Author's note: Just a little something to break me out of a recent writer's block. I hope to soon get back to working on my next update to Hellboy's Family. This story is dedicated in thanks to namiangelus for the picture she drew for me of baby Hellboy and Trevor Broom. You can see that in her Deviantart account mentioned in her FFN profile.

Disclaimer: This is my take on a pivotal scene from the 2004 movie Hellboy. Characters, both named and implied, belong to Mike Mignola and Dark Horse Press for the original comics and to Guillermo del Toro and Sony/Revolution Studios for the motion picture. Some details in this connect back to my earlier Hellboy stories, but the general outline of this story is based on the death of Trevor Bruttenholm as portrayed in the film.

Competing Visions

For me, the library that functioned as my office was my private sanctum. It was a place where I always felt safe, working with my books and research. Yet, before now, I never felt lonely there.

I think it was the emptiness of the large aquarium where Abe usually spent his off-duty hours that was the most disconcerting element this evening. I missed our routine of me helping him turn the pages of the four books he was reading and of him contributing a few useful suggestions for my research.

There were also my concerns over Hellboy's earlier behavior. Guilt over Abe's injury in the line of duty, coupled with agitation over Liz's return to the Bureau, had driven him to again break away from the necessary limits I utilized to keep my overgrown, if not quite mature son where he belonged.

Shoving down the frustration that Bureau agents who could be better utilized elsewhere were once more sent out to track down my runaway son, I slammed open a large tome on a stand. I began reading a passage on Rasputin, the man I believed responsible for the Bureau's recent troubles.

I never understood how truly alone I was until I looked up at the sound of footsteps slowly descending the spiral staircase into the rear of my office from the research facilities above.

Turning away from the book I was reading, I found myself face to face with Rasputin and his black clad face-masked Nazi puppet, Kroenen. Sixty years before, these two had come very close to obliterating all human life. They were back to finish what a group of American soldiers and I had then prevented.

I had a strange sense of déjà vu that this moment had occurred before; that I had experienced over and over again this inevitable confrontation between the one who had conjured up the child and me, who had raised and nurtured him. Whether in barely remembered dreams or in visions, how this knowledge had come to me no longer mattered. I now knew what the outcome would be for me and feared what it would be for my son.

Rasputin launched into a long-winded diatribe to which I paid little attention. Instead, I looked past him at a pair of spectacles sitting on a nearby table. Age and years of too close reading had changed my prescription many times, but I never could bear to part with these old steel-rimmed frames.

As Rasputin drew me into what he referred to as a 'brief glimpse' of my son's future, these same old lenses I had worn when I first beheld my boy blended into this appalling vision of the end of all things.

After this apparition passed, I cut off Rasputin's claims to know my son's 'true name'. The child I had infelicitously named 'Hellboy' may not have been the son of my body, but he was the son of my soul, with me from his infancy. This was the only truth I had ever needed.

Rasputin's minion, Kroenen, may be able take my life from me; but no one, not even the powers of Heaven or the depths of Hell, would ever be able to take the one I called 'Son' from my heart.

Determined to have some control over my passing from this life, I turned back to the same book stand I had been at when my past prophetic dreams and visions finally caught up with me. I removed from my right wrist the rosary that, many decades before, had been a gift from my son, placed it on top of the entry on Rasputin I had been reading earlier, and covered it with my hand.

As if from a great distance, I heard Rasputin inform me that my end would be quick. Taking no notice of the touch of his hand on my own, I gazed for one last time into the flames of the fireplace I had contemplated many times in the past. Deep in its fiery depths, I allowed the vision Rasputin had forced on me to burn away and I replaced it with the only image I wished to take with me. It was the same scene I had once witnessed when I still wore those old wire spectacles.

As I drew my final breath, I banished Rasputin's terrifying vision and saw nothing but a small, red creature wrapped in a blanket, happily eating my Baby Ruth bar as I held him in my arms.

Author's afterword: Even if I have my own take on the significance of the rosary and old spectacles, both of these do appear in the scene as filmed. If one looks close enough at the spectacles that appear in Rasputin's vision it can be seen that they are not the same eyeglasses worn by Trevor Bruttenholm, but are similar to the older pair of glasses the character is wearing in the 1944 prologue. That is what gave me the idea for this story. The idea that Trevor Bruttenholm had experienced prophetic dreams and visions derives from my ongoing story Hellboy's Family.