-Holden, come over here. The dinner is ready!- said Clarisse in a tender voice.
They always eat dinner together. It’s a family ritual. And since I’m a member of the family now, I have fully adjusted to their customs.
I sat next to Clarisse at the table. Her uncle and aunt always sit opposite to us. I kissed her on the cheek. It has been a lovely day so far. We have been reading a lot and also went for a walk in the morning.
Of course, I haven’t told you how we got here and where we actually are. After they found out what occupation their neighbour had, they were getting ready to leave. Even though Clarisse tried to persuade them Guy Montag would never do any harm to them, there was someone else who called the Firemen – his wife, Mildred. Uncle Stan knew that. He has always been very cautious. He managed everything necessary. Clarisse insisted on saying goodbye to me and when she arrived with tears in her eyes, I knew what was going on. I decided to leave with them immediately, no matter where they were going. We set off very quickly. First, they protested and didn’t want me to go without telling my parents. I insisted.
We left in a hurry, only taking the most essential things with us. We headed westwards, to Asia. They decided to change the continents completely, hoping there would be a better and more secure life. The original plan was to go to China, but the revolutions and uprisings against the political system convinced them it was not a best idea. So we arrived here in Lekhnath, Nepal. A friend of theirs, who is a member of the same club, helped us with everything. We live in a small town under the mountains. The nature is so beautiful and everything is so untouched by technology, it looks like a heaven on Earth.
We travelled incognito, we changed our names and Uncle Stan provided us with false passports, leaving no traces behind.
On the way here, we bought several dozens of books from the club members and we tried our best to keep unrevealed. But we all realize the Tralfamadorian International Police are already searching for us with their hi-tech robotic hounds.
The sun sets much earlier here. The night covers the mountains with shadow and life slows down. The people here are different. They don’t spend their evenings in front of big screens. They sit on porches and chat. They even read books and their children play around. They have many children and they seem to love them a lot. You can see harmony in families and real feelings towards living things. And I bet they appreciate arts. Probably all these circumstances and the environment have helped our love bloom. Clarisse and me became one indivisible soul. I found here love and peace I haven’t felt before, not even within my parents. It’s so wonderful here!
Mildred is sitting in the parlour watching The Relatives. She is absorbed in it when, suddenly, the programme is interrupted by the news. She is annoyed and wants to turn it off when she recognizes familiar faces on the screen. Aren’t they her former neighbours? The McClellans?
-The family of McClellans have escaped the Justice and they have already left the country, probably heading west. The Police warn the citizens they are highly dangerous and ask for your help. Should you see them or have whatever relevant information, contact the Police or other security units.-
Dick and Perry are sitting on the plane. They are both very tired because they have been travelling for more than a day. Dick is thinking about Clarisse again. How can the girl attract him so much? He hasn’t even seen her face to face and he is so crazy about her. He is sorry he feels as he does, for his sexual interest in female children is a failure of what he is “sincerely ashamed” – a secret deviation not confessed to anyone and he hopes no one suspected (though he is aware that Perry had a reason to), because other people might not think it normal. That, to be sure, is something he was certain he is – normal. Seducing pubescent girls, as he has done “eight or nine” times in the last several years, did not disprove it, for if the truth were known, most real men had the same desires he had.
- I think we are landing. It’s Pokhara airport, isn’t it?-
-Oh, is it? Great. The show must go on. What is the name of the place?-
-It isn’t this one, we need to take a train first.- replied Perry.
It is getting dark outside. The airport is very small, but there is a hostel next to it. They have decided to stay there overnight and to get to Lekhnath in the morning.