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.

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This article has 103 comments. Post your own now!

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!
apocalyptigirl replied...
Oct. 9, 2010 at 9:38 pm
Thanks--I'm glad you liked it--and this is really random, but can i just say, I love your username. Lol...why lovelycheese? Do you like cheese?
LoveSickenedRebel said...
Oct. 7, 2010 at 9:59 pm
Loved this story very much. Your a really good writing and you should definetly continue with this story. Its amazing!
apocalyptigirl replied...
Oct. 7, 2010 at 11:11 pm
I'm glad you liked it. There's a part 2 already on the website and I'm fixing up a part 3 right now. :)
Diana101 said...
Oct. 6, 2010 at 5:58 pm

Really amazing story!! I Loved it; it had me hooked on after the first sentence. (There for a while I had to force myself to blink:)



apocalyptigirl replied...
Oct. 6, 2010 at 6:00 pm
Haha, thank you! I'm glad you liked it...part 2 is up now if you want to read on... :)
apocalyptigirl said...
Oct. 4, 2010 at 5:55 pm
Hey guys----Part 2 is on the site!!! :)
Killer_PianoForteist replied...
Oct. 6, 2010 at 4:53 pm is super amazing! Very deep and very nice vocabulary, plus I love the cliff hanger and mystery within it. Keep up the AWESOME work, good luck!
AgnotTheOdd said...
Oct. 3, 2010 at 8:16 pm

I like the ending a lot.  the writing is pretty good, I liked the details which seemed pretty savvy and realistic.  McGeigering it up...

All I can say is, this guy is really fit.

I met two russian kids at a tennis camp once.  Ilya and Vadim.  Nice kids.  Didn't speak a word of english, save for a few cuss words.  Aw... now youve gone and got me all nostalgic.


apocalyptigirl replied...
Oct. 3, 2010 at 9:06 pm
Lol, the cuss words are important. :P He is fit, and adrenaline is a wondrous's crazy what people can do in the instincts of self-preservation.
katie-cat said...
Oct. 3, 2010 at 5:44 pm
I liked this.  It was interesting and had very good detail.  However, I wasn't sure about the name "Ilya."  I'm not big on out-of-the-ordinary names, but that's just my opinion.  Other than that good job :)
apocalyptigirl replied...
Oct. 3, 2010 at 5:59 pm
I can understand that, but this is fantasy...Ilya's a russian name, i forget what it means haha. I'm glad you liked the rest of it, though! :)
Heatherr-feather This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 3, 2010 at 2:19 pm
the ipitomy of perfection !
apocalyptigirl replied...
Oct. 3, 2010 at 3:17 pm
Haha! Really? lol thank you!!!
JustinBieberGirl14 replied...
Oct. 3, 2010 at 4:17 pm
The imagery in this piece is incredible! 
apocalyptigirl replied...
Oct. 3, 2010 at 6:00 pm
yay imagery! ;) especially gross
apocalyptigirl replied...
Oct. 5, 2010 at 2:00 pm
....and part 2 is up in case you want to read it.... *offers feedback cookie*
gleekster 14 said...
Oct. 3, 2010 at 1:23 pm
An author's imagery can never be too much. It can only be vague and unclear or vivid and beautiful and yours was the clearer of the two. Great job! I'd like to hear part two.
apocalyptigirl replied...
Oct. 3, 2010 at 2:13 pm
Thanks so much! :) Anyway, part 2 is in the (slow) process of being approved. :P
AgnotTheOdd replied...
Oct. 3, 2010 at 8:17 pm
Nothing to do with your story but if any one has read Fahrenheit 451, that had too much imagery.  The guy got drunk on his own metaphors...
apocalyptigirl replied...
Oct. 4, 2010 at 10:28 pm
Hahahaha I know what you mean...I loved that book, but his narrator narrates far too poetically for someone who's never read poetry or literature...still a great book. :)
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