Francis stands in front of Larry’s apartment building and forces himself to remember that Larry is not the hero his Silver Star says he is. He knocks on Larry’s door and a man calls out. Francis sees a feeble creature in a rocking chair and he reveals his identity willingly.
Larry is full of glee to see his old pupil and calls him in to take a seat. Larry begins to reminisce about the Wreck Centre and the ping pong especially. Francis reminds him that he let him win but Larry says that there was more at stake for Francis than a trophy that day.
Larry then comments on his present pains and how not all wounds are visible. He talks about how some claimed he had jungle fever and Francis internally notes that it may just be his sins meeting him like karma. Larry then comments on Francis’ own Silver Star and how he, though a child, came out of the fight a hero.
Francis then reveals how he isn’t a hero and he only forged his birth certificate in order to commit suicide with honour in battle. Larry cannot fathom why he wanted to die and inquires, with Francis telling him that he was there that night to witness him rape Nicole. He then adds that his intention to die hasn’t changed.
Larry tries to calm down Francis by saying that there was nothing he could do since he was only a boy, with Francis retorting that Nicole was only a girl. He then draws his pistol and aims it at Larry, asking him why he had to prey on Nicole and not any one of the countless women enamoured by him.
Larry, seemingly unfazed, responds by saying that he likes sweet young things and that everyone sins. Francis then asks him if he knew how much the people at the Wreck Centre respected and idolised him, to which Larry responds by asking if one sin wipes all the good he has done. Francis says that he should be asking Nicole and not him. Francis then struggles to decide how he shall kill Larry.
Larry then says that the war lost him his legs and now he cannot sin anymore but he is made to wish that he could return to the days when Francis idolised him. Francis then begins to finally end his mission but Larry pulls a gun from a cigar box and places it in his lap. He talks to Francis about his own suicidal thoughts and that one gun is good enough for the job.
He ejects the magazine after noticing Francis’ distrust and he begins to beg him to leave and not kill him as he isn’t a murderer at heart. Francis finally agrees and begins to leave before Larry finally says that he would have jumped on the grenade if it meant saving his platoon.
As Francis leaves the apartment building, he hears a single shot from upstairs.
Heroes is a 1998 novel written by Robert Cormier. The novel is centred on the character Francis Cassavant, who has just returned to his childhood home of Frenchtown, Monument, from serving in the Second World War in France and has severe deformities as a result of an incident during the war. The structure of the novel involves the use of flashbacks to Francis’s childhood in Frenchtown and the events in Frenchtown following the war, when Francis returns.