Folyosó Autumn 2021

Letter from the Editor

Another year, another autumn, another Folyosó—but this is much more than repetition. This issue stands out for the sheer abundance and quality of international contest entries, the plethora of forms and styles throughout, the students’ eagerness to revise and perfect their work. More than any other time, students have rethought and rewritten their work independently, sending me one new version after another. This is part of the joy of editing Folyosó: watching the writing take off in so many different ways.

This autumn, many Hungarians and others around the world have been commemorating the 100th anniversary of the poet János Pilinszky’s birth. At the Varga Katalin Gimnázium, on November 25 at 7:55 a.m., three students, all of them contributors to at least four issues of Folyosó, read four Pilinszky poems over the loudspeaker. You can hear their reading here. It is not directly connected to the journal, but we here at Folyosó appreciate a worthy tangent, which sometimes turns out to be the essence of things, not a tangent at all.

A lot goes into preparing and releasing each issue of Folyosó—there’s the typical last-minute rush and hubbub—but we also recognize that thinking, writing, and editing take time. So we often save pieces for future issues. One such piece is “Kumkapı” by Nerses Boztaş, a finalist in the Autumn 2021 international contest, which we will feature in the Winter 2021–2022 issue. We look forward to publishing it!

As for the current issue, where to begin? Start anywhere—maybe at the top, with Roza Kaplan’s startling and moving “Raindrops in the Darkness.” Or perhaps you’re in the mood for an absurdist story-play about two cats with a grand plan. In that case, “How to Become Rich” by Fanni Korpás will be just right. Or perhaps you would like to read a poem that takes visual risks. Zeynep Cicimen’s and-but-so: Simply Written “Eternal Solitude” (accepted) does that and much more. Maybe Áron Antal’s conscience-shaking piece “A Contradiction in Itself” will be one of your first selections, or Borbála Sós’s playful “Dog’s Dream,” or Ecem Göksenin Aday’s eerie yet joyous story “The Reflection,” or Aurelia Wiggins’s bracing poem “On the World.” Wherever you start, we hope that you will continue!

The contest brought in an unprecedented number of submissions, this time from three countries. I would like to thank my fellow jury members, Marianna Jeneiné Fekete and Anikó Bánhegyesi. It was difficult to select the winners, but we enjoyed the task, since the pieces were so interesting.

The next issue will come out in mid-February. In the meantime, we wish you happy reading, or rather, readings of many colors and moods!


Diana Senechal
Founder and Editor of Folyosó

and-but-so: Simply Written “Eternal Solitude” (accepted)

Zeynep Cicimen

How to Become Rich

(a story-play)

Fanni Korpás

Once upon a time two cats were swimming in debt. They didn’t have enough money to pay the bills but didn’t want to go to work. They just sat in their house and waited for a miracle. At first they thought their situation was hopeless. While they were watching the news, suddenly something caught their eye. The reporter said:

“This week the Anaconda Museum sent the word’s biggest diamond to our museum. Our mayor thinks we are the safest city and the diamond is in the best place. We will take the necessary precautions. There will be no way that anyone can steal it.”

The two kittens looked at each other. They were thinking the same thing. This was their big chance. It would be the best robbery of their life. They could be rich. This is how Tim and Tom decided that to steal this diamond. While Tom went to the shop, Tim planned.

“What do you think about my plan?”

“Not bad, not bad. But I think we have to enter through two ways.”

“Okay, then. What is your idea?”

“I think one of us has to go in the back door, and the other one has to enter the room from the top of the building.”

“Isn’t that a little bit dangerous?”

“No. This is the best plan.”

“Okay, okay. But what we will do with the chocolate? Why did you buy it? Do we need it for the robbery or what?”

“I am hungry.”

“But we have pasta and meat and bread and…”

“The chocolate gives me power!”

“Do you know how many bills we have?”

“We will have so much money, so why not?”

“Okay. You are right.”

At 22:00 Tim and Tom headed off to the museum. Tim went by bus, Tom by bicycle. They arrived there at the same time. Tim used his rope to get up to the top of the museum. Luckily there were no guards. He moved towards the back door and waited for his friend’s call. When Tom got off the bus, he started to search for the back door.He found it, but there were two guards.

“Tim! Are you there?”

“Yes. Where are you?”

“Near the back door. Can you help me?”

“Of course. I thought you would call me up becouse of this.”

Tim pulled his gun out of his holster.

“Tim? Are you still there?”

“Yes, calm down. I will shoot the man, and you will shoot the woman.”


Both of them started shooting, as only cats can do.

“Tom? Are you all right?”

“Yes. I’m going in.”

There were so many beautiful paintings on this room and only only one guard. The museum staff had put the diamond near this room.

“Hey Tom! What’s up?”

“There is only one guard near the room where the diamond is kept.”

“Do I have to help you?”

“No. I can do it by myself.”

Tom had a plan. There was lots of furniture in the room. He saw five pieces in his way. The guard was very tired and sometimes closed his eyes. When he did it, Tom ran under the first sofa. Then the second, and the third. He continued until he reached the last one. Then he shot the guard with his gun. Then he opened the door and looked around the room. There was nobody, just the diamond.

“Hey Tim! I am in the room.”

“How many guards do you see?”

“No one.”


“There is nobody. It is really scary.”

“Well, anyhow, I’m throwing the rope.”


As soon as Tom touched the diamond, the alarm sounded. Tom tied up the diamond quickly.

“Tom, jump onto the rope with the diamond! Our helicopter is there, and it will pull you and the diamond up!”

They went away with the diamond to Japan and ended up very rich.

The Two Turtles and the Human

Virág Dénes and Ádám Juhász

There is Rozi,the girl turtle.
There is Béla,the boy turtle.
And there is Tomi the strange human.
They are on a train.


Well, Béla,what do you want to be when you will grow up to be a big turtle?


Hmm, good question, Rozi! I think I wanna be an astronaut! And you? What is your dream?


Well I want to be an electrician, but if I can’t, then I wanna be a builder.


(Kicking the door open.) Hi guys! The train is about to crash,so i would like to use this time to make friends.


Hi, kid! How was your day? (Rozi looks confused for a second.) Wait… Aren’t you the driver?

(Tomi looks at his clothes, then looks back at the two turtles and shrugs his shoulders.)

Oh, it is no big deal, because its a Tesla train!

(Rozi & Béla look confused, but at the same time it seems they completely understand the situation.)


Come join us in our conversation about the meaning of life!


You silly turtles, everyone knows the answer to that.


So what is it, then?

(Tomi looks at Rozi as if she had not listened to him at all.) HOW THE HELL WOULD I KNOW? Anyways,aren’t you two supposed to be in New York?


Thanks for asking, but no, we are going to Kecskemét. I heard that the city got its name from a frog. How exciting!!


Indeed, it’s exciting, but its not true. They named it after a dolphin.


Haha, funny.


I would like to inform you guys that the plane will be landing in a few moments, so make sure to exit through the windows!


Umm, who is piloting the train exactly? If you are here and the Tesla train is turned off?

(Tomi kicks the door shut and goes in the opposite direction of the cockpit.)

Help! Am I a Psychopath?

Lili Forgács

Dear Diary,

Something really strange happened to me today at school, and it made me so confused.

In the break after Hungarian literature, my friends and I talked about the poem that we had read during the lesson. Emotionally it was hard to handle, as it was about the death of one’s grandmother. Everyone was made to think about the loss of one of his or her loved ones. Consequently, I don’t have to say, the atmosphere was depressed and gloomy. I decided to cheer them up, so I said:

“Anyway, just for a happier topic, have you heard that sixty-three penguins died in South Africa?”

“What?” the question arrived.

“I read it on Euronews this morning. The penguins probably walked into a hive of bees accidentally, so they got bitten until they died. Just imagine how funny it must have been, the way they tried to toddle away.” I just envisioned the situation and couldn’t help but laugh.

To my surprise, I got no more answers. The others just stared at me. As soon as I noticed the lack of reactions, I stopped. Had I said something wrong? I couldn’t figure it out. Fortunately, the bell rang, signaling the start of the next lesson, and the conversation ended there.

Am I believed to be a psychopath now? Oh, no! I just wanted to lift their mood. And of course, I don’t find the fact of dying entertaining or anything like that. I laughed at how misfortunate someone or something can be in a situation like this. I feel pity for them.

At home, I told Mom everything. I even cried. She advised me to clarify the situation the next day, because it was very easily misunderstood. She said my reaction wasn’t appropriate, that the story itself didn’t call for laughter.

I feel really down now, and I hope it will be resolved by tomorrow. I wish I had thought it all over, before I spoke… but maybe next time I will be smarter.


This diary entry is entirely fictional.

The More You Fail, the Likelier You Are to Succeed

Evelin Gerda Tóth

It was the third time this week that she had come home late. Marie’s mother didn’t ask a word, as she was very busy with her work as well. She wanted to tell why she was late again, she wanted her mum to know how hard she tries. But instead, after a quick meal she went out running. Again.

Marie has been ice skating since she was five, and it really is her life for now. And she loves it. She has tried many sports before, but ice skating is what really made her feel like she was on top of the world. So she practiced, practiced every day without pause, because she knew that every minute spent practicing would pay off eventually. However, there is a combination that she cannot do, no matter how much she tries.

She is facing a very important competition next month that can decide her career, and still she is unable to do a trick in the second part of her incredibly complex programme. Obviously her mother and her sisters support her in any way possible, but there are things that even they can’t help with. For the past few weeks she would stay in to practice even more, after the compulsory lessons, on her own. Marie is outstandingly talented compared to anyone her age. When she was little everyone just thought that she was simply born for this sport. This is the faith she was brought up in, and she hates to disappoint. So she never does.

So here she is, running miles for the third time this week because it gets her mind off of how she failed to do the trick again today.

“Marie was never the kind to give up easily.” This sentence has been going through her mind all day. Her father used to say that, and every time she repeated it in herself, somehow it gave her an inexplicable strength. It is the day of her competition for which she has been practicing for months. She knows that she is good, that it’s in her blood, but she also knows that she hasn’t yet been able to do the trick perfectly. There were two times before when she did it, but they both had some mistakes, which only she and her coach noticed. “But at least she did it, right?” said her mum after each attempt.

It is now that the lights go out and the music starts to play. Every part of her merges with it as well as with the ice, and she just slips and slips towards the end of her so-far-perfect round. She starts to feel a little shaky but keeps her mind still. Because she has started it. Marie has started the first move of her nearly undoable trick. And only now does she realise that something has been missing so far. The last drop of her willingness. She always knew the she was capable of doing it, she was just too comfy in her situation of being able to do something that others might not. So she gathers her strength again for one last time and starts to spin.

And she spins and spins and spins.

And she does it. Perfectly.

She can barely hear her mum saying “I always knew!” through the cheering crowd, but her smile is enough to indicate that she always knew as well.

Restless and Farewell

Selin Yumurtacı

The colorless smoke that broke from her pale lips gave way to another absence. The silence of her mind resonated so much on the walls of her body that the beach was much noisier than usual. For a moment, just for a moment, she wished everyone to be silent. The singer playing in the background, the lovers watching the Bosphorus, the mischievous children, the sea waves, her own silence, and the wind… At least tonight, she should have been left alone with her mind barely emptied. Nor should she eavesdrop on people’s grievances, nor the senseless cries of seagulls. Istanbul should have kept quiet, even if it was just for one night.

She hugged his snow-white coat a little tighter, rubbed her hands together, blew the hot steam from her lips into her palms, and in a final attempt to warm up, she tucked her cold hands between her legs. Her jeans were damp, but she didn’t feel it at all. She had been sitting as still as possible on a rusty bench as if the slightest movement would shake the whole of Istanbul. She threw one leg over the other in slow motions, perhaps to the hundredth, releasing steam from her mouth into the void and watched it disappear, with calm eyes. Her eyes slowly moved to the left. She looked at the boy in his twenties with the guitar case open in front of him. His curly auburn hair was getting more and more tangled into the wind. He was playing familiar songs while looking around.

“How young,” the woman thought, “at the beginning of everything.” At that moment, her eyes met with the young boy’s, but the woman immediately pulled hers away. Uneasy at being caught, she lifted her head, pushed herself slightly forward on the bench, and looked at the stars. She searched for a star or two, as if she were looking for it on the street, but could not find one. “You missed all your stars,” she said. “Unfaithful.” She sniffed and immediately grimaced, giving it back quickly. She was bored with the sea and its makeshift smell without caring for anyone,

“I’m bored of you,” she shouted into the throat. “I’m bored of you.”

Her eyes filled with tears; she said it was because of the cold. This time her hands and knees trembled, “the wind is blowing too much, it’s because of that,” she repeated. “Your sea used to stink, too.”

Now, a rebellious drop had escaped from the bars at the fountains of her eyes. She touched her cheekbones first, glided, the drop kissed her cheek and spilled onto her damp pants. First, her cheekbones dried, then her cheek, and finally his trousers… Still, it left a huge mark on Istanbul. It also rained that night, it rained in Istanbul, nobody even heard of it.

Madam, the bus is leaving!”

said the man in his thirties. He was wearing black tight-fitting trousers and a white shirt pulled to his elbows.

The woman turned her gaze back, with her usual slowness, shook her head at the man, glanced down the street, turned her face back to the sea; another tear fell, though she had just dried up. She sniffed, but this time she didn’t make that face, nor was she told anything. First, she prepared herself, then Istanbul. “So,” she said, “it’s time to leave, ha?” She inhaled the sea — which she had called stinking — like a huge hug and left it behind as if it were a goodbye to an old friend.

She slowly got up from the bench, rubbed the corners of her fingers on her cheeks, released her steps, followed the man into the alley, looked at the bus, looked at the people, looked at the tired driver, handed over her suitcase, and barely made it to the dingy door of the bus. She smiled slightly, but her lips could not bear the trace of happiness. She was aware of it. She looked at the soulless street and the gray cobblestones as if waiting for a final answer. A minute or two passed, the people in the back began murmuring. “Come on, what are you waiting for, madam!” The assistant touched the woman’s shoulder and pointed to the door. “Please hurry!”

The woman staggered up the stairs, looked at the half-occupied seats, people looking at the time and the crowd preparing to sleep. She looked at the ticket that she took out of her coat, looking for the seat number, but could not focus on the writing. Memories were not leaving her sight, and friends would get old if she left. She barely found the trick, moved forward, and threw herself into the single seat. She unzipped her coat, took it off slowly, and slipped on her headphones. Despite the noise of the city that she had just asked to stop, she clogged her ears with the music. She let out a big sigh, had thoughts that only added more weight in her chest, and she turned the music up to full volume. “Oh, dear friend,” she said. The music was also playing: “Oh, dear friend.”

And just before the bus departed, she whispered:

“I lied.”

“I lied.”

Bailey and Rosie

Sarolta Hanna Lestár

Today my brother and I visited our great-grandmother, Mary. She lives in a tiny town in Maine with our great-grandfather, Anthony. They live in a lighthouse, because Anthony worked there for ages. We are very happy that they live here, as we love the view of Maine’s beautiful oceanside.

When we entered the house I could smell the delicious lobster that my granny had cooked. This food is iconic in Maine; 98% of the USA’s lobster supply comes from there. While we were eating lunch I was very confused; Bailey (Mary’s dog) was sleeping with a cat. I thought that he hated cats. Whenever Bailey saw one, he tormented the cat with a big bark. I asked Granny Mary about it. She told me this story with a big smile on her face.

Two weeks ago, at the end of November, there was a little cat at the foot of the lighthouse, but Bailey always barked at her.

— Get out of here! Shoo!

— Please help me! I am so hungry, and I’m freezing!

— Go away! Or else I’m going to throw you out!

— OK! You don’t have to.

So it went like this day by day. But the little cat became thinner and thinner.

— No need to lament! Why don’t you get a mouse?

— I have been looking for a mouse in vain — said the little cat sadly. — They hid in their winter houses a long time ago.

Bailey roared at the little cat again.  He was not cold, because Granny Mary made a very fuzzy warm bed for him. One day Granny Mary fell when she tripped over a stone, and she was taken to hospital. Granny Mary entrusted Bailey to the neighbors. The neighbors didn’t let Bailey in the house. Bailey was freezing in an old doghouse. One night he had a dream of a puppy who was hungry and almost frozen. That time he realised it was him a few years ago, when Granny Mary found him carelessly near the lighthouse. He was ashamed of himself. He ran to the lighthouse and tried to find the kitten.

— Hey dude! Get up fast! Hey!!!!

He licked the kitten, carefully grabbed her with his mouth, and took her to the doghouse. He warmed her up, and they fell asleep. Bailey shared his food with this kitten. So when Granny Mary came home from the hospital, she was very happy to see that there was a new member of the family.

Now Bailey and Rosie are best friends!

The lessons to be drawn are that you should never forget the bad things that happened to you in the past, and you have to think of others, because any of us can find ourselves in need.

This Will Be the Last One

Ilona Králik

It was a bright, warm Monday morning in June. The clock struck seven; that was when the alarm went off on Katie’s phone. She quickly got out of bed and started to get ready. After getting dressed, washing her face and teeth, and brushing her hair, she left the house.

Katie started walking to work just like every other day. It was quite a long walk; most people would have taken the bus, but she thought that would be too expensive and such a waste of money. By the time she arrived, she was a bit exhausted and tired; she hadn’t slept much the night before, because she was working on a project. Working extra hours was a typical  thing in her life. She took every opportunity to make extra money. Soon the time for lunch break came, so Katie went to the nearest supermarket to get something to eat, since there was nothing to bring from home. She took the cheapest things that she could find on the bakery aisle, which were donuts. While standing in line, she was judging others while noting the prices of their purchases.

Katie was eating her donuts on the way back when she realised it was payday. Quickly a smile appeared on her face. She was obsessed with saving as much money as possible by buying the cheapest groceries, toiletries and clothes possible. In her mind, spending money on these was like throwing money away.

The hours flew by unnoticeably until it was the end of her shift. Before leaving the building, she received her payment. On every payday she walked home on a different route from the one she took in the mornings. It was a kind of tradition for her every month. Katie was walking past luxurious boutiques when suddenly she stopped. She spotted a bag, which was a new model. Without hesitation she walked through the door of the boutique and a couple of minutes later came out with the bag, which costs almost as much as her monthly salary.

She arrived home and unwrapped the expensive bag. After admiring it for minutes, she put it on a shelf next to her other bags and said, this will be the last one, I do not need another one. Just like what she said twenty bags ago.

A Dog’s Dream

Borbála Sós

Once upon a time somewhere in Nebraska, a beautiful female Golden Retriever gave birth to her three puppies. They were full of life. They played together in the grass all day long, explored the farm, made friends with the cows, and learned tricks with their owner, the twelve-year-old Jamie. The puppies loved him. He was always there for them through thick and thin, and vice versa. Jamie’s favourite puppy (and also his best friend) was the youngest one, the little Sydney. She was a rather clever dog. She was quick witted and loved to learn new things about the world. She was not like her brothers, Cookie and Keith; her secret dream was to become a movie star. Ever since she watched Lassie Come Home with Jamie, she couldn’t stop thinking about what it would be like to star in a movie. One special night when Sydney was just casually lying under the dinner table, she found out that Jamie’s parents had planned to take a trip to New York in the summer. “That’s it! That’s my one and only chance to accomplish my dreams!” she thought. That night, when Jamie’s parents were watching TV, she snuggled up to them. Cookie and Keith were watching from the door suspiciously.

“What does she think she’s doing?” Cookie scoffed.

“I have no idea. But she must have a reason to be all snuggly like that.” Keith shook his head.

Later that night, the two older puppies woke Sydney from her sleep. “What do you think you’re doing?” they asked her. Sydney gave them a confused look. “We know that you are playing some kind of game here. Tell us,” Keith added. The youngest had nothing else to do but tell her brothers the plan. They agreed to work together to achieve Sydney’s dream. For the next couple of weeks, they acted like angels. They were sweet and cooperative, and even the parents noticed the difference in their behaviour. The family decided that they would take the puppies on vacation with them. So they did.

The family had an amazing time. They went to see the Statue of Liberty, walked the dogs in Central Park, and just had a lot of fun afterall. One afternoon, Sydney decided to take a little trip on her own, so she went another way. Shortly after, the puppy got lost in the city. All the bulildings looked the same, and she just didn’t know where to go. Luckily, a kind man found her, picked her up, and called the number on the tag on her collar. The family was really relieved when Sydney returned in the hands of the generous man. “How can we thank you for bringing her back to us?” Jamie’s mom asked. “Oh it is really not that big of a deal,” the man said. “Actually, though, I work in the film industry, you know. And we are currently filming at Times Square. If I could only borrow her for a day, and shoot a couple of scenes for the movie with her?” he asked.

Sydney got very excited. It was her biggest dream to star in a movie, ever since she was little. Jamie ended up giving the man permission to film with Sydney. Later on, when the movie came out, other directors noticed the puppy’s talent, and Sydney’s dream came true after all. She became a movie star in New York.

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