As they walk on their second say without the Symphony, Kirsten and August come across a gas station. They look around and a dog barks, and a man appears holding a rifle. They assure the man (who soon introduces himself as Finn) that they are only passing through and are headed for the Museum of Civilization in the Severn City Airport. After a tense interaction, he invites them to fill their water bottles in the back.
Traveling alone, even in a pair, is extremely dangerous. The man that they encounter carries a weapon, and though their interaction is polite, the tension throughout indicates the open mistrust among humans after the collapse. Luckily, Finn is kind and nonviolent, so Kirsten and August are able to pass unharmed.
There, Kirsten sees two redheaded twins, whom she recognizes from the last time the Symphony passed through St. Deborah by the Water two years ago. She wonders if it is better or worse for children to never have known any world other than the one after the Flu.
As Kirsten herself remembers the children, she wonders about the benefits and costs of memory. Knowing about the world before the Flu can be good explanation and history for children, but it can also be confusing, painful, and impractical.
When Kirsten asks Finn if they’ve met before, since she recognizes him from St. Deborah by the Water, he asks if the prophet sent her. When she says no, Finn says he remembers the Symphony passing through, and that he left once the prophet took over. Finn tells Kirsten and August that Charlie and Jeremy left a few days before he did.
Finn has apparently interacted with the notorious prophet. He provides the essential information that Charlie and Jeremy left St. Deborah by the Water safely soon before he did.
As Kirsten and August walk onward, they discuss the Symphony’s absence and Finn’s scar, which is the symbol of a lowercase t with the extra line added. Soon they come across a driveway, which they follow to a house that, miraculously, given all of the looting and time since the flu, has a locked front door. When they enter, they realize that the house is untouched, the first un-looted house they’d found in years. They pass through the house, admiring the now useless relics of civilization. August says prayers for the dead family members, and the two collect some supplies, including fancy clothing Kirsten plans to use for costumes. She believes that the Symphony’s work is to cast a spell, and that wearing costumes helps. There is something special, she thinks, about the character of Titania in a gown, for example. They each leave with one suitcase full of new supplies, but before leaving August searches for a TV Guide or poetry book, and Kirsten looks for “Dr. Eleven” or a copy of Dear V., a book she lost on the road. The book is comprised entirely of letters from Arthur Leander to his friend V.
At this point, Kirsten and August cannot yet ascertain the meaning of the prophet’s symbol. They have the good fortune of finding an untouched house, which gives them an opportunity to gather supplies but forces them once again to encounter death. In collecting costumes, Kirsten reflects on the purpose of the Symphony, which is to partly provide a magical escape for audience members. The costumes make these escapes more convincing and seem to contribute something intangible yet important to the theatre experience. As always, they search for books for the memories, valuable information, and potential for comfort and escape that they provide.