HURT AND COMFORT

Hurt and Comfort

A small bungalow on a secret military base
Somewhere in New Mexico, 1945

He noticed that the forbidden door was just a little ajar. Huge right hand dragging along beside him, he approached it and pushed the door open with his much-smaller left hand. Peering through the now larger aperture, he saw many intriguing items. None was more intriguing than a certain wood cabinet.

He had seen that cabinet opened and closed many times. Usually, by the nice man with the candy bars and comfortable lap who was often in this room. The nice man wasn’t there now.

Understanding enough to remember that this room was prohibited unless he was with the nice man, he pushed the door open further. That cabinet was too intriguing. The candy bars came from it.

Curiosity and hunger got the better of him. He waddled into the room, dragging that huge stone hand behind him. Reaching the cabinet, he stared up at the closed door.

Standing as tall as he could, he stretched up with his left hand; but the latch was just out of reach. He was able to reach higher with his huge, clumsy right hand, but the enormous stone fingers and thumb made it difficult to grab onto the small knob. Yet, persistence paid off.

He could now look inside at the shelves and see the box of tasty candy bars that lay just out of reach. Grabbing a better hold of the door with his stone hand, he tried to get the box of candy with his left. As he stretched further, the door slipped from his awkward stone fingers and slammed to, directly on the flesh fingers of his left hand.

“Fafah!” he shrieked in surprised pain and tried to pull his fingers out of the door. The stone fingers of that other hand scrabbling at the knob proved more than useless. The cabinet door was stuck fast, trapping his now throbbing fingers. Closing his round, bright yellow eyes tight, he shrieked even louder for ‘Fafah’.

A door slammed further down the hall and quick footsteps approached. Soon the cabinet door was pried open and his bruised fingers extricated. The warm arms of the nice man gathered him close as he sobbed out, “Hehboy bah boy.”

A loving hand wiped away his tears. “No, Hellboy is a very good boy. Yet, it would be better to stay out of Father’s office and then he wouldn’t get his fingers caught.” He understood enough of what was said to know that this gentle reprimand would be the extent of his punishment for this infraction.

He was carried out to the kitchen. His sore fingers were wrapped in a cloth, placed in a bucket of ice, and the throbbing pain began to recede. As he sat on the nice man’s lap, he wearily laid his head down and listened to the rhythmic beating of that which told him all was well and all forgiven.

Thanks for reading. All feedback welcome, Beth Palladino

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