A TALE OF 'DEMON' RIGHTS

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

Chapter Three

The second Monday after the first of the year, a phone call came from President Truman. The president was displeased with the whole situation but was unsure whether to trust the recommendations of the congressional committee or to trust Broom, who he hardly knew.

President Truman had inherited the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense from President Roosevelt, but had not met Trevor Broom, its director, more than a handful of times. He had also never met Hellboy and was only familiar with him through conflicting information fed to him by others.

However, the president had recently received a phone call from Albert Einstein, plus petitions from dissenting members of the congressional committee. He decided that it would be better to bring Trevor Broom to Washington to meet with him before he made any decision. Broom begged permission to bring Hellboy to meet him and President Truman agreed.

Hellboy, who had hardly been off of the base since his arrival in 1946, was at first excited to go, especially as they were going to fly. He was upset when he found that he was to be transported in a large crate marked ‘LIVE CARGO’.

Hellboy discovered this over breakfast the day before they were to leave. He was eating his usual breakfast of ‘pamcakes’ and milk, while his father was trying to coax a decent cup of tea from something called Lipton and swallow some awful corn muffin.

Hellboy threw down his fork, “The other kids get to go places all the time. I hardly ever get to go anywhere. Now you tell me I have to get stuck in a box? It’s not fair. I hate you.”

Broom put down the inedible muffin he had been trying to eat. “Right now no one hates me more than I do myself.” He got up and walked out of the small kitchen.

As Broom walked toward his office he heard, from the kitchen, a loud crunching sound followed by the tinkle of broken glass. He returned into the kitchen and found Hellboy still seated at the table. His right hand held the remnants of the glass he had been drinking milk from. One slight squeeze of that huge hand had crushed it sending shards of glass and spatterings of milk everywhere.

Hellboy didn’t move as Broom walked in. He just sat staring at his left arm which had several pieces of glass embedded in it. Broom went back out to the bathroom and returned with tweezers, alcohol, gauze, and tape.

Hellboy never said a word while Broom carefully pulled the glass out of his arm and cleansed and bandaged the cuts. Broom knew that by the next day these cuts would be almost completely healed.

After he was finished he said to Hellboy, “Son, I cannot really blame you for being angry with me, but this kind of behavior is something I cannot tolerate. Please, go to your room and I will come to speak with you as soon as I get this mess cleaned up.”

Hellboy got up and left the kitchen. Broom heard him walk the opposite direction from his bedroom toward the front door of the bungalow and go out the door. He then heard him walk back in and go to his bedroom as requested. It took Broom about a half hour to clean up the kitchen. Paul, his assistant, had already gone ahead to Washington to arrange things for their arrival and Broom hated to disturb the other men on the base.

So he cleaned the kitchen himself. He managed to climb up onto a chair and use the mop he had been cleaning the floor with to get the milk off of the ceiling. The only real problem he had was in getting down from the chair. He leaned on the table and caught his left hand on a piece of glass that he had missed, giving himself a long, if not deep, gash on his palm.

Broom went to the bathroom and bandaged his hand. He then went to Hellboy’s room. The room appeared to be empty. Broom sat on the edge of the bed.

“Son, these travel arrangements were not my idea. I only found out yesterday that the FBI was going to require me to transport you as cargo. Believe me, no one hates doing this more than I do. But if we don’t get to Washington things will only get worse for us here.”

Hellboy slid out from under the bed. He still said nothing, but sat on the edge of the bed a little ways from Broom as he continued speaking. “We all get angry at times. You must find appropriate ways to express that anger. What you did today was not appropriate. Not only did you injure yourself, but if someone had been nearby when you broke the glass they could have been badly hurt.”

Broom glanced at Hellboy. He no longer looked angry, but Broom found it hard to read his expression. Hellboy was obviously struggling with something.

“Son, I understand that sometimes, especially in cases of extreme emotion, you can lose control of your right hand. I worry about this. You are growing very quickly. Soon you will be larger even than children who are much older than you. In just a few years you may even be larger than most of the adults around you.”

“I, again, cannot stress enough that you avoid using your right hand unless absolutely necessary. If you do not learn this self-restraint you could really injure someone even without intending it.”

Hellboy finally spoke for the first time since the incident. “Why can’t I be like the other kids? Father, do you know why I’m so different from them?”

Broom stood up, “Son, come with me. I have something I would like to show you.”

They walked out of Hellboy’s room and went to Broom’s office. Broom pulled a package that was marked ‘Top Secret/Classified’ out of a locked cabinet.

Broom removed a picture and handed it to Hellboy. “You must never tell anyone that you have seen this.” Hellboy had seen this picture before, or at least a copy of it. It was of his father with a group of soldiers.

However, the picture he was now looking at was different in the fact that he himself as an infant was also in the picture. The copy that he had seen framed in Broom’s bedroom didn’t show this.

“This picture was taken on December 23, 1944” Broom continued, “That was the night I found you on an island off the coast of Scotland. You were just a baby then and the minute I picked you up I knew that I had to take care of you. I am afraid that the only thing I really know about you is that you are not human.”

Hellboy’s only clear memories were of the military base in New Mexico where they now resided. He looked closer at the picture trying to remember something of that night in 1944. He closed his eyes for a few moments and then opened them again. “Chocolate, someone fed me chocolate. Was that you, Father?”

Broom sat down in the chair behind his desk. “Yes, it was.”

Hellboy walked over to him and took Broom’s bandaged hand in his left hand. “I never meant for you to get hurt.”

“I know you didn’t,” Broom gave Hellboy’s hand a little shake, “Son, we live a sheltered life here. Most people we encounter are familiar with the unusual or unique. However, in the wider world outside there are many who feel threatened by anything different from them. I wish things could be different—could be easier for you.”

“I am attempting to do some things that will change this. But it will take time. Remember what we discussed today about your temper and controlling your right hand. Now, go and play with your dog Mac. I have a lot to prepare for the trip tomorrow.”

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