The man squints his eyes with heavy eyelids like tired butterflies. He was in a white hospital ward. To his left, the machine he was strapped to shrieked shrilly. To the right, an old woman he didn't know held his hand. I knitted you socks while you were in a coma, to keep you warm, she whispered softly. When he looked at her face he froze. Instead of eyes, the woman had two black windows through which he could see the Milky Way, the stars, the constellations. The man offered her his arm and together they slipped out amidst the fiery screams.

(Translated by Anca Maria Florea / 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 June 2023, the group has 11,430 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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