An excerpt from Nick Bantock’s The Museum at Purgatory:
I met Marie Louise Gornier the other day, she’d only been dead for a week or so. Considering the things I’d done to her while she was alive, she looked remarkably fit and healthy.
We sat in a Turkish cafe not far from the Museum and talked about our first encounter–the way I’d examined her, lured her with my promises and run my hands over her body. I found myself wanting to touch her again, just to feel her unblemished skin. She asked to hear my side of the story–why I’d abused her trust. What could I say? That I was obsessed with beauty? No, that would have been dismissive. So I told her what I knew of the motivation behind my actions. In fact, I did the best I could to explain my blackened heart. I watched for anger to appear on her face, but of course, given that we were in Purgatory, that wasn’t likely. When I’d finished my explanation, she thanked me for my honesty and gathered herself to leave. I didn’t want her to go. I needed more. Surely I wasn’t planning a new seduction? Then it dawned on me; it was forgiveness that I longed for. How naive could I be? I stood, shook her hand, and watched her walk away. As she left, the cafe’s plump patterned cushions began to turn into Shaker chairs and the thick black coffee we’d been drinking thinned itself into Jamaican lemonade. I wondered which of us precipitated the alterations, but it was impossible to tell.