The head was on the third step down from the landing leading to the basement museum.
The plaster dust and wreckage in the narrow stairwell were undisturbed. There was no blood or gore around the severed head and no sign of a body.
Still, I stepped toward it with caution. The stairs quivered slightly beneath my foot.
When I reached the head, I lifted my foot to step over it, and a dry chuckle caused me to pause.
“Turn me over,” came a muffled command.
With the toe of my boot, I did so. I found myself looking into a desiccated, older version of myself.
“How do I look?” the head asked me.
“Dead,” I told him.
The head coughed and laughed at the same time, “Did you think you could ever end up like this?”
“You’re not me,” I replied
“But I am,” the head grinned. “Will you take me with you?”
“Nope,” I answered.
The head glared at me, “Why not?”
Without a word, I stepped over him, as the head swore at me in a cheerful tone, and continued to do so for as long as I could hear him.