Wren Gradey

looking for the secret

lately it occurs to me what a long strange trip it's been

Wren Gradey was born in the early hours of a May morning in an abandoned shed thirty miles west of Kearney, Nebraska. Her mother and father were caught driving a '79 Chrysler Imperial Lebaron through the middle of a black and angry thunderstorm on the Midwest plains. Out of work five months, Nathaniel finally had word on a job. Maggie was working at the local court house to provide the soon-to-be family's only income. Decent work, but it couldn't provide for three. The move to Denver needed to happen immediately.

On that black night, Nathaniel had no choice but to seek shelter when wind hit the car so hard that the front end lifted off the blacktop and went into a skid across the torrential water pooling on the interstate. The jolt passed through Maggie's body eerily, twisting her body until fear spilled through her mind.

They left the car where it came to a stop, halfway down the mild embankment that moved like a shallow tidal pool with all the rain. The noise of the storm covered Nathaniel's voice as he shouted to direct Maggie's struggling steps. With the help of sporadic lightning, they discerned the nearby structure and made their way. The building was sturdy, and once Nathaniel forced open the door, they were able to take their first breaths that weren't strangled by the storm.

Their next breaths were strained by the oscillation of terror and courage as they walked the edge of exhaustion getting the family through the night alive.

Wren had no understanding of the violence that accompanied her transition into existence. But the riddle of its presence echoed through her life, and she spent the twenty-seven years she was given obsessed with translating the mark.