A crowd stood staring at a grisly scene inside a meticulously manicured hospital hallway. Ken Davidson stood near the scene. He stared at the scene with a large duffel full of cleaning supplies and a dry mop.

A large pool of congealed blood sat over the square tiled hospital floor and a large splattered pattern was splashed over the wall and a light blue door. A rectangular sign identified the door belonged to the security team.

He set the duffel on the floor closest to the scene and pulled a plastic bottle from the bag. He combined the bottle with a sprayer when the questions began.

“What happened here?… What’s going on?… Did someone die?… Oh my god”

Ken returned to the bag and pulled from it a pair of large wireless head phones and put them over his ears. He began to apply the cleaner to the scene when someone tapped his shoulder.

Ken turned to see a short man, dressed in a dark blue police officer shirt and slacks waiting for a response. Ken remove the headphones and the men stood awkward for several moments.

“Ken Davidson, do you not recognize me, it’s Paul.” “Paul Shepherd, remember? I was a rookie cop.”

Ken frowned but managed a smile. “Paul, how are you? I’m sorry but I don’t recall much of anything from that part of my life.”

“I’m sorry to hear that Ken,” Paul said with disappointment. “Sorry about what happened to you. You were… are still a hero to many of us.”

“Thank you,” Ken replied. “But if you don’t mind. I have a hallway to clean.”

“Yeah, sure Ken. If you need anything I’ll be over here.”

Paul disappeared from Ken’s view. He returned to work on spraying the floor.

Music flooded the thoughts and sounds of the people queued behind him. They exchanged rumors and guesses while he ignored them.

After spraying the hallway, Ken began to mop up the blood and gore. The traffic in the hallway began to increase as the morning aged.

The bright orange cones redirected the strangers for the most part. Occasionally someone just had to know what happened but Ken ignored them. He kept his head down and his gaze away from anyone. Until someone tapped him on the shoulder.

He turned to growl at what he assumed would be a glasses-clad, disheveled looking man but was surprised to see a brown-haired woman in a eye-catching white sun dress. She smiled at him.

Ken smiled back. An automatic response but one that he hadn’t used in 5 years. He was a bit shocked his face had the muscle strength to smile that widely.

“You have a beautiful smile,” she said, standing in a column of light from a set of windows.

“So do you, it’s a bit intoxicating,” he blurted.

The woman laughed. Ken’s heart shook itself from its sleep.

“I get that all the time,” the woman said then disappeared from view.

Ken stood staring in her direction for, it seemed like an hour, but she can disappeared.

A business man walked up to Ken and asked if he knew what had happened.

Ken automatically explained that a woman had been killed over the weekend.

“That’s all I know.” Ken then smiled again but this time he caught himself. He canceled the smile and added

“I need to finish up, thanks.”

The vision of that woman never left his head. He finished cleaning up the messy scene, packed up his tools and packed them into the portable rolling cart. Questions pelted him mercilessly.

“Who was she? Why did she disappear? Why did she appear? Do I want to know?”

“Rules are rules,” he said to himself. A reminder to not follow his warming heart to find this woman but he was losing that fight.

He knew it was the woman killed in the hallway a few days ago. He had no proof but he was fairly confident. He had been visited before by spirits. They haunted him on occasion but…

There was something about this woman. An intoxicating sense to her. She had the ability to knock him off his feet but she was dead.

“She’s dead.” He confirmed to himself.

He stood and stared at the Security door. He thought to himself, a persistent overwhelming thought.

“Knock on the door, you idiot,” a woman said. Ken spun to see the woman in a sun dress standing in the hallway.

“Ask them.”

“Will it help you?” Ken asked but the woman disappeared when the door to the Security room opened.

The door opened revealing an array of monitors displaying different rooms in the hospital. A large man stepped from the room.
Ken bit his lip then spoke.
“How’s it going? The woman killed, what do you know about her?”
“I don’t know,” said the guard. “Angry boyfriend? I heard an argument then boom. I crapped my pants.”
“Do you know anything about her? Name, where she lives?”
“Why do you care?” Asked the guard. “You just clean up the mess.”
“Don’t be an ass,” Ken warned.
The guard pursed his lips, “honestly, all I know is the guy called her Caroline.”
“Thank you,” Ken said then turned and left.
Ken dumped what was left of the mess into a drain, washed the mop and bucket and stood at the rear doors of his white box truck. He felt a chill creep up from the ground.
“What do you want me to do for you, Caroline?”

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