Fucking Dallas. So what, his parents don't give a shit about him. He's not the one who killed someone, he's not the one hiding out in a church with a 13 year old, for Christ sake. Sorry, 14 year old.
Pony's in the back of the car, kind of pouting. I know he wants to go back, though. He's been fighting tears all week, cuddling up to me at night like he must do with Soda at home. I feel awful for dragging him with me. I just didn't want to go alone.
Can't hide anymore, though. I knew my parents wouldn't ask about me. They never have before. When I got beat up that time by the socs I spent a whole week at Pony's house and they never asked about me or looked for me, not even once.
Why should now be any different?
Dallas is mad. He got us this hide out, he said, and now we're going back like ungrateful bastards. He's gripping the steering wheel hard and driving fast, that dangerous look on his face. He's in his dangerous mood.
Maybe he'll break his own rule and punch me, he's so mad. I don't care if he does. It isn't fair to Pony and I can't live in that goddamn church the rest of my life. Can I?
I'm starring hard at the passing scenery. My fucking parents, Christ! Why can't I let them go? They don't care, so fucking what? Dallas is right, the gang cares. Two bit probably wouldn't haul off to Texas to look for any of the others. Just me. I know they care, maybe more about me than the others, yeah, I know they do. But it just ain't enough.
"Look, Johnny, I ain't mad at you," Dallas said, and his voice was high and funny. So funny that I turned to look at him.
"It's just that you don't know what a couple of months in jail can do to you," Pony was starring at him, too. Dally wasn't looking at us, just starring straight ahead.
"You get hard in jail. I don't want that to happen to you, like it happened to me," Pony's mouth was open in surprise and I was looking at him wide eyed. He never talked like this.
"Do you want me to spend the rest of my life hiding out?" I said.
He didn't get a chance to answer.
"Glory! Look at that!" he said, slamming on the breaks. The church was on fire and there were kids, little kids huddled in groups, crying. And two teachers, looked like.
Pony jumped out and ran for the church. Dallas looked mad and surprised. Nothing surprised me anymore. Truth is, I felt kind of numb, since I killed that kid. The whole week I felt like I was dead, rotting in that church.
"Jerry! Some of the children are missing!" The lady teacher said that to the man. He looked around, shook his head no.
"They are! I haven't seen them in half an hour!"
Then we heard it, faint cries from inside the church. The door was filled with flames and Ponyboy looked at the boarded up window.
I ran for the church, picked up a huge stone and shoved it through the boarded up window. Me and Pony went in, following the cries.
"Is that guy coming?" Pony shouted, and coughed. I could barely see in front of me, the smoke was so thick. I coughed, too.
"How come? Too scared?"
"No, man, too fat,"
Dallas had come after us but he didn't come in. My opinion of him shook a little bit. Dallas was supposed to be brave, but he stood outside, glaring at us.
"Ponyboy! Johnny! Get out of there! Are you crazy?"
A funny thing happened then. I felt alive. I wasn't scared like I'd spent years being. I'd spent years fearing my parents, the socs, teachers, cops. That went away. I saw little kids in a corner screaming.
"Shut up! We're gonna get you out!" I yelled at them and saw Pony looking at me with surprise. The kids were too scared to move, we had to pick them up and hand them to Dallas, who kept telling us to get the hell out of there.
There were some kids trapped in a different part of the church, further back. We had to get them. The smoke was so thick and it burned my throat and eyes. I could barely breathe but it didn't matter. Only the kids mattered.
I thought we got all the kids out. The smoke was getting so thick and it was hard to think. I couldn't see, I couldn't tell which way was which any more. I could hear Ponyboy and Dallas yelling but I didn't know where they were.
Then I heard this noise, like a giant tree falling, splitting off from some giant trunk. It was the roof of the church and a beam fell right on me. It was so painful that I saw this blinding light and I started screaming, screaming. I was probably still screaming when I passed out.
The next thing I was aware of was a humming sound, like a low hum or buzz. I didn't know what it was or where I was or anything. All I knew was that I was in a lot of pain. Burns hurt really bad, especially the third degree burns I had. The pain kind of goes around in a circle, it throbs kind of and then it's sharp and it circles back. If that makes sense, I just don't know how to describe it.
I opened my eyes and saw white walls and a lady dressed in white. There was a mask on my face for oxygen, that was what the humming was, the oxygen tank. But I didn't like that mask. It made me feel kind of trapped. I reached up to take it off but when I did a sharp pain shot through my arms and my whole body, kind of. I made a noise, not a yell but like a groan of pain and the nurse turned to me.
"No," she said and took my hand away from the mask, "leave it on,".
"Dally," I said, and my voice was funny, hoarse and cracked like my vocal cords were burned too, "Ponyboy,"
"Are they your friends you were with?" She said, and her voice was nice, kind of low and soothing. I nodded because it hurt to talk and I was kind of too tired to talk.
"You'll see them tomorrow," she said. I got kind of panicky. I hurt so much and I wanted to see them. I needed to see them.
"Dallas, Ponyboy," I had to kind of push the words out, it was so hard to talk.
"Shhh, you'll see them tomorrow," she said, and she came over and readjusted the oxygen mask.