Chapter 11 Epilogue (Pony's Point of View)

Johnny and Anderson were both rushed to the hospital. Anderson was announced dead on arrival, and at one-thirty this morning, Johnny died from a gunshot wound to the chest. His last words were, "You should see the sun set across the beaches of California, Pony. Looks just like red and orange flames." I think, maybe I will someday.

You can only imagine the prosecutor's face when he heard the news of Tim and Curly's arrest. They both plead guilty for drug dealing and murder in the first degree. They'll spend the next twenty years in prison.

All charges against Steve and Soda were dropped. They were set free the day after the Shepards' arrest, and I'm figuring that maybe Steve isn't so bad. Maybe, I just need to give him a chance is all.

The chief of police retired, saying there's only so much of Dallas Winston a man can handle, and offered the job to Winder. He walked all the way to my house to tell me the news, claimed he was walking anyways and figured he'd stop by. It was the last time I ever saw him.

We stood side by side on my front porch, the silence between us saying more than words ever could. His eyes were red with exhaustion, and I wondered mildly if they reflected my own image.

"Well, I guess that's that." He choked out suddenly, looking down at his hands as if they were a new discovery.

"Yep." I answered, taking a chance by looking him in the eyes. He noticed my stare, and gave me a half-hearted grin, as he reached for something in his back pocket.

"Hold onto this for me, will you?" He asked, tossing me his police badge. I stared at it, dumbfounded for a moment, before my mind registered his question.

"Oh I couldn't-" I begin to say, but he had already turned to leave.

"Keep it kid, I don't need it anymore." He stated from over his shoulder.

"But what about what Alan said? About you being Chief?" I asked with confusion. He stopped and turned to look at me, a new light in his face.

"Chief? Me? Nah, I'm not cut out for a job like that. I'm thinking about quittin'. Becoming a firefighter. What do you think about that?" He answered. I smiled at him and shrugged.

"I think we could always use more of those." I answered.

"Yeah, 'sides, how many people you suppose would trust a drug addict for their chief of police?" He asked, giving a small, sad, laugh. I thought for a moment, clutching the badge in my hand.

"I won't tell if you won't." I answered finally. He gave me a wink and nodded up at the sky.

"Nice colors, huh?" He said, turning and walking away from the house I've lived in all my life. I watched him till he was out of sight, then looked up at the sky myself.

"Real nice." I whispered, noticing how warm the badge was in my hands.

"Like red and orange flames."