(illus. by Taz Jurz)

There's a house in the middle of Skylark Street, and they say that it's haunted.
Not that anyone could say for certain. No one lives there, no one goes there, and no one even looks at it if they can help it. It's the sort of place that doesn't invite inspection, if you get what I mean.
The story goes that, long ago, a man came home and found his wife with her lover. He'd been married for years, and hadn't suspected a thing. And then one day he forgot his satchel on the way to work, and came back just in time to catch them in the thick of things. Caught red handed, you might say.
What happened next depends on who you ask. Some versions say he killed her lover, some say her lover killed him. Hell, some folks think her lover went mad and killed them both, running out of town before anyone could call the police...

There's all kinds of gruesome, sick stories about that place, and what happened there. But no one wants to find out for sure, since the place makes you want to be far, far away from its front door.
So no one lives there. No one goes there. No one even looks at it, if they can help it. They say it's haunted, and just leave it at that.
And that's just the way I like it.

"Nothing Gold or Good Can Stay"


The coldest and saddest fact anyone has to face is that there must be an end to things. Nothing is forever: buildings crumble, flowers fade, friendships die, love goes away. Even mighty nations must someday fall into the dust of ages, leaving only trace records, legends and questionable history behind.

And as the mighty nations go, so must the people who made them.

No, mankind is no exception to the stark reality that everything was made only to end. Mortality is but a fragile, temporary condition at best, and though many may try to cheat death - and some, indeed, do - there is no true escape from the ultimate limit of death. Sooner or later, all things must lay down and not get back up again.

But no one wants to accept this.

If asked for an honest answer, most people will say that they believe in a life after death. The alternative is too terrible tocontemplate. Who can truly imagine nonexistence? Who can really say that they look forward to not being able to look forward to anything? To never think, to never feel, to never remember another thing, ever again?

It is madness to dwell upon the idea for too long.

So we cling to the hope that there is something beyond death. Our religions promise us some sort of continuance. Some say we can dwell with the Gods in an unending paradise {or might be forced to suffer in an unending hell}. Others say we can come back, time and time again, until we finally get it right. There are countless variations, and perhaps some of them are correct.

But there is another, even more universal theme.

Almost every culture that has ever existed has believed that souls can get lost on their way. The reasons they are made are unique to each worldview, as are their limits and purposes. Perhaps they have been taken too soon, or in bad circumstances. Perhaps they are angry at their loss, or need a final closure to truly know. But the general idea that there are souls who are denied rest, judgment or peace is frighteningly common.

Common it should be, for ghosts are very, very real.


And these are their stories...