It occurred to me the other day as I was recounting my story. A story which has been put into words for you by my editor, that I never really told you who I was. I just dived straight into my story. Even now I can hear you wondering who I am. This is your chance to find out? So I agreed for you to have this one interview without any changes, without it being taken out of my words. So, let us begin.
[The editor sat down across from the man at a park bench. The man looked up and nodded once in greeting before they began].
You never once told me your name
My name, that is interesting. [He paused as if considering how to answer the question]. You see I’ve gone by so many names that these days I rarely bother to give one, just one more to remember as it were. I suppose my true name would be Benjamin as that was the one I was given at birth. The name I go by most is Thomas though, so if you wish that is what you may call me.
Thomas, that’s an interesting choice. Why did you choose to change it
There’s something very personal about those few barely remembered years I spent in relative safety with my parents. I feel that using that name now would destroy the happiness of those memories. The thought of someone snarling Benjamin at me just fills me with dread, I’m not sure I would survive it.
Why Thomas though? Surely you could have picked something more similar?
Well, I did to start with. Thomas is probably about the eighth name I’ve gone by. Over time the need to hide my real name away became stronger and stronger, until I didn’t want to be known by anything remotely close. So I guess Thomas just seemed far enough away for me to settle on it.
That’s certainly an intriguing tale. Could you tell us of the first time you used the name Thomas?
[He paused before he answered]. I could share that with you I suppose. I’d been living on my own for a while at the time and as it got closer to winter food got scarcer. It was getting harder and harder for me to survive in the wild so I started getting closer and closer to the city. I got caught though by this family, they found me in tattered clothing and took me into their home.
And they gave you the name?
No, they just fed me and replaced my clothing and cared for me. Then when they offered to let me stay for the rest of the winter I agreed. I’m not a burden though; I don’t rely on others, so I went to get a job. I was a kid who looked like he hadn’t eaten for a while so it wasn’t too hard for me to find one. It just wasn’t with the right people.
Of a kind. [He seemed reluctant to expand anymore on exactly who these people were]. Anyway, I’d been living rough for a while and I knew how to fight. Despite the fact I was just a kid I could take a beating but I could give one better. It got to the point where they could no longer call be kid and so they finally asked my name. A name I refused to give so they gave me one instead.
They just gave you a name?
[He was reluctant to answer in a way that suggested he hadn’t told anyone before]. Not exactly, when I didn’t give up my name they set on me thinking me an informer. The problem was the same reason they couldn’t call me kid anymore. I fought back, and I did it viciously because what did I have to lose. That was the first time they saw my wings because there was no way I was getting out.
You flew away then. You fled from them when your secret was out.
I stayed and fought. I just fought to the best of my ability rather than with two hands tied behind my back. I let my wings loose and I fought them. I imagine it would have been spectacular to watch, even back then I had a talent for flying. They couldn’t keep up with me after that and when it was over they lay on the floor around me in various injured states.
So your name, when did they call you Thomas?
Their leader stepped forward after the fight. I was standing alone in a ring of bodies with wings sprouting from my back and he knew I wouldn’t hesitate to take him down as well if he had to. So he did the next best thing and removed his weapons before he approached. When he reached me he threw an arm around my shoulders and pronounced my name to be Thomas.
You’ve kept it all this time. I take it there’s some special meaning behind it?
It was the first name I earned. It was more than that though it was given to me by my family. My family back then and they’re still family now. They’re not flock though, so it’s rare that I see them but when I do I am instantly Thomas.
They always welcome you back?
Of course, I’m the one that keeps them stable. The one that stops there being any take over from lower down the ranks. They know I support their leader and they know that if I wanted to I could destroy them all. The only thing holding me back is that they’re family.
So what do you think? This is a new way of exploring the story of the bird-kids. Did you like it/hate it/enjoy it? Let me know what you thought in the comments.