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Fiction: M-O

Fiction of the Day

I Was a Public Schooler

By Ottessa Moshfegh

The application to Waverley Glen Academy required that I spend a day sitting in on freshman classes and mixing with the student body to see how well I’d fit in. I was twelve. Picture the gleaming wooden corridors, the Persian rugs, the monogrammed silverware, the primrose and daffodil in the window boxes. Hear the clattering of shoes on the terra-cotta tile in the courtyard, the gentle chimes signaling the hour, and so on. I remember a warm, gentle breeze and the view of Amesbury Park’s weeping willows through the open French doors of the garret art studio where I sketched a wooden bowl of fruit, or was it an old leather satchel? It could have been a naked man. I don’t remember what was taught in the classes I visited.

A Story for Your Daughters, a Story for Your Sons

By Rebecca Makkai

The war had closed much of the city, cut off many of the smaller towns. Unable to trace his usual routes, the hat merchant headed into the mountains to try his luck. His father, before he died, had circled a small mountain village on his map, had noted that the trading was good but the trip took two difficult days. Indeed, the snaking road narrowed fast, and the bridge was down to splinters so his horse had to wade to the knees.

Near sunset of the first day, long after the road had turned to an overgrown path, the merchant passed a plain young woman milking a cow. She asked him into her farmhouse for bread and brandy but never turned her back on him. She didn’t turn her back to cut the bread, to call for her mother, to find a glass. He imagined she’d met her share of passing soldiers who wanted more than drink.