn anything like that in the last year or so. This one was scarlet and silver, and he nervously bit his lip as she looked it up and down, taking it in.
“Try it on?” she offered.
He nodded, spun around and before she could blink he was already dressed in the new costume. “How about now?”
“I mean, it’s definitely a different direction to go in,” she said.
Wally looked at his sleeves, then rolled his arms to look at the palms of his gloves. “Yeah, different was what I was going for.” He shrugged and then it was on the floor, and he was back in his street clothes and sat on the bed, next to her desk. “Nah, I don’t know what I was thinking.”
“You don’t have to rush into this decision,” she said.
“It’s been a while coming, don’t you think?”
“Wally, you’re not a kid anymore. You’re not a teen. Kid Flash is… best left behind, I think. In the dust,” she smiled, and he gave her a playful look, appreciating the analogy, “but that doesn’t mean you have to stop doing what you do.”
“I thought… I could keep wearing the costume, maybe change my name. But Kid Flash doesn’t equate Teen Flash certainly doesn’t mean Man Flash. The Flash is the Flash and I’m… me. But me still needs a name.”
“Well, what have you got so far?” she asked.
He vanished for a second, then returned with his notebook. He cleared his throat, and said, “…Man Flash.”
“You don’t have that written down,” she said, incredulously.
“Nope, but I think it might be a keeper. Oh! I’m dense! I’ve got it—Flash Man!”
“Ugh, no! Stop it!” She said, playfully reaching out for the notebook that he immediately pulled out of her reach. She fell on him, and they laughed, curling up in each other’s arms. “But seriously. What are we looking at?”
“Umm, I’ve got… Scarlet Speedster… Crimson Tornado… Wizard of Whiz…”
“They’re all awful,” Linda said.
Wally sighed. “Yup. Who knew striking out on your own was such a pain in the ass?”
ELSEWHERE, IN A SECRET LOCATION:
“Well, boys, I guess this means the Rogues are back in business,” said Captain Cold. He raised his bottle to the rest of his comrades and they cheered. The only dissenter stood in the back, arms crossed, his mask ever present across his face. “What’s wrong, Plunder? Just because you insist on keeping that mask of yours on, doesn’t mean we all have to abstain from an ice cold one when we win big.”
Heatwave snorted and took a swig from his beer, tipping it in acknowledgement of Weather Wizard.
“The Flash is still alive,” said Plunder. “All you care about is your fraternity, your code. I’m getting bored of this farce.”
“Hey, let’s not say anything we regret now,” said the Trickster. “You’ve not been playing the Rogue game as long as the rest of us, but if we don’t have each other’s’ backs, then we’re as good as behind bars.”
“I’ve done everything you’ve asked of me, given you access to a whole new dimension of opportunity, and yet you insisted on petty crimes both here and in my dimension. Six months of raids on my home, rather than killing Barry Allen.”
“C’mon,” said the Trickster. “Plunder, let’s just calm the heck down.”
“I held up my end of the bargain, where’s yours? You got your little crew back together, and now I want what’s coming to me. We kill Barry Allen. Both times.”
Captain Cold smirked. “You seem to have forgotten our golden rule.”
Plunder sighed. “Another one of your ‘teachable moments’, Snart? Can’t say I’m not getting bored of them.”
Weather Wizard gripped the thin wand that allowed him to manipulate the elements. The Trickster wrapped a thin line of string around his finger, preparing the specially prepared yo-yo he kept in his back pocket. Heatwave’s finger was around the trigger of his flamethrower, while Captain Cold’s hand was over the cold gun laying on the table in front of him. Mirror Master admired himself in his pocket mirror, while a duplicate of himself began to creep out of the large mirror behind Plunder, who had both his hands at his holsters.
Snart leaned forward, grinning. “We don’t kill anybody unless we have to, and even if we do, we make sure the cops aren’t going to come raining down on our heads because of it. So, say we kill you, right now,” He yanked his gun up and levelled it at Plunder’s masked head. “No one gives a shit if you live or die. But if we kill the Flash, well, that’s bad business all around.”
Plunder’s shoulders dropped, as if he were disappointed. But fear didn’t radiate off him like it might someone else in his position. “It’s come to this, then. I can’t say I’m not surprised. Let my head get clouded by my anger. Let you take advantage of my good nature.”
Cold waved the barrel of his gun like a finger, back and forth. The others kept their weapons on Plunder, ready for whatever move the masked villain might make. “You’re not a Rogue. You never have been. You kept your mask on this entire time, and we let it slide because this moment was always gonna come. Tell you what, though. We’re going to keep your little mirror world in our back pocket, and we’re going to keep running raids on it like nobody’s business. That’s all because you’re an idiot and the Rogues always win in the end.”
No more words, and no time for warnings-- the assorted villains engulfed Plunder in an array of fire, ice and lightning. The masked villain was twisted inside out by Mirror Master’s funhouse mirror gun, burned alive by Heatwave and frozen to the broken bone by Captain Cold. The oxygen was snatched from his lungs by a tornado thanks to Weather Wizard, while an electric charge caused his heart to explode courtesy of the Trickster’s taser yo-yo.
Plunder fell down dead, and the Mirror Master shrugged as one of his reflection duplicates dragged the body out of the room through the mirror they used as an emergency exit. A moment later the duplicate returned and was reabsorbed into the surface.
“Now, onto more important business,” said Cold.
“Strippers?” said Trickster.
“Seconded,” said Heatwave. “I got an itch I can’t scratch. Been in the Pipeline too long, ya know? We’ll even call in one of them male gigolos for you, Lenny.”
“Oh, well, then of course the motion is passed,” said Cold, raising his beer bottle to the others. “To the Rogues--!”
“Jay, can I borrow you for a minute?”
Jay Garrick, the Golden Age-- and original-- Flash, turned his head in the direction of his front room, where his beloved wife Joan was playing with Bart Allen, the toddler-aged son of Barry and Iris Allen.
Jay had been making sandwiches for the three of them-- at normal speed, as Joan claimed to be able to taste the static his superspeed left on PB&J-- and a second after Joan called out, he was in the front room.
“What’s wrong?” said Jay. He glanced around, and in the corner of his eye, saw Bart giggling as he sped unnaturally fast from one side of the room to another. “Ah.”
Jay scooped up the super speeding toddler in his arms and absorbed the Speed Force energy from Bart’s tiny body. The boy giggled and then hiccuped, before wrapping his arms around Jay’s chest.
“Thanks, honey,” said Joan. “When I offered our services as babysitters, I didn’t realise we’d be contending with a little Flash at the same time.”
“Bart’s one of a kind,” said Jay. He stuck his tongue out, and Bart clapped his hands together excitedly. “But absorbing the speed from him on an ad hoc basis isn’t a long-term solution. I need to speak to Barry about it, and soon.”
“Of course, of course,” said Joan. She ran a hand through Jay’s hair, and then considered Bart as he began to yawn. “But you worry too much. You’ll start getting more grey hairs, you keep on like that.”
“It’s just my nature,” said Jay. “But speaking of grey hairs, I wonder how Max is getting on with the other Bart. We’ve got it easy in comparison.”
“Don’t tempt fate,” said Joan.
SOUTH KEYSTONE LANDFILL:
Plunder lay dead on a trash heap, his body a barely recognisable patchwork of damage.
Before the crows could pick at what was left of his eyes he suddenly reared up and screamed, gagging up the blood and other gunk that came with being temporarily dead, before he abruptly fell down on his mangled face.
He gritted his charcoal teeth as he began to breathe again, his lungs knitting themselves back together , and then began to laugh as his stomach sucked in the intestines peeking out of the hole in his lower torso. Within a matter of minutes, he was whole again, and he had one thing in mind…
…Screw killing the Flash. Time to kill the Rogues.
Barry gently threw his son up and down on his lap and grinned broadly as Iris walked in through the door. He said, “Hey, honey. Dinner’s in the oven.”
“You’re speaking my language,” said Iris, leaning in to kiss her husband, then planting one on the forehead of her son. “How’s my little speed whizz?”
“Keeping himself out of trouble,” said Barry.
Removing her coat, she said, “I saw that Captain Cold robbed a bank up town? Everything okay?”
Barry’s nose scrunched up.
“Oh, I know that look. They got one over on you?” said Iris.
“It was a distraction. Heatwave and Weather Wizard broke out of-- hey, wait, none of that matters, I’m off the clock. How did you interview go? Did you actually find out what the heck they wanted?”
“I did, I did,” said Iris. “It was pretty damn weird, but the offer was immense. They want me to be their city editor. Now, I’m not naïve, they’re going for name recognition. Imagine having my name anywhere on their paper. Plus, I think they’re assuming they’ll get some added security if Mrs Flash starts working there--”
Barry shrugged. “I mean, they wouldn’t be entirely wrong.”
“But yeah. Yeah, you’re looking at the new city editor of the Keystone City Times. It’s everything I could have wanted and more, and it’s, it’s, I don’t even know, it’s so big.”
“Congratulations, honey,” said Barry. “I could ask my mom to look after Bart tomorrow, maybe we could--” He looked down at his son and saw a spark of lightning flash behind Bart’s eyes. “--What?”
Barry Allen was thrown backwards out of his chair and into the kitchen sink, while Bart Allen floated, suspended in space. Iris instinctively reached out to grab him, even as Barry reached out in shock. When Iris took Bart in her arms, she realised her son was seizing, convulsing uncontrollably in her arms. She looked over at Barry, a pleading look in her eye. “Something’s wrong! We have to get him to a hospital!”
From the future to the past...
That’s what this race was about...
A circuit stretching from one moment in time to another...
The track pulsing with the living lightning of the Speed Force...
From the future to the past...
With only one thing on the runner's mind...
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NEXT ISSUE: Plunder begins his reign of terror as he takes his revenge on the Rogues! Mirror Master’s secret weapon begins to take a toll on him as the Rogues watch! Harrison Wells offers Barry Allen assistance in his latest undertaking-- saving his son's life!