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DCU The Flash #22 Whispers (The Forgotten)

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posted by King Clown alias King Clown on Tuesday 17th of May 2022 05:56:28 AM

-^- Central City -^- "You have retrieved the item?" Eradicator sat on a rooftop, overlooking the city. He held a small phone in his hand, a gruff, but proper voice coming from the device. His cape blew idly in the wind as he stared out at the nightlife below him. "Yeah," he responded, raising the keycard to the light of the moon, the T and O embedded logo reflecting said light, "but we've run into a problem. Flash knows about Raijin." "That… is not ideal," the voice responded with a sigh. "Did he pose a problem?" "No, Monger's flames were able to slow him down, just like he said they would," Eradicator explained, looking back at his partner, who was fixated on the jumbotron across the street replaying footage of the attack. "He was about to kill him, but Garrick showed up and put the flames out. I didn't want to risk failure, so I put in place a distraction for our escape." "Excellent work, Eradicator," the voice praised. "You and Heatmonger take a deserved rest, then retrieve the vessel for the summoning tomorrow. All for Raijin." "All for Raijin." Eradicator pulled the phone from his ear, watching it turn to dust in his palm. Bringing himself to a stand, he saw Heatmonger's gaze was still locked on the jumbotron, his body radiating a dull flame as he watched. "You look like you're enjoying it," he said, grabbing his partner's attention as Flash began evacuating the building. "I didn't take you for the sadistic type." "Who, me?" Heatmonger asked, chuckling. "Nah… just observing my enemy… he's so much faster than before." Eradicator sighed, not bothering to correct the man. "C'mon, there's an old subway tunnel not far from here," he ordered, turning from the pyro. "We can stay there for the night, then head out tomorrow morning." "Why don't we just go grab the robot and head back to the church?" "Morrow's security is bound to be troublesome," Eradicator explained, sliding the card back into his belt pouch. "We'll be running on fumes by the time we get there." "Yeah, yeah," he sighed, "wait for me." -^- Vulcan's Veggies -^- "Jay!" Barry jolted up from where he sat, his breathing short and rapid. Sat around him was various training equipment, from punching bags to a treadmill. Looking to his left, he watched a younger ginger boy change an older man's IV. "Calm down, son," a voice called from his right, his head snapping towards the sound. Sat beside him was Eddie, typing into a small laptop. "You two both got pretty banged up out there." "What… where are we?" Barry asked, sitting up properly, letting his head lean against the wall. "You're in hell, the soulless one over there is Beelzebub himself," Eddie said with a smirk. "That's a harmful stereotype," Wally whined. "You're at the restaurant, kid," Eddie confirmed, closing the laptop. "Details are still fuzzy to me, but the news filmed you and Jay evacuating the building Eradicator brought down." "Eradicator…" Barry mumbled, sliding his legs off the bed. "I need to see Joe and Daniel, they-" "Slow down, Barry," Eddie said, placing a hand onto Barry's shoulder. "Joe knows, he and Wallace brought you and Jay here." "Wally… brought us?" Barry asked, turning to the boy. "Jay got buried under the rubble," Wally said, dropping the used IV into the trash. "I helped dig him out… and… and used my speed. Joe said it was okay, and you guys were both in bad shape I didn't wa-" "Good job, Wally," Barry said with a smile, watching the boy's face redden slightly. His gaze moved to Jay, who laid still in bed, covered in bruises. "Jay's healing, how long has it been?" "About eight hours or so," Eddie mumbled, handing Barry a t-shirt. "Not sure when you two got there, but it's seven now." "It must be Heatmonger," Barry sighed, slipping the shirt over his head. "His fire was affecting our speed, including healing. I guess there was a long term effect with Jay, maybe because of his age? You got any info on him, Mr. Jones?" "Coolidge was the one with those flames?" Eddie asked, an eyebrow raised. "Last time I saw him was back in, what, '67? He walked around in a space suit that let him shoot out hot air. Never fire though." "That's… the other issue," Barry mumbled, rubbing his eyes. "While I was fighting him… he mentioned something called Raijin giving him power. Eradicator was ready to kill me after hearing it." "Raijin?" "The God of Thunder?" Wally asked, Barry and Eddie turning towards him confused. "Raijin… he's the Japanese God of Thunder, Lightning, and Storms." "The hell do you know that for?" Eddie asked, causing Wally to turn red again. "I uh… in English we had to do a report comparing the same god for different pantheons," he explained, scratching the back of his neck. "I may uhm… have chosen lightning." "Well, at least Captain Fanboy can help out a bit," Eddie sighed, turning back to Barry. "You think it could be connected to-" "The Speed Force…" Barry finished, bringing himself to a stand. "If Heatmonger got powers from Raijin that could weaken our connection… I think it's more than possible… but right now I need to go." "I understand," Eddie said, patting Barry on the back. "Me and Wallace will stay with Jay… make sure they're both okay." Barry nodded, before speeding out of the restaurant. -^- West Residence -^- Daniel sat on the couch, his arms wrapped around his curled knees. His mind was blank, flashes of that night replaying in his mind like a film reel. The house was currently empty, his father never returning home after the footage played last night. The news had been covering the attack since it happened. Watching the way the asphalt cracked apart, the way the building crumbled to dust in seconds. The flowing crimson cape. Tears welled up in his eyes as he hugged himself tighter. "Mom…" The jingle of keys caused him to jump, turning towards the door. As it unlocked, August stepped inside, shutting it lightly behind him. The man stood still at the door, his eyes staring into Daniel's. A moment later he joined Daniel on the couch, breathing out heavily through his nose. "I uh… I just woke up and saw," August said, eyes locked on the TV, the clip of the white suited man blasting fireballs at Flash playing. "Daniel… I-" "It's fine," Daniel mumbled, watching as the TV swapped to Eradicator leaping down from the rooftop. "No, it isn't," he said, placing a hand on Daniel's shoulder. "I… I can't even imagine what you're feeling… but I know it isn't fine." Daniel stayed silent, his head lowering. August stared at the boy with a frown before his head turned to look at the television once again. He watched as Flash stumbled through a fight with the pyromancer, barely able to keep up. Daniel looked up as Eradicator pressing his hands into the ground played, the same familiar cracks forming and spreading quickly. "Today's the day," Daniel finally said, not looking away from the screen. "I don't know if it was planned… or just God's way of being cruel." "I… I don't know either," August sighed, bringing his palms together and leaning forward, his elbows on his knees. He continued to watch the footage, the original Flash appearing and knocking Heatmonger to the ground. The two heroes then rushed inside the falling building, leaving the enemies to escape. "The light needs a shadow…" he mumbled, eyes narrowing at the escaping men. "Hmm?" "It's… it's nothing," August said, looking back at Daniel with a sad smile. "I… I know it won't help with the pain… but this time it'll be different. He's gonna receive punishment." The sound of the key jingling once again caused August to turn his head, but Daniel stayed fixated on the screen. As the door opened, Daniel saw the blond hair of his brother in the TV's reflection. "Daniel I'm… I'm so sorry…" Barry said, entering the room. "I promise you, he'll be brought to justice… I'll do everything I can to make sure of it." "Told August already, it's fine," Daniel said, looking down. "It has to be." "I know what-" Barry began, before taking a deep breath. "I know that something like this happening wouldn't make someone fine." "Doesn't matter… what's it gonna change?" Daniel asked, finally looking up at Barry. "You saw what happened to Flash, even two of them couldn't take him down!" "Daniel…" "Neither of you could possibly know what the feels like… knowing he's out there, just waiting to strike again!" Daniel shouted, standing from the couch and storming towards the stairs. "And I know that's not gonna change… cause if the Flash can't beat him, then who can?" Daniel quickly ran to the top of the stairs and into his room, sliding down the shut door with tears running down his face. The sound of their voices echoed through the vents. "Barry, don't…" "But-" "He's… he's gonna need to process this." "I know… I just don't want to leave him alone." "He won't be, I'll stick here with him, alright. You're needed elsewhere right now." "What?" "Forensics has been working all morning, I'm sure they wouldn't mind the extra help." "Oh yeah, right…" "Joe's there too… he shouldn't be alone right now either." "Yeah… yeah I'll do that. Stay safe, okay?" "You too, Barry… you too." Daniel's hand reached up to the dresser in his room, grabbing onto the family portrait. Joe stood firm, one hand on Barry's shoulder, the other around Francine's waist. Daniel himself sat atop his mother's shoulders, one hand placed on her head and the other held up in a wave. Tears fell onto the portrait, Daniel pulling it into a tight hug. "Why…" -^- Abandoned Subway -^- Heatmonger rose from the subway seat, his arms stretching out in a Y formation. His eyes surveyed the broken-down train car, the rest of the seats occupied by rats and roaches alike. With a snap of his fingers, the small ring of flames around his seat vanished, the bugs and rodents scurrying to the now unguarded territory. "You'd think it's Gotham," he mumbled, standing from the seat and looking out of the broken windows. The subway was filthy, the tunnel abandoned decades ago. He recalled the incident, a battle between Black Vulcan and a samurai robot took place, sealing the station off. The robot was the Thinker's creation, inspired by the JSA's own samurai hero, Wind Dragon. Navigating through the critters on the car's floor, Heatmonger hopped out, letting himself stretch once more before walking towards the operator office. "More comfortable my ass," he mumbled, his eyes shifting to the still working wall clock as he stepped up to the door. "Let's go, Riding Hood. It's already noon." Heatmonger stood with his arms crossed, for a moment, awaiting his partner. After a minute passed, his hand knocked on the door. After a moment of no response, his fist knocked again, still with no response. The villain began to slam his hand against the door, the sound reverberating throughout the tunnel. "Get up, you're delaying his return for beauty sleep!" he shouted, his other fist clenching. After two minutes of constant banging, blue light illuminated the entire subway. "Be that way then," he mumbled, the roar of flames echoing off the walls. "I'm not waiting to achieve my goal… sorry in advance if you get melted." -^- Vulcan's Veggies -^- "So, how long do you think Jay'll be out?" Wally asked, wiping down one of the booths in the restaurant. "I know Hotmonger's powers can sap Speed Force, but it obviously isn't permanent." "Heatmonger," Eddie corrected, typing on his laptop at another booth. "I'm not entirely sure though. His vitals are all stable, so he's alive, but all we can do is wait for him to wake up." "Waiting sucks," Wally mumbled, plopping down next to Eddie. "Waiting is a part of the job." "Yeah yeah, sure," Wally said, leaning over. "So, typing up training regiments? Ooo, we should see if I can phase yet, or maybe the whirlwind arm thing." "I'm ordering fresh stocks," Eddie said, pointing to the produce on the screen. "And if we were training, I'm not teaching you to run up a building, I can't walk without a cane." "Didn't you start using your powers again?" Wally asked, staring at the cane. "Your speed healing should've kicked in, right?" "I don't got speed healing kid," Eddie said, flicking Wally on the forehead, sending a small jolt through the boy's body. "Ow!" "My powers don't work the same as any of you, not exactly at least." "Wait, what?" "I got the same speed, sure," Eddie explained, lightning dancing on his fingertips, "but the lightning I generate can be manipulated, kinda like the new guy in Dakota." "Black Lightning?" Wally asked with a raised eyebrow. "Yeah, whatever…" he sighed, clenching his fist. "In turn, I didn't get any type of healing factor. Can't do any of the tornado stuff either, I'd end up making a lightning storm." "Cool!" "Not cool, not when you permanently scar a teammate you were trying to launch like a cannonball." "Ah… sorry." "You're fine, kid…" he said before trailing off. "Y'know what, why don't we give it a shot." "You're gonna run up a building with a cane?" "No! Are you dense?" Eddie scolded, cracking Wally's head with the cane. "I meant training in general. I can't help with any of the running aspects, but I can at least help you get more in tune with the Speed Force." "Alright!" Wally shouted, hopping off the booth and dashing to the basement. -^- ??? -^- "My child…" Eradicator was knelt down in an endless lake, his hood around his neck and facemask on the ground, barely above the water level. Sweat ran down his forehead as his pupils constricted, white lightning flashing in the sky above. The moment he'd entered the room he planned to sleep in, his mind was pulled from the mortal plane and brought to this world, one he'd been in on countless occasions. "My child… my benevolent child…" The figure stood tall in front of him. Pale grey skin, black and silver armor with bolts of lightning engraved in it that illuminated white light. His eyes glowed brighter than ten thousand suns, but didn't burn as Eradicator stared back. "Lord Raijin," he mumbled, feeling the force of a hurricane as the man moved forward. "We are retrieving your vessel this very day, you may soon rise again." "Oh my child…" the man spoke, his voice booming and echoing through the endless void. "I thank you for your devotion to me." "There is no thanking required, my lord," Eradicator quickly responded, swallowing a heavy breath. "All is for you, Lord Raijin." "Yes, all is for Raijin…" he repeated, placing hand onto Eradicator's head, brushing his armored fingers through the man's hair, "which is why the summoning must be delayed." "My Lord?" Eradicator questioned, the hand on his head putting immense pressure on his body. "Lord Raijin, we can not delay your return! We do not know when the storm may strike again!" "You must not question me, my child," Raijin said, pulling his hand away and turning from Eradicator. "The storm is merely a glimpse of what is to come. The body you have been tasked to retrieve is no longer necessary, the storm will birth anew." "What is it you ask of me, my lord?" Eradicator asked, a flash of lightning shining in his pupils as Raijin's cape blew in the wind. "Daniel… West…" the god mumbled, his image fading, "bring him to the source of power for Central City." "West?" "The Flash will come for him, that is when I will speak to you once… again… In the next moment, Eradicator felt weightless, the world around him fading to black. Mere moments later, light returned and painted the room back to its original state. Eradicator looked down to his hands, clenching them into tight fists. The sound of a constant banging on the door caught his attention, his wobbly legs lifting him up. Sliding his face mask on, he opened the door, spotting Heatmonger just outside. "What are you doing?" he asked, noticing the scorch marks on the door and ground. "What did you do?" "They really don't make doors like this anymore," he mumbled, before raising the lenses on his helmet. "And don't talk to me like that, what the hell were you doing? I've been trying to wake you up for five hours now!" "Five hours?" Eradicator asked, letting out a shaky breath. "I was… busy." "Busy!?" Heatmonger shouted, his hands lighting up blue. "Busy isn't gonna cut it!" "Raijin called me to his realm." "He what?" Eradicator asked, his eyes widening and flames going out. "Our mission has changed," Eradicator mumbled, raising the keycard he'd stolen into the air, decaying it in seconds. "I need you to cause a distraction again, but keep the Flash alive." "That all I am to you?" Heatmonger asked, tilting his head. "A big ass signal fire for Red?" "I thought you wanted to fight him?" "I didn't think you cared," Heatmonger smirked before turning. "I got the perfect place for a distraction, where we meeting up afterwards?" "The source of the City's power…" Eradicator mumbled, his head turning to look at the fading map painted onto the subway wall. "The northern power plant. All for Raijin." "All for Raijin." ---------------------------- NEXT TIME: Swift as a Coursing River!

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