When he turned fourteen, they let him ring the bells at noon, a sign that he was a man. When he climbed the church steeple and looked around, he was giddy. He had heard how big the world was, but he could never really imagine it. He'd dreamed of seeing it someday, when those who wanted to leave would no longer be taken in by the rifle and sent to the next world. The dream grew inside him and began to run through his veins. When he stepped across the border with bullets whizzing past him, he hoped he would escape.

(Translated by Oana Irina Oprea / 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 February 2022, the group has 7,950 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 every few days. 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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