Flash Fiction: Decree 770


Around the back, saplings have sprouted, some growing up through the floor and out through the shutters. She isn’t sure if they are trying to break in or to escape.
‘Better the place is bulldozed, forgotten,’ Vişinel says.
‘We grew up here,’ she says.
‘And spent the whole time trying to get out.’ He kicks some litter. ‘I don’t know why we’ve come back.’
She remembers the rows of iron cots, the thin blankets, the years she could only speak Romanian.
‘I’ve bought it,’ she says. ‘The building. I’m going to make it whole again.’
They both know she means us, not it.


This is a 100-word or so Friday Fictioneer story, inspired by the picture. Rochelle Wisoff-Fields hosts the Friday Fictioneers, posting a picture each week (this week supplied by J Hardy Carroll). Click here to read other people’s and click here to join in.


My story this week might require some explanation. Decree 770 was a 1966 Romanian law which restricted abortion and contraception, which led ultimately to many children being placed in state orphanages where they were forced to live under terrible conditions.

59 thoughts on “Flash Fiction: Decree 770

  1. I got it without the explanation… happy that they were among the few that made it to a better world. So many of Romanian poor are on our streets begging today. Maybe it could be a place for them as well.

    I also remember the pictures coming from Romania with the orphanages…
    A question: Shouldn’t it be bulldozed rather than bullbozed?


  2. Heart breaking. Your approach to this real life tragedy is most poignant, and effectively portrays the evil of such policies. We seem of late to be hearing about so many crimes against children – not so long ago and not so far away. What is wrong with us?


  3. Excellent, I remember the horrific pictures of the Romanian orphans. You’ve done a great descriptive job with the iron cots and thin blankets.


  4. I learned something here. I had read of, and seen, conditions in the orphanages, with the children’s lack of human contact leading to “failure to thrive” syndrome. But I did not know of the Decree; it explains a lot.


  5. Reading your notes at the end reminded me of those terrible post Ceausescu early years when the full horror of those orphanages was exposed in our daily papers. Good angle on the prompt and nicely finished. 🙂


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