From a young age, I was afraid of the black spaces between the clear and white stripes. I always jumped over them, for fear of being swallowed by the abyss that was just waiting to bite me. I've been standing at a crosswalk for a few seconds. The traffic light is red. I'm waiting. From the other end, a man looks at me with a smile. I look at him too, mesmerized. Green. With my eyes on him, I step off the curb. Without realizing it, I step on the black stripes. He, only on the white ones. Now we ride the same zebra together, without any traffic lights.

(Translated by Tania Diniță / University of Bucharest, Faculty of Foreign Languages and Literatures, MTTLC, year I / 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 May 2023, the group has 11,260 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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