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!

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.
AgnotTheOdd replied...
Oct. 4, 2010 at 10:46 pm

it was pretty good up till the end.  At the end, it seemed as though someone was like, "Hey bradbury, I need this book done pronto" as he pointed to his watch.  And bradbury was all like "Okay, I'll just nuke civilization"

The end

apocalyptigirl replied...
Oct. 4, 2010 at 10:48 pm
Really? I didn't see any other way "out" for civilization than to be destroyed...oh well. Btw Part 2 is on the site now if you wanna see what happens next. :)
AgnotTheOdd replied...
Oct. 4, 2010 at 10:52 pm
Maybe, maybe not; but it was certainly rushed.
gleekster14 said...
Oct. 3, 2010 at 10:16 am
Nice descriptive detail and you created images that were quite easy to imagine.
apocalyptigirl replied...
Oct. 3, 2010 at 1:08 pm
Thank you. I was worried that some of the imagery and description might be a bit too much, actually...
kao-chanu said...
Oct. 2, 2010 at 7:45 pm
sweet nice detail! i think i read this before, randomly but i rated it this time. 5! good job
apocalyptigirl replied...
Oct. 2, 2010 at 10:22 pm
Thank you for the rating! :)
CallMeFelix said...
Oct. 2, 2010 at 7:27 pm
I originally thought it was xD This is really well written, just some little wording mistakes and typos. I think you're going to have an easy job at fantasy if you write like this...but it is difficult, the whole-other-world-with-things-that-don't-exist thing. The descriptions have to be amazing...and yours are so far. Great job! Keep writing =)
apocalyptigirl replied...
Oct. 2, 2010 at 10:20 pm
Question: if I wasn't a girl, would you be so quick to assume Ilya was a girl? B/c most people write from the perspective of their own gen.der. (ilya is a russian male name, btw...haha in looking up names i've noticed that sometimes what english speakers think of as feminine names turn out to be masculine in russian. :P)
apocalyptigirl replied...
Oct. 2, 2010 at 10:20 pm
oh yeah and could you point out the typos please? thanks!
CallMeFelix replied...
Oct. 3, 2010 at 10:27 am
I'll try to remember to point out the typos if I have time, and Ilya just sounded like a girl's name to me...xD
apocalyptigirl replied...
Oct. 3, 2010 at 1:05 pm
OK thanks, I know it's kind of hard/inconvenient to do a word-by-word edit when there's so much other work out there. I'll run it through MS Word again, lol, and see if I can't catch them myself. :)
Fayrouz This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Oct. 2, 2010 at 7:08 pm
Woah, I thought the main character was a girl at first! I think that makes it more unique and fantasy like tho! Good job with the grammar, too. None of those silly mistakes! Good job with the blood and setting, too. I like it :)
apocalyptigirl replied...
Oct. 2, 2010 at 10:21 pm
Thank you!! :) Glad you liked it...AH everyone thinks he's a girl at first, lol! Maybe it's because I'm a girl and people see that + name ending in a and think, oh, she must be writing a girl character...
living4God said...
Oct. 1, 2010 at 8:56 pm
this is a cool story :) your descriptions were really good and painted a vivid picture. good job and i can't wait to see what happens next!
apocalyptigirl replied...
Oct. 1, 2010 at 10:39 pm
Thank you for reading, and glad you liked it! Part 2 is in the works now... :)
starxoxo23 said...
Sept. 30, 2010 at 6:30 pm

Wow! You're very good at imagery. This is a fascinating story - I think you should definitely continue with it! But I did notice a few issues with sentence structure that made the story as a whole slightly harder to understand. Maybe try some extra editing?

Overall, amazing job! Personally I think this piece shows a lot of promise =)

apocalyptigirl replied...
Sept. 30, 2010 at 7:07 pm
Thank you for commenting, and yes, I have the most recent version on my computer. :P Glad you liked it, though.
Serendipity-Pen said...
Sept. 30, 2010 at 4:51 pm
Wow, that was really good! Lots of discriptions and feelings. It was like I could see him laying on the forest floor bleeding and broken.  One problem? I can't imagine his facial features, and in my mind, his head is kind of a blur. It would be nice if you could describe him more in the next part.
apocalyptigirl replied...
Sept. 30, 2010 at 7:17 pm
Ah, I see where that could be a problem. Well...the next part doesn't exactly describe his face, b/c that's not what he's thinking about, but the part after that does. I didn't want descriptions like those to take away from the action, if they weren't related to what was going on. But yeah, I see what you mean, and thanks for reading!
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