Wren wrote everything. She told herself stories before breakfast, lunch, and dinner. She said them under her breath and she said them in her head. She said them in her language and in someone else’s. But however she said them, they always ended up in the Wanderlogue beneath her pillowcase.
The Wanderlogue helped her remember and allowed her to forget.
“I walked along the riverbank and met a lovely swan named Golly?” Elijah sneered.
“Put it back,” Wren said.
But his hand squeezed its spine and he said: “This is stupid.”
“Put it back,” Wren pleaded.
“Or what?” he said.
“Lija, put it back!”
“I won’t. It’s mine now,” he said.
And he hopped off her bed, shoving past her and locking himself in his room. Wren went after him and banged on the door until her mother screamed for her to “be quiet, you stupid girl” from down the stairs. Wren looked at the door with tears prickling her eyes.
“Give me back my book,” she said, her voice wobbling through the door.
“I won’t,” he said from the other side.
And then Wren heard the worst sound in the world: the sound of shredding pages. She grabbed the doorknob again, this time jiggling it while screaming. And she didn’t stop until her mother came and gave her a spanking. On the other side of the door, she could hear the Wanderlogue being dismembered, one page after the other. And, sitting on her bed with an aching bum, she felt her stomach rolling around like an armadillo in her belly. She drew in a cry-stutter breath and hugged the pillow to her chest.
“What’s the matter?” Golly the swan asked from the shadows beneath her bed.
“He’s ruined it,” Wren coughed.
“Well, that’s no trouble at all,” said Ts’orak wetly from the darkness. “We can take care of one little boy.”
“I don’t want to take care of anyone,” Wren sobbed.
But there was a muffled “oof” from the room next door. And Ts’orak let out a giggle.