When he came back home, his mother didn't recognize him. He had been gone for a few years. He returned thin, hunched over, and with thinning hair. He had a persistent cough. His grandmother sold everything valuable in the house to take him to the doctor. The doctor said that if he quit smoking and ate well, he would recover. And he did. He lived a long life. Even in his old age, he still didn't like to talk about those years. Only when I traced with my child fingers the bundle of rays that led from the corner of his eye to the scar next to his temple, he always said, A stray bullet, my child.

(Translated by Beatrice-Ioana Huruială / 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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