"Bodie ... Bodie ..."
The soft words gradually sank into his consciousness and Bodie opened his eyes. The woman's voice was insistent, calling from somewhere above him, and he attempted to focus on the source through the odd shimmering haze around him.
"What? Who is that?" Sitting up, Bodie experienced a moment's panic, unable to remember anything. He wasn't in a room; there were no walls he could focus on, yet he felt somehow constrained.
The voice called again. "Here."
The haze seemed to thin just ahead of him; a light glow growing brighter as he focused. "Who's there?"
Standing up, Bodie took a step forward then froze as he glanced down to find that the haze extended all around him, including what he was apparently standing on.
"Don't be scared."
"I'm not." What on earth was happening? Where the hell was he? His own thoughts gave him a clue and he glanced round, coming back to the glow. "Am I dead?"
The glow seemed to sparkle, perhaps indicating amusement. "You could be."
"Am I or not?" Bodie couldn't feel any pain; surely if he'd been shot, or something - a sudden flash of memory caught him; Doyle - a warehouse - stairs - it went, leaving him blank again. This wasn't making any sense - who was the woman? A guardian angel - God? - Bodie had never been one for religion but wouldn't be surprised to find out God was a woman.
"So what's this? Gateway to Heaven?" Not what he had been expecting, but then he'd always thought he'd go downwards and this didn't exactly look like Hell either.
As Bodie took an exasperated step towards the glow it receded, leaving him the same distance away. "So what happens now?" If he was dead this was pretty odd.
"You have to decide."
"Decide? On Heaven or Hell?"
"Whether to live or not."
"That doesn't take much deciding. Live. For as long as possible."
"That wasn't how you felt earlier."
More memories; fighting with a girl, chasing a suspect, his partner - small brilliant flashes jerked strings giving him snatches from the last few hours ...
"... you're selfish, Bodie, you know that? ...
... I have to work, Maria, you know what my job's like ...
... maybe - but you're just too selfish to think about others at any time ...
... c'mon, Bodie, what's up with you? Snap out of it - we've got to get this guy before he gets us ... we lost him. Cowley won't be pleased ...
... tell you, Ray, I'm starting to wonder whether it's all worth it ...
... get down, Bodie! ..."
Bodie was jerked back to the present. "Is Doyle OK? Were we shot?"
"Do you care?"
"Yes, I care!" Bodie looked around him.
"So you're not too selfish to think about your partner."
Bodie wasn't sure whether it was possible to get menacing with a weird glow but it was worth a try. "Look - just tell me what's going on - "
"Your partner is fine. But you were wondering whether it was worth it ..."
"The job - Maria - girls in general even - but not life - not if I've really got the choice ... "
The voice was insistent but this time Bodie recognised it. As he turned he felt as if he had been sucked into a wind tunnel. Closing his eyes against the wind he felt someone shaking his shoulder.
"You OK? You had me worried there for a bit." Doyle's grin still had a hint of worry in it.
Bodie sat up and focused on his partner. "What happened?"
"I saw the guy behind you and shouted you to get down. Next thing you've taken a dive down the stairs and knocked yourself out."
Struggling to his feet, Bodie looked up the long flight of stairs. It was a wonder that he'd only knocked himself out. "Ray? Do you think I'm selfish?"
"Yes." Doyle's sudden grin belied his answer. "But not when it really matters. I'd already holstered my gun and before taking the quick way down you spun and fired - if you hadn't, I wouldn't be here ..."
"Yeah?" Bodie shook his head. He had no recollection of any of that. "I had a bit of a weird dream ... "
"What was she like?"
"Not all my dreams are about women - although ... " Bodie didn't finish his sentence. "I think I should find a phone and call Maria."
"Maria?" Doyle looked sideways at his partner. "Have you got concussion? You were telling me just half hour ago that she'd given you the elbow."
"Maybe I've been given another chance ..."