Hellboy had been
correct: he did not like the answer that his father had received about
Kate Corrigan’s return to New York.
like’ was a bit of an understatement. Hellboy was both panicked
and angry: panicked at the idea that something just might happen to
‘his Katie’ and furiously angry that these paranormal interlopers
would dare to go after people he knew. Hellboy was well aware that it
was no coincidence that these creatures had, out of all of the millions
in New York City, seized upon two out of the very small number of people
in the city he was acquainted with.
Trevor Broom, Hellboy,
Abe, Lee, and the other BPRD agents made their way up from the underground
facility to the garages that contained the garbage trucks and other
vehicles they used for transport. Just as they arrived Trevor Broom
pulled Abe aside.
I blame him,” Broom whispered to Abe, “But I’m not
completely comfortable with Hellboy’s mood. Kate Corrigan means
a lot to him and for some reason that I’m not completely aware
of he also seems to have some attachment to this waitress. Do me a really
big favor and keep him on track. I don’t want him doing anything
stupid. He does have a tendency at times to let his emotions run away
with him. He may appear invincible, but as we have learned recently
he is not as indestructible as he would like to think he is.”
Abe just nodded
and went to join Hellboy. As they proceeded to climb up into the garbage
truck they usually used for transportation, Lee stopped them.
we both have known Katie a long time. She may not work directly with
us, but she does know how to handle herself out there. I’m not
saying that it’s not going to be dicey, but things may not be
as desperate as they appear.”
slightly for the first time since finding out who the giant rat-like
creatures had taken, but before he could think of anything to say in
reply, Lee gestured for Hellboy and Abe to follow him to the part of
the garage where spare vehicles were kept. Trevor Broom followed as
well, wondering what Lee was up to. They stopped in front of very large,
obviously brand-new, garbage truck.
in amazement at the sheer size of this vehicle as Lee continued speaking.
“I found that the damn FBI was not about to pitch in money for
a new, more comfortable, means of transportation for you. So, I pulled
in some favors from friends of mine, got the truck specially designed
and equipped, and basically paid for the thing with my own money. It
was supposed to be a surprise for your birthday, but I figure now is
as good a time as any to break the thing in.”
staring at the truck and turned to stare, speechless, at Lee and then
turned to whisper to Trevor Broom. “Pop, did you know about this?”
Broom, who was
as speechless as Hellboy, just shook his head.
to ignore the exchange that had just occurred between Broom and Hellboy,
opened up the front cab of the enormous truck and pushed a button that
caused the back end doors to open so that Hellboy and Abe could enter
the gleaming vehicle.
the installed equipment is self-explanatory. There is also a place to
strap in and secure your rolling munitions cases and a place for Hellboy
to sit that is going to be a lot more comfortable than the bench that
was in his old truck. However, knowing how restless Hellboy can be,
this truck has been designed so that he can stand and walk around without
knocking the equipment over or be crowded by the tank and first-aid
equipment installed for Abe’s use.”
Lee raised his
hand as Hellboy turned toward him again. “I remember Katie’s
father Richard Corrigan, remember how excited he was when his wife gave
birth to a little baby girl, remember how you got Katie through the
trauma of her father’s illness and death at a time when you had
enough on your plate just dealing with Trevor’s own illness. I
don’t need any thanks from you for the new truck. Just find Katie
and get her back; that’s all I ask.”
Since they were not going to be traveling very far, Abe decided to forgo
entering into the tank in the truck. Both he and Hellboy moved around
the interior of the new vehicle admiring all of the specially designed
equipment. Hellboy realized that most of this equipment was way over
his head and left it for Abe to figure all this stuff out. Hellboy just
enjoyed having some real space to stretch out in and a comfortable seat.
He had pulled back the panel that covered over a long two-way mirrored
window and looked out at the passing scenery; he loved finally being
able to see out as he traveled.
After a short while
he sighed and yanked the panel closed; at one time he would have been
absolutely fascinated with this window that he could see out of, but
no one on the outside could see anything but a mirrored logo for Squeaky
Clean Waste Management Services. Right now the only thing on his mind
was a way to get Katie and Mindy, the waitress, away from the creatures
who had seized them.
Abe, who was sitting
in another smaller chair designed for his more slender frame, watched
Hellboy and wondered just how close this relationship with ‘his
Abe had yet to
meet Kate Corrigan. But when he had earlier been playing a somewhat
childish game of reading other people’s thoughts, he had come
to the realization that Hellboy’s feelings for Kate were going
through some sort of upheaval that even Hellboy was not completely certain
of. At that time Abe had sensed distinct ‘big brother’ feelings
that were still very prominent mixed up with a more recent recognition
of a newfound sexual attraction toward his no-longer-so-little ‘sister’.
He would really
have liked to know exactly what was running through Hellboy’s
mind right now, but had promised him that he would never again read
his thoughts without permission or an emergency need-to-know crisis.
But neither did he want to come right out and ask him; it was not difficult
to tell that Hellboy was very troubled and prying might just be an invitation
for another temperamental outburst; these outbursts had become all too
frequent recently even without the stress of someone he obviously cared
for being endangered.
Hellboy got up
from his seat and stretched. They were heading for that part of New
York City’s Greenwich Village that was near NYU main campus and
he had a good idea, having very occasionally visited his father or Kate
there, how long it would take to arrive from Newark.
He moved to another
part of the truck that had a bench for other occupants to sit on if
more people needed to be transported in the back of the truck. He sat
on it and if he hadn’t been so upset he would have laughed; even
this bench was ten times more comfortable than the one that had plagued
him for so long in his old truck. To Abe’s surprise Hellboy indicated
for Abe to come and join him.
huh, Blue?” Abe knew that Hellboy was avoiding what was really
this is certainly an impressive vehicle. I am most impressed with the
extent of equipment that has been installed and with the fact that the
entire vehicle has been designed for retrofitting as new equipment is
developed; no expense has been spared in its development.”
Abe looked closer
at the despondent red giant sitting next to him; he noticed that Hellboy
was avoiding looking at him and that there were at least a dozen conflicting
emotions radiating so strongly from Hellboy that no amount of mental
shielding could block them.
that we have sufficiently admired our new and improved chariot why don’t
you tell me what you really wanted to talk to me about?” Abe inquired
after a long moment of silence.
say anything to Pop because I don’t want him to worry, but I don’t
like the way this thing is going down, Blue,” Hellboy said, still
not looking at him. “Usually an operation this simple, checking
out a bunch of creatures who have mostly just been frightening people
without really hurting them, is not handled by sending out the big guns
right off the bat.”
toward Abe and looked directly at him for the first time. “Why
do I have the nasty feeling that I’m what they’re really
after and they’ve taken hostages to make sure I show up?”
Abe pondered this
statement. “Yes, I agree; it does look as if these creatures were
trying to attract your attention by seizing women you have some emotional
his normal-sized left hand, opened and groped around in one of the pouches
of his utility belt. He removed a turquoise and gold-plated shirt stud.
Leaning forward he managed in an odd, one-handed way to attach this
to the collar of Abe’s tight-fitting spandex shirt in a place
where the back of the stud would not irritate Abe’s skin.
Abe looked at the
stud, admiring its delicate beauty, intending on asking Hellboy the
purpose of this gesture. He looked up at Hellboy, who had an odd, distant
expression as if recalling something from the past, but Abe then looked
back down in surprise at the stud.
He had first noticed
these studs when he and Hellboy had played poker using Professor Broom’s
collection of old shirt buttons as chips, but it was not until this
moment that he realized that this old-style shirt fastening had a odd
familiarity; the familiarity of an item that Abe had lived with every
day at some time in his past.
Abe had never spoken
to anyone except Professor Broom about the vague, disjointed memories
he had of a life he had lived as a human male before he metamorphosed
into the being he was now. What memories had broken through, mainly
in dreams and nightmares, gave Abe the distinct impression that the
man he used to be was not someone to be proud of. He kept reminding
himself that Professor Broom was willing to accept him unconditionally
as he was now, totally discounting an unremembered life he may have
led over a century ago.
All of these thoughts
had passed through Abe’s mind very quickly. But Hellboy, noticing
a slight hesitation when Abe contemplated the unexpected bestowing of
this item, reached out with his left hand and touched Abe’s shoulder.
“If you don’t like it, I can take it back.”
I find the item quite attractive and am just curious as to the meaning
of this gift.” This wasn’t exactly a lie on Abe’s
part; he had been intending to inquire on this point before the unexpected
and unpleasant encroachment of a nebulous, barely recalled past life.
for the first time since entering the truck. “It kind of makes
you officially my partner. I’m hoping that it will bring you good
Abe smiled back,
fingering the stud as another memory broke through of a distinguished,
kind-hearted gentleman—probably Professor Broom’s grandfather,
the original owner of the shirt stud. This glimpse of the man who had
meant so much to Professor Broom helped to dispel some of the unease
that Abe had felt when originally receiving the gift.
how many ‘official’ partners have had this honor bestowed
the guy who taught me Russian. I’ve had plenty of colleagues who
have become good friends, Blue, but no one ever came closer than you
to what I shared with him. And he always claimed that it was the good
luck from that shirt stud that saved his life more than once in Argentina.”
to him?” Hellboy’s attachment to the memory of this Russian
man impressed Abe.
He went back to Russia after the final defeat of the Nazis in ’58
and someone there eventually found out about his connection to the Bureau.
Unfortunately, no amount of ‘luck’ from my buttons could
save him from a concentration camp in Siberia. I guess he died there.
He must’ve had an inkling of what was going to happen, because
he managed to sneak out a package to me; that’s how I ended up
with those books in Russian I’ve been teaching you to read.”
Hellboy stood up
and pulled open the panel over the window and looked out.
Blue, we’re almost there. Let’s see if we can’t start
coming up with some plans to get Katie and Mindy away from those monsters.”
to the Hellboy's