The oxygen in the room faded under the smell of sour-milk, forgotten in the cabinet. New hostile forms of life emerged from the pot on the stove. Ieronim was humming a lullaby like an incantation while playing with a toothpick in a crack in the table. Slowly, he gained the smell of wild animal, tormented by the circus of his existence. Yesterday, he got suddenly older. A small girl with pigtails darted on the street. The image of innocence thrown on the pavement like a piece of meat broke his tram-driver soul. His life here became a mistake. And maybe in the so-called heaven as well.

(Translated by Ioana Busuioc / University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year II / Corrected by prof. dr. Nadina Vișan / Edited 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 2023, the group has 10,500 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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