THE DARKNESS OF HATE

Author’s notes: It was never my original intention to write a series, but it just turned out that way. This story may be read independently; yet, it is connected in some way to my other Hellboy stories, especially Hellboy’s Family. This story was written for the contest on FanLib for fandoms where only a handful of people post to that category.

Disclaimer: Characters belong to Mike Mignola and Dark Horse Press, for the original comics, and Guillermo del Toro and Sony/Revolution Studios, for the film adaptation.

The Darkness of Hate

Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense
Newark, New Jersey
June 2003

“I go out on an operation and come back to find that you’ve replaced the damn lock on my door,” Hellboy shouted, pacing around the cement floor of the large room; not caring that he was knocking over the piles of stuff he always seemed to have strewn about his private quarters. His bevy of pet cats and kittens quickly scurried out of the way of his boot-shod cloven hooves.

He swung around to glare angrily at the elderly man in the dark gray three-piece suit who was seated on the tailgate of the red pickup truck Hellboy used as a bed. Shaking his head, Trevor Broom took a deep breath and let it out slowly. “You keep slipping out to visit Liz in the Bellamie Hospital, Son; that’s bad enough in and of itself, but you’ve been captured on video again. I’m afraid the FBI isn’t giving me much of choice.”

“You’re supposed to be the director of this stupid Bureau,” Hellboy growled, lashing his long red tail, his already scarlet face becoming even darker, “Why in damnation do you always do what those idiots in Washington and the FBI tell you to do.”

Looking down at his neatly creased dress slacks and dark brown Oxford shoes, Trevor Broom struggled to keep his own anger in check. “Because those ‘idiots’ are the ones who hold the true reins of power around here, Son; no one knows that better than you do, I’m afraid. There have even been hints that if I refuse their dictates…”

“Oh, puh-leese,” Hellboy groaned, cutting off what Trevor Broom was going to say.

He stomped angrily toward the now open metal door to his room; a door that now contained an intricate electronic locking mechanism. It was opened by a strangely designed key and connected to an alarm in the outer corridor programmed to whoop and flash lights when the lock was disengaged. Looking out into the corridor, he also took note of the Bureau agent who now stood guard nearby.

Turning back, Hellboy slowly walked over to his adoptive father. Looking up at this seven-foot-tall ‘son’ looming over him, for the first time in almost sixty years Trevor Broom felt nervous of the creature he had raised; not even in 1978, when a possessed Hellboy almost knocked his head off with his huge right hand, did he feel that odd frisson of fear deep in the pit of his stomach.

“Get the hell out of my room,” Hellboy almost whispered, clenching and unclenching his stone hand.

Heaving a huge sigh, Trevor Broom stood up. “I’ve always tried not to treat you as a prisoner. Despite all my good intentions toward you, I am being forced to do what I would rather not.”

Hellboy, who had looked anywhere but at Broom during this speech, turned to look into his eyes. “Well, I feel like a prisoner now, Father. This is the first time you’ve ever broken a promise to me.”

Placing a hand on one of Hellboy’s shoulders, Trevor Broom drew it back when Hellboy shied away from his touch. “I promised that I would try as much as possible not to treat you as a prisoner, Son. I’m afraid I have very little control over whether or not you feel like one.”

Hellboy threw his head back and laughed long and loud; a grating sound that had little mirth in it. “That’s nothing but bull, Father; and you know it. Just get out; you’re not welcome here any more.”

Trevor Broom raised a hand, “Stop right there; whenever we have a conflict it always degenerates into a shouting match. You will end by saying you hate my guts; then, five minutes later, you will be apologizing profusely. This pattern grows extremely tiresome.”

Hellboy gave another snort of laughter. “I know, I know; I say the stupidest crap when I’m mad.”

“It still hurts,” Broom sighed, “Even though I know you don’t truly mean it.”

Hellboy drew the back of his left hand across his nose; it almost looked as if he was starting to cry.

“I won’t be saying that I hate you, Father,” he said in a very low voice, “Because for the first time in my entire life, I really believe I do. It doesn’t feel right for it to be there; but it is. Please go now.”

The next thing Trevor Broom knew, he found himself in the outer corridor. As the metal door clanged shut and the guard engaged the locking mechanism, Broom knew that more than a mere physical door now separated him from the son he loved with every fiber of his being.

Taking a tighter hold of his cane, he sadly limped away toward his office; wondering when, if ever, this terrible prison wall that had sprung up between them would be toppled over. Bitter darkness filled his heart as he contemplated the circumstances that had forced him to betray his son’s trust.

After Trevor Broom had departed, Hellboy, in a rare move, disengaged a master switch that turned off all of his many television sets and plunged his underground room into total darkness. Groping his way to the pickup truck he used as a bed, he curled up on his mattress and drew his blanket up over him.

Earlier filled with the heat of anger, he now felt a bone-chilling cold. The hatred that churned in his gut seemed to fill his entire being with an inner darkness that was even deeper than the outer one and left a bitter taste in his mouth.

Groaning, Hellboy rolled over, buried his face in his pillow, and wept. How he could feel this deep hatred for a man he still loved with all his heart was beyond his ability to understand; but that hatred was there, cold in his chest like a huge block of ice that refused to melt. He wept himself to sleep.

“You have done well to send that man away, my Son. Return to me and I will make you a prince of my vast domains, not a prisoner who is merely trotted out to fight his own kind. Come to me and those whom you now destroy will be your loyal subjects. Then become the destroyer you were meant to be and wipe out those who dare to keep you imprisoned.”

Hellboy sat up with a jerk, chest heaving as he struggled to take in deeper breaths. He detested when he had one of these nightmares. The voice in them reminded him too much of the demon who had possessed him back in 1978.

The darkness that filled his large room made it feel confining, almost claustrophobic. Hellboy wanted more than anything to be able to leave his room and go to his father, as he did when he had nightmares as a child, to draw comfort from his loving presence. Now, he was trapped by that wretched locked door; trapped by his own immature reactions to being separated from Liz.

Rolling up over the wooden slats on the left-hand side of the truck, Hellboy went to the master switch and brought the usual light and sound back to his room. Walking over to the large metal table in the middle of the room, he located his belt communicator and switched it on.

“Hey, you, Mr. Guard of the Hall, could you send someone to tell my father I’d like to see him?”

“It’s a little late, Red. He’s probably asleep by now,” came the crackly voice over the communicator.

“Just have someone get him; bet he’s not sleeping any better than I am.”

The agent, who overheard a large portion of their disagreement and had seen Trevor Broom’s face as he departed, considered that Hellboy was probably correct in that assessment.

Hellboy nervously paced around the room; until, not even ten minutes later, the whoop of the siren and a grinding sound told him that his door was being unlocked.

Trevor Broom entered, wearing old-fashioned blue silk pajamas covered by a white terrycloth robe. The cold darkness, that had tried to fill Hellboy earlier, dissipated in the light that seemed to emanate from the elderly man now standing before him.

Still mindful of the power within his huge right hand, Hellboy grabbed his father into a tight embrace. “Father, I know it might sound trite and overused, but I am truly, truly sorry,” he said as he finally pulled back from that embrace.

“I know; you always are,” Trevor Broom smiled up at him, “Now, I think I can sleep easier.”

“Me, too, Father; but do you think you could sleep here tonight? I’d like it if you did.” Hellboy shifted self consciously, feeling a little selfish for the request; but hoping his father would say yes.

“Of course; if you would like me to.” Trevor Broom sent the agent guarding the door to get someone to fetch some bedclothes to turn Hellboy’s old leather couch into a bed for him.

As soon as everything was prepared, Hellboy sat on the couch as the elderly man who sat next to him completed the prayers he usually said before going to sleep. Hellboy then once again switched off the lights and his many televisions and climbed onto his mattress on the back of the old truck.

Somehow, as Hellboy finally drifted back to sleep, the very same darkness, that had seemed so threatening and cold before, now seemed warm and comforting.

Thanks for reading. All feedback welcome, Beth Palladino

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