Snap. Snap. Snap. Ruthless, even, like the minute hand of a clock, the hand of his father is going up and down. Snap. The leather belt takes the shape of the feeble, young back, crouching on the ground. Snap. The miserable skin gives off the lukewarm steam of pain. The nostrils of his father are searching for that steam, he inhales it like it was a drug. Ecstasy. Snap. Snap. Snap. On the child's skin appears a grid that in the following days will become a purple tattoo on which it won't ever be played Xs and Os.

(Translated by Ecaterina Buşe / University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year II / Corrected by Silvia Petrescu, coordinator of the translations)

Real Fiction is a collective project started in 2013 by Florin Piersic Jr. The concept of Real Fiction continued to exist as a Facebook group, after a volume of stories was published at Humanitas Publishing House. (In January 2021, the group has 3.000 members.) The authors write ultra-short stories, with the texts limited to 500 characters (in Romanian, so the length of the English translation might be a little different) - a flash-fiction exercise on a topic that changes almost daily. The group's coordinators are Florin Piersic Jr., Gabriel Molnar, and Luchian Abel. (Drawing by Adrian T. Roman)

*Versiunea în română a acestui text se poate citi aici, în rubrica Ficţiuni Reale.

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