Chapter One: A Normal Day
"Three F's?" Rudolph West glared at his son with a mixture of disappointed and fury adorning his usually stoic face. "You are failing three of your classes?"
Wally said nothing. His fingers wrestled with a stray piece of fabric protruding from the arm of the adequately comfortable chair in the Counseling Office. His eyes were fixated on his shoelaces, one of which was untied. However, despite their lack of eye contact, Wally could feel his father's furious gaze boring a hole into his very being, just waiting for even the slightest fracture in Wally's calm façade.
"What do you have to say for yourself, Wallace?" Inquired Mary West, a bit more calmly than her husband.
"I don't know." Wally mumbled just loudly enough to be audible.
"You don't know." His father repeated with an air of condescension. "That's the best excuse you have to offer? I expect more of you."
"Maybe you should lower your expectations." Wally shrugged, and immediately regretted it when he saw his father's face redden to the point that it looked like he might explode.
"Actually," Interrupted Mr. Rodriguez, the school counselor, "That's the reason I asked the both of you to come here."
"To tell us that our son is a failure?" Rudolph said in a tone that made it seem more like an observation than a question.
"Not quite." The counselor contradicted. "While Wally's grades are deplorable, I administered him an IQ test earlier today… and he scored exceptionally high."
"How high?" Mary West asked immediately.
"Let me put it this way. The average IQ of American adults is around 100. Wally scored a solid 175, easily the highest I've ever seen."
A stunned silence fell over Wally's parents. They stared at their son for several moments before Rudolph finally spoke, "He must have cheated somehow."
"I didn't cheat dad." Wally mumbled.
"Then why is it that you are failing three classes, and can't even seem to tie your own shoelaces?"
"IQ tests are really kind of pointless." Wally finally looked up at his father. "They show how much knowledge a person has, but that really has nothing to do with how smart they are. It's just how much they've learned."
"Don't you dare make excuses." His father snapped. "There is no reason for you not to excel academically, Wallace. And until you get your head out of the clouds, you'll never amount to anything."
"Can I go now?" Wally sighed. "I really need to get to one of those classes I'm failing."
Rudolf West gritted his teeth, and glanced over at his wife, who nodded. "We will resume this discussion at home."
"It's not a discussion if you're the only one being heard." Wally replied calmly, and exited the Counseling Office.
Outside sat his best friend, Eobert "Eddy" Thawne. Of course Eddy wasn't actually short for Eobert, but it was how he liked to be referred to anyway, because when you're in High School, having a name like Eobert is an automatic beating.
"How'd it go?" Eddy asked, adjusting his glasses as he always did. The frame of the glasses was far too big for his face, which was as skinny and sharply sculpted as the rest of his incredibly unimpressive physique.
"Pretty terrible, thanks for asking." Wally managed a grin. "Although apparently I' some kind of a super genius."
"Welcome to the club." Laughed Eddy. Eddy Thawne was easily the smartest teenager in Keystone City, Kansas. He held a consistent 4.6 GPA (he did a lot of extra credit), had earned several college credits even though he was only in his sophomore year, and spent his spare time studying quantum physics and other things that give normal people headaches.
"Bet I score higher than you an IQ test." Wally smiled.
"IQ tests are useless."
"That's what I told them!"
"Did they listen?"
"It's my dad. What do you think?"
The two turned down the empty hallway, both obscenely tardy for class. Gym was the only class that they had together, because athletics was the only category in which Eddy Thawne did not excel and the only one where Wally West did.
"You want to just skip?" Wally asked.
"See, that's the attitude that causes you to fail." Eddy grinned.
"Shut up mom." Wally laughed.
"Hey, isn't your uncle some sort of prodigy or something?"
"My uncle Barry? Yeah, he's pretty much a certified genius. Why?"
"I'm doing a report in my advanced bio class about how intelligence classifies as a hereditary trait. And I want to use you as proof that it can skip a generation."
"Asshole." Wally laughed again, turning toward the gym doors.
"What does he do anyway?"
"He's some kind of scientist for the government. That's pretty much all I know. I used to hang out with him all the time when I was a little kid, but then he got promoted and started working on some top-secret stuff, and suddenly no one sees him anymore. I've seen him maybe twice since I was ten."
"Are we talking death-ray top secret, or cure for cancer top-secret?"
"I don't know. He's not allowed to talk about his work to anybody, not even my aunt Iris."
"Sounds shady. And awesome."
"Believe it or not, he's actually pretty boring. Everything he says sounds like it's taken straight out of a textbook."
Wally flung open the gymnasium door and walked straight into a figure on the other side, knocking her down in the process. "Oh-" Wally collected himself a moment and looked at the girl he had just unintentionally assaulted. His eyes nearly bulged out of his head. She was the single most beautiful girl he had ever seen in his life; long, chocolate-dark hair, emerald eyes, and a killer body. On the floor next to her was a camera, an expensive one by the looks of it.
"I-" Wally froze, stammering.
"I believe my careless friend is trying to apologize." Eddy said, helping the girl up. Wanting to contribute, Wally picked up the camera and handed it to her, still staring at her dumbly.
"It's okay." The girl smiled, though it was an awkward one. "Accidents happen."
"Are you new here?" Wally asked abruptly.
"Um, yeah. My family just moved here from Central City."
"Good, because otherwise I would have had to kick my own ass for not noticing you before." Wally rattled off without thinking, as he had a tendency to do when he got nervous. A slightly confused look dawned on the girl's face, and she clearly was unsure of how to respond.
"That was supposed to be a compliment." Eddy sighed.
"Well, thank you." She laughed a little. "I'm Linda Park, by the way."
"Well, it's nice to meet you Wally." Linda raised her camera and snapped a picture of him.
"Photography student?" Eddy asked, raising one eyebrow.
"Yup. I'm more into journalism really, but this school doesn't offer a journalism class, so photography was the closest thing I could get."
"We suck." Wally nodded.
"This school sucks."
"Oh… well good to know." She laughed, a bit more comfortable now. "See you around Wally." And then she was gone.
"She took a picture of me." Wally pointed out.
"Yes she did, probably to document for the 'biggest loser' category in the yearbook."
"Was I that bad?"
"The moment you opened your mouth, it was like a very hilarious train wreck." Eddy nodded.
"I'm bad with girls."
"Yeah, telling her that you suck usually isn't the best conversation topic." Eddy agreed.
"Well that depends on what she's into."
"You are one sick bastard, Wally West."
The rest of the day went on normally. Wally slacked off whenever possible, taking all of his time to daydream. He was a big daydreamer, something his father had always despised. Rudolph West was a strict realist, and there was no room in his mind for anything short of absolute realism. This led him to constantly criticize Wally for always having his head in the clouds.
After school let out, Wally took a short break from his daydreaming to gather up the homework that he probably wouldn't do, located Eddy, and the two set off on their daily walk home. They lived within about two blocks of one another, and walked along the same path for much of their commute, allowing a lot of after school conversation on a daily basis.
"Any chance I can crash at your house tonight?" Wally sighed. "I really don't want to go home and deal with more lectures from my dad."
"Doubtful. My mom is still kind of pissed at you for spilling coffee on her lap last time you were over."
"I said I was sorry!"
"She had first degree burns, dude."
"I would have forgiven myself by now."
"That's because you can't even remembera grudge long enough to hold one." Eddy argued, by Wally's mind was already in a different place. Eddy decided to close his mouth and allow his friend to daydream some more.
Finally, Wally spoke up again. "Why do men have nipples?"
"Well, I was thinking about when I spilled coffee on your mom's crotch, and that got me thinking about genitals, which got me thinking about breasts, which led me to think about nipples. And of course, that led me to consider my own nipples. Why are they there? They serve no biological function. Men don't breast feed."
"You're mind works in some twisted ways, West." Eddy shook his head.
"I'm serious though. Why would dudes evolve nipples if we're never going to use them for anything?"
"Maybe because it would look weird if we just had a plain, flat chest?"
"But if we never had them, then we wouldn't know it was weird not to."
"You know what, you are absolutely right Wally." Eddy rolled his eyes. "The absolute biggest flaw with nature's design is that men have nipples. Why don't you take that up with God and tell me how it goes?"
Wally was pondering this thought further when something caught his eye, and he came to a complete stop. He looked at the drive of his house. There was nothing special about the home; a quaint, average middle-class American household in the middle of a regular suburb, just like you would find anywhere else.
What caught Wally's eye, however, was the extra vehicle parked outside of his home. A little blue Prius, exactly like the one his aunt Iris drove. "That's weird." Wally muttered.
"I think my aunt is visiting."
"That doesn't seem all that unusual to me." Eddy shrugged.
"But why would she drive down here from Central City on a Wednesday night, completely unannounced? It just seems weird. I know my aunt Iris, and she isn't really the type to just drop by like that."
"Hey, I have a brilliant idea. Why don't you go over there and find out?" Eddy grinned.
"I could be wrong, but I think I detect a hint of sarcasm." Wally grinned back.
Unannounced or not, Wally was relieved to see that his aunt was in town. If she was around, his dad was much less likely to yell at him. And that was a very, very good thing. Wally made his way to the front door of the home and entered slowly, examining every minute detail of his living room as he entered.
The first thing he noticed was the distinct sound of crying. A quick analysis of his surroundings proved that the sobs were coming from Iris Allen, who was seated on the living room sofa with her head buried in her hands. Mary West was next to her, apparently trying to comfort her.
Wally looked over to his dad, who was standing with his arms folded, his face stoic. "Dad? What's going on?"
There was silence. Wally's father didn't even acknowledge him. "Dad?" He tried again.
"There's been an accident, Wally." His father finally responded, looking at his son cautiously. "Your uncle Barry is dead."
Teaser: In the next update, we'll see how Wally gets his powers, and learn the details of Barry's death. So be sure to come back for chapter 2!