The scar he wore like a doctor's diploma on his office walls. Once it was enough to tense his cheek muscles and the cut would swell, commanding respect. Now the muscles had sagged and the scar no longer frightened anyone. These young men, schooled in Western academies, laughed in his face. He bowed his eyes and clutched at his ankle the knife that would one day cut their jugular. He knew then they would look at his scar bathed in their fresh blood differently. He knew you only learn what you live. Sometimes, too late.

(Translated by Lorina Xiaoyu Hou / 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 August 2021, the group has 7.000 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, Răzvan Penescu, and Luchian Abel. (Drawing by Adrian T. Roman)

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

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