He’s poking his way through the sewers beneath Vienna when he stumbles across a body. It takes him a second to recognize it. “You look terrible,” he tells it.
The body rolls one mildewed eye, blinks, focuses. “Oh,” it wheezes. “Perfect.”
“How long have you been down here?”
The corpse pushes itself up, dislodging the nest of rats carved into its chest. “Are they still fighting? They’d just started.”
“Six years. No, they’ve stopped now. What happened?”
That patient Roman skin starts to push itself back together. Something meeps down inside, and he picks one eyeless pink raisin out and glares at it before gently putting it down with the rest. “Oh, some asshole stabbed me and dumped me down here and I figured I’d show the Fucker. What are you, come to fetch me back again?”
Ahasuerus stares at him, turning it over. “No,” he sighs at last, “but I guess you never know.”
“Christ,” Longinus says, a prayer and a curse, all at once, inseparable, immiscible.