Author's notes: Implied main characters not mine. This is based on Liz in the Bellamie Hospital after the fire. Some of it is inspired by Yvonne Navarro's novelization of the final shooting script, which spends more time on this scene than is shown in the theatrical release version of Hellboy. Some, if not all, is included in the longer scene in the director's cut edition DVD.

The initial paragraph is slightly adapted from a 'challenge paragraph' in a contest where we had to write a story starting from that point. The rest of the writing is my own.

Nightmares of Fire

Liz Sherman woke up in a windowless room. It was padded from floor to ceiling, like a room you'd find in an asylum. The only door had a single slot, big enough for a tray of food or one to peer in. How had she gotten here?

Dream of fire.

She was seated on a single dull-silver chair in the middle of this empty room, a room as empty as she felt inside, as empty as her reflection in the two-way mirror behind her would be if she bothered to turn and look at herself in it. She hadn’t exactly been asleep. She had once again gone catatonic; she knew that horrible, numb feeling that came after one of her uncontrolled episodes.

She recognized the room with its walls covered in dull gray padding to keep her from hurting herself in regret or despair. She knew that the padding was also fireproofed and she knew the reason why.

Why was she here? This was something that she never could remember. Yet, over and over, in her mind she could hear the same words intoned that she had heard last night in her sleep.

Dream of fire.

And she had dreamt of surging flames of red-hot fire. A fire that had poured out from the fear of a young girl attacked for no reason, a fire that had raged out of control consuming all life in its wake but her own, a fire that forever robbed her of all that she had ever loved.

She could never remember that fire in her waking moments, only in her nightmares. She could never remember one single moment of the apocalyptic destruction that would pour out from her; just see the devastating results, smell the sour smoke of wet ashes and burned flesh; and know that she had caused this destruction even though she could not remember.

Dream of fire.

She just wanted this nightmare to end, this destruction that was her life to cease. The more she struggled to learn control, the more it seemed this control slipped through her fingers.

The nightmare of fire just raged on and on; and Liz could see no way out except…

The single door in the wall opposite opened and a young man in a dark suit and tie entered. His very demeanor shouted FBI before he had even opened his mouth.

She tried to pretend that she didn’t notice him; that she was still completely catatonic.

She knew why he was there and what the ultimate result would be. Once again, she would return to the welcoming, but gently controlling arms of Trevor Bruttenholm, the director of the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense.

Thirteen times, she tried to leave and make a normal life for herself; thirteen times, she failed.

Liz knew she would go back. Where else would she go?

Maybe this time it would work; maybe this time she would finally learn to control this curse that her life had become.

Maybe she could finally banish that horrible, dark voice that always said the same thing.

Dream of fire.

Thanks for reading. All feedback welcome, Beth Palladino

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