In the First World, there were no ghosts.
Everything was new and colourful in a washed out, nostalgic sort of way: like a lucid mind in an ecstasy of mushrooms and fantasy. And as shells of soldiers fell off ledges or collided with each other in contention, plants burned out by fire, beetles failed by foot, squat things were squashed back into the earth, and fish and squids fell in water and monsters drowned below bridges a princess was found in the right castle and all was well.
As a result, the Second World was a sleep of the just and bounty.
Until the Third World.
Until the ghosts came.
Perhaps the ghosts didn’t so much come as they were always there and it was only in the greatest castles, forts and darkest worlds that they began to manifest. Certainly, in the time of the Third World they seemed mostly limited to those spots and, after, they could be rendered out of sight. Out of mind.
Yet perhaps in mockery of the deeds that heroes did not want to admit to, or examine in too much detail, the ghosts would always stare away from their tormentor … they would stare away until his back was turned and, like a guilty conscience no longer assuaged by excuses, his ethereal attendants would catch up with him.
By the Fourth World and the graduation from shaded 8-bits into vibrant cartoon colours the ghosts gained their own castles. And some of them had different faces. And there were so many of them. So many.
Did the heroes ever stop to count the number of enemies they slaughtered and attempt to match them up with the restless, mocking, vengeful dead?
And now–now–the ghosts have grown in size and intent. And worse yet, not all of them turn away under scrutiny but lunge for their murderers or, worse yet, stare right back into their eyes. But what does it mean? What does it mean?
What does it mean?