Author’s note: Professor Kate Corrigan first came into Mignola’s Hellboy comics via The Wolves of Saint August, where she helps Hellboy in 1994 to investigate the death of long-time friend and colleague Father Edward Kelly. That has long been one of my favorites of the original comics and I have utilized both Kate and Father Ed as characters in several of my movieverse fics, even though they were not used in the movie.
This part of Chapter Six: Liz Sherman returns to the year 1994. In my previous narrative of this year, Liz had run away from the Bureau and while Hellboy took off to look for her, Trevor Broom had an almost fatal heart attack that he later recovered from.
Disclaimer: Some of what I write below derives from The Wolves of Saint August, but how I fit that into what I am developing for the ‘Liz Sherman’ chapter to Hellboy’s Family is original to me. Probably the one major difference between the original comics and the movie Hellboy is the date of the death of Trevor Bruttenholm—1994 in the comics and 2004 in the movie. In the comics, the 1994 death of Father Edward Kelly takes place after the death of Trevor Bruttenholm. Of course, in what I write below, a movieverse Trevor ‘Broom’ is still alive in 1994. The photograph mentioned below derives from a frontispiece illustration by Mike Mignola in The Wolves of Saint August that shows this photograph. It has commonly been considered by fans of the original comics to be a picture taken after Hellboy and Father Ed had worked together on an exorcism.
Chapter Six: Liz Sherman
Fear of Fire: A Tale of Trust and Love—Part Fifteen
Newark International Airport
FBI-Controlled Private Hangar
Hellboy took Kate Corrigan into his arms and held her close for a very long time.
“Katie,” he finally managed to say, “I can’t thank you enough for coming with me to the Balkans.”
She reached up and gently touched his cheek. “Remember, Hellboy, I knew Father Ed. We worked together on quite a few vampire cases and did research together in Eastern Europe. It was obvious how very close you two were. There was no way in Hell I could let you investigate his death alone.”
Hellboy sighed and kissed her forehead. “Sweetie, you’re the best friend any guy ever had.”
Kate smiled up at him, “Any time you need me I’m still just a phone call away, Hellboy; any time. Make sure you understand that.”
“Yeah, I do understand, Kate,” he said with a little smile, “but it doesn’t make it any easier to let you go back to Pittsburgh.” He drew her close to his chest again, an urgent desire to make love to her almost overwhelming him. “I miss us being together, you know,” he whispered hoarsely.
Gently pulling away, she stretched up and kissed his cheek. “It’s still better that I go, Hellboy.”
With that, Kate turned and climbed into the small FBI plane that was waiting to fly her back to her new job and new life in another city far from him.
“Just because it’s better doesn’t make it easy, Katie,” he muttered, as he climbed into the truck that was to take him back to the secret underground Bureau headquarters in another area of Newark.
Hellboy was glad that, for once, the calls for service the night of Halloween were relatively simple. Usually, he loved going out on calls that night, getting conveniently ‘lost’, and letting himself be ‘found’ again by the other agents as he mingled himself in the crowds of oddly-dressed revelers in the Greenwich Village Halloween parade. That was a time and place where he felt he could truly fit in.
The Halloween of 1994 found him sitting alone at the old desk in his room; claiming to be working on his official report of the ‘Griart/Saint August incident’—the incident in the East Balkans where a whole village of people and one visiting foreign priest were literally torn apart by a family of werewolves.
Hellboy could still hear his own angry words echoing in his head. ‘That priest was a friend of mine!’ He could still see the blood-covered ancient stones in the courtyard where the already dead body of Father Edward Kelly had been ripped to shreds by the head of a family cursed into turning into wolves.
The longer he tried to write his report, the more he could see and hear the tortured ghost of his friend begging for his help; could hear his own anguished cry of ‘Ed, God Damn!’ He could still feel the burning satisfaction that had filled him when he angrily impaled that monstrous wolf with the metal shaft from a cross in the courtyard where local officials had found Father Ed’s body.
Hellboy knew that the beast had deserved to die; not only had it killed his close friend and colleague, it had driven its family to massacre an entire village. This beast had also savagely attacked Hellboy and threatened Kate Corrigan. The fact that this centuries-ago cursed family turned out to be, according to verifiable information discovered by Kate, as much victims as monsters didn’t make the ache in his heart any less.
Yet, the final words, ‘I’m tired,’ groaned by the wolf-beast as it died turned Hellboy’s satisfaction at its death into something else and almost made him feel sorry for the creature. Almost, but not quite; after all it had killed Ed Kelly and that was something he could never completely forgive.
Pushing away his old, clunky typewriter in frustration, Hellboy looked at the time on an old clock radio that sat nearby. It was already after midnight; the date was now November 1st.
He now knew that this date was Trevor Broom’s birthday and also knew that, for a variety of painful reasons from Trevor Broom’s past, his father never wished to celebrate this day. Yet, Hellboy’s own discomfort with the day derived from something deeper and more frightening; the most disconcerting thing being that he had no idea why he had always found this date so disturbing.
Finally standing up from his large, old wooden desk chair, Hellboy stretched out his tired back and cracked his neck. Sitting back down in the chair, he opened a drawer full of old papers and other odds-and-ends. Sifting through this with his left hand, at length he pulled out an old black-and-white photograph and sat staring at it for a long time. For several very practical reasons, Hellboy had few photographs of himself; and even fewer of himself with the people who meant most to him.
Saybrook, Connecticut, 1961—As he stared at the blue ink of the caption written on the bottom of the photograph, he could recall that August day as if it had been yesterday. Trevor Broom had snapped that picture of a 16-year-old Hellboy and a 37-year-old Father Ed arm-in-arm on a beach; they were both smoking cigars and looking as relaxed as if they were on vacation. In the background of the picture was the old lighthouse where the two had just performed a major exorcism.
It had also been Hellboy’s first major Bureau operation after the move to Newark. On the strength of the success of Hellboy’s partnership with Father Ed, Trevor Broom had insisted that the FBI allow him to make Hellboy a fully independent agent of the BPRD. That day had long been one of the happiest days in Hellboy’s life; but now the glow of this first collaboration with Father Edward Kelly would be forever tainted by the memory of his gruesome death.
Even as late as it was, he knew that if he went to his father’s office he would find him working there. Trevor Broom seldom found it easy to sleep when his birthday rolled around. Even though this was almost never a topic of discussion between them, Hellboy knew his father suffered from nightmares; this was especially true as November 1st drew closer.
Hellboy’s own propensity toward nightmares was just one of the many characteristics he seemed to have inherited from the man who raised him. He had already had several disturbing dreams the evening before relating to the horrific death of Ed Kelly and had hoped that working on his report would purge some of these unsettling images. It just seemed to make everything worse.
Standing up again from his desk, Hellboy shoved the old photograph in the breast pocket of the black tee shirt he was wearing and went to his father’s office to see if he was still there. When he arrived, he found that not only was Trevor Broom present, but also a large group of nervous agents.
Hellboy’s already overtaxed emotions barely allowed him to hear what Trevor Broom was telling him—After all these months of avoiding anyone discovering her location, Liz Sherman had finally returned…
More to come...
Author's afterword: I know this update is short, but found this a good place to break off. Thanks to all who have been following this.
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