The church steeple towered over the dying village. It was 4 a.m., the hour at which, for 12 years, Irina had been religiously coming out of the gate. She pulled the vest woven by her grandmother over her faded dress and put on her festive shoes. Only the left one had its leather scraped. She looked at herself in the shard of a mirror hanging on the mantelpiece. The tired eyes of a hard-working child were sparkling with intelligence. No one understood her struggle. But for her, the seven kilometers she walked every day were seven steps toward her dream. One day she'll cure her mother.

(Translated by Camelia Diaconu / 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 September 2022, the group has 9,250 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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