Silvia Ștefan
He grew up in the mountains, where the winters are long and freezing. Mushroom-shaped houses shelter the community of people and goblins. The love stories among the villagers intertwine white with red, like the thread of the traditional mărțișor[1]. Only one person has no pair. Ol' Christian, the librarian. He can't find his place, he's dreaming of light and warmth. On Christmas Eve, he boards the first plane to America. Christian is having his first coffee in Miami. Hmm, how does he know Mary from Starbucks? Aha, he thought, reading the message on the mug: mister Cristi, do you have any books about dragons?

[1] Mărțișor is the Romanian name of the tradition celebrated, at the beggining of spring, on the first day of March.

Fabiola Stoi
I'm not afraid of winter, says Grunður almost slamming the beer bottle on the old wood of the table. I've cut paths in snow as deep as the roof, I've split blocks of ice so that we could go out fishing in the open sea, and I've stood up to the blackness of the seas where the only sure thing was the ancestors watching from under the boat. No matter how hard it is, winter doesn't scare me. But I don't know what to do, he whispers running his fingers through his grey beard, with this spring of Annja, who warms my heart every time she looks at me.

Gabriel Rusu
I found uncle Anton during the holidays, next to my car, begging for a cake. I saw something parental in his eyes, something that my parents, with all their business couldn't offer me. I took him home and trimmed his unkempt beard. After the holidays, I found a place to rent for him. I visited him often. He taught me to value money, but more importantly the character. Over the years, also during the holidays, Andreea went into labor. My parents were in Qatar, busy with their businesses. In the hospital lobby the old man was waiting for me. Son, what name will you give the baby boy? Anton.

(Translated by Maria-Ilinca Darie / 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 January 2024, the group has 12,500 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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