Scapegoat (Fahrenheit 451) | Teen Ink

Scapegoat (Fahrenheit 451)

December 3, 2019
By D1CEW1ZARD BRONZE, Tilden, Nebraska
D1CEW1ZARD BRONZE, Tilden, Nebraska
1 article 0 photos 1 comment

Favorite Quote:
"We develop taste long before we develop skill." -Matt Colville


Thomas drove home from another day of work much like he had done the day before and the day before that. “What a great night the family has planned for me when I get home,” he thought as the surrounding landscape blurred past him. “Our trip to the zoo will be such wonderful fun. Yes, quite wonderful fun.” He watched the familiar green blurs of the grass and the white blurs of houses whiz past him as the beetle’s speed increased to 140. He absent-mindedly looked out across the lifeless gray patches that must be streets and the fluorescent patches that must be streetlights pass by like clouds on a windy day. On this night however, one patch stood out to him. It was almost gone in an instant. Had Thomas blinked he would have missed it, but one patch was moving. “How strange. No one should be outside at this time of the evening. Everyone should be coming home to spend time with the family. How very strange indeed,” Thomas thought to himself. He stopped the car just as the moving figure rounded a corner. He rolled down the window and called out to the figure, but by then the stranger was long gone. Thomas shrugged and prepared to continue on his way when he noticed the stranger had dropped something. It appeared to be some sort of small, nearly flat rectangle. Thomas was sure he recognized it but could not quite place what it was. Some sort of mischievous curiosity was piqued inside him then. It was akin to the thrill a child feels when stealing a candy bar from the store only to regret it. Thomas climbed out of the beetle, checked to make sure no one was around, and hastily grabbed the object. He threw it into the back of the beetle and blazed home, all thoughts of the family’s nightly activities forgotten. 

Throughout the rest of the ride home, Thomas’s head was filled with thoughts of what this strange object could be. He had seen one of these somewhere, he was certain of that. Perhaps on the news? Somehow this odd object carried with it a feeling of guilt. He was sure was something he was not meant to have. But just what was it? He stopped the beetle just in front of his house but instead of getting out and enjoying the rest of the evening with his “family” as he had planned. He began to inspect the object. How utterly abnormal this thing was. Inside of this thin rectangle were many more thinner rectangles with words on them. “Every man desires to live long but no man wishes to be old.” What nonsense, what absurdity. And yet, Thomas could not let go of some vague feeling of deep guilt in the pit of his stomach. It was like falling in a nightmare the moment before you hit the ground. That’s when Thomas looked up and saw it… the mechanical hound.

It was running straight for him. 100 yards away. 90! 80! Suddenly, Thomas’s seashell radio came to life in his ears. “... in pursuit of Guy Montag. Wanted for possession of books.” That’s what it was! A book! Thomas had unwittingly committed a capital offense and now he would pay the ultimate price. The hound rushed at him to deliver his punishment. Thomas gripped the arms of his seat as if they were his only connection to his very life. Floodlights came down from the sky, bathing the landscape in a blinding white light. Thomas closed his eyes and prepared himself for his final moments as he heard the hound leap onto the hood of the beetle. Then, with a gust of wind, it passed. The lights were gone. The hound had already rounded the next block, leaving Thomas alone in the vehicle unconscious with fear. 

By the time Thomas came to, the car’s clock read 12:34. “Where am I? Where’s the family?” he thought as his mind returned to him. The book! That’s why he was here! For a moment he sat silent, pondering the evening’s events. With a sigh, he picked up the book, hastily looked to make sure no one was around, and hurried to the front door of his house. He felt the cold metal of the doorknob as he prepared to turn it, yet he hesitated. He couldn’t bring himself to open the door. He then had an idea which he had never thought of, or indeed been allowed to think of, in his entire life. “I need time alone to think.” He tucked the book into his coat and decisively turned around to set out for a walk.

The seashell continued to shout into Thomas’s ear. It was something about, “... the harrowing chase continues for the wanted criminal Guy Montag! The hound has just made its way past the river and is hot on his trail.” Thomas took out the seashells for what seemed like the first time in ages. For once in his life he had more important things to ponder. 

Thomas was beyond paranoid. Every pair of headlights he encountered were the glowing eyes of the lifeless hound. Every window had eyes watching him, waiting for him to pull out the book so they could call that terrible mechanized creature on him. After the span of just a few minutes Thomas was convinced that the authorities were hunting him down that very moment. He couldn’t take it anymore. He ducked into the darkest alley he could find, opened the book, and began to read.

Thomas read tentatively at first, yet with each passing moment he absorbed more and more of the story and became less and less attached to the world around him. After reading only a few chapters he had come to a realization. Others needed to know about this. Perhaps they didn’t understand the wonders these books held. It was not even the information in the books -he realized- but the soothing and tranquil act of reading that gave him this unfamiliar sensation of peace and security. He set off at a brisk pace and began to formulate a plan. 

Thomas needed a way to reach out to everyone in the city. Perhaps they could be reasoned with. They might be willing to accept that books aren’t the abominations they are made out to be. The most difficult part of his plan wouldn’t be getting the people to hear his message, it would be getting them to listen. They were so set in their ways that any new ideas would seem repulsive to them. But if they wouldn’t listen to Thomas, who would they listen to? “That’s it!” Thomas thought. “The parlor television!” People would listen to that. They would do anything for the family. Only a few short hours ago, Thomas would have too. If the family told the people books are good, they might be willing to give books a chance. Thomas’s stroll turned into a trot which in turn became a slow jog. His seashells screeched something concerning the continuing hunt for someone named Guy Montag but Thomas paid them no mind. His plan was nearly complete. He thought of his friend Stan Davis. Stan worked for the television service. All he had to do was convince one man. If Thomas was successful he could change lives. He could change entire cities. He could change the world. Thomas was so engrossed in his thoughts that he hardly noticed the floodlights surrounding him once again… 

The lights blinded Thomas for a moment, but as he blinked and his eyes adjusted he saw a familiar, yet terrifying sight. That awful mechanical hound was rushing towards him once again, except this time it’s eyes were locked directly on Thomas. This time, it was hunting him. Thomas was dumbfounded for a moment. Then he turned and ran faster than he had ever run in his life, but it was to no avail. The hound was always faster, smarter, and deadlier than any human could ever be. Within all the lies society had told him, Thomas knew this to be truth. He could hear the hound’s claws drawing ever closer. Thomas turned to face the hound just as it leaped towards him. Time seemed to slow for those few moments that the hound’s terrible form hung in the air. The light gleamed off of the hound’s silver needle, the thing that would spell Thomas’s end. He was so close. He could have changed the world but now he was caught. In that split second, Thomas had accepted his fate. From his pockets the seashells screamed one last time, “There’s Montag! The search is done.” Thomas cried out as the drugged needle pierced his flesh. It was over in an instant.


The author's comments:

I originally wrote this for a school project, but it quickly became one of my favorite things I've ever written. I hope you enjoy reading Scapegoat as much as I enjoyed writing it.


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This article has 1 comment.


on Jan. 14 at 1:53 pm
starfeather PLATINUM, Olathe, Kansas
21 articles 0 photos 62 comments

Favorite Quote:
AD ASTRA PER ASPERA- to the stars, through difficulties.

This is such a unique perspective on the novel! I know exactly which part this is from. Very creative, keep writing!