A TALE OF 'DEMON' RIGHTS

Author’s Notes: Part Three follows directly from the end of Part Two. Therefore the action begins late in the evening of Hellboy’s fifth birthday on December 23, 1949. Part Three details a series of events between the end of 1949 and 1952—with a conclusion carrying forward the further course of the BPRD after this time. As some have noted, the events related in A Tale of ‘Demon’ Rights weave in and out of the events related in my earlier story Father’s Day Gifts, but these two stories can be read independently of each other.

The main characters are, of course, not my own. This story is mainly informed by the time frame and backstories from Del Toro’s movie. However, some details, including Hellboy’s birthday, derive from Mignola’s comic and not the movie. A younger version of Father Edward Kelly from the original Mignola comic insisted on making an appearance in Part Three. As far as I can remember, Mignola does not tell you how old the character is so I tried to come up with a plausible age for him; Father Ed is 25 in 1949.

Some of my own characters are merely functional—doctors, nurses, soldiers, etc. The character designated as ‘L.’ in Father’s Day Gifts turns up as ‘Lee’ in some parts of A Tale of ‘Demon’ Rights. Neither represents this character’s actual name. He wished to keep his function as liaison between the FBI and the BPRD separate from a budding political career in Congress. He is 30 in 1949 and remains the FBI liaison until the advent of Tom Manning in 1984. The character of Broom’s assistant and secretary, who is mentioned in passing in Part Two, turns up by name, Paul Johanssen, in Part Three. He is around five years younger than Trevor Broom. At some point in his career with the BPRD he developed the same heart problems that had taken his parents when he was young. He stops working for Broom and takes a part time job in a religious goods store in Boston. Therefore, he is the same ‘Paul’ who sells Hellboy the box and rosary in Father’s Day Gifts in 1956. The name is pronounced as if the first letter of the last name is a ‘Y’.

I plotted out a lot of Part Three while on vacation, writing it out by hand while sitting at the beach. For some reason I had the feeling that Trevor Broom took over my pen and insisted on inserting certain plot elements that I had never originally considered. Once these things got into the plot they would not go away. Writing this was certainly an interesting experience. I suppose I can say, like a much greater author than I am, that this tale grew in the telling. Warning: In general most of the events of A Tale of ‘Demon’ Rights are my own take on the past relationship between Trevor Bruttenholm and Hellboy. However, the Epilogue that follows Part Three is more connected to events from the movie. Don’t read it if you haven’t seen the film and want to avoid some major PLOT SPOILERS.

A Tale of ‘Demon’ Rights: Part Three: Continuing the Crusade

Chapter One

Trevor Broom awoke suddenly and realized that he was still seated in the hangar that the men on the base converted into a ‘movie theater’ for Hellboy’s fifth birthday. The demon Broom loved as if he were his own son was fast asleep sprawled across his lap and Broom was reluctant to wake him. He looked at his watch and noted that it was almost 11:00pm.

Somehow, despite the fact that Hellboy was very large for a five-year-old child, Broom managed to lift him up over his shoulder and carried him, still sleeping, out of the ‘theater’. He trudged across the military base toward his bungalow wishing the two guards posted near there a good night as he walked past.

“Good night, Professor,” said one of the guards. He then turned to the other guard, “Good God, I can’t figure out how he manages to do that. He’s not a big man and the kid must weigh a ton. That kid’s right hand alone seems almost as big as the rest of him put together.”

This other guard, who was still watching Broom slowly making his way toward the bungalow said, “I think Professor Broom is stronger than he looks. By the way, have you heard that a senator arrived today with a decree that Hellboy is to be removed from his custody?”

“Take the kid away from him?” said the first guard, “You have got to be kidding. I’ve never seen anyone care for anything as much as he cares for that kid. Why ever would they want to do that?”

“I think that it might have to do with those tests that Professor Broom won’t allow to be performed anymore,” said the second guard. “There’s some, I think, that would rather see the kid dissected into bitty pieces than to allow him to grow up. You see how big he already is at five. Can you imagine how huge he’ll be when he’s full-grown? I think there’s a lot of people frightened of what he’ll turn out to be. But not Professor Broom. He seems convinced that the kid’s going to turn out to be something really special.”

Trevor Broom finally arrived at the front door to his bungalow. Just as he was wondering how he was going to open the door, it was opened from the inside by his assistant, Paul Johanssen.

“Good evening, Professor. I was working late tonight and decided to wait up for you. I hope your son enjoyed his birthday party.”

“Yes, he certainly did, thank you,” Broom replied. He continued speaking as he passed through the door, “Paul, since you are still up, do me the favor to wait for me until I put my son to bed. I need to speak with you.”

“Certainly, Professor.” Paul returned to Broom’s still lighted office.

Broom lugged Hellboy, who now seemed heavier by the second, to his bedroom and placed him down gently on the bed. He didn’t try to undress him, he just removed his belt and pulled off the boots he wore to accommodate his cloven hooves.

Broom then pulled up an olive-green blanket, stenciled ‘US ARMY’ in white letters, from the foot of the bed, kissing Hellboy on the forehead right below his horns as he adjusted the blanket. As he was doing this, arms reached up and hugged him tight.

Broom practically had the breath squeezed out of him by the strength that was in Hellboy’s right hand. He submitted to the hug, but thought to himself that he was really going to have to stress again that his son do most things only with his left hand. Broom managed to extricate himself from the hug without any broken ribs.

“Father,” Hellboy said unexpectedly, “Are they going to take me away from you?”

Broom hadn’t realized how much Hellboy had understood about his altercation with the senator he had tossed out of his office earlier that day.

“Son, I promise that I will never, ever allow that to happen. I don’t care if I have to spend all of my money. They will never take you away from me.”

Broom turned to leave, “Now, go back to sleep. If you want to help me trim the Christmas tree tomorrow you will have to get some sleep.”

Broom gently closed the door to Hellboy’s room and made his way to his office. Paul Johanssen, a man who had been with him as assistant and secretary since even before his discovery of Hellboy, was still waiting for him.

Paul, like Broom himself, was not a military man. President Roosevelt had brought him into the brand-new Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense because of his knowledge of psychic and mystical practices useful in counteracting attacks from things not of this world. Paul was an orphan who had also been the sole support of an elderly grandmother. This service in Broom’s BPRD had been in lieu of military service overseas during the war.

Paul’s grandmother had passed away while Trevor Broom had been abroad in 1944. When Broom had arrived back to the United States with Hellboy in tow, Paul had decided to remain in his service. He transferred along with them from military base to military base until they finally settled more permanently in New Mexico in 1946.

“Thank you for waiting, Paul,” Broom said as he entered his office, “I am afraid that what I have to say will not be pleasant. I have never been anything less than pleased with your service to me, but I am afraid...”

“I am sorry to interrupt, Professor” Paul interjected, “But I already have an idea of what you are going to say. The senator who was here this morning was less than discrete. Before he left he had contacted the commander of the base and told him to expect the funds for your support to cease almost immediately.”

“This was really the reason why I waited up for you. I want to assure you that I don’t need a salary from you. As long as I can come up with enough to keep myself I would rather remain in your service. You and Hellboy are like family to me, the only family I have now.”

Broom cleared his throat and then turned and looked out of the office window. It was pitch black outside and the only thing he could see was the reflection of his own worried face. He turned back to his assistant.

“Thank you, Paul. Things are not going to be easy. Remember I am not an American citizen and could be deported. You might not be able to accompany me even if we would want it.”

Broom sat down behind his desk. “I really need to think what is the best thing I can do right now.” He yawned and dropped his head in his hands, which were still sticky from all of the chocolate he had eaten earlier that day. After a moment he raised his head again.

“Paul, I know it’s late, but do me the great favor to get a long-distance connection to Princeton, New Jersey.” He reached in one of the drawers of his desk. “Use this phone number to make the call and tell me when the connection has gone through.”

Several minutes later Broom was on the line with a famous scientist. ‘Uncle Albert’, as Hellboy called him, was also a very close friend.

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