Five: Abe Sapien: Sibling Rivalry: Part Thirteen
Medical Facility, Boston, Massachusetts
Thursday, November 23, 1978 (Thanksgiving Day)
Hellboy again floated
up from the warm and comfortable darkness he had been drifting in ever
since he managed to shove that terrible dark voice out of his head.
This time he was stronger than he had been and was able to open his
eyes and lift his head slightly. He slowly became aware that he was
in a hospital room and was connected to several machines including an
artificial respirator. He could hear the steady beeps of a heart monitor.
He began looking
around the room. It looked oddly familiar even though he couldn’t
quite recall when he had seen this room before. He certainly did not
recall how he had gotten there. In fact his last clear memory was of
departing Newark with Trevor Broom, Abe, and other BPRD agents to go
to Sheffield, Massachusetts to investigate and defuse some paranormal
He tried to lift
his head further, but was still too weak and relaxed back down onto
his pillow. This movement had been so slight that neither Trevor Broom
nor Martha Wilson, who was acting as attendant nurse, had noticed.
Martha had come
out of retirement to help out so that some of the other nurses could
go home for Thanksgiving. In fact, wild horses couldn’t have kept
her away when she had found out that one of her favorite people in the
world was endangered and her other favorite person was practically starving
himself in despair.
On the evening
of November 22nd she had finally convinced Trevor Broom to get up from
his kneeling position next to Hellboy’s hospital bed, sit in a
real chair, and eat some food that she brought to him. He had finally
fallen asleep in the chair; the first time that he had slept or ate
since they had arrived to the BPRD facility late Sunday afternoon.
At one point Martha
just had to shake her head and smile: even though they were so different,
they were also so alike, this odd pair. She recalled how many times
in 1959, when Trevor Broom had been hospitalized for cancer, she had
to beg, browbeat, and cajole the fourteen-year-old Hellboy into sleeping,
eating, and getting up off the floor next to Broom’s bed.
A few hours after
Hellboy had awoken for the first time, he raised his head again. This
time he was even more aware of his surroundings. He noticed Broom asleep
in the chair. The rosary that Broom usually wore around his wrist was
in his hand as if he had been praying just before he fell asleep. Hellboy
also noticed the black eye and the bandages on the right side of Broom’s
Martha Wilson was
not in the room at the time. As Hellboy’s condition had stabilized
significantly she had gone out to get herself some lunch.
to call out to Broom, but the mask of the respirator over his nose and
mouth made this difficult. Hellboy licked his lips and tried again.
Hellboy finally managed to croak out, barely above a whisper. But even
that small sound woke Broom immediately, who originally thought he was
dreaming of the time when the eight-month-old Hellboy had first attempted
to say the word ‘father’.
When Broom lifted
his head and saw Hellboy looking at him for the first time since he
had fainted at Broom’s feet at the Berkshire School, he thought
his heart would break with joy. He got up from the chair and hurried
over to the bed. Despite all the tubes and wires and Hellboy’s
sheer size, he pulled Hellboy up into his arms and embraced him closely.
oh, thank God,” was all Trevor Broom could gasp out over and over,
his entire body filled with the ecstasy of finally holding his son,
alive and aware, in his arms once more.
After Broom had
held him for some time, he gently laid Hellboy back down on the bed
and kissed his forehead. He then fell to his knees next to the bed clasping
Hellboy’s left hand in his own, tears streaming down his face,
some soaking into the bandages on his cheek.
Hellboy was shaken
by all of this; he still felt so weak and had so little memory of what
had happened. But he realized from his adoptive father’s extremity
of emotion that whatever had occurred must have been almost catastrophic.
over with his right hand and with just the first of those huge stone
fingers gently stroked Broom’s injured cheek. Even though he had
no memory whatsoever of striking Broom, he knew, without a shadow of
a doubt, which hand it was that had caused this injury.
I do it? How could I hit you?” Hellboy managed to mumble through
the ventilator mask. Only the ears of a loving father could have understood
even half of what he was saying.
Broom grabbed that
huge hand in both of his own hands and kissed it. “Son, I was
struck by this hand, but you were not the creature who hit me. In fact,
you almost died trying to stop this hand from knocking my head off completely.
I would be dead now, if it were not for that.”
Broom gently caressed
the enormous hand, holding it to his bruised cheek.
Some vague intimations
of memory started to creep into Hellboy’s scattered consciousness.
Some of these were glimpses of images and actions of an almost nightmarish
quality. But Hellboy’s rattled brain still had difficulty piecing
these images together into a coherent whole.
Some memories did
start to gel, though, especially the memory of Abe’s first spoken
words. He also remembered shooting at something that had grabbed him
from behind; something that was dragging him where he did not want to
go; something that bled an odd blue blood when it was shot. But Hellboy
couldn’t remember what that creature looked like.
Just then Martha
Wilson re-entered the room and walked over to him with a big smile on
wonderful to see you’ve decided to come back to the land of the
She bent down and
kissed his cheek and then adjusted the bed so that Hellboy could sit
up. “I think I’d better go get Dr. Patterson to come and
look at you. I believe he may decide that you don’t need that
ventilator any longer.” She walked back out.
presence there, in addition to her mention of Robert Patterson, who
was still the chief surgeon of the Boston BPRD Medical Facility, caused
Hellboy to realize why his hospital room had seemed vaguely familiar.
It was the room where Trevor Broom had been hospitalized for cancer—
the room where, for close to six months, Hellboy had sat at his dangerously
ill father’s side day after day and prayed fervently for his recovery.
Broom arose from
his kneeling position on the floor next to the bed and fetched the chair
that he had been sitting in. He drew it closer to Hellboy’s bed
and sat down to wait for the arrival of Dr. Robert Patterson, who had
once been the physician in charge of Broom’s own care when he
had spent so much time in this room.
Back in 1959, when
Broom had been so ill, Dr. Patterson had a difficult time dealing with
the mere fact of Hellboy’s existence. The boy just seemed too
impossible to be real and Robert Patterson’s way of dealing with
him was basically to ignore him— to refuse to deal with him at
One way he had
attempted to minimize Hellboy’s impact on him was to come up with
reasons to block Hellboy from visiting Broom when he had been in the
Medical Wing for cancer treatment. He also ignored any requests from
the worried boy for information about Broom’s condition.
deep, if unexpressed, devotion to the man he called Father was too strong.
With Martha Wilson, the head nurse, becoming more and more attached
to Hellboy, Robert Patterson found himself no longer able to just ignore
him. Once Dr. Patterson really started to pay attention to Hellboy,
he began to recognize what it was that Broom saw to love in him.
He soon became
very attached himself to that seven-foot-tall, fourteen-year-old, supposed
demon from Hell. He was very sorry that it was not long after Broom’s
discharge from his care that the main headquarters to the BPRD moved
to New Jersey. He never realized how much he was going to miss Hellboy
constantly hanging around his Medical Facility.
So when Hellboy
turned up again almost twenty years later, this time as a patient and
close to death, Robert Patterson, who was now close to retirement, felt
that his whole career as a doctor would end on a very sour note if he
could not keep the big red guy alive. He had found it terrifying to
see the seemingly invulnerable monster hunter reduced to that state
of powerlessness and to see Trevor Broom grieving the loss of his beloved
son while that son was still fighting for his life.
Dr. Patterson had
been thankful that Broom realized that the problem was more than a physical
one and had made sure that Father Ed Kelly was on hand to help out.
It was Father Ed’s fighting against the entity possessing Hellboy
that, along with the various medical ministrations, had turned the tide.
It was also obvious
from certain odd things that had happened over the last several days
that Hellboy had been fighting his own fight as well. Robert Patterson
did not think that he had ever felt happier than when Nurse Wilson had
said that Hellboy had finally come out of his comatose state. He determined
that the respirator was no longer needed and the ventilator mask was
removed. What weakness was left was merely the aftermath of the ordeal
and was sure to pass.
Broom over to the side and whispered to him. “I think we should
wait until he is stronger to tell him anything.” Broom nodded,
hoping that Hellboy had not overheard.
But even in his
weakened state Hellboy’s hearing was very sharp. He sat up straighter
looking at Broom and Patterson. “Tell me what? What exactly happened
back there? Did all those kids die?”
He closed his eyes
as a memory finally came through more clearly. “Shit, I shot Abe,
to the Hellboy's