Stop Me

A pastel October morning. Autumn leaves soaking up the golden sun.


“She was dumped in the lake.”


She? thought Detective Brady. Duct-tape wrapped like a Halloween mummy?


“You catch a look at who done this, Bobby?”


Bobby shrugged.


Brady eyed the blood spatter on Bobby’s sweatshirt. “Something you want to tell me?”


Relieved, Bobby nodded.



Salvatore Buttaci.

  • Austin Briggs

    Whoa, Salvatore — a complete, self-contained thriller with the setup, tension and resolution, and even the milieu, in 55 words. The emotion is memorable, too. My hat is off.

  • Diana Feltner

    A micro-who done it! Very well done Salvatore!

    • Salvatore Buttaci

      Thanks, Diana.

  • Salvatore Buttaci

    Thanks, Diana and Austin, for commenting on my 55-worder. It was fun writing. I love the challenge of doing that haiku thing in a prose context: presenting a galaxy of an idea into the space of a very small planet!

  • Debi Swim


    • Salvatore Buttaci

      Thanks to Dan, Lee, and Debi for your one-word comment for my 55-word flash. I appreciate it.

  • Lee


  • Dan


  • Joe

    Excellent. Not too much, not too little. Always a good day when you get to read a story by Sal Buttaci!

    • Salvatore Buttaci

      Brother Joe, your comment will drive me to write more and more flashes!

  • Zelda

    Sal, you said a lot in a very few words. And you said it very well.

    • Salvatore Buttaci

      Zelda, how kind of you!

  • Micki Peluso

    Well done as always, Sal

    • Salvatore Buttaci

      Thanks, Micki.

  • Cynthia B Ainsworthe

    Excellent, Sal! Love the hook. Makes us want more!!

    • Salvatore Buttaci

      I always tell myself one day I’ll expand one of my flashes and write a short story, but it hasn’t happened so far. I suppose I view each, the flash and the short story, with a different eye. Thanks for reading this one!

  • Ken Weene

    Nice use of color. I might have added the color of the lake just to use one more.

    • Salvatore Buttaci

      Ken, you might be right about coloring the lake. Next time.

  • Larisa Biyuts

    lovely opening for a detective novel.

    • Salvatore Buttaci

      Larisa, so nice of you to say.

  • Diane Piron-Gelman

    Excellent hook, Sal. I want to know why the victim was wrapped up like a mummy before being dumped. Always leave them with a question that needs answering!

    • Salvatore Buttaci

      Killers, serial or otherwise, are driven to heinous murders but don’t want to be reminded by the dead how wicked they are, so often they mask the eyes. If they mask the whole body, my way of thinking is they do so to sort of blot out the murder by transforming the bloody course into a nameless mummy-wrapped shape.

  • Marta Merajver

    You’ve done it again, Sal! Your economy of language opens a whole world of possibilities for the reader to consider.

    • Salvatore Buttaci

      Thanks, Marta. If I had been as economical with my money through the years as I now am with my flash words, I’d be a rich man!

  • Jennie Bryant

    Like it–that’s a lot of story for 55 words. :]

    • Salvatore Buttaci

      Thanks, Jennie for reading and commenting.

  • Louie Winslow

    I guess Detective Brady got lucky. A blood splattered sweat shirt is a horrendous sight.
    Louie Winslow

    • Salvatore Buttaci

      You’re right, Louie. A blood-spattered sweatshirt can really help a clueless detective.

  • Anna Mullins

    It pulls you right in in a flash…good job Sal!

    • Salvatore Buttaci

      Thanks, Anna. Because of the limitation on word count, the story must begin the middle of the conflict, without backstory or fanfare, and end with a resolution of that conflict.

  • Jean Rodenbough

    I guess she couldn’t swim . . . Good story, eerie, tells enough.

    • Salvatore Buttaci

      It’s rather difficult swimming all mummied up like that, and being dead, of course. When I was a kid I’d pretend I was dead and float on the surface of the lake, but I was just pretending to be dead and I wore only bathing trunks. The white sheets remained on my bed back home/

  • Lee

    Great story! Spooky!

    • Salvatore Buttaci

      What makes it hopefully spooky is all that is left unsaid, which readers will take with them after reading the flash. Thanks, Lee.

  • Monica Brinkman

    Powerful story. You can say it’s ‘right up my alley'[.

    • Salvatore Buttaci

      Nothing comes close to your book about karma! I am one of your biggest fans, Monica.