Author’s notes: This takes place a few weeks after the end of Part Seven. Won’t make much sense if you haven’t read all the previous parts.

Reminder: Time period here is November 1978

Chapter Five: Abe Sapien: Sibling Rivalry: Part Eight

It was a bit longer than Trevor Broom expected for Abe to start speaking. It obviously had nothing to do with intelligence; he could read at an adult level and could communicate abstract information using the sign language.

Abe was already helping Broom conduct his research into paranormal phenomena. Trevor Broom knew that his assistant Mark Baldwin was itching to join his older brother George in the field doing hands on research; George Baldwin in his younger years had been Broom’s assistant in Boston. Broom was beginning to think that it was time to let Mark follow his brother and that Abe would be the perfect replacement.

He was also beginning to think that it would be interesting to bring Abe out with Hellboy on field assignments. Abe seemed to Trevor Broom to be the perfect candidate to be his replacement for doing research to assist Hellboy when squelching paranormal invasions.

Broom had come to the unfortunate conclusion that Hellboy was too disinterested, if not too unintelligent, to perform this research for himself. Being able to depend on Abe to do this would lessen considerably Broom’s anxiety about what would happen to Hellboy when Broom became too elderly or too unwell to perform this task.

But what was most on Trevor Broom’s mind at this point was why Abe, with all his intelligence, still seemed unable to speak. He decided that now would be a good time to have a long talk with Abe.

Sometimes Abe liked a little tea; he certainly preferred tea to coffee. Broom invited Abe to join him for his afternoon tea break.

Abe emerged from his aquarium and descended down the spiral staircase into Broom’s office. His slender frame was slightly damp and he was dressed in his typical form-fitting dark spandex shirt and shorts. His webbed feet were bare.

Abe joined Broom at the small table near the fireplace where he liked to take his tea. They drank a few cups of tea and discussed the works of literature Abe had been reading recently. Broom then broached the topic that was upper-most on his mind.

“Abe, I’ve been considering the problem that you seem to have with speaking. I am curious about your past and would like to inquire if you ever remember anything of the life you led before we found you.”

Abe closed his eyes for several seconds as if in contemplation of the question.

((Sometimes I have dreams,)) he ‘signed’ as he opened his eyes, ((I believe they may be of the time before I was placed in that tank in St. Trinian’s where you found me.))

Abe poured himself another cup of tea and drank a little before he continued.

((These dreams are not frightening, but they are very odd. I do not recall much detail from these dreams, but have the distinct impression that at some point in my life I may have been human. I believe that what knowledge I have that was not taught to me by you yourself comes from what I learned during the time when I was human. As to how or why I became what I am now, I do not have any conscious memory.))

Broom considered the information Abe had just given him. “Tell me, do you ever recall speaking at any point in your previous life?”

Abe shook his head. ((I may have spoken in my past human life, but don’t really recall this. I do not believe that I have ever spoken since this transformation occurred. My life has become one where silence is normal and I am finding it hard to fight against this.))

Broom did not wish to pressure Abe to recall more of his past or to proceed faster in his development than was comfortable for him. So he returned the conversation to the literary works Abe had been reading.

At one point during this conversation Abe brought up something that he had been considering. ((Professor, I find that I spend considerable time during the day reading. I usually read at least four books a day. Would it be possible to come up with a way for me to read while in my aquarium? I would like to spend more time in the water.))

Broom looked at the panes of glass that separated Abe’s aquarium from Broom’s office.

“Yes, I do believe there is a way. I could have four stands installed in front of the glass of the aquarium. You should be able to read the books on these stands through the glass. You often read more than one book at a time; if you read four books at a time you would probably need the pages turned about every half hour. I could turn the pages for you when you indicate that you’re ready; I’m usually in the office working and wouldn’t mind taking on this task for you. When I’m not here you could either read in my office or emerge from the aquarium to turn the pages for yourself.”

The door to Broom’s office opened and Hellboy walked in.

“Gee, I was kind of hoping to talk with you, Pop. But it’s something personal and I’d rather wait until you’re alone.”

Broom smiled up at Hellboy. “Maybe after I eat supper this evening; I could send for you to come to my room.”

“Sure, Pop. Whenever. It’s not that important, really.”

Hellboy was a little annoyed. It was getting harder and harder to find his father alone. Not that he really needed to talk to Broom all that often, but he was used to him being more available than he had become recently. Abe’s presence was starting to become intrusive.

“Well, I think it’s time to return to my work.” Broom got up from the table and sat down at his desk planning on working until it was time for his supper.

Abe, who was still seated at the table, leaned forward and looked up at Hellboy, curious about what he was sensing from him.

((Who is this Kate Corrigan you are thinking such interesting thoughts about?))

((I’m not thinking anything about anybody.)) Hellboy ‘signed’ back brusquely.

((Yes, you are, most certainly.)) Abe countered. He could sense that by this time Hellboy was blushing furiously. Abe didn’t know anything about romance from his own personal experience, but he had been developing a taste recently for dime-store romance novels; he found what he was sensing from Hellboy quite amusing.

Hellboy, on the other hand, did not find it amusing at all.

“Out!” Hellboy shouted, “Get the hell out of my head, fish stick! Right now!”

Trevor Broom, who had not noticed this interchange until Hellboy started shouting, stood up from his desk. “Son, what are you shouting about? It might be better if you left.”

Hellboy turned to face him. “Sure, Pop, throw me out. I’m not the one who started this.”

Broom sighed, “Well, maybe you didn’t start it; but I’m finishing it. I can’t work like this. I’m not sure what has been going on recently, but this hasn’t been the first altercation between you two. And I certainly do not approve of you calling Abe names.”

Hellboy moved closer to Broom. “Abe’s driving me crazy! He keeps reading my mind all the time. Whatever I’m thinking about is my business, not his.”

Broom turned to Abe. “While you may find it amusing to push certain of his buttons to watch my son over-react, I do not find it quite as amusing. I do agree with my son on one point, however; you have developed a bad habit of reading a person’s private thoughts. This is intrusive and really must come to an end. It is not something you should be doing for your own amusement and should be reserved for emergency situations only.”

“Damn, right!” said Hellboy. “I don’t want Abe reading my thoughts again, ever. Not unless I say it’s okay. Period. End of discussion.”

Hellboy turned and angrily strode out of Broom’s office.

This update may be kind of short, but this is a good point to break off.

Thanks, and Happy New Year, to all who have been reading this and leaving such good comments. Stay tuned, more to come…

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