Beneath the dirt and sweat and hair of three miserable weeks, the skin of Orpheus’ face was smooth and perfect. His muscles slid unseen beneath a tattered parka, his flesh was tight and unremarkable. His face revealed nothing of his sleeplessness or his sparse eating habits. (In fact, it has been years since he has even thought of food, which to him would seem a distressingly human function.) His eyes shone with the brightness of a youth that was not quite spent, though he opened them seldom. It was only his voice that gave away his age, and only to those well studied in the Thracian tongue (so most likely no one alive). He strummed a few chords on his out-of-tune guitar, accurately but without passion. The tune came out slowly and deliberately; it evoked the image of an old door being opened, the music itself existing indirectly of the action, inferred from the creaking of the hinges. The first verse, barely audible, was a trail of footsteps over a bare dirt floor. The transition pre-chorus was the brush of fingertips over a harsh, woven blanket. Finally, Orpheus took a deep breath for the chorus, the part he remembered best. Words wove together a body beneath the blanket, at rest but without peace. Both characters knew pain, the sleeping one in their body, the watching and touching one in their soul.There were startling, sporadic silences in the melody, raspy breaths and chapped lips, the sleeping body waking, holding weakly to their love, pleading not to be left alone, and then breathing their last. The watchful body was the one left alone, but then a crescendo, they would not be alone for long. A mysterious hope and then a second verse, unremembered and unfinished, and Orpheus stopped playing. He did not cry. Instead he stared through the faces of his crowd, letting down his guard and listening to them. They cried and pleaded and hurled insults and threats. Not a single word of comfort came to him from this audience, but he did not expect any. The begging and pleading ones of the crowd swiped at his clothes out of instinct, though their hands passed right through him. The angry and violent of the crowd let spit fly from their lips but it did not land on him. They could not touch him, but they could call to him, ceaselessly. And they did. Humans, on the other hand, tended to avoid him. His song wasn’t the kind that attracted company or coins, and the stench coming off him kept the passerby at a distance. Orpheus knew distance, real or imagined, it seemed to be a constant in his life. He thought for a moment of the distance between himself and Sar. He’d been ignoring that person, the only person worth talking to in the last millenium as far as he could tell. Of course, he hadn’t had to resurrect himself in a while either, he’d been rather happy wandering the streets and learning things on his own. He didn’t need some wise-ass ancient to teach him how to use a phone. (Though he was still trying to get the hang of computers.) Where was Sar now? It would be easy to find out, all he would need is a quick death to take him there. But he hesitated; dying now would be such a mess, and he’d have to leave the guitar behind. Death wasn’t the real reason though. He thought back to the last time they’d spoken; it was a revolution. American? French? He could remember the uniforms but not their origin. They’d been drinking (well, Orpheus had been drinking) and laughing and everything had been perfect for a while. Then he’d said something, something that took all the warmth out of Sar’s face, and it had all gone downhill from there. Past hurts resurfaced, pretence for humanity lost, a vague memory of shouted threats from Orpheus’ end. He’d made a damn fool of himself, drinking and crying with barely enough room in between to breath so he could get the words out. Damn that old sack of fire and bones. What had Sar said? Probably told him to go to hell, most likely, so that’s what he did. Once the wine was gone he went straight for the underworld, and didn’t even bother to move his body, like a civilized immortal. Death was such a mess, but the slow deaths were more disquieting than anything. He wondered what Sar did with the body before it disappeared, but there would never be a good time to ask, which was true for most of the questions that arose when he saw Sar or even smelled him. Sar smelled beautiful, like exotic fruits that no one grew anymore, and flowers whose names he’d long forgotten. Strong scents, meant to cover the stench of death. Orpheus had been back from hell for a while now, and he had nothing to show for it. He could barely even remember his wife’s face at this point, not that he would ever admit that to Sar or anyone else (if there ever was anyone else). The strained pleas of a woman nearby drew him out of his reminiscing. She was going on and on about her dear pets that she’d left behind. “Fuck your fucking cats, they’re probably eating your dead body right now!” he shouted. The few humans on the street gave him disapproving looks and a wide berth. They probably thought he was crazy. He probably was. He’d been alive for too long and it was starting to wear on him again. Might as well play it up for them. He put on his most charming, white, toothy smile and attempted to tune the ruined guitar, ignoring the agitated spirits for a moment. “Anyway, here’s ‘Wonderwall’.”