At his feet, beneath the net, lay Corvo, a Christian from Thessalonica, sharp trident at his throat. Imperial thumb for death? Deliverance?

Lucius stared down at his face, waiting for snarl, grimace, hissing through bloody serpentine lips; instead, the vanquished Thessalonian’s eyes lit like fire. He smiled.

“No one truly dies,” he said.

Lucius disagreed.


Salvatore Buttaci.

  • Salvatore Buttaci

    Thanks, Austin. As always I enjoy writing 55-word flashes and posting them at this great site of yours. I love the challenge of your prompts.

  • Lee

    Great story, Sal! As always!

    • Salvatore Buttaci

      Thank you, Lee. I love writing flashes. In fact, you might say I am flash-obsessed!

  • Paolo Jose Cruz

    This has to be my favorite piece i’ve read on this site, so far!

    The description is so vivid — and the pacing so taut — that I can practically see the action happen in my head (though perhaps as it would be presented in a Zach Snyder-esque gladiator film, rather than as a spectator in the coliseum might have witnessed it).

    But perhaps more importantly, I felt the tension between the fallen warrior’s determination and Lucius’ smug bloodlust.

    And the seemingly throw-away detail about the Thessalonain’s belief system took on real significance, when he spoke his (presumably) final line.

    Hail Buttaci! Your command of the format is truly an inspiration.

    • Salvatore Buttaci

      Paolo, I am overwhelmed by your comments! Thank you for taking the time to read my flash and reviewing it.

    • Salvatore Buttaci

      Paolo, congratulations on your win!

  • Salvatore Buttaci

    Thanks, Austin. I know so many authors share my appreciation for your site: a true delight!

  • Debi Swim

    My favorite also. Paolo said it best and I agree!

    • Salvatore Buttaci

      Debi, I even dream 55-word flashes!

  • Ken Weene

    Another wow from Sal and in 55 words. One of the true masters of flash and micro.

    • Salvatore Buttaci

      Thanks, Ken!

  • richbottlesjr

    No one truly knows flash fiction like Sal.

    • Salvatore Buttaci

      I’m just one of an incalculable number of flash writers out there!

  • Marta Merajver-Kurlat

    Sal, you’re a master at saying so much in 55 words. I could write a paper on what your mini story suggests :)

    • Salvatore Buttaci

      Marta, flash has always been my favorite kind of fiction because I love the challenge of packing a plot into a tight ball of words.

  • Zelda

    Paolo expressed my feelings better than I could have! I agree with every word he wrote.

    • Salvatore Buttaci

      Thanks, Zelda.

  • Cynthia B Ainsworthe

    Excellent, Sal. Give us more!

    • Salvatore Buttaci

      Cynthia, you can be sure of that. Thanks!

  • Joe

    Very impressive and only so few words! Still it’s a whole story and an excellent one at that.

    • Salvatore Buttaci

      Joe, it’s challenging fun to take an entire building one story high and compressing it into a small brick!

  • r.j.saxon

    Great work Salvatore. :) R.j.

    • Salvatore Buttaci

      R.J., thanks a milliuon!

  • vic fortezza

    Salvatore has done it again – in only 55 words. Bravo.

    • Salvatore Buttaci

      Thanks, Vic!

  • Ailiew

    With your clever word choice you are able to set the scene, explain the situation and develop the two main characters – all within the 55 words! Sometimes it is more important to leave words out, and allow us as readers to fill in the blanks for ourselves – which makes for a much more interesting story than if you were to waffle on, describing every single detail. The sentence “Lucius disagreed” conjures up a more powerful image than some people have managed in their whole 55 word limit; and you’ve done it in two! – fantastic.

    • Salvatore Buttaci

      Thank you, Ailiew, for your kind review of “Arena.” In writing flashes we are constrained by word limitation and therefore must use words efficiently. Doing this we place a greater challenge on our readers to fill in the detail blanks still firing in our heads!