The carriage rolls to a stop in front of me and the Queen's page, known as the White Hare, leaps down to the ground from his spot of the back of the carriage, crystal shards crunching beneath his ivory-clad feet.
"Why have we stopped?" asks the commanding and cruel voice of the Red Queen from inside the carriage.
"There is a girl out here, majesty. She appears to belong to one of the suites," the White Hare says as he gives my bedraggled appearance a strange glance with pink eyes, which stand out very well against his albino skin.
I hear the sound of tapping from inside the carriage, and the White Hare opens the door. I immediately drop to my knees in a curtsey, inhaling sharply as more crystal shards embed themselves in my skin.
"What is your name, girl?" the Queen asks.
"Megan Club, majesty," I say without looking up.
Crystal cracks as she walks forward. I can see her red, black, and gold heart embroidered shoes.
"Let me see your face, Megan Club."
I silently curse my bad luck and my parents as I slowly look up.
The Red Queen stares at my face, her own remaining expressionless as she catches sight of my birthmark. "Page, what do you think that mark by her eye is?"
The White Hare comes closer and looks at my face. "I would call it a tattoo, majesty. It's quite the fashion these days, for suite children to have their suite tattooed on their body." He subtly winks at me and I breathe a sigh of relief.
The Red Queen turns back to me. "Is this true, Megan Club?"
I nod quickly. "Yes, majesty. We do it so that we may flatter you by trying to be like you."
I can tell by the Hare's small smile and the Queen's proud face that this was the correct answer.
"Do you know who started this trend, Megan Club?"
"I did, majesty. I was the first to get the suite tattoo."
The Queen nods and seems to think for a moment. "Page, help Megan Club into my carriage. We'll take her home and speak with her suite. It's been too long since I last visited the suites."
She turns and walks back to her carriage as the Hare leans down and helps me to my feet.
"I would suggest in your friends getting suite tattoos as soon as possible to save your life," he says softly.
"Thank you, I will," I say as I brush my hand across my neck, thinking of the executioner axe with the heart-shaped blade stained in blood.
The Hare leads me to the carriage and helps me in. I sit across from the Queen and look around the inside of the carriage as the door is closed. We start off again, and the floor seems to move.
"Do you like it?" she asks, eyes flickering between me and the floor. "It's a diamond screen with…a reminder beneath it."
I try to swallow, but my mouth and throat are suddenly too dry. "Very…creative, majesty."
She smiles and looks out the window, signaling the conversation is over. I continue looking at the floor, wondering how many heads had to roll before she had enough of a "reminder" for her floor.