april 16, 2018
6:55 AM
back bay
Again.

He woke up again in this life that wasn’t him, staring up at the unfamiliar ceiling with the fan spinning slow, the lights off and the only lamination coming from whatever managed to peek through the drawn blinds. Most mornings, that would have been the most annoying part of waking up, having one of them hitting him square in the face, but this morning, Barry couldn’t say it bothered him much.

What bothered him had become the usual of the past few days: waking up in someone else’s shoes, filling them no matter how similar they were, and trying to maintain some semblance of normalcy—semblance, but things weren’t exactly normal, but no one in Barry’s life actually needed to know that. As far as they knew, Barry was just having a rough week even if there was no rhyme or reason for it. Things at work were generally always good unless there was a particularly pressing case that kept them there for hours on end, deep into the night; and things with Daisy were going stellar, even if he was still having his own confusions over her name; so why the crisis of identity?

He didn’t notice at first just how quick he had moved through the apartment, stopping in front of the mirror with a yawn and no recollection of the second it took to get there, still in a sleepy sort of haze. Brushing his teeth seemed to go by just as quick without his brain catching up to the electric blur that moved through the apartment, kicking up papers here and there that he would have to go back and rearrange. He was late—he was always late—so maybe he was just moving a little too fast for his own good, his mind coming into focus and then outright running away with him.

Literally.

“What the—?” He knew he looked crazy as he shouted, hands crashing down on the hood of someone’s car who, somehow, managed to stop before they actually hit him… or was it before he hit the truck? Barry glanced down to his feet, the sneakers he wore, mismatched and all, barely holding on for dear life even with as short of a sprint as he had endured from his apartment to the middle of the street, and his jacket…

“Hey man! Your clothes are on fire!”

“Oh great,” because that was what he needed: gawkers and this news, small of a story as it would be, getting back to Daisy at the paper because who didn’t enjoy a small web article about a guy who ran so fast, he burnt his clothes off his body and found himself butt naked in the middle of the city of Boston? It was hardly front page worthy, but the thought was in his mind as quick as he had managed to spill out onto the street, stomping his feet and pulling his jacket off of his body, using it to stomp out some of the more prevalent flames that were eating at his clothes. It was the best he could do—at least short of running away again.

“Hey, sorry about running out like that,” Barry said, trying to avoid the obvious awkwardness of the situation at hand. Who just exploded into flames the second they raced out the door? Who could race out of the door that fast? There were a few options that he could think of, but they all lied in a realm of fictional characters that, as far as he was aware, didn’t exist in the real world and he, for sure, could say he wasn’t one of them.

Or could he?

It seemed to click right then, the confusion that he had been experiencing throughout the week and why nothing was lining up. Why he felt so out of body—because he was—and why he felt so powerless to do anything about the situation—because he was—and why Daisy didn’t feel like Daisy at all, but someone he had known for his whole life. Not Bart Alden’s, rather Barry Allen’s, and Barry Allen was the fastest man alive.

“I’ll try not to do it again,” he commented before he took off again, rocketing past cars that wouldn’t have enough of a stretch to dream of moving as fast as he was in that moment and people walking their normal, slow, and oh so mediocre paces, whipping around corners and through tight turns, down the coastline and back up through Back Bay, to his apartment again because if there was one thing he was quick to realize, it was that his clothing didn’t stand a chance.