“They comb their hair back with their only hand. One sleeve of their overcoat is pinned at their chest. When they stand up to shake the sleep out of their body, dreams fall from under the coat like snowflakes.”
-Karolina Fedyk, “A Map to a Future Unlike Any Past”, Lackington’s Issue 20: Birds
*PAINED POET NOISES* This story is so PRETTY and the prose makes me CRY. Ahem. Fedyk’s short story is a retelling/”what happens next” of the story of the Six Swans, most famously told in Grimms’ Fairytales. It takes a while to get there, though; first it introduces you to a white-haired vagabond missing an arm, pulling feathers off their prey.
I absolutely love the pacing of this story, and how it’s almost a love story, but not quite. It’s full of unrealized possibility, absolutely gorgeous writing, and the sense that something could have gone differently, in the right time, in the right place. The art that goes along with it is also absolutely gorgeous, giving life to my favourite image of the story: the youngest child of the king with a wing attached to their shoulder.
TW for animal death, and a semi-ambiguous ending if those stress you out.