She had left in my hand a lucky number, for which I had paid with the promise that I would deny fear. I smiled to her and, with tears in my eyes, I told her I'll be brave. As soon as she was gone I wondered how would I be able to walk through that dark valley, without fearing that I would get lost, be left alone, that my folks would forget me. I was holding the number tight to my chest, taking baby steps. I was imagining mom holding my hand, dad pushing me forward, while grandma whispered to me the Heart's Prayer from above.

(Translated by Daniela-Andreea Gugescu / University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I / 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 July 2021, the group has 6.800 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, Răzvan Penescu, 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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