Flash fiction: Pozwól mi pomóc


Marek holds a map. He can’t read the street names, nor the English instructions on the cans of spray-paint the supervisor gave him. The man was impatient, talked too close and too loudly for Marek to follow.

On a bridge he sprays a white circle around a crater in the pavement. When he stands up a figure is climbing over the railing in the dark.

‘Nie,’ Marek calls, runs. ‘Proszę.’

The person, a woman, turns, looks at him.

‘What?’ she says.

‘Wróć.’ He holds out a hand. ‘Pozwól mi pomóc.’

‘Posvolly… what?’ she says again.

Hesitantly, Marek says, ‘I help.’


This is a 100-word story for the Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle Wisoff-Fields. Click here to read some more inspired by the picture (this week provided by The Reclining Gentleman) or here to join in and write your own.

I don’t speak Polish – so if any fluent speakers read this and want to let me know if I’ve made any mistakes, I’d love to hear from you, and of course, all other non-Polish speaking readers.

If you’re so inclined it would be lovely if you would vote for my novel, Our Endless Numbered Days in the Edinburgh First novel award, and you’ll have a chance of winning a copy of all 56 novels nominated. (Scroll to the bottom of the page.)

68 thoughts on “Flash fiction: Pozwól mi pomóc

  1. Sometimes so little is required to help someone in need… and what luck that they both speak Polish. I think this could be a beginning rather than an end. This week there is a bookfair in Sweden… but I guess we will have to wait for you until it’s been translated 🙂


  2. I am fond of untranslated dialog. The first writer I saw do it was Cormac McCarthy (aside from quotations, etc.). I’ve utilized that myself, although friends have told me that Google Translate is not the most reliable thing going. Great story.


  3. I have to agree about no translation being necessary. Whenever they use this technique in a movie my wife wants to know what was said, as if I speak german or japanese, or whatever. I love the technique when done right. You have done it excellently. (Is that a word? Don’t bother translating!) 🙂


  4. That little ‘I help’ says it all. And though I am not fluent in Polish (the odd word here and there, but nothing brilliant), it made perfect sense. A lovely story.


  5. बहुत अच्छा लिखा है
    Which means ‘very well written’ but you knew I was going to say that. And your book is in our city council library! Woo hoo! And I just reserved a copy now.


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