It all started with a simple experiment. One that two ten year olds foolishly decided to replicate. Neither of them were expecting the outcome that followed. At least, not completely. How could they? They were just naive children with big dreams. A boy that idolized superheroes and longed to be one himself. Even going as far as to form a fan club for his favorite, The Flash. The other, a girl that would do anything for a friend no matter the outcome. If only they realized sooner just how much of an impact they truly had on each other’s lives.
The weather reports deterred most people from venturing outside. High winds, dropping temperatures and torrential rain practically assaulted Central City. Somewhat unusual weather for what used to be a week full of sunshine. One young boy roughly ten years old decided to brave the elements in the late hours of the night. Bundling up in clothing fit for the weather he picks up his rainboots and departs from his bedroom. Creeping quietly down the hall he heads to the final door on the left. He had one more stop the make before departing.
Stopping in front of the door he lifts his free hand to knock. It consisted of three rapid taps followed by a slight delay then a single knock, the scrape of his fingernails and finished with another three rapid taps. A code they came up with to differentiate between themselves and the adults. It was just loud enough to alert the person inside while the rest of the house was fast asleep. When the door doesn’t open after a few minutes he tries again, beginning to grow a tad impatient. Before he can knock a third time the wooden door in front of his swings open with a slight squeak.
Standing in the doorway with disheveled auburn hair and wrinkled pajamas was his best friend of three years, Sylvia Cartwright. He could feel the confusion radiating off her in waves as brown eyes gazed up at him. Her body leaned partially against the doorframe, crossing her arms over her chest.
“Wally, why are you knocking on my door at…” Sylvia trails off looking behind her at the digital clock on her nightstand. “Eleven o’clock during a thunderstorm? You know I try to sleep through them.” She mutters with a yawn shifting her attention back to the boy in front of her. He was dressed unusually warm to just be on a stroll to the bathroom. “Don’t tell me you’re thinking about going outside. Your aunt and her boyfriend will kill us.”
“I need you to get dressed and come with me right now. There’s something you have to see.” Wally urges already nudging her back into the room. She almost trips over her sock-clad feet and grabs onto his arm for support.
“Wha- Wally it’s pouring and you want me to go outside? Can’t this wait until the weather clears up?” Sylvia fired questions at the redhead not seeing the appeal in going out and risking a cold. Her eyes narrow at the redhead who took on a pleading expression.
“Vi please, you know I wouldn’t ask you to do this if it wasn’t super important.”
Releasing an exasperated sigh the auburn-haired girl wanders over to her suitcase. She instructs him to wait outside the door while she changes into warmer clothes. Without even looking at Wally, Sylvia could feel the smile he directed toward her.
Ten minutes later both kids had successfully made their way outside and into the garage. The wind and rain had not been kind to them. It pierced any exposed skin like needles and soaked their clothing. They shrug off their raincoats and toss them in a pile near the back door. Sylvia rubs up and down her arms to supply some warmth as Wally drags two stools over to the workstation.
The West family garage wasn’t like your everyday family storage area. Ever since Iris West, Wally’s aunt, started dating Barry Allen it’s been converted into a makeshift lab. Half of it was devoted toward Barry’s research as a Chemist while the other half housed a few normal items like sports equipment.
Metal shelves took up most of the floor space. Rows upon rows of chemicals varying from toxic to harmless were kept in beakers and test tubes. Each had some form of label taped to it naming the substance inside. Sylvia’s father was also a Chemist so she recognized a few of the names from the books he allowed her to read.
“You know when my parents agreed to let me stay with you and your aunt for the summer I don’t think they had something like this in mind.” Sylvia comments weaving her way between the shelves to sit beside Wally. She twirled a lock of her hair braided with feathers around her finger. Hummingbird from what she could recall, discarded feathers from a bird her mother treated at the zoo. It became a habit of hers to wear them in her hair. She must of forgot to take them out when she fell asleep earlier.
Her redheaded friend has his nose buried in the contents of a file, green eyes scanning carefully across the page. Every so often he would make a note upon the page or cross out a word with an ink pen. When Wally finally takes notice of her he closes the file and passes it over to her.
Sylvia could practically feel the impatience radiating from her friend as her eyes drifted across the papers. All on a variety of chemicals with their reaction when combined with lightning. There were more than a handful of corrections on the papers in his handwriting. The further she got into the pile of papers the wider her eyes became. The man Wally’s aunt has been seeing was The Flash and these were his notes. Everything from the weather conditions to the chemicals and even the temperature of the room had all been taken into account. All documented as the event that transformed an ordinary chemical scientist into a renowned superhero. The very man her best friend idolized.
“Am I just supposed to disregard the fact that Barry Allen is the Flash?!” Sylvia exclaims grabbing onto Wally’s shoulders and giving him a shake. This was just unreal. “Your aunt is dating a superhero and you didn’t tell me? Wait, how did you even find this? Please tell me you didn’t steal it Wall.” She frowns. Her excitement quickly begins to morph into disapproval.
Wally doesn’t meet her eyes, instead focusing his attention on the papers in front of them. “I didn’t steal it, just borrowed and improved the formula. I’ve been looking for a way to become like him and now I can. Don’t you see how awesome this is?” He flashes Sylvia a toothy grin. “Just imagine me being a hero out there wrangling the bad guys.” His hands settle upon her shoulders.
She did imagine it, quite vividly in fact. Watching him race into action. Leaping over cars and pedestrians to find the source of trouble. Utilizing his speed to save the people of Central City alongside The Flash. As a sidekick or maybe even a partner. The fights that he would no doubt wind up in. The villains, how his abilities might not match up with theirs. The injuries. Broken bones, bloody bandages. All leading up to his untimely end.
“Has it crossed your mind that this might be a little too much for you to handle? I mean we’re talking about replicating something that Barry, a Chemist, couldn’t even understand at the time.” The auburn-haired girl secretly hopes she could talk some sense into him. They were only ten years old for crying out loud. The frown that made its way onto Wally’s face made her heart ache. She’d seen the same look countless times before from when he snuck in through her window after fighting with his parents. Something that has occurred more times than she liked.
“Which is why I came to you for help. You’re the only one I can trust to help me with this. Please Vi, I know it’s asking a lot but I need to do this.” His hands slide from her shoulders to grip her hands. He squeezes them gently offering a small smile.
As if that was supposed to make Sylvia feel any better. If anything else she now had a bad taste in her mouth. Her best friend always wanted to be a hero, she knew that. What she didn’t anticipate was him wanting to alter his body in order to accomplish that feat. You do not have to have special powers to be a hero but Wally seemed to forget that. Now it looks like he wouldn’t stop until he went through with this. Either she could sit by and watch him take a risk with this experiment alone or stick by his side until the end results.
Of course, against her better judgement, Sylvia went with the latter. Wally West was her best friend through thick and thin. If he was crazy enough to try this then she was foolish enough to be there right alongside him. “Alright Walls, despite how nuts this is, I’m in.”
The next few hours passed in a blur. Sylvia and Wally worked nonstop as the thunderstorm raged on outside. The auburn haired girl was situated atop her stool double checking a list of names she procured. A line of beakers filled with multicolored chemicals sat in front of her. Wally sat on the ground disassembling a battery charger and rigging it with a few parts he altered. It was clear he was prepping this experiment for a long time. If she had to guess as early as the beginning of summer. From the corner of her eye Sylvia watches him work for a moment. He was so focused and determined that it made her want to make sure her contribution was enough.
“Just one final turn and...finished!” Wally cheers dropping the screwdriver in his hand on the floor. “All I have to do it plug it in and we’ll be good to go.” He explains grabbing the extension cord and walking to an outlet in the far corner. As if to deter them from proceeding any further the wind outside turns from a whistle into a roar. The elements slam into the back door with enough force to wrench it open.
Startled, Sylvia leaps from her seat to close it while Wally plugs in the battery charger. The machine sparks to life, electrical currents coiling around the newly installed copper rods. As Sylvia struggles to close the piece of wood her body is instantly soaked to the bone. Wally comes up behind her to help force the door shut. Neither of them taking notice of the electricity becoming unstable.
“Come on Vi use your muscles!” Wally taunts pushing on the door with his shoulder.
Sylvia rolls her eyes at the redhead, pressing down with both hands. “You’re sure one to talk! Aren’t boys supposed to be strong?” She huffs. Slowly but surely the door begins to close. With one final hard push they shut it and lock not only the doorknob but the latch as well. The glass of the window was now blown out but there wasn’t much they could do about it.
Both kids lean on one another to catch their breath. Sylvia more so than Wally. He didn’t seem like it but he was much more in shape than she was. “I really miss my bed.” She whines dragging her feet back over to the workstation. “After this I’m going to sleep for hours.”
“Me too.” Wally chuckles going to follow after her when his green eyes fall on the battery charger. His feet freeze in place staring wide eyed at the constantly growing surges of energy. A sense of dread quickly fills his stomach. The power wasn’t meant to fluctuate like that. Something was seriously wrong.
The next few seconds happened in slow motion. Wally’s feet moved on their own toward Sylvia. Her face mimicked his, one of sheer horror. He hears himself scream her name lunging forward to use his body as a shield. A deafening explosion tears through the room. His body is launched into the air, thrown in the opposite direction of the girl he wanted so desperately to protect.
The landing is anything but graceful, his blood begins to pool around him from a wound he cannot locate. There’s a sharp pain flaring up his side as he laid in a crumpled heap. Half-lidded green eyes search for any sign of the auburn-haired girl. Smoke and fire filled the air, the room completely destroyed. The last thing he sees before slipping into unconsciousness is a flash of lightning.