She leaned over him, eyes urgent and shining, blood ebbing through her fingers. "Stay with me, Bill."
He was pointing a gun at my chest. I didn't have time to react. End of the line for a good cop. I always saw myself that way. Know who always said that? Joss Carter.
There was a loud bang and white heat shot through my body, blazing in my veins. A burning fever boiling my blood. I had been shot. An instant later, another bullet. If the first hadn't done enough damage, this sealed my fate, fate in blood splattered across my shirt. This is how it felt to die. Felt, tasted. I couldn't see, however. Or hear, suddenly. It was as if there was a wall of water.
In that moment, I knew and recognized death; it wasn't cold death, but hot-hot-cool death, the numb and spreading sensation of blood across a shirt. I was paralyzed, my chin on my chest. I could feel the blood running down, hot blood that felt cool.
Now I thought of everything, now that I had all of the time in the world. That's right. It's as if the bullet had some kind of slow-motion tripwire. A metaphysical snooze button. When that bullet stopped the clock in my chest, everything else stopped too, except for that distant drum. Was it my heart? Must be; I realize that I mustn't have been killed instantly because it's taken long enough for this feeling to fade. It doesn't bother me somehow, even though I realize I'm dying.
I grew up in the country. I used to go for walks on summer nights, feel the soft breeze, the wet grass beneath my feet, the moon's soft glow. I was very young then. I knew true silence well.
When I was sixteen, we moved to the city. I haven't left since. You can feel the heartbeat of the nation pounding beneath the sidewalk here. I fell in love with that. That's why I'm a cop, I guess- to protect my bit of earth. When I can't, I feel broken. Helpless. Useless. On days like today.
I love my city. But I always thought that when I died, I'd like to do it in the country. Here, how can you rest in peace surrounded by the city noise? Sirens, car horns, feet, the hum of a generator, a jackhammer on the asphalt. But I was wrong. Dying in the city's not so bad. I can't hear a thing but my heart's labored ticking. Even that's slowing down. No, dying's not so bad after all.
It's alright that I won't be buried in the country. I wouldn't fit in there anyway. I've long since become a city boy; my coffin wouldn't know what country soil was. That's why I'm alright with this—this sudden relief of duty, that's all it is. Whoever puts me to rest amidst the roar of New York noise will be forgiven. Especially because if it's within walking distance of the station, she's more likely to see me there.
She. She never knew. How would she? I never told her. I don't think she would have felt the same if I told her how she made my heart pound. Would they have shot me if they knew about her? The way she carries herself, her confidence, her stride.
When I was shot on the Moretti case, she stopped the bleeding. I could have died from her touch.
She and that man—the man in the suit—they spoke over my body in hushed tones. After he left, we were alone. I looked at her with hazy eyes. I thought it was a perfect ending. But she said, "Stay with me, Bill. Help is on the way." I thought, alright. Joss. I'll stay with you.
I guess I wasn't meant to stay. You can't reckon with the will of God. You can't push your deadline. I tried and look where it landed me: square one. Gunshot wound to the chest. I was given a second chance. I was given time to tell her how I felt. I didn't. It's okay, though. That's another thing she said to me while I was lying on the floor- it's okay. Everything is going to be okay.
Who will call for help now that she isn't here? It was her voice that cried, "Officer down!" No man will call it again for me. She saved my ass once, and if I know her at all, they won't get away with this. This scene they've laid is bull. But she knows. She's called me a good cop a dozen times. She won't let me die this way. She knows what must be done.
That's your cue, Joss. Don't let them hurt my city. I've done my share. Now I turn to you. You're a fighter, Joss. Go out and fight. I'm counting on you to save the day.
You always have.