by Hitman 44077, partially adapted from Crisis on Infinite Earths #11 by Marv Wolfman and George Pérez
Kid Flash watched helplessly as the Anti-Monitor destroyed everything around him. “Nooo!” he screamed.
Wally West sat up in the bed he was resting in, sweat dripping from his head. Oh, my God! he thought as he began to calm down. It was the end of all life… and there was nothing we could do about it. At least things seem… normal? Wally noticed that the room he was resting in wasn’t his bedroom. Wait a second. Something’s wrong here. Where am I? How on Earth did I get here?
Seeing his clothes by a dresser, he put them on. Was it all a dream? he thought. Spotting his Kid Flash ring, he put it on his ring finger. No. Whatever we went through, it sure as hell wasn’t a dream, he realized.
Wally walked toward the room’s door and opened it. He walked downstairs and spotted Joan Garrick in the kitchen. “Joan?” he said aloud.
“It looks like you and Jay put in a busy night. Either that, or you’re just a late sleeper!” she said cheerfully as she seasoned a plate of steaks. “You are staying for lunch, aren’t you?”
It dawned on Wally that he was on Earth-Two and at the Garricks’ house. “Uh, yeah, yeah, I am a little hungry. You wouldn’t know where Jay is, would you?” Wally asked Joan.
“He had some things to check out both here and in Central City,” Joan said simply. “He should be back anytime.”
The comment struck Wally as odd. “Isn’t Central City on my Earth?” he asked Joan.
Joan found humor in Wally’s question. “It’s on this Earth, as well as Keystone City, unless you weren’t born here,” she said with a friendly chuckle.
Wally paused as he realized something had truly gone wrong with the world. “Um, Joan… you don’t mind if I call my folks, do you?” he asked.
“No, it’s all right. Go ahead,” she said, placing garlic bread inside her oven.
Wally walked to the phone and dialed up his parents. Please let them be safe, he thought.
Mary West picked up the phone. “Hello?” she asked.
“Mom?” Wally asked, feeling immensely relieved. “It’s Wally.”
“Wally! I’m glad you called. How are things going at the Garricks?” she asked cheerfully.
This really surprised Wally, as his folks were from Earth-One, and the Garricks were from Earth-Two. They shouldn’t know anything about Jay Garrick and his wife. Covering up his surprise, Wally continued. “Things went well, but we have more questions than answers,” he said. “I’ll be here until Jay solves them. I just wanted to let you and Dad know that I love you.”
“Honey, both of us love you, too. Now take care, and we’ll see you when you come home,” his mother said with parental love.
Wally hung up the phone. It’s as if our world has been reshaped into something different. I exist, my parents exist, and the Garricks exist, but who doesn’t exist? he thought, when he felt a sense of dread. Oh, no. What about Fran? His heart raced in fear. Picking up the phone again, he dialed Frances Kane’s home. Oh, God, please be all right, he pleaded in thought.
Fran picked up the phone. “Hello?” she asked.
“Fran, it’s Wally,” he said. “I’m so glad you’re okay!”
“Well, why wouldn’t I be? Nothing’s happened, as far as I know,” Fran said, as the concern in Wally’s voice registered with her. “Wally, are you okay? You’re not getting sicker, are you?” she asked.
“No, no, I’m fine. I just wanted to make sure you were fine. I woke up a few minutes ago from a nightmare. That’s all,” he said, speaking some truths. “I’ll be back soon, but I have some things to take care of.”
“I understand. I’ll see you when you get back from the Garricks,” she said. “I love you. ‘Bye.”
“I love you, too. ‘Bye,” Wally said, hanging up the phone.
Thank God they’re safe. I only hope Barry is, too, Wally thought as a hand placed itself on his shoulder. Wally jumped in shock.
“Whoa!” he said as he turned around and saw Jay Garrick standing in front of him. “Jay! Am I glad to see you!” he exclaimed.
“So am I, Wally. I’m sorry I wasn’t here when you woke up, but this morning has been maybe the most puzzling day of my entire life,” Jay said. “Let’s go to my lab. I’ll tell you everything I’ve learned so far.”
“Hey, you two!” Joan shouted as she walked toward the deck door carrying a plate of steaks. “Hope you have a strong appetite!”
“Oh, we do, dear. Can’t wait,” Jay said.
“Yeah. Thanks, Joan,” Wally chimed in.
Wally and Jay walked toward Jay’s lab as they began to reveal what they’d both already learned. “What’s happened to the world, Jay?”
“I’m not exactly sure, Wally. I don’t know how much you remember…” Jay began to say.
“I remember that we helped send five Earths’ worth of heroes to the dawn of time, and I saw the monster known as the Anti-Monitor. That devil used our own powers against us and put us in so much pain. I’ll never forget,” Wally said as fear crept into his voice.
“Then you’re not the only one who remembers the many Earths!” Jay said. “At first I assumed that it was a dream, but when Joan said you were in one of the guest rooms, well, that puzzled me, since you’ve never been to my home before. I decided to do some checking around and found out some insane things.”
“Joan said that Central City and Keystone City are twin cities? Is that true?” Wally asked.
“Yeah. It would seem that something’s changed a great deal. That’s not the only thing. I saw that you called Fran and your folks, so I’m assuming they’re all right. But some people aren’t so lucky. I tried contacting a few JSA members, but a few phone numbers no longer exist. I had luck in reaching Alan Scott, for example, but not Clark Kent.”
“I’m sure Superman’s okay, since it seems like the heroes all survived,” Wally said, trying to be optimistic.
“I’m not sure they all did. That bothers me as much as this new world does. In fact, here’s an odd bit of news. Carter’s alive, according to Alan, but he doesn’t seem to remember how he was injured. Same thing with the young man who helped save him — Northwind. They were with the JSA during the Earth-X battle, yet they don’t remember any of it,” Jay said, rubbing his eye.
“This makes no sense. It’s like the world was put together with pieces of different puzzles,” Wally said.
“I had an idea earlier, but I wanted to wait until you woke up,” Jay said.
“What is it?” Wally asked.
“Do you know how to set the calibrations on the Cosmic Treadmill?” Jay asked.
“For the most part. Wait a second,” Wally said as he spotted the Treadmill in one of the lab’s corners. “What’s the Treadmill doing here?”
“That’s another in a long line of questions. I have no idea,” Jay answered before asking his own question. “Would you be willing to travel to Earth-Two with me later?”
“You don’t have to ask. I’d like to get to the bottom of this, too. I’ll get the Treadmill set up, and you check on Joan’s cooking,” Wally said with a smile.
As Jay began walking toward his lab door, he heard some familiar voices outside. Opening the lab door, he spotted Joan talking to the Supermen of Earths One and Two. “Ahhh, I was wondering who Joan was talking to,” said Jay. “Guess you two are here about the Keystone-Central City problem, eh?”
Earth-Two’s Superman approached Jay, seemingly grateful that he was known, as he grabbed him by his arms. “You recognize me, Jay? You actually know me.”
“Of course I do, Clark… I know both of you,” Jay replied before turning to Joan. “Be back in a few minutes, honey.”
Joan answered her husband. “Don’t be too long. The steaks are almost ready.”
Jay and the Supermen walked into Jay’s lab, where Wally West continued working on the Cosmic Treadmill. “Kal-L’s been to my lab before, but I don’t think you’ve been,” Jay said to Earth-One’s Superman. “You both know Kid Flash.”
“Hi, guys,” Wally said, looking up at the two Supermen.
“Why do you remember me, Jay, but your wife doesn’t? What’s going on here?” Kal-L asked his friend.
“Something’s strange for certain,” Jay replied. “I did some checking this morning. People know about Barry Allen’s Flash… even remember his trial. But they say I’ve lived here all my life, too. I tried calling you, but your phone number doesn’t exist in Metropolis.”
Wally interrupted. “I don’t understand… which Earth are we on?”
The elder Superman answered grimly, “I don’t know, and I don’t think I’ll like the answer.”
“It’s obvious we’ve got ourselves a problem,” Jay said.
“Tell me about it, Jay. I’m starting to feel like a man without a past!” the elder Superman confided.
“My fear is we may all be without a world,” Jay admitted.
“What do you mean?” Earth-Two’s Superman asked with concern.
Before the elder Superman could dwell in Jay’s fear, Wally interrupted again. “The Treadmill’s ready.”
“Kal-L and I should go first — in case there’s trouble,” Earth-One’s Superman said.
Jay spoke with a serious face. “Nope,” he answered. “This we do together. And no arguments, hear?” Before either Superman could respond, Jay had already suited up in his Flash costume. “Jay Garrick, Flash of Earth-Two, is present and accounted for!” he said, adjusting his trademark Mercury-inspired winged cap.
Wally decided to suit up as well. “When this is done, I say we begin searching for Barry,” he said as he released his Kid Flash costume from his ring. He was in costume as Earth-Two’s Superman answered.
“Agreed. Let’s get started,” he said.
“Good luck to all,” replied Earth-One’s Superman with confidence.