'Thy mouth is like a branch of coral that fishers have found in the twilight of the sea, the coral that they keep for the kings! It is like the vermilion that the Moabites find in the mines of Moab, the vermilion that the kings take from them. It is like the bow of the King of the Persians, that is tainted with vermilion, and is tipped with coral. There is nothing in the world so red as thy mouth. Suffer me to kiss thy mouth. [No response.] I will kiss thy mouth, Iokanaan. I will kiss thy mouth.'
As a child, I committed a heinous act. My own mother, Queen Herodias, foxed me into orchestrating the murder of John the Baptist. I loved him with all my being, and his death has left me cold and alone. Many years passed since that time, and I remain here, on the edge of consciousness, confined to the memoirs. I am frustrated by the lack of movement in my life. I sit here in a derelict Paris apartment, counting the dying roses. I feel the minutes and the days tick by. I feel frozen. Havisham. I feel the minute of decay in my own bosom.
Why am I, of all women, so despised? I was young, I knew not what I did.
Forgive me, be merciful, for nothing you can do to me can be half a malicious as what I do to myself.