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

Chapter Five

During the year 1950, Broom, Hellboy, and Broom’s assistant, Paul Johanssen, lived in the small house that President Truman let them use. Finances were tight, but manageable. Broom and Paul continued their researches into worldwide reports of paranormal activity, concentrating especially on odd occurrences coming out of South America. Broom managed, over Paul’s objections, to pay him a stipend for his services.

Together they worked on raising and training Hellboy, who if he looked upon Trevor Broom as his father, came more and more to look upon Paul as a kind of ‘uncle’. Sometimes Hellboy was lonely, especially for the school he had started to attend in June at the secret base where they had resided in New Mexico.

Hellboy, previous to that June, seldom had occurrence to interact with other children. To have had that opportunity cut off so suddenly was difficult for him. New Mexico had been the only home he had ever really known and he had been generally happy there. But giving this up was the only way he could stay with the man who loved him as a father.

There were other hazards to remaining in New Mexico that were not completely clear to Hellboy. He recalled vividly the painful and invasive testing that he had gone through before his father put an end to it. This previous testing may have been uncomfortable, but it had not been life threatening. Hellboy was mostly unaware of the much more dangerous testing that the congressional committee wished to subject him to.

Broom himself was certain that if this more dangerous testing were to be conducted, Hellboy would eventually be ‘sacrificed’, as researchers call it, and his remains dissected. Taking Hellboy away from New Mexico, no matter how happy he had been there, was infinitely preferable to his death in the name of ‘objective scientific research’.

It was in this year that they resided just outside of Washington that Hellboy entered into his biggest and final growth spurt. Within the first two months of the year he had outgrown much of his clothing. Hellboy’s appetite also grew, in size if not in the scope of foods he liked to eat, and the only way to keep him satisfied was with at least six meals a day.

Consequently, Broom’s biggest outlay of his savings was on food and clothing for Hellboy. The food part of this was manageable. Broom would just buy enough food every week for a family of thirty and hope that would be sufficient to keep his son satisfied. It was the clothing that was driving him into the poorhouse. Broom swore that he would buy his son a new shirt and he couldn’t even get it home from the store before Hellboy was too big for it.

In order to save money Broom took to purchasing clothing that was at least five times too large and then taking it in to fit. He would then let it out as Hellboy grew. Sewing was not one of Broom’s talents. Consequently, Hellboy’s clothing would often appear as if it was made by Dr. Frankenstein. This didn’t bother Hellboy at all; as long as what he wore was comfortable he didn’t care what it looked like.

It was also at this point that Hellboy started wearing that tan-colored leather trench coat that became part of his signature look over later years. He wore it almost constantly. For one thing, it covered over his odd looking clothing, for the other, after moving away from New Mexico, Hellboy often felt cold. The coat had originally been designed with a large bottom hem so it was easy to let down as Hellboy grew taller. The basic tent-like shape and the fact that Hellboy never buttoned it meant that he was able to wear the same coat for years.

Shoes were actually less of a problem. Broom had already become accustomed to adjusting adult-sized military boots to fit over Hellboy’s cloven hooves. These hooves, for some odd reason, were the part of Hellboy that grew large first. Their growth actually slowed down as the rest of him started developing.

Unfortunately, Hellboy did rather quickly outgrow the cowboy boots he had received on his last Christmas in New Mexico and Broom just couldn’t afford to replace them.

Before this time Hellboy had been almost completely bald. But he finally started growing hair, mostly on the back and sides of his head, which when it became long enough he pulled back into a kind of sumo knot. When he was somewhat older he also grew a goatee beard and sideburns, but always remained bald on the top of his head.

Broom and Paul had often worked with Hellboy in teaching him fine motor control, especially in the control of his right hand; and strength training to build his muscles. But as he began to grow so quickly, he was also developing a need for training in wrestling, martial arts, and self-defense techniques. Broom realized that they were both small-framed men and the needs of Hellboy’s training were starting to exceed their abilities to teach him safely.

Lee, the FBI liaison, had kept in touch with Broom after his dismissal as director of the BPRD. This was partly because of his affection for Broom and Hellboy and partly at the behest of President Truman. Lee often acted as an intermediary between the president and Trevor Broom, limiting the necessity for direct contact. With his help, Broom obtained the services of two secret service agents who during the war had been specialists in hand-to-hand combat training and other personal combat techniques.

They were to work with Hellboy in developing the techniques he would someday have to use if he were ever to join in his father’s work. Even though Trevor Broom was no longer the director of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, he still had a deep-seated feeling of responsibility to protect the world. It was always his plan to mentor Hellboy and help him develop his own talents as a paranormal investigator.

Even though Broom usually dealt with his otherworldly enemies using intelligent research and a few well-chosen relics, he recognized that Hellboy’s greatest asset would be his size and strength. Hellboy would also come to wield a gun, which was very different from his pacifist father who abhorred all types of violence and weapons.

However, Trevor Broom was not naïve. Even though he detested violence for the sake of violence, he realized that Hellboy’s essential temperament was very different from his own and would beget a completely different style of dealing with their foes. Therefore, Broom was not averse to Hellboy’s training in most of the martial and military arts, including shooting.

Hellboy’s primary problem in any kind of physical training was that, in more ways than one, his dominant hand was his right hand. In and of itself, that hand was one of Hellboy’s major weapons; it had the size and strength of a sledgehammer, it felt no pain, and could not be damaged by any outside force.

However, its size in proportion to the rest of Hellboy’s body meant that, in general, it was useless for any tasks that required delicacy of control—such as aiming and firing a gun. The problem that kept rearing its head, was that Hellboy was essentially a right-handed boy whose left hand had to be trained to do what he would, in the best of all possible worlds, have done with his right.

This virtually guaranteed that Hellboy would basically remain a poor shot, even though he came to do a lot of his fighting with a gun. This was one reason why the handgun he usually carried was the size of a small cannon. Hellboy always figured that shooting very large bullets would make up for deficit of aim. Also, if he missed, he could always use the gun as a kind of blunt weapon to beat his adversaries into submission.

In general, as a paranormal investigator and monster hunter, Hellboy would eventually become brawn to his father’s brains. Their differences, combined with their individual strengths, almost perfectly complemented each other. Even though Hellboy had a tendency to fight first and think later—he was still his father’s son; when he did need to think the education given him by his father did him good stead. Father and son would eventually become quite formidable as a team.

It was not originally Broom’s intention to start training Hellboy at such an early age. But Hellboy would end up approaching the size of many adults before he turned six years old. Broom realized that this training would help Hellboy burn off excess energy and also help him hone skills that would become important later.

Of course, Broom thought that later would mean many years later. He had no idea that Hellboy’s talents and newly developed skills would be needed sooner than he had ever expected.

After all, no matter how large Hellboy had become, he was still only five years old.

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