He slowly climbed the stairs with his hands in his pockets, dreaming of his first cigarette of the day. He didn't want to bother anyone with his smoke, so he refrained from lighting up. He worked a nine-hour shift every day without taking any breaks because he didn't want to waste time. He rarely spoke to anyone, not wanting to burden them with his problems. As he reached the top of the stairs, he smiled despite the slippery terrace, which had been soaked by the rain. Looking down on the city from above, it resembled a display window. There were cars on the streets and people in the cars, each with their own unique soul. Sadly, most of those souls were filled with a great deal of sadness.

(Translated by Andreea Tobă / 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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