16×20″ oil on linen.
An ambassador’s daughter with a passion for collecting, Gretchen’s menagerie was near complete when her father brought her the gift of a leopard cub from his travels. It was a sweet little thing, soft and playful, abiding to his mistress when she dressed it up in clothes meant for little boys. But, even the smallest of creatures will start to give in to their nature. It was thought that a flock of geese had spooked him during a game of fetch on the lawns. Gretchen was adamant the leopard knew not what he did, that his claws were bigger than his wits when he mauled her at the legs, dragging her before his final release. No potions, no humours, no herbs or witchcraft could save her. The legs would come off, and all one could do was pray. Pray for the surgeon, pray for the tools, and pray she did not die from enduring it all. Gretchen would never be the same after that, lost to a world of darkness and time, languishing in bed, never speaking a word except a whisper to her pets.