GONE

Authorís notes: For some reason, Iíve been inundated with the angst plot bunnies recently. Some of this derives from plot ideas that came to me while writing the ĎLiz Shermaní chapter of Hellboyís Family, but just couldnít be used without pulling the story line of that chapter too far out of shape.

Gone

Damn, but itís cold up here; wet, too, and darkóbut I canít abide going back inside. All I can do is stand and stare in the same direction; the way theyíve taken him, gone to a place where I canít go.

I overheard that after the funeral in the cathedral here in Newark theyíre putting him in Green-Wood. Not surprising for a guy whose official residence is somewhere in Brooklyn. Thatís where Brooklyn buries most of its famous sons and daughters, even the transplanted onesóeven the ones whose public fame has almost nothing to do with their true lifeís work.

Iíve been to Green-Wood a couple of times myself, to deal with the occasional haunted mausoleum or silly ritual in the catacombs. Itís a pretty place, the closest Iíve seen here to one of the great cemeteries of Europe, fitting for someone like him. I remember the way there and I suppose I could sneak off sometime to see where theyíve laid him. But whatís the use? I wouldnít see anything but a bit of green and a stone with his name; but he wouldnít really be there, heíd be gone.

Somehow, thatís the only way I can bear to think of him. Not Ďdeadí, not Ďpassed awayí, just Ďgoneí.

Itís a word that Iíve always associated with him. ĎDonít worry, Hellboy, heíll only be gone a few days. The Professor will be back soon.í He used to travel a lot when I was too little to go with him, back when we lived in New Mexico. Whether he flew or took a car, the men used to take me someplace to meet him when he returned. I remember being so excited I almost peed myself.

Maybe thatís why Iím up here in the dark, with that freezing rain working its way right through everything Iím wearing. Iím pretending heís just gone on some trip, like heís done a couple of times since we moved to Newark, and Iím just standing here watching for him to come back.

I used to love to come up here, just to watch the sun rise or set, or to observe the moon and stars. Now, itís too dark to see anything and Iím not even sure of the time anymore. Itís been a long time since anyoneís tried to get me to come down; even Liz and Katie gave up. If I wait long enough, everyone will go to bed and I can sneak back into my room without seeing anyone.

Iíll find a way to jam that lock on my door from the inside. Then I wonít have to deal with anyone, talk to them, or have them trying to get me to eat anything. As long as Iím alone in my room with only my kitties for company, itíll be just like heís grounded me again for doing something stupid and heís out there somewhere waiting for my time of punishment to come to an end.

I know itís just a silly fantasy; but itís all Iíve got to hang on to.

To let go of that is to admit that heís gone for good and I canít do that. Not yet, maybe not ever.

Authorís afterword: The Green-Wood Cemetery in Brooklyn is indeed one of the most beautiful and most prestigious cemeteries in New York City, incorporated in 1838 as the cityís first Ďrural cemeteryí. It eventually attracted some very prominent people and is filled with absolutely stunning statuary and mausoleums. Even after the urbanization of Brooklyn, Green-Wood retained much of its natural beauty. The newer plots, as I envisioned in my story above, are still lovely, but the grandiose architecture of yesteryear is, alas, no more.

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