I’m so pleased to welcome Champagne BURST! author Elizabeth Fountain to Goosebumps. She writes sci-fi and fantasy, but, whatever the story, you get a glimpse of Elizabeth and you’re left with a smile. “Delilah’s Ghost” is no exception. I loved every word and bet readers will too.
When my brother’s dog gave birth to five puppies, I asked for the only female. As the youngest child, and only five years old, I wasn’t certain whether my parents would let me keep any of Queenie’s pups. But they agreed relatively quickly; I think my mother secretly wanted to keep them all.
We named the pup Delilah. Why such a glamorous name for a small mutt of a dog? I don’t recall. A dark brown fur ball, Delilah’s appearance reflected the mix of her mother’s spaniel and her papa’s “unknown provenance,” shall we say. She quickly showed us her spirit, which lived up to her name: regal doggy smile on her sweet face, a ton of feminine spunk in her demeanor. As she aged, spunk sometimes became crankiness. A lifelong problem with hip dysplasia meant Delilah felt some pain or discomfort most of the time. Occasionally, she showed her impatience, but she was always as glamorous as her name.
House rules meant our dogs lived outdoors. They shared a comfy doghouse with beds of clean straw to keep them warm in winter. Delilah stayed furry, like a chow, adding to her coziness in our cold winters. I longed to be allowed to let her come to bed and sleep with me, to curl up with her chocolate-brown furry warmth in my arms.
Because of the good care our family dogs received, mostly due to my mother, they all lived long lives. Delilah was well into her teens when she died, while I was at college.
Life went on.
And so did Delilah’s spirit. Her ghost followed me through moves, school, careers, other pets, marriage, and divorce. Out of the corner of my eye, I’d see a pile of brown fur, sweet brown eyes, that regal doggy grin. Delilah reminded me of Queen Victoria in her old age: the little dog moved as if she wore a crown, barked in the “royal we,” and expected deference from one and all, other dogs and humans. She also showed tremendous love and loyalty, in the way of all family dogs. Whenever I needed any of that – queenly energy, loving company – I’d see Delilah, hear her bark, wake up to the sensation of her warm self next to me, the way I’d always wanted as a kid. I hope she’ll haunt me always.
Delilah’s hip problems made her clumsy, at times. Just now, as I am finishing this story, I heard a noise.
A spoon fell on the kitchen floor, for no reason. There’s no one here but me.
Except – maybe, out of the very corner of my eye, I spy a mound of warm chocolate brown fur, a wagging tail, and a sweetly royal doggy smile.
Copyright 2013, by Elizabeth Fountain Used with permission.
Elizabeth Fountain left a demanding job as a university administrator in Seattle to move to the small town of Ellensburg, Washington, and pursue her dream of writing novels. Her first book, An Alien’s Guide to World Domination, was released by BURST Books in 2013; and You, Jane, her second novel, will be published in 2014. On her breaks from writing, Liz teaches university courses, spends time with family and friends, and takes long walks in the diabolical Kittitas Valley wind. Her quirkily humorous view of humanity is well suited to her tales of aliens and angels, love and death, friendship and dogs.
An Alien’s Guide to World Domination is a humorous science-fiction novel from BURST! Books (Champagne Book Group)
Louise Armstrong Holliday is the last person on Earth you’d expect to try to save the human race. But when she uncovers proof that her boss is an alien the color of lime Jell-O ™ gone horribly wrong, and is at the center of a plot to destroy humanity, Louie decides to do exactly that. She begins a journey from her company’s suburban Seattle office park to the old cities and castles of Eastern Europe. Along the way, Louie is attacked by flying books, overly-sensitive bat-crow monsters, and her own self-doubts. She must learn the truth about her closest friend, stand up to her boss, confront her oldest enemy, and make peace with her Aunt Emma, who annoys her in the way only true family can. She also has to rely on Buddy, the little blind mini-Schnauzer who saves her life twice – and really is from Mars.