It was during that era, the era when the dead were returning, or so we thought, that I took a train to the edge of the Great Desert.

The train was crammed full of passengers returning from the Beyond. It was hot. Children were singing, clapping, and shouting.

I was carrying a thrush in a wicker cage. I pulled a velvet cover over the page so it would stop singing. I was very tired.

And hot.

I fell asleep over my book, The Book of Hellfire & Damnations. Mainly, it was a cruel and bloody collection of old "killing ballads" from the Old West.

"Everything changes, everything appears and disappears. When both existence and non-existence are transcended, Nirvana will be bliss."

Do you know what book that's from, originally? a woman asked, her eyes on the page I'd been reading.

It startled me, her slightly rough voice. I looked at her. She was wearing a sober, neat, chaste dark blue dress but had blazing blue eyes and black hair.

No, I said, putting my finger on the page to keep my place. Where?

She took an old leatherbound book out of her handbag and showed me the spine: The Book of Ghosts and Mysterious Apparitions.

I laughed.

Where are you going? I asked.

She looked at me. After a long long time, she said: West.