HELLBOY'S FAMILY

Author’s notes: Most of Part Eleven and all of Part Twelve constituted flashbacks to the crisis events of Sunday, November 19, 1978. Part Thirteen below returns to the Boston BPRD Medical Facility location that opened Part Eleven. This won’t make much sense if you haven’t at least read the parts after Part Nine.

Many thanks to all who have been following this and leaving such good reviews.

Chapter Five: Abe Sapien: Sibling Rivalry: Part Thirteen

BPRD Medical Facility, Boston, Massachusetts
Thursday, November 23, 1978 (Thanksgiving Day)

Hellboy again floated up from the warm and comfortable darkness he had been drifting in ever since he managed to shove that terrible dark voice out of his head. This time he was stronger than he had been and was able to open his eyes and lift his head slightly. He slowly became aware that he was in a hospital room and was connected to several machines including an artificial respirator. He could hear the steady beeps of a heart monitor.

He began looking around the room. It looked oddly familiar even though he couldn’t quite recall when he had seen this room before. He certainly did not recall how he had gotten there. In fact his last clear memory was of departing Newark with Trevor Broom, Abe, and other BPRD agents to go to Springfield, Massachusetts to investigate and defuse some paranormal activity there.

He tried to lift his head further, but was still too weak and relaxed back down onto his pillow. This movement had been so slight that neither Trevor Broom nor Martha Wilson, who was acting as attendant nurse, had noticed.

Martha had come out of retirement to help out so that some of the other nurses could go home for Thanksgiving. In fact, wild horses couldn’t have kept her away when she had found out that one of her favorite people in the world was endangered and her other favorite person was practically starving himself in despair.

On the evening of November 22nd she had finally convinced Trevor Broom to get up from his kneeling position next to Hellboy’s hospital bed, sit in a real chair, and eat some food that she brought to him. He had finally fallen asleep in the chair; the first time that he had slept or ate since they had arrived to the BPRD facility late Sunday afternoon.

At one point Martha just had to shake her head and smile: even though they were so different, they were also so alike, this odd pair. She recalled how many times in 1959, when Trevor Broom had been hospitalized for cancer, she had to beg, browbeat, and cajole the fourteen-year-old Hellboy into sleeping, eating, and getting up off the floor next to Broom’s bed.

A few hours after Hellboy had awoken for the first time, he raised his head again. This time he was even more aware of his surroundings. He noticed Broom asleep in the chair. The rosary that Broom usually wore around his wrist was in his hand as if he had been praying just before he fell asleep. Hellboy also noticed the black eye and the bandages on the right side of Broom’s face.

Martha Wilson was not in the room at the time. As Hellboy’s condition had stabilized significantly she had gone out to get herself some lunch.

Hellboy attempted to call out to Broom, but the mask of the respirator over his nose and mouth made this difficult. Hellboy licked his lips and tried again.

“Fafah?” Hellboy finally managed to croak out, barely above a whisper. But even that small sound woke Broom immediately, who originally thought he was dreaming of the time when the eight-month-old Hellboy had first attempted to say the word ‘father’.

When Broom lifted his head and saw Hellboy looking at him for the first time since he had fainted at Broom’s feet at the Berkshire School, he thought his heart would break with joy. He got up from the chair and hurried over to the bed. Despite all the tubes and wires and Hellboy’s sheer size, he pulled Hellboy up into his arms and embraced him closely.

“Thank God, oh, thank God,” was all Trevor Broom could gasp out over and over, his entire body filled with the ecstasy of finally holding his son, alive and aware, in his arms once more.

After Broom had held him for some time, he gently laid Hellboy back down on the bed and kissed his forehead. He then fell to his knees next to the bed clasping Hellboy’s left hand in his own, tears streaming down his face, some soaking into the bandages on his cheek.

Hellboy was shaken by all of this; he still felt so weak and had so little memory of what had happened. But he realized from his adoptive father’s extremity of emotion that whatever had occurred must have been almost catastrophic.

Hellboy reached over with his right hand and with just the first of those huge stone fingers gently stroked Broom’s injured cheek. Even though he had no memory whatsoever of striking Broom, he knew, without a shadow of a doubt, which hand it was that had caused this injury.

“How could I do it? How could I hit you?” Hellboy managed to mumble through the ventilator mask. Only the ears of a loving father could have understood even half of what he was saying.

Broom grabbed that huge hand in both of his own hands and kissed it. “Son, I was struck by this hand, but you were not the creature who hit me. In fact, you almost died trying to stop this hand from knocking my head off completely. I would be dead now, if it were not for that.”

Broom gently caressed the enormous hand, holding it to his bruised cheek.

Some vague intimations of memory started to creep into Hellboy’s scattered consciousness. Some of these were glimpses of images and actions of an almost nightmarish quality. But Hellboy’s rattled brain still had difficulty piecing these images together into a coherent whole.

Some memories did start to gel, though, especially the memory of Abe’s first spoken words. He also remembered shooting at something that had grabbed him from behind; something that was dragging him where he did not want to go; something that bled an odd blue blood when it was shot. But Hellboy couldn’t remember what that creature looked like.

Just then Martha Wilson re-entered the room and walked over to him with a big smile on her face.

“It’s wonderful to see you’ve decided to come back to the land of the living, H.B.”

She bent down and kissed his cheek and then adjusted the bed so that Hellboy could sit up. “I think I’d better go get Dr. Patterson to come and look at you. I believe he may decide that you don’t need that ventilator any longer.” She walked back out.

Her unexpected presence there, in addition to her mention of Robert Patterson, who was still the chief surgeon of the Boston BPRD Medical Facility, caused Hellboy to realize why his hospital room had seemed vaguely familiar. It was the room where Trevor Broom had been hospitalized for cancer— the room where, for close to six months, Hellboy had sat at his dangerously ill father’s side day after day and prayed fervently for his recovery.

Broom arose from his kneeling position on the floor next to the bed and fetched the chair that he had been sitting in. He drew it closer to Hellboy’s bed and sat down to wait for the arrival of Dr. Robert Patterson, who had once been the physician in charge of Broom’s own care when he had spent so much time in this room.

Back in 1959, when Broom had been so ill, Dr. Patterson had a difficult time dealing with the mere fact of Hellboy’s existence. The boy just seemed too impossible to be real and Robert Patterson’s way of dealing with him was basically to ignore him— to refuse to deal with him at all.

One way he had attempted to minimize Hellboy’s impact on him was to come up with reasons to block Hellboy from visiting Broom when he had been in the Medical Wing for cancer treatment. He also ignored any requests from the worried boy for information about Broom’s condition.

But Hellboy’s deep, if unexpressed, devotion to the man he called Father was too strong. With Martha Wilson, the head nurse, becoming more and more attached to Hellboy, Robert Patterson found himself no longer able to just ignore him. Once Dr. Patterson really started to pay attention to Hellboy, he began to recognize what it was that Broom saw to love in him.

He soon became very attached himself to that seven-foot-tall, fourteen-year-old, supposed demon from Hell. He was very sorry that it was not long after Broom’s discharge from his care that the main headquarters to the BPRD moved to New Jersey. He never realized how much he was going to miss Hellboy constantly hanging around his Medical Facility.

So when Hellboy turned up again almost twenty years later, this time as a patient and close to death, Robert Patterson, who was now close to retirement, felt that his whole career as a doctor would end on a very sour note if he could not keep the big red guy alive. He had found it terrifying to see the seemingly invulnerable monster hunter reduced to that state of powerlessness and to see Trevor Broom grieving the loss of his beloved son while that son was still fighting for his life.

Dr. Patterson had been thankful that Broom realized that the problem was more than a physical one and had made sure that Father Ed Kelly was on hand to help out. It was Father Ed’s fighting against the entity possessing Hellboy that, along with the various medical ministrations, had turned the tide.

It was also obvious from certain odd things that had happened over the last several days that Hellboy had been fighting his own fight as well. Robert Patterson did not think that he had ever felt happier than when Nurse Wilson had said that Hellboy had finally come out of his comatose state. He determined that the respirator was no longer needed and the ventilator mask was removed. What weakness was left was merely the aftermath of the ordeal and was sure to pass.

Patterson pulled Broom over to the side and whispered to him. “I think we should wait until he is stronger to tell him anything.” Broom nodded, hoping that Hellboy had not overheard.

But even in his weakened state Hellboy’s hearing was very sharp. He sat up straighter looking at Broom and Patterson. “Tell me what? What exactly happened back there? Did all those kids die?”

He closed his eyes as a memory finally came through more clearly. “Shit, I shot Abe, didn’t I?”

More to come...

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