The Break Up

This week’s flash fiction challenge: The Plot Scenario Generator


“Nothing better than grilled cheese Tuesdays, right?” said Duff as he sat down to eat the mountain of stacked sandwiches he had assembled.

“This isn’t working for me anymore.” said Marianna.

“I know you’re trying to eat healthy…”

“I’m talking about us. I think we should break up.”

Duff felt like the whole dining hall had suddenly gone silent.

“Duff, I love you, but…”

“It’s my family, isn’t it?”

“Listen, Duff, it’s more complicated.”

“To hell with them, I don’t care if they don’t approve of you.”

“I can’t be the wedge that drives you apart from your family. It’s too much. I’m sorry.”

“So you’re willing to throw away five years, just like that? We’re graduating next year, I thought we were about to start our lives together.”

“I did too, but what kind of life would that be? The disowned Van Asch heir and his low-born wife – it sounds like the plot of a bad Victorian novel.”

“I don’t care about where you were born or who your parents are, I told you that years ago.”

“I know, D, I know. You don’t know how hard this is for me.”  Her eyes could not hold back the tears any longer.

“Then stay. We’ll figure it out together.”

“I … I can’t. I’m so sorry, more than you will ever know.” She rose from the table.

“Mar, wait, where are you going? We need to talk about this.”

“Good bye Duff.”

Duff stared at the grilled cheese until it was well past cold. As he got up, he felt the weighty gaze of two hundred eyes fixed on him. He walked to her room but it was already empty.  That was the thing about Mar – she always traveled light.

The glint of metal caught his eye as he walked back to his room.  As he got closer, he saw a sword lying alone on the ornate carpet that lined the hallways of the Academy.

“That’s funny,” thought Duff, bending down to pick it up. “The suits of armor are only in the basement.”  A look of horror flashed across his face as he grasped the familiar hilt.

It was his sword.

The Academy had one rule – no weapons. Apart from the kendo shinai, no Academy student was permitted to use anything other than their body in their seven years of training. Duff’s sword had been locked up with the family weapons from the other students the day he had arrived six years earlier.

He heard footsteps approaching from behind.  As he turned, the grinning of face of Wallis Abaroa greeted him

“My, my. What do you have there, Duff?”


“Who, me? I have no need of that dingy scabbard of yours, or have you already forgotten about my Hanzo spear? You must have seen it when you purloined your sword from the cache.”

“I didn’t take anything! It was just sitting here on the carpet.”

“Sure, sure. Someone broke into the most heavily fortified place in the Academy, stole your sword, got away undetected, and then left it gently on the ground just as you were walking by? It just sounds so … implausible, don’t you think?”

“I’m in no mood for your shit, Abaroa. My day was already going terrible.”

“Oh.  Then it’s about to get much much worse.”

Duff did not hear the footsteps coming. In an instant, they had him completely surrounded.


Duff’s sword landed with a soft thud on the carpet.  Soon, a dozen other swords made themselves known. As Duff put his hands in the air, he saw Wallis shoot him another nasty grin.

“It was Abaroa! He set me up!”

“Baseless accusations will get you nowhere, Mr. Van Asch,” said the headmaster as he parted the swords and walked into the circle. “You are expelled from the Academy, effective immediately. There will be a car waiting for you outside in 30 minutes.”


The Van Asch name was still worth something, it seemed, and so Duff’s expulsion was stayed. pending a formal expulsion hearing. His family sent a lawyer, but no one else.

“Mr. Van Asch, do you have anything to say in your defense?” said the middle elder on the dais.

His lawyer had told him to admit everything and throw himself on the mercy of the tribunal. Duff had other ideas.

“Sirs, I have been framed.”

“We’ll hear no more of your unfounded allegations. Mr. Abaroa has 15 witnesses who will testify that he was eating lunch at the time of the incident.”

“But that’s impossible! Wallis was right there when I found the sword.  He…”

“ENOUGH. Is there anything else …?”

“May I be heard?” said a voice from the back.

“Ms. Casales, I thought you’d left us for good,” said the elder on the right.

“I had a change of heart,” said Marianna as she strode to the front, throwing a small smile towards Duff.  “Sirs, I’m afraid you have the wrong man. May I approach?”

“You may.” Mar handed up a small folded piece of paper.

“Now, the weapons cache is protected by a multitude of locks and barriers. We’ve learned to break through similar things in our classes over the years and have been graded accordingly.  What I’ve just handed you are the scores for Mr. Van Asch.”

“These scores are abysmal.”

“Precisely.  I know Duff better than anyone, but I’m afraid he couldn’t break his way into a room with the door wide open.”

“I resent that!” said Duff. Mar shot him a look.

“Thank you, Ms. Casales. We will retire to chambers to consider.”

As the elders walked out, Marianna joined Duff at the front table.

“You came back!” whispered Duff. “Listen, I’m..”

“No, I’m sorry Duff. I knew I was wrong the minute I walked out of the dining hall. I had been wanting to come back ever since, but with the expulsion…”

“It’s not important. I’m just happy you’re here now.”

‘Me too.”


My random plot scenario:

The story starts when your protagonist breaks up with a romantic partner.

Another character is a martial artist who claimed your protagonist was responsible for some crime s/he committed.


4 thoughts on “The Break Up”

  1. Well-written piece. I had a strong sense of tradition and etiquette; a history beyond what was in the narrative. It made for a more organic experience, and a pleasure to read. Well done.

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