Ilya's Tale, Part 1

September 19, 2010
Ilya jerked awake in panic.

No, no, no, he thought frantically, struggling upright. His leg shifted on the blood-damp moss and he moaned in pain, almost blacking out again. No… He could not fall asleep again. The bandage was soaked through already; if not for his nightmare he might have been already dead.

Death would be easier, certainly—easier than the three miles he had run on a broken leg towards the thin hope of help. But his life had been dearly paid for. To give up now would dishonor the dead…

The forest seemed to lean in around him, dusk casting long shadows that blurred the air. Panting, Ilya lunged for a fallen branch just out of his reach. He grabbed it and dragged into his lap, stripping off twigs and leaves. That done, he tried to snap the branch but, weakened by blood loss, failed. The branch rolled from his hands and he had to sit back against the bole of the tree, closing his eyes as he recovered his strength. Stubbornly, he opened them again and drew his dagger.

The blade sliced skin as often as wood, but Ilya finally had the branch cut into three sections. These he positioned around his broken leg. Next, he pulled off his overshirt and, starting the first cut with the dagger, tore it into strips. He swallowed—now came the difficult part. Carefully, Ilya unwrapped the hasty bandage from his broken leg, plucking out stray threads left behind in his flesh. A glisten of white bone showed through, and he had to fight down nausea. Steeling himself, he lifted his leg and laid the strips of cloth under the three pieces of wood, then lowered his leg on top, trying to be gentle with his shaking hands. He tightened the first cord of the splint with a whimper.

When the rough splint was finished, Ilya fell back against the tree, sweating and shuddering with pain. His breath came in ragged spurts. Had the night grown darker, or was that his failing sight? With a monumental effort, he dragged himself back from the edge of unconsciousness, forcing into his mind the memory of the carnage and the sacrifice. Was he really going to lie down and die, after everything that had happened? He had survived this far, hadn’t he?

Ilya focused his eyes on a leaf, its green spoiled by a smear of his own blood. He let that leaf become the center of his world, a lodestone to steady his drifting mind and lend him strength. The leaf let him ignore the pain. It let him know what he had to do, hard as it would be. After gazing at the leaf until dusk was almost done, Ilya was ready.

He took a deep breath and cast his gaze around, looking for a branch to serve as a staff. The only likely specimen lay several feet away. Gritting his teeth, Ilya rolled over and crawled towards it, splinted leg slowing him as it scraped across the ground. With this staff clutched in both hands, Ilya levered himself to his feet. He waited a moment, swaying on his feet, knuckles white and face bloodless.

And then he smothered the voice inside that cried out I can’t do this! and took the first step.

Join the Discussion

This article has 103 comments. Post your own now!

Gumballlover said...
Mar. 18, 2012 at 5:21 pm
The first parargraph kind of reminded me of The Hunger Games but it seemed to get a lot better from there, and that's saying something, because I really loved that series. Keep up the AWESOME work!!!!!!
Hilidan said...
Feb. 3, 2012 at 8:46 am
I am waiting for the second part in a great excitement.You described the place very-well.
Mango777 said...
Nov. 29, 2011 at 12:48 am
This is beautifully written! It definnitely hoooked me right off.  The grammar is wonderful, and the description is perfect.  I can see it all perfectly in my mind. Thank you so much for sharing your talent.
Fia-fia said...
Nov. 7, 2011 at 11:33 pm

Very well writen! I can see everything in perfect detail! I am hooked and i want to read more! Thank you


Gingersnap777 said...
Nov. 2, 2011 at 10:29 am
Oh the bloody details...(shiver).  I was very absorbed in the story, and your descriptions of pain, are, to say the least, convincing.
Anonymous_7 said...
Oct. 16, 2011 at 11:42 pm
OOHHhhhh...You have me hooked! I really enjoyed this! It was written so well I am not going to say anything bad about it! This was a perfect intro to whatever you are planning on writing next. Keep up the good work! 5/5 stars! Would you mind commenting/rating some of my work? Thanks in advance!
writerfreak21231This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Aug. 11, 2011 at 5:34 pm
wow that was amazing! ur an awesome writer!!!! if anyone had time could you check out my new story called Terror out of this world: The whole story
ekaterinahansing replied...
Aug. 17, 2011 at 7:40 pm
Crazy! And amazing! Sent chills down my spine!
writerfreak21231This teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Jul. 12, 2011 at 10:57 am
I loved the story! Great job! Hey everyone! just posted two of my stories here there called Nightstalker and The Beast. if you read them tell me if you like them or not! Thanks! :D
M.Kimmi said...
Mar. 2, 2011 at 4:30 pm

One thing i liked: details! And like, good, well written direct details, so this whole piece is about his broken leg and how he dealt wiht it.

One thing i don't like: purpose of story?


apocalyptigirl replied...
Mar. 2, 2011 at 7:56 pm
Since it's the first part of a story series, the point would be to hook you into wanting to read the next part. I see what you mean, though. And also I got a bit lazy after writing parts one and two and haven't posted anything after :P
apocalyptigirl said...
Feb. 7, 2011 at 12:59 am
Thanks for reading, people, and btw if you rate under 5 stars, please comment on what you didn't like.
apocalyptigirl replied...
Mar. 2, 2011 at 12:27 am
Bleh. I meant 3 stars. 5 is kind of a high standard, isn't it? :/
GemValley250 said...
Nov. 23, 2010 at 2:35 pm
Interesting. By the way sorry, my comment came out REALLY wrong! It (or I) must have repeated it twice or something, it's a slight error there:( but I get what you mean. I understand now!!
GemValley250 said...
Nov. 21, 2010 at 12:20 pm

Fantastic, i truly loved it. It was really intriguing!

How could you get into such detail about something like that? I would not have a notion what someone would do if they broke their leg and was all alone. And how do you pronounce that name!? i-lee-a?

The only thing I don't understand is why he'd stare at a leaf. Would he not think about his life, his family or friends maybe, and that would maybe give him the strength to carry on? Or maybe he wanted to make his ... (more »)

apocalyptigirl replied...
Nov. 21, 2010 at 2:49 pm
Thanks. As for the leaf thing, I just thought that he needed to focus on something completely unrelated to everything that had happened to him so far--if it was me and I'd started thinking about what happened to me, or my family and friends, I would probably go to pieces...he just needs to clear his mind from all that stuff. :)
KyleG This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
May 21, 2011 at 11:42 am
The leaf definitely makes sense. I'm a marathoner, and during long difficult races, I tend to focus my mind on something in my surroundings that is completely unrelated to the pain in my legs and lungs. I thought the author was very insightful in that regard. 
apocalyptigirl replied...
May 22, 2011 at 7:26 pm
That was the idea behind using the leaf, and I'm glad it made sense to you. :)
lucybrown2010 said...
Oct. 29, 2010 at 2:42 pm

Wow!  I love the beginning!  Sounds like a great start to a series; I really like the detail you put into the making of the splint, and the blood and everything; it all flows so smoothly! 

Now I'm curious, how did this happen to Ilya?  :P 

I can't wait to read more, it was great!

lovelycheese said...
Oct. 8, 2010 at 10:32 pm
this is really good - you totally just blew me away. The description was incredibly vivid and amazing, and my attention didn't fly away. talent right there. great job!
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