First there was a rumour among the Bedouins. A storm had unearthed it overnight, far away in the hot heart of the desert. Black as hell, untouchable. Two German archaeologists found it after eight days, but they couldn't get close: quicksand surrounded it on all sides, dozens of metres away. "Quicksand" not like the kind you sink into, but like the waters of a maelstrom. They sent up a drone. It was lost. The second - the same. Unreachable, as the Bedouins used to say. Black as hell. Then the desert swallowed it back up.

(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 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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