Moving in for the kill, she growls and huffs in excitement as the droplets of paint inch closer to the canvas. Any second now, they’ll hit. She’s excited to the point where she’s getting wet. She knows she’s getting wet because she feels the waters from her womb seeping through her panties and dripping down the insides of her thighs. Anticipating the explosion of colour that awaits, the glare of an illusionary shade of orange causes her to wince from an associated memory as known to her as her own reflection—one she tries so hard to keep buried. She keeps it buried because it hurts. Hurts like a splinter on the point of her heel, or a shard of glass breaking the skin of her wrist. Touching her right eye, a flash of crimson rips her in half as if she were a sheet of paper. She even hears the shredding noise. It makes her hair stand on end, and as the paint before her eyes spins like distant planets, two of the planets become the eyes of her father. Gazing at her from the void of space, she’s suddenly a kid again; desperate for his affection and so small in his presence. How old is she? Five? Six? She thinks she’s Six. Her hair’s in pigtails, and judging by the dress she’s wearing, it’s not long after Christmas; the Christmas she received a My Little Pony as her main present—a purple one with a blue ribbon around its neck. She’d been clutching the thing ever since she opened the box it came in; one wrapped in golden paper adorned with glitter that reminded her of fluffy snow. On the day when her father drunkenly struck her in a fit of rage, fracturing the orbital socket of her right eye, the pony had finally left her arms. Falling to the ground by her feet, it bounced once and then twice as Gretchen’s childhood unravelled with the ease of a candy wrapper.