The bulb floods my retina with white light. My brain burns. I'd give anything for a sip of water. The jug sits on the corner of the table, but I can't reach it. If I confess, I'll get water. I can't even get my cheek near it. It's steaming, which means the water's cold. Like a mountain spring in early spring. I sit leaning on the riverbank and I stretch my hand out. Beyond the mirror, the investigator looks broadly at his watch and tells the soldier: if he doesn't crack in an hour, shoot him. Tonight I have an invitation to the opera.

(Translated by Angelica Ioana Curcan / 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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