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art by Seth Alan Bareiss

Swan Song

Melissa Mead lives in upstate NY. You may have seen her stories in DSF before. She's a member of SFWA and Codex, and her Web page is carpelibris.wordpress.com. Go to Twisted Fairy Tales to read the other stories published so far in Melissa's series.

I still don't talk much. After six years, I seem to have lost the habit. My fingers have never really healed from the years of weaving nettles. The servants think I'm still in shock from my near-burning, and that that's why I seem so unhappy.
No one except Raban, my youngest brother, understands that it's envy.
I watched my brothers fly away, and when my father found me weeping, he thought it was in fear for my brothers, or because I was lonely.
It was because I wanted to fly with them.
Raban understands because he's the one the stories talk about, the brother with a swan's wing in place of an arm. He still dreams of the wind streaming past his feathers. But he's a man, and the human world holds distractions enough for him.
He wasn't plucked from a tree, like fruit, by a king who would wed a stranger just because she was comely and quiet, and couldn't speak a word to object.
Still, Raban understands enough of it that every day he gives me a feather plucked from his wing. Every night, it grows back, while I spin feathers into a garment as soft as clouds and light as air.
When it's finished, I'll wear it to the top of the tower and offer myself to the sky.
For my brother's sake, I pray that I'll fly.
The End
This story was first published on Wednesday, April 24th, 2013
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