Categories > Books > Outsiders > Epiphany0 Reviews
Dally skidded to a halt under the streetlight, gun raised in silent hopelessness. Dammit, Johnny! He thought. Why did you have to die?!
The cops swarmed from their cars like bees. “Put the gun down!”
Dally licked his lips and did not flinch, his icy blue eyes darting from one officer to the next. He knew what he was doing. He knew what he wanted. And even as the first shots were fired into the cool night air he felt no regret. He closed his eyes and took a deep breath. Johnny’s death was the most horrible thing that had ever happened to him—and what was coming couldn’t be much worse.
When his eyes flickered back open moments later, he was surprised to see that nothing had changed.
Well, something was different. He was still on his feet under the streetlight and—about a foot away from his chest—a bullet was frozen in mid-air. He reached out his left hand and touched it while keeping a firm grip on the gun with his right. The bullet was still hot from being shot out of the chamber, he was sure of it. But it was right there, hovering just seconds away from its deadly destination. He slowly dropped his right arm, the arm that was holding the gun, and took a cautious look around. The lights from the police cars weren’t spinning anymore, just casting stationary blue and red spotlights in either direction. An eerie puff of faint smoke hovered around the policemen’s guns, proof that more bullets had been fired and were on their way.
“What the hell?” Dally mumbled out loud, growing confused—something definitely wasn’t right here. He was supposed to be dead.
He turned around and could see the gang, the length of the lot away, frozen in a race that they would never win. Ponyboy was out front, locked in a sprint, mouth open calling something out. The rest of the guys weren’t far behind, worry and fear marked across their faces, and some of them seemed to be yelling too. They looked sick and defeated, and for a moment he wished that they weren’t there at all. They had only come because of him, he knew. He had called the Curtis house in case he wanted to back down, but that had never been his style—at least now he’d have an audience.
It hadn’t even been an hour since they were all rumbling against the Socs. in this very lot, but only an hour ago things had been dramatically different. Johnny had been alive.
Dally closed his eyes again and was jolted by a voice. “Dallas,” it said.
Dallas quickly looked around again. The only things in sight were the cops, the bullet, and his friends, all frozen in time.
“Dallas,” it said again. It almost sounded like a child.
“What?” He shouted out. Was this God talking to him? Satan maybe? He didn’t believe in either of them.
“Dallas, over here.”
Dally looked around again, seeing nobody. “What?” He called again. “Where are you?”
“In the light,” the voice said soothingly.
Dally looked up above him. The bulb from the streetlight cast a bright glow down upon him, blinding his vision. He couldn’t see anything—or anyone for that matter. He shielded his eyes with the hand that was still holding the unloaded gun. “I don’t see you,” he said stubbornly. “What the hell is going on here? Who the hell are you?”
“I’m a friend,” the voice replied. “And I’m here to give you a glimpse.”
“Oh yeah? Well, you can take your glimpse and shove it!” Dally hissed.
There was a slight hesitation and then the voice spoke again. “You weren’t always this way, you know—so downtrodden and angry. You used to be different. You used to be happy…”
“That was a long time ago,” Dally muttered, “and this is how I am right now. So just let things end the way I planned for them too. Just let those cops send me packing…”
“I will, in good time,” the voice replied calmly. “But there is something left that you must see before you go. Although you seem very steadfast in your decision, I can tell that you still have some doubts—that there are some questions in your mind.”
“Like what?” Dally asked contemptuously. No unseen entity was going to stop him from doing exactly what he wanted.
“I can see that you are uncertain as to why you came to Tulsa at all. Your father certainly didn’t want you here, and you have only caused yourself and many of those around you heartache and trouble…”
Dally narrowed his eyes. “Is that so?”
“That’s what you think, not what I think,” the voice replied simply. “I know that you have done much more than you think you have.”
Dally made a snorting sound. “Oh, really? Well thank you for making me feel better,” he replied sarcastically.
The voice let out a muffled chuckle. “You may not believe it now, but you’ll see,” it replied. “You’ll see that there’s good in the world and that you actually contributed to it.”
Good in the world. Who is this guy kidding? Dally thought. He was getting more and more angry with each minute that passed. He knew, firsthand, that there was no good in the world. Johnny had thought so, and look at what happened to him. He was raised in a loveless home, got beaten by his old man for no reason at all, and was killed because he felt the need to go and save people. No, not people, little kids. He died because he tried to save sniveling, runny-nosed brats.
Dally laughed to himself. “I didn’t contribute to squat,” he finally shouted. It almost felt good saying it. He was worthless—his life didn’t mean anything. Once he was gone, no one would even give him a second thought. He wasn’t the “hero” the paper proclaimed him to be. He was a hood, a JD, a delinquent, and that’s how he liked it. No attachments, no commitments—get tough and nothing can touch you.
But he had been touched. He had actually let his guard down and cared for someone else. Cared for them with his whole heart. The realization made him sick.
“Dallas …” The voice paused, hesitating before breaking into his thoughts. “How about that glimpse?”
“I told you, I don’t need any blasted glimpse!” Dally exclaimed.
“But you do. You need to see how things would have been without you. You need to see that the world is inherently good and that you’re a part of that goodness.”
“What part of ‘no’ don’t you understand?” Dally replied angrily. “I don’t have time for your wishy-washy preaching. Just go away and let that bullet get to me. Let me finish what I started.”
The voice did not respond.
Dally nodded smugly. He sure had showed him—whoever he was. No one messed with Dallas Winston and lived to tell about it! As he slowly turned his body back toward the policemen and their guns, prepared to end it all, he took notice of his friends again. If he had been anyone else, the looks on their faces would have made him feel sad, maybe even guilty. He hadn’t shown it most of the time, but they were probably the best group of guys he ever hung around with…
He remembered the day he left New York …
It was the end of summer. He had been ten, almost eleven. He had just gotten out of jail—not juvenile hall like other kids his age—and his mother had put him on the first train to Tulsa.
She was sick of him—sick of his rap sheet and the trouble that he always found himself in. Sick of everything about him. It wasn’t his fault, really. She was never around and he had been absorbed into the neighborhood gang that got their kicks from making everyone else miserable. Maybe if she had been there, if she had cared a little bit more, things would have turned out differently, but she never had liked being a mother. He guessed it was the price a woman paid for getting knocked up early in life and not wanting a baby in the first place…
So there he was, alone and headed to a new town, in a new state—to live with a father that he had only known by name. He would have crumbled too—like any other ten-year-old kid—if it hadn’t been for his years of training on the New York streets and that last spell in jail. While it had probably saved his life and made him stronger, he wouldn’t wish it on anyone. Jail wasn’t the place to get your kicks.
When the train pulled into the station, he wondered if he could just bolt past his old man and find lodging elsewhere. He had done it in New York with great success, why would Oklahoma be any different?
Stepping onto the platform, a grungy man with overalls, a cowboy hat, and steel-toed boots approached him. “Dallas? Son? Is that you?” He had asked, the drawl in his voice making the words sound funny. “Boy howdy, it’s been awhile.”
Dally had rolled his eyes, he remembered. If he hadn’t looked so darn much like the guy, he might have tried to play it off and get away—pretend that he had the wrong kid, that he wasn’t related—but he couldn’t. Part of him wanted to give this man a chance, let him be the father that he was supposed to be. The other part wanted to punch him in the face—after all, he wouldn’t be in this mess had this lowlife been able to keep it in his pants.
It wasn’t long before he had shown ol’ Dad a thing or two and gotten himself kicked out the house—probably only a couple of days. It wasn’t long before he had met up with another boy, Tim Shepard, who seemed almost as bitter and angry as he was.
And if it weren’t for Tim, he wouldn’t have met the Curtises or Steve or Two-Bit… Or Johnny either …
The silence in the lot became deafening. Had his one-way trip to Tulsa made things better or worse for everyone? The strange voice from the streetlight seemed to think that he had made things better, but that had to be a load of bull. Curiosity began to overtake him and Dally couldn’t help himself. What would things have been like if he hadn’t taken the train that hot summer day?
“Hey!” Dally yelled, the urgency in his voice startling him slightly. “Whoever you are! Come back!”
“Yes?” The voice responded quietly, almost inaudibly, as if it had given Dally his chance and didn’t want to be noticed this second time around.
“I’ve decided that I want to know.”
“I thought you might change your mind …”
The streetlight made an electric humming sound and then flickered slightly. Dally felt as if the world was spinning uncontrollably and closed his eyes. He dropped a knee to the ground to steady himself and set the gun down in the grass at his feet. When the spinning sensation finally died down, he stood up and looked around …