*After Charlie reverts back to his original IQ level*

Warren State Home and Training School

8:57 A.M.

Mr. Winslow glanced up from signing several papers when the door to his office opened. It was Thelma, looking unusually solemn, her large birthmark seeming darker in contrast to her pale skin. Immediately, thoughts of terrible accidents and horrible news filled his head, and he put down his pen, gazing anxiously at the motherly woman.

"Thelma? Did something happen?"

Lips pressed together tightly, the woman drew closer to his desk and handed him an opened envelope. Raising a brow at her silence, Winslow slowly reached in and opened the letter inside, eyes widening as they scanned the paper, once, twice, and several more times.

The office was deadly quiet when he finally put the paper down. Neither was quite sure what to say.

"… Mr. Charlie Gordon was the man who visited Warren all those months ago, wasn't he?" Winslow finally asked, breaking the silence. Thelma nodded wordlessly in response. "He… was the man we gave a tour to? The researcher?"

Another nod.

Winslow exhaled heavily and slumped back against his seat, running a hand over his young yet weary, tired face. "I didn't know…" he murmured to himself. "He was so cool and intelligent…." Suddenly, his eyes close as a memory strikes him.

In his office, all those months ago, Winslow had uncharacteristically exploded into a heated rant, upset by the injustice of the cruel world, which treated the less intelligent as scum. They were good, honest people and yet to society they were less than human, things to be ridiculed and mocked. He had despised the researcher who had sat in the chair across from his desk as he smiled slightly to his tirade. How dare he? Winslow had once fumed. How dare he laugh in the face of the less intelligent people's plight? Just because he was a well-to-do scientist who was so wonderfully smart….

And today, he finally realized why the man's smile had unnerved him for a brief instant, a moment before the resentment had settled in. Charlie Gordon had smiled a secretive smile in response to Winslow's angry lecture, yes, but it hadn't been because he had been mocking the retarded.

No, it was a sad, helpless smile. Because at that point, Mr. Gordon had more or less known that he would end up being one of the many retarded adults who lived at Warren State Home. He had known that he would descend into retardation once more, and had smiled at the heartbreaking irony of it all. The man who knew more than anyone the harsh truth of how the world treats its unintelligent was being lectured by another for supposedly not knowing such cruelties.

Winslow buried his face in his hands. "Lead Mr. Gordon to his room, Thelma," he said, voice muffled. The woman nodded in agreement, still in shock from the unexpected news, and turned on her heel, walking out in order to welcome their newest live-in.

Suddenly, Winslow reflected to himself, the cold ways of the world never seemed so clear till that instant. What cruelty….