For the third time in five years, Warren moved back into his old room. His parents had left it in teenage mode, the posters of rock bands long split peeling on the walls, faded magazines gathering dust.
Warren still interacted with his Mum and Dad the first few weeks. He slurped up homemade curries and stews, and joined them for Saturday night television. A lot of packages arrived, many long and thin like they contained broomsticks.
After that, Warren stuck mostly to his room. His parents didn’t understand when he ate. For long periods the only noise was a mechanical hoovering, like a vacuum danced over the floor. Their hoover remained downstairs.
His Dad rolled his eyes.
‘Up with the spiders.’ He said.
A few weeks later, the noise stopped. There wasn’t even the odd creak of Warren tip-toeing across the floor. In a two floor house, you should be able to hear something.
His Mum smoked in the living room for the first time since she has children, insisting that they call the police. Dad said that was ridiculous. It was his house, his bedroom room, and he would get it open. He fetched his screwdriver, and crept up the stairs. After three cursory knocks on the door, Warren’s Dad hacked at the lock until it shattered into shards of metal and splinters of wood.
The room inside was dark, apart from the vaguest filter of light through the blanket stretching over the window. Dad saw a large hulking shape dominating the room, and the outline of furniture stacked against the wall. For the first time he thought maybe he should have tried to talk to Warren, to see what was going on.
The hoovering noise started again, now along the sounds of metallic tubes whirring into place. The great lump twitched, and long steel legs unfolded. Two of them flexed onto the bed, and snapped it in half, taking out a chunk of plaster at the same time.
Another leg shattered the window pane, piercing the towel like Parma ham on a cocktail stick, and at last Warren’s creation was revealed. He had welded every plate in the cockpit by hand, even the steel bolts around the viewing window.
The attic fell apart like paper under his contraption, and without a glance back, Warren skittered across the rooftops, smiling even when the tiles rained down. He would never have to go home again.