Delia started taking walks with her dog every day. She decided she was going to "improve her life." This was her way to get clarity. She could be free in a sense.
"I am out in the open woods, smell the fresh air! Oh my GOD! What was that noise?"
Okay, so maybe she wasn't a ready made woods-woman! Delia also had a "gift" as people liked to call it. "Oh, please tell me. Do you see him today?" a short, slender woman pleaded as she stood in front of Delia and her dog Tig.
"No, I am sorry. Not today." The woman's eyes filled with tears as she told Delia to "have a good walk" and sulked away.
Delia had felt bad for the woman. She wanted to see her son but today Delia had not seen him.
She started to venture around the path to continue her walk with Tig. Tig smelled everything. She stopped to pee on everything also. "Okay, girl we have to get going. It is going to get dark soon!"
Delia arrived back at the parking lot to find no car. "What? Wait? Where did we park Tig?"
"UGH! Now I have to call someone for a ride." Delia reached for her phone but did not have it so only lived across the road. She decided to walk home to her small apartment.
She walked in and it seemed so bare and empty. She wasn't hungry but Tig certainly worked up an appetite. "Are you hungry? You want some food?"
Delia pulled a can from a basket marked "TIG" on it. Her mother had brought her the basket when she got Tig.
Delia heard a woman talking. She walked to her apartment door which she had left open and she smiled at the woman. "Excuse me? Does Mr. Mars live here?"
"Oh, no! I am sorry, he passed away months ago. I am sorry no one told you."
The woman looked confused. "I was looking for him for months." Just like that Delia turned for a second and the woman was gone. "A spirit maybe?" "I am losing my mind!" Delia said out loud in a panic.
She figured she would go inside and get some rest. She laid on her bed and fell asleep.
She awoke the next morning to a man sitting on the edge of her bed.
"OHHH MY GOD! How did you get in here?"
"Uhhh, the wall, the door." He looked confused. "Are you Mr. Mars?" "Yes, Yes that is me! Johnny Mars." "Oh, there was a woman here last night looking for you sir!"
He looked at Delia who was still dressed in jeans and a light pink top with a red hoodie that read LIFE on it.
"So you live here?" "Yes I do and apparently every spirit knows now!" Delia's eyes grew wide as she looked at him. He was tall and had the remains of a nice suit on.
"The last thing I remember were the high beams coming towards me on the road. They were so bright. I tried to swerve out of the way you know." He lowered and shook his head in a unforgiving way.
"What did you do next?" Delia asked.
"I, I.... I don't remember. I just remember the lights and the people and Sally standing with me and then she was gone." He looked sad now. Just sad.
"I would tell you to go to the light or something but I don't know if there is a light?" Delia looked at him like she was trying to put together a complicated puzzle. Delia decided it was time to be up for the day.
She could not for the life of her remember what she had to do so she decided it was time for Tig to go for a walk. But where is Tig? "TIG! Delia shouted in a playful way.
"Oh, Tig come on! Lets go to the park!" Delia heard Tig run down the hallway. "Where were you? I was calling and calling." The dog sat and waited for Delia.
She looked around her apartment and walked down the hall past her mom's apartment and leaned into the open door. "Hey mom, I am heading over to the park. Do you need me to run anywhere for you?" Delia yelled in but no answer.
"Mom, are you home?" Delia walked in and saw her mother asleep on the sofa surrounded by boxes of tissues and coffee cups.
She must have had a long night, Delia thought. "Okay, Mom I will be back." Delia slowly crept out of the apartment with Tig.
Something was different today. A man in a pickup truck was sitting parked at the end of the parking lot. Delia watched him for a good ten minutes from a bench before heading up the trail. "UGH, he looks like he is up to no good Tig!" She looked up to the trail and saw a young girl similar to herself walking alone. No dog, no friend no one.
"I have seen him somewhere. Oh man, why cant I remember." Delia tried to remember where saw him but she was drawing a blank. She decided to wait another ten minutes and then saw the girl rounding the corner.
Delia waved and said Hello but the girl simply kept walking to her car.
"Wow, she is not very friendly."
The man in the pick up truck looked to be about thirty and he had dirty blonde hair and was wearing a red baseball hat with a black jacket. Delia could not make out the shirt but no less tried to memorize his face. He had a pretty fresh cut on his lip.
"Wonder what happened to him Tig?" Delia said.
"Okay, lets get moving!" Delia and Tig climbed the hill and started their walk. She ran into the same woman she sees everyday.
"Do you see him? Can you see him?" She pleaded.
Delia searched the area and looked around with her eyes and turned towards a dock. "He is over there. Oh, now he is next to you." The young man was about twenty. He brushed his shoulder with his hand and stared at Delia.
He never really spoke but that was okay. "He seems okay." Delia smiled at her.
"Thank you!" the woman smiled in no particular direction but seemed happy. The young man stared at Delia and pointed towards the water.
Then he pointed towards the parking lot at the man in the pick-up truck and then he was gone.
Delia would often see people or spirits or whatever you wanted to call them. One day however on her walk. Delia saw something she never thought she would see. Tig was happy and vibrant and loved so much. Delia would do anything for her dog.
Tig wanted to venture down to the water. Delia had not done this before. She stared at the small hill leading down to the water and stared at Tig who was just so excited. "Ducks and water! What is the excitement about!" She said aloud.
"Okay, come on Tig." Delia slowly shuffled down the hill and looked around. She heard small branches breaking and some voices but she figured it was people walking around the small park she now came to everyday.
"Oh wow, policemen!" "Excuse me! Excuse me! Whats going on?" Delia tried to get the attention of the men.
"Hello! Is no one going to tell me whats going on?!" Delia was frustrated.
Tig was barking and barking as the policeman began to appear everywhere and people were searching.
"Wait? What is going on?" Delia's eyes widened as she noticed the man in the pick-up truck take off.
They were searching or looking for something. Or someone...
"Excuse me! Hello!" Delia was starting to get angry! So angry!
She turned around and screamed at the top of her lungs! "EXCUSE ME PEOPLE!" A huge gust of wind blew a large pile of leaves and branches and pieces of trees away from the side of the water where Tig continued to bark at.
"What are you barking at?" Delia was starting to get upset.
"I cannot even get answers. What the hell is wrong with all of you?" A woman standing over the edge of the water gasp and started shouting, "over here, hurry! Over here!"
Delia walked towards the edge of the water and Tig continued to bark and then finally laid down.
Delia walked towards towards the woman who was now on the ground.
It was her mothers friend kneeling on the ground over a body.
"Oh God, she had the jacket on. Oh my god." The woman started to sob. "Ma'am we need to get you up. You need to step back." A stern officer and two Crime Scene officers appeared behind them.
"UGH, Hello! Standing right here!" Delia snapped as they walked by her fast.
Delia started to creep up to the edge and she stared at the water and then the body.
Delia looked at the slim girl wearing the same red hoodie with LIFE across the front and the crime scene tech slowly picked up leaves to reveal the face.
It was Delia. Delia stared at herself floating in the water. Tig laid on the ground and cried. "Please, someone needs to take the dog home. Please take Tig back to her mom's apartment."
"WAIT, one second. That is NOT ME! I am right here!!! I am standing right here. TIG, you come here right now!" Tig stood up and looked towards Delia as if she could see Delia.
The man in the pick-up truck was back now watching the crime scene as the began to wrap crime scene tape around parts of the park. The young man appeared to Delia and he spoke to her for once.
"I wanted to tell you. My mom has a gift. Just like you can talk to the living, she can talk to the dead but I didn't have the heart to tell you I saw him hurt you." The young man stood there watching Delia watch the man from the morgue zip the body bag shut on her own body.
"Wait, she tried to grab him. Where am I going? Where are you taking me?" They are taking you to the morgue the young man said. It is where they took me when he killed me.
"Who killed you? No one killed me. I am right here." Delia shouted.
"The man in the truck. He would follow you like he followed me and my sister." The young man said.
Delia started to remember. She would run with Tig and he stopped her one day to ask her a question and then remembers falling down the hill.
"Oh my God, he did. He murdered me. He, he hit me. He hit me with that thing he was carrying." Delia was still fuzzy.
She walked towards the truck when she saw Tig make a beeline for the truck. Tig started growling and barking and the man tried to step out of his truck. "Get out of here, you stupid dog!" He shouted.
"Get him Tig!" Delia yelled.
The woman who often saw Delia saw the man and started screaming for the police.
"Wait, Tig fought with him. Tig bit him. Tig bit him!" Delia was yelling and the woman starting yelling too. "TIG BIT HIM, TIG BIT HIS FACE!"
"What? Ma'am what are you doing?" "Look, I know you may think I am crazy but my son was murdered here too and this young woman speaks to me. I don't know how but check him, check his truck. Please, I am begging you."
The woman stood there as the man tried to get back out of his truck. "Crazy woman doesn't know what she is talking about!" He scoffed at her.
Delia stood there looking at the woman. It came to her. "A walking stick with a skull on it. He hit me with that. I remember that!"
Delia began shouting and the woman said quietly, "A walking stick with a..... cross or skull?" She was not as connected to Delia right now.
Tig had started growling again at the man. The officers stared at the man and then at Tig.
"Get the dog and search him and that truck now!" It may have been against the rules but the officer could not let a killer get away.
They put him under arrest and made the fateful ride over to Delia's mothers apartment with Tig. "Oh god, Tig did you get out again? I am sorry officer, ever since..... ever since, Delia... went missing. Tig has been escaping." her mother started to sob.
The Officer handed Tig over to Delia's mom and then delivered the worse news. "I am so sorry, we found her today at the park. She was murdered." the officer took his hat off and held it to his chest. "I am sorry."
"We are going to need you to identify the body."
Delia's mother dropped to the floor clutching the only thing she had that was a living part of her daughter..... Tig. "Oh my god. Oh god. Oh god." She just sobbed and repeated "Oh god."
Mrs. Petes, we need you to come with us to identify her.
"I need to bring Tig, she sobbed." That is not possible the younger officer chimed in. "Ummm, no, it is okay, Tig can ride along."
Delia stood watching her mother sob and tried to talk to her. "Mom, I am right here, I am here." She ran her fingers through her moms hair. Her mother looked up. "Delia!? Oh god, I felt her."
Tig looked right at her. "I know you can see me!" Delia smiled and started tearing up as she watched her dog comfort her mother.
"I am sure she is with you, Mrs. Pete." The officer smiled for only a second.
The young boy stood from a far and watched as his own mother watching Delia's mom.
They arrived at the hospital to identify Delia's body and Mrs. Pete signed papers when an Officer came to tell her a man was arrested and had the weapon and finger prints and Delia's scarf in his truck.
"Apparently he was one of the men that cleaned up the park. He had a few priors and no one kept an eye on him and he started murdering young kids at the park."
"Tig tried her best to save Delia and the bite marks on him match the mold we took of Tig's teeth and I know this won't make you feel better or worse Mrs. Pete but your Delia fought. That is why we could not find her for so long. She tried to grab a bigger stick, I guess she was gonna hit him and he got to her first but Tig did some damage."
Delia's mother hugged the dog and looked at her beautiful daughter laying on a cold metal table. "Mom, I am okay. I even made a friend." Delia smiled at the young man who would now be earth-bound for a while.
"So what now? What do we do here?" Delia looked at him for answers. "Well, we leave soon but right now we just try to give the ones that loved us some peace." He smiled at her.
Tig wondered over to Delia and sat beside her and started to cry. "Tig, whats wrong baby? Come here. What is it Tig?" Mrs. Pete stared around the now cleared out room and Delia decided to try something.
She hugged her mother as tight as she could and practically went through her like in all those ghost stories she watched as a kid.
"Do you see Delia baby girl? Delia? If you can hear me? I am sorry. I am so sorry." Her mother wept and sank to the floor again hugging Tig.
"Mom, Tig tried to save my life. Let Tig save you now." Delia brushed her hand over her life long companion and smiled at her mother.
The officer gather Delia's things and handed them to her mom and gave Tig a treat and a pat on the head. "You did good Tig!"
The next day instead of drinking and sleeping on the sofa, Mrs. Pete's got up and grabbed Tig's leash and collar and decided to go for a walk.
She doesn't even know why. She just felt the need to be outside.
She stopped a few times. She was out of breathe and tired but Tig kept going. She spotted something near the water. She looked up and squinted her eyes.
Delia looked up and through the rays of sun reflecting off the water she smiled at her mother and she saw the tears flow. "Oh my god, Delia." her mother looked at Tig who seemed to see Delia also and made a beeline for the water, faster than lightning!
"No, no girl you have to stay with mom!" Delia smiled at her dog and smiled at her mother who now no longer saw her but saw sunshine and Tig staring at her.
"I guess that was it. I guess you are free but I know you are with me always." Delia's mom smiled and walked back up the small hill with Tig and looked around at everything her daughter saw walking and being outside.
"You know Tig, we are going to be okay! We have someone real special watching over us." Tig looked back at Mrs. Pete with a quick look and the two continued their stride.
Delia was not quite sure if she was meant to catch a killer or help her mother with her depression or even help Tig find a mission? She knew now she was gone but a killer had been put away for life and her mother was up and walking and even made a friend with the young mans mother whom she started walking with everyday. She even adopted a dog to walk.
Tig was sure happy to have a friend even though ever once in a while Delia would sneak around to see her life long companion.
She didn't know what was next in this spirit life but she did know she helped someone in life and in death.