With his eyes glued to the compartment window, Toma saw nothing. He remembered the day he had beaten him to a pulp. He had stolen his magnifying glass to study butterflies, and dropped it in the pond. The garden was the place where neither his dad's swearings, nor his mom's bruises existed. Only wings and flying. Time is holy, boy, you'll understand when you'll be a clockmaker, like me. And because he understood, he became a biologist. He saw his dad again, when his mom died. And now. You've come to see me die, butterfly boy, the clockmaker smirked, damned time.

(Translated by Diana Mîndruță-Tănăsescu / 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 August 2022, the group has 9,000 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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