“Stop right there!” Jess practically shouted as the dead man walked through the door and into the closet. Luckily, she surprised him and he immediately stopped, just shy of touching her outstretched hand. More softly she asked, “Do you realize that you are dead?” Jess knew many didn't understand they were truly dead, and the newly dead were far more dangerous to Jess then the long dead.
“Why does everyone keep telling me that? I can't be dead! I have to get to surgery and no one will tell me which room I'm assigned to and I don't see my name on the board anywhere.” The man appeared to be in his early 30s and his expression was one of pure frustration.
“Oh, dear, you don't know. I'll swear on a stack of bibles that you are, most definitely, dead. What is your name?” Jess had heard about a young doctor being killed shortly before she'd started, but had never seen a picture of him. She was pretty certain the dead man in front of her was him.
“It's Dr. Dickinson and I have a critical patient that's waiting on me! Who do I need to talk to around here to get a room scheduled?” Still in denial, the doctor was focused solely on his patient and not paying complete attention to what Jess was telling him.
“Dr. Dickinson, you're not listening. You died...almost a year ago. No one talks to you because no one else can see or hear you. Just me. It's a curse, or a gift, depending on how you look at it. I'm sure someone else stepped in and took care of your patient for you. Tell me your patient's name and I'll see what I can find out.” Jess was talking calmly and slowly, hoping it would sink in. What a shame, she thought, losing such a dedicated doctor so young. She desperately wanted to comfort him, but knew that if she touched him, he'd be far less inclined to believe her news of his death.
“I'm not dead! I keep telling you. I'M. NOT. DEAD!”, he was shouting and so close to Jess' face that that she could have licked his nose. “However, since YOU refuse to believe ME, I'll give you my patient's name and room number. Let me check my notes.” And with that he was gone. That's kind of the way it was with the newly dead who refused to believe. If Jess was lucky he'd be gone for a least a week, perhaps more. Sometimes they popped up again pretty fast, but that wasn't so common. Time between the two planes was warped and inconsistent, with the other side still moving forward but at vastly varying speeds and that rarely failed to surprise her.
Taking a deep breath and slowly letting it out, Jess peeked her head out of the janitor's closet. All clear; good, now I have a chance to pee! Jess thought as she headed into the women's room.
I just wish you all could see what I see in my head...then y'all might understand why I look like a crazy woman laughing to myself in my cubicle.