We return to the present and see Francis wandering Frenchtown, returning to Nicole’s apartment building in order to confirm whether she left when the war began. After confirmation, we see Francis delve back into his memories, this time to a point after the war began, wherein he is talking to Norman Rocheleau, a soldier from Frenchtown as well.
Norman tells Francis that Nicole had begun to act oddly, like a hermit, after the war began and before she finally left Frenchtown. Francis then informs Norman that he had forged his birth certificate in order to join the fight and Norman doesn’t ask why, assuming he did so just to join in on the action.
Francis then returns to his boardinghouse after being told to leave by the new occupants of Nicole’s apartment. Mrs. Belander offers him soup and asks for his name but Francis uses his dead brother’s first name, Raymond, and his mother’s maiden name instead.
Francis then goes to bed, reciting the names of all the men in his platoon before doing so and reliving those sordid moments of war not mentioned in films and books. He remembers how people would beg to Jesus and how many would stink from bedevilling diarrhoea.
He then also recalls a moment wherein he spotted two German soldiers dashing around a corner and he aimed to fire, exploding one’s head and cutting the other in half. He then remembers how the latter, of comparable age to himself, cries out for his mother in death.
Francis then wakes up and determines that he must finish his memory. We see the grenade that disfigured him and how two others in his platoon died in the fight. Still traumatised by his experiences, Francis is able to dull the pain of memory by fixing his sights on his current goal: the murder of Larry LaSalle.
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.