I'm a fat man. All my life I've been branded as such. A bleeding wound, an exhausted body. But the most disgusting nickname was Zoo. Only one animal was trapped inside me. It was a white swan. Over the years people visited it. At first children threw stones and poked through the fence with sticks, then adults threw cigarette butts, empty bottles and more and more colorful insults. And so the feathers began to blacken. It was my soul. Cowards are the deserters of life. I am.

(Translated by Andreea Grințescu / 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 April 2023, the group has 11,000 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 every few days. The group's coordinators are Florin Piersic Jr., Gabriel Molnar, Răzvan Penescu, Luchian Abel, and Vlad Mușat. (Drawing by Adrian T. Roman)

Versiunea în română a acestui text se poate citi aici, în rubrica Ficțiuni Reale.

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