Warren had a Secret.
But he would never tell.
No one would believe him even if he did tell. Not that this bothered Warren. He was content to keep his secret forever; never telling anyone of what he did that day. He knew that it was a Good Thing, what he had done, but people didn’t tend to want to hear from Warren, most people at least. So, he kept things to himself, and that seemed to make the world around him somehow better.
Warren was slow; that’s how the doctors had put it when he was five and his parents had taken him for some tests. He wasn’t like the other boys at his school; he was Different. That word had hung around Warren his entire life: Different. Everybody seemed to use it differently, too; this word “Different”. Warren noticed how people said it: some nicely; some not so nicely. They all said it though. They all said it about Warren.
He was Different.
To some people, Warren thought, Different meant Bad. To him, it simply meant what it meant: different. He knew that he wasn’t like other people, but that had never bothered him. In Warren’s mind everyone was Different; at least that’s what the people at the day centre told him. Everyone was Different and that was okay.
However, this didn’t stop the children making fun of him.
Warren had grown up big and his large, lumbering gait made him an easy target for the local school children. They would follow him as he sloped past the school on his way to the day centre next door; mimicking his way of walking and making stupid noises behind his back. Warren never paid them any attention; he never turned around to confront them. He would simply smile to himself and continue on his way.
Everyone was Different.
Everyone had Secrets, too.
Warren’s Secret stemmed from something that caught his eye one bright, sunny day in June. He was making his usual way to the day centre, hearing but not listening to the taunts from the more persistent school children. He smiled in his normal way: pleasant but slightly vacant; serene in the knowledge that though he was Different and some people considered that Bad, he knew he was Good, and he liked that. Warren knew what the children, and even some of the parents, said about him. He understood most of what he heard. They thought he was “Funny”. They thought he was “Stupid”. Some of them even thought him “Dangerous” and a “Problem”, but Warren knew that he was Good. He was big and with that size had grown a strength that, in a less peaceful person, could be used to do Bad Things. Warren knew about Bad Things. He knew that some people did Bad Things; sometimes a lot. Warren didn’t do Bad Things if he could help it. He liked being Good.
Warren was almost at the day centre when the thing caught his eye that stopped him in his tracks. He looked up, squinting into the bright summer sky, and an uncharacteristic frown creased his normally placid face. His lips moved silently for a moment, as if he were working something out in his head. His eyebrows rose and his eyes widened, and instead of carrying on down the road to the day centre, Warren walked purposefully towards the building on the other side of the street. Gone was his normal ambling walk; now he moved swiftly. The sudden increase in activity on such a warm morning had caused sweat to break out all over Warren’s body. He could feel his shirt begin to stick to his back as he passed the building’s main door and headed into a side alley. With one massive hand, Warren reached up and pulled down the fire escape ladder. As soon as it had rattled to a halt he began to climb; the frown still frozen on his face.
Warren slowed his ascent as he reached the roof of the building. His eyes narrowed as he peered over the rooftop edge. He carefully and quietly stepped off of the ladder and on to the roof, showing surprising dexterity for a man of his size. He stood up to his full height and spoke.
‘You’re doing a Bad Thing,’ he said.
Then Warren reached out.
The man now in Warren’s iron grip struggled frantically; his eyes darting madly this way and that. His fists pounded against Warren’s broad chest, but to no avail.
In the struggle the man dropped his rifle.
After a few moments the struggling slowed and eventually stopped. Warren relaxed his grip and the man fell to the floor next to his rifle. Warren looked out over the street, to the school playground that was all too clearly visible from the rooftop.
Warren had stopped a Bad Thing from happening.
Because Warren was Good.
He walked back over to the ladder and climbed back down to street level. As he walked slowly towards the day centre he saw the children in the playground. Some of them saw him. Some laughed, others pointed. Some ran away, but he didn’t mind. He had stopped a Bad Thing from happening to them, and although they would never know it, they were safe because of him. Warren knew that the man would be found, and people would probably come and see him to ask him Questions.
But he would never tell.
He would keep his Secret.
Because Warren was Good.
- August 2014