Remembering to pick up the books that he had hid in the garden, Montag limps away from his burning house, hearing police sirens approaching. Suddenly Montag comes to the realization the Beatty wanted to die. He reflects over Beatty's demeanor just before his death, "How strange, strange, to want to die so much that you let a man walk around armed and then instead of shutting up and staying alive, you go on yelling at people and making fun of them until you get them mad, and then. . . ." This notion is not altogether surprising. Suicide is rampant in this society, as Bradbury shows earlier. And after all, Beatty is a very depressed man. Though he knows the power that books have, he is cynical about them, citing the troubles that come from their reading. Obviously Beatty feels betrayed by books, and thus, has decided to burn them. Yet living this way isn't living at all. Montag knows this and Beatty always did. Yet their reactions to this knowledge are different. While Montag decides to fight back, Beatty gives in, opting for this passive suicide of sorts by letting Montag torch him.
By this time, Montag is losing his sanity. He can't believe the events that have occurred in the past few hours. He didn't mean to kill Beatty, but he did, and now he must deal with it. In a similar way, his distorted mind thinks that Faber is dead, since what he knew Faber to be, the seashell, is scorched. Montag's animal instincts kick in as he considers what to do with the enemies he has left. "You must remember, burn them or they'll burn you, he thought. Right now it's as simple as that." Soon, he finds himself heading towards Faber's house. Really, the old man is the only friend he has left. On the road to Faber's, Montag, in his delirium, somehow manages to avoid the police cars and helicopters that seek him out. Near a gas station, he even hears a physical profile of himself, now a fugitive wanted for murder. Next, he stumbles across the home of Mr. Black, his fellow fireman. He sneaks into the house and hides the books inside, stopping later to phone in the alarm from a public phone outside a convenience store. As he walks away, he hears the approach of fire engines on their way to burn the Black residence.