THE MONSTER IN THE MIRROR

Authorí s note: Written for a challenge to write an introspective piece from the POV of your favorite fandom character. This story is movieverse with a large portion of comicverse mixed in. Disclaimer: Hellboy belongs to Mike Mignola and Dark Horse Press for the original comics, and Guillermo del Toro and Sony/Revolution Studios for the movie. Kate derives from the comics, but is not used in the movie. Walter, Mindy, and Trevor Carlton are original characters of mine that derive from some of my earlier Hellboy stories.

The Monster in the Mirror

If I could go through the rest of life never having to look in a mirror, never accidentally catching my reflection in a window or other shiny surface, I think Iíd be happier. Itís those too frequent moments that remind me of things Iíd rather forget; remind me that no matter how human I feel inside that I look exactly the same as those monsters I protect humanity from.

They tell me that I screamed in fear when I saw my face in a mirror for the first time, back when I was just a day old. I donít really remember that, but I know I used to have these terrible nightmares when I was a kid, ones filled with monster faces and mirrors.

I mean, Jeez, what kid wants to be afraid of his own face?

But a guy canít go through life never looking in a mirror. Even the ugliest of us has to fix his hair, shave his whiskers, even, in my case, sand down his horns. Iíve perfected a way of looking into the mirror without really seeing the face that I donít want to be mine.

Things arenít much better when I look into the eyes of other people. There is fear, loathing, contempt and, just like the mirror, I try to avoid seeing what is reflected there.

Itís hard knowing that most people look at me and see something that isnít any different than what Iím fighting against. I canít blame them. To look at me, Iím not any different than those monsters.

Unlike my blue-finned friend Abe, Iím too big to hide my differences under a disguise. So, I go out and do my job, bigger than life, cockier than cocky, and make sure people sit up and take notice of me. If theyíre going to stare at me anyway, Iíd rather it be on my own terms. I act like I donít give a good goddamn what people think of me, but, deep down, I know I do.

Still, Iíve been lucky that thereíve been a few over the years who look at me and donít see a monster or a wannabe human. They just see me. Thatís a nice feeling. Thatís what makes it worthwhile getting up in the morning and spending the day defending the world from monsters.

Abe looks at me and sees a brother, a partner, another inhuman creature who understands his fear of rejection and his need to hide under a disguise from contemptuous eyes.

Kate looks at me and sees an old friend, a former lover, a colleague, a no-nonsense guy who just wants to get the job done.

Liz looks at me and sees the man she loves, the man she married until death do us part, even if that guy does have a big mouth that can really get him in trouble. She sees her knight in shining armor who would risk anything to save her, a colleague who can drive her crazy with his punch first and think later attitude. There was even a time in the past when she had avoided looking at me, but she was more afraid of her own demons than the fact that I was supposed to be one.

Then thereís Walter Carlton and his daughter, Mindy. They look at me as some sort of family savior, when all I did was rescue Mindy and my friend Kate from this idiotic rat demon. I can never get them to see it wasnít anything that special, just me doing my job. A few years after that, Mindy got herself pregnant by some creep that didnít stick around and decided that she had to name the kid after me.

You had to admit, though, that ĎHellboyí wasnít exactly the most fortunate name you could give a kid. I suggested ĎTrevorí. After all, thatís whatís on my baptismal certificate. Itís not exactly the most American sounding of names, but it was carried by a number of good men in the ĎBruttenholmí family. Itís a name that any guy should be honored to have, even guys like me who never use it.

That brings me to the man who raised me. Until the day he died, there was seldom a year when we werenít together for my birthday and Christmas, except in 1956 when I was fighting the Nazis in Argentina and again in 1986. Heís been gone a number of years now and not a day goes by that I donít miss him. He never looked on me as anything less than his son. I know that no son was ever treated better. Iím not exactly sure what he saw when he looked at me. I just know that his eyes never reflected anything but love, even when he was furious with me or disappointed in my behavior.

Someday, Iíll be able to look at that guy in the mirror and not see a monster. Iíll look deep into his eyes and see the son my father loved, the guy my wife and friends seeóSomeday, just not today.

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