My eyes hurt. I'm crawling on my knees. In my wake I leave splatters of blood. A boulder blocks my way out. Can someone hear me, I ask in an apathetic voice. No one hears you, it sounds like an echo from the other end of the cave, maybe only in my head. You scare me and I start shaking. I want to run away but I have nowhere to go. Rats are all over the place. I'm alone. I didn't eat or drink. I don't believe in anything anymore. Time passes hard and I feel only fear. I see shadows and I imagine a light. I'm starting to hope so. Yes, I hope. Then I turn off.

(Translated by Andreea Denisa Dinu / 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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