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

Chapter Two

Trevor Broom went to bed a lot later than he had ever intended. The next morning both father and son slept late, so they were a little later than usual getting the tree decorated for Christmas Eve. Regardless of his concerns, Trevor Broom tried as much as possible to celebrate Christmas as usual for Hellboy’s sake.

Broom had a small room in his bungalow that he had converted into a chapel. A good friend, Father Edward Kelly, a newly ordained priest, came to celebrate Midnight Mass for anyone who wished to attend this Catholic service. All left, when it was over, except Broom, Hellboy, and Father Ed.

Broom turned to the young priest, “Ed, I’ve got trouble. They are trying to take Hellboy away from me. They are planning to remove him from my custody at the end of next month. You can be sure I will do everything in my power to prevent this.”

Father Ed looked down on Hellboy who was asleep in one of the chairs. “Why are they even considering this?”

“It’s these tests,” Broom replied, “They want to perform even more, the most awful tests you can imagine. I just cannot allow it.”

“Is there anything I can do to help, Trevor?” Father Ed sat in one of the chairs and Broom sat in a chair between the priest and the still sleeping Hellboy.

“Yes, there is” Broom replied, “I want my son to be baptized.”

“I understand why you would want this, Trevor” said the priest touching Broom’s hand, “But I’m not sure it would be a valid sacrament.”

Broom looked at Hellboy. “I know he is not human, Ed, but he is not an animal either. Does my son have a soul? How can we be sure that any being does or does not? Only God knows these things for certain. In all humility, I believe that at the worst the sacrament will merely be meaningless, but at the best, if he indeed has a soul, it will provide him a protection that will be more than I can ever give him.”

The priest considered Broom’s words. “O.K., I’ll just get together the things I will need.”

“Thank you, Ed,” Broom reached down and woke Hellboy, “It will mean so much to me.” He turned to Hellboy as he sat up sleepily.

“Son, Father Ed is going to give you a great gift this Christmas. He is going to baptize you.”

Hellboy, whose idea of a great gift was some of his favorite comic books, looked at his father.

He had been taught the basics of the Catholic faith by Broom. But he was still a little confused.

“Father, what’s supposed to happen when you are ‘baptized’ anyway?”

“You will become a part of God’s family,” Broom replied, “And will have a father in heaven as well as one on earth.” He looked up as Father Ed returned. “Trevor, what name do you want to use?” the priest inquired, “I doubt you would want it to be ‘Hellboy’.” Broom almost laughed, “Regardless of what my original intention had been, I can only blame myself for him getting saddled with that name.”

He thought for a moment, “I was named for my paternal grandfather. I can think of no greater way to honor the man who really was the one who raised me than to name my son after him.”

He looked at the face Hellboy made and smiled at him, “Don’t worry, no one will ever call you that. I know it’s not exactly a popular American name.”

Father Ed sat all of the things he needed on the altar and turned to Broom. “I’ve never baptized anyone yet so I don’t have all of the ritual memorized. I’ll have to use the book. You will have to stand in for both parent and sponsor. In a way you will be becoming your son’s godfather.”

Broom walked Hellboy up to the small altar. Hellboy could follow a little of what was going on because Broom had taught him some Latin. Father Ed went through the ritual and Broom made all of the responses. After Hellboy had been anointed and sprinkled with holy water, Father Ed had Broom kneel and gave him a special anointing for strength.

Hellboy watched his father who remained kneeling for a long time with his face buried in his hands. He was praying something that Hellboy couldn’t quite hear, but he could see that his father was weeping.

Not being sure what he should do, Hellboy walked up to the priest who was packing together the book and other items he had used during the ceremony. “Father Ed, what happened was a good thing, right?”

“Yes, Hellboy” said the priest, “Very good.”

Hellboy pondered this. “Then why is Father crying?” he asked after a little while.

The priest sat down on a chair at a little distance from where Broom was kneeling and placed Hellboy in front of him. “Sometimes things happen that are so overwhelming that the only possible response seems to be tears, but these tears are not necessarily ones of sadness or pain.”

Hellboy, still somewhat confused, looked over at his father who continued kneeling in prayer.

“Father Ed, am I supposed to feel different now?”

The priest placed his hand on Hellboy’s shoulder. “This is part of the essence of faith—believing that something has changed even when we don’t feel it.”

Just as Father Ed had finished speaking, Broom got up from his knees. It was not clear if he had overheard their conversation. The priest stood up as Broom walked over to him.

“Merry Christmas, Ed. Thank you, everything was beautiful.” Broom gave the priest a quick hug. “It’s so late I can’t let you leave now. Please stay and have Christmas dinner with us. You can sleep in Hellboy’s room. He can stay with me tonight.”

Broom bent down and hugged Hellboy who returned the embrace using only his left arm as his father had discussed with him earlier that day. He then added his right hand, but very gently, wishing never again to inadvertently cause his father pain.

Hellboy closed his eyes as he hugged his father and contemplated the warm darkness within himself. Maybe he did feel just a little different.

“Merry Christmas, Son. Let’s go to bed now. It’s going to be a big day tomorrow.” Broom switched off the lights and all three of them went to bed.

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