It is said that death is no respecter of person or place, and apparently, it isn’t hampered by time, either. As it unites the past and the future, Jay Garrick, the original Flash, is given the opportunity to say goodbye to two men who were very important in his life.
Author’s note: This is written in respectful memory of Julius Schwartz. Thank you for our heroes.
Jay Garrick was the Flash, the original Flash, and in his four-and-a-half decades in this role, he had learned that the laws of space and time were more like suggestions. Knowing this, he wasn’t overly surprised when he found himself standing beside a tall brick wall.
In less time than it took to blink, the hero was prepared to take action against whatever malevolent force had drawn him here. For nearly a second he did nothing but observe his surroundings. As he stood there, Jay began to feel that he was not here as a result of evil intent. If anything, it was a feeling of sadness that began to settle on him.
Looking back at the wall, he realized where he had seen it before. Slowly, he began to walk to its end, fearful of what he might find. When he reached his destination, he took a deep breath and looked around the corner, not expecting to find…
“Hello, Jay. I knew you’d come.”
Tears began to run down Jay’s cheeks as he stared at the crimson-clad hero whom he had come to love as a son. “Am I…?”
“Dead?” Barry Allen finished his question. “No. You are still very much alive.”
“What about you?” Jay asked.
A look of acceptance met his search for hope as the younger man answered, “I’m still dead.”
“Then, what are we doing here? How can we both be here?”
“We are only here in spirit,” Barry told him. “You are probably at home asleep, while I… well, part of my eternal spirit was called here.”
“We were chosen to be his escort,” Barry replied as he pointed toward the parting mist.
Jay saw an older man standing, waiting patiently for the two men to join him. “I feel I know him,” the original Flash said.
Barry Allen put his arm around his friend’s shoulder and led him to the old man.
The man’s eyes lit up when he saw the two heroes approach. “Jay? Barry? Well, this is a surprise. I sensed that I was waiting for someone, but I didn’t know it was the two of you.”
Jay studied the man briefly before a name popped into his mind. “Julius?”
“You do know me. Amazing,” the old man said.
“You are familiar for some reason,” Jay said, “but I’m not certain why.”
“Julius was somehow instrumental in bringing us together,” Barry said. “And I don’t mean now, either. I’m talking about back when we first met. In a way, it’s like he was responsible for a lot of things in our lives, but don’t ask me to explain what I mean.”
Jay began to nod. “Standing here, I feel the same way.”
A moment passed before Jay spoke again. “So, why are we here?”
“We’re supposed to accompany him on the last leg of his journey,” Barry said.
“My time on earth is at an end,” Julius said. “I always believed there would be something special waiting for me when I passed on, but I never imagined that it would be the chance to spend a few moments with the two of you.”
Julius took both men by the arm, much the way a grandfather would when walking with his loved ones, and began to lead them into the mist. Time seemed to stand still as they walked together, and spoke of things known only to the mist. At length, he stopped and turned to Jay.
“I’ve really enjoyed this,” Julius said, “but you can go no farther with us, Jay.”
A great sorrow swept over Jay, and he wept.
“For you to go beyond this veil would cause you to forfeit the life you cherish.”
Julius then turned to Barry. “I would like it very much if you accompanied me a little farther.”
“I would be glad to,” Barry said, smiling. “Just give me a moment to say goodbye to my friend.”
Barry put his arm on Jay’s shoulder. “I know I never got a chance to tell you goodbye before, or how much you meant to me, but I want to tell you now. Growing up, I learned much of what made me who I was from reading about you. And then, when I actually got to meet you, well, it was a dream come true.”
“I have always been so proud of you,” Jay responded, no longer worrying about his tears. “You have brought so much honor to the name ‘Flash,’ and for that I am grateful. I hope that my own son can grow to be the kind of man you turned out to be. It hurt so much when we discovered that you had perished, but the pain walked hand in hand with the pride of knowing you were willing to die for us all.”
The two men embraced.
“It’s time to go,” Julius said as he patted both men on the back. “Just remember, Jay, that wherever you go, we will be waiting until the day comes when we come to escort you home.” As an afterthought, the man added with a grin, “May that day be a long way off.”
Jay suddenly found himself sitting up in his bed at his Keystone City home, where he had taken a well-deserved break from fundraising for his presidential campaign. His pillow was wet with tears. He smiled a sad smile and lay back down. As he drifted back off to sleep, he swore he heard Julius’ voice saying, “Barry, have I got an idea for a team-up.”