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Ilya's Tale, Part 1

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!

butnotacrime This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 28, 2010 at 9:54 pm:

So far, I'm very intrigued.  The descriptions were excellent, and it kept my attention throughout the whole thing. It also makes you wonder how he got this way.

 

Critique:  It was hard to critique this, but here's what I have.

 

Just to me, Ilya sort of reminds me of a girl.  Sorry:(  Not the character, the name.

 

The description does get a bit detailed, and while I didn't mind,some might.

 
apocalyptigirl replied...
Sept. 28, 2010 at 9:55 pm :
Yeah, the most recent version on my computer cuts down on some of the detail, like about him fixing his leg. :P Thanks!
 
butnotacrime This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 28, 2010 at 9:59 pm :
OK! No problem!
 
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A.Bekah.Girl This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 28, 2010 at 7:32 pm:

i quite like it..

i like how much the character feels..

really good, i want to say backshadowing, but i guess it's forshadowing...

please continue...

 
apocalyptigirl replied...
Sept. 29, 2010 at 12:02 am :
Backshadowing should be an official term, haha. B/c he's not flashing back, and it's not foreshadowing either...Hmm. The next part is called "Ilya's Tale, Part 2: The Raven" if you'd like to read it after it's approved...whenever that will be...:P
 
A.Bekah.Girl This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 29, 2010 at 12:10 am :

yup....let's go add it to the dictionary...

i'll watch for it...

 
apocalyptigirl replied...
Oct. 7, 2010 at 6:50 pm :
Since you seemed interested, I thought you might like to know that Part 2 is up on the site. :)
 
A.Bekah.Girl This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 7, 2010 at 7:51 pm :

lovely.

 

 
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Day-Dreamer17 said...
Sept. 28, 2010 at 1:43 pm:

Oooohh, mysterious! You have got to write more. :)

Question: what made you pick the name Ilya?

 
apocalyptigirl replied...
Sept. 28, 2010 at 2:22 pm :
I'm not sure why Ilya came into my head. It sounded foreign...and kinda cool...maybe not the best name ever but I like it for this character. Do you?
 
mudpuppy replied...
Sept. 28, 2010 at 4:41 pm :
I think the name looks exotic.
 
Day-Dreamer17 replied...
Sept. 28, 2010 at 4:46 pm :
I like it! It's unique! ;D
 
The-Mentalist This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 28, 2010 at 5:26 pm :
I wouldn't read more really. I don't know this character, he's just an entity in pain, what are his goals, why is he here? what are his motivations? This is well written but it's boring. An opening scene must do one of two things, it must teach who this character is or it must introduce us to the plot. (Getting us involved in rousing action is also acceptable) This does none of it.

I do a fair bit of fantasy writing. I'll show you some of my more successful openings on the forums. more »)
 
AvengedJasonFold replied...
Sept. 28, 2010 at 6:08 pm :

Good god, I think we've found somebody more arrogant than I am. At least this person has more ethos because he/she got published but man...

Yes it does get us involved in rousing action. The dude is fighting to stay alive.

Let us all remember classic tales like The Cask of Amontillado where we don't know the characters enough to know what Fortunado did to Montressor that drove him mad enough to kill him (arguably a critical missing detail in the exposition which was a mer... (more »)

 
Day-Dreamer17 replied...
Sept. 28, 2010 at 6:26 pm :

The-Mentalist: Maybe the reason you don't like this piece is because it's just not your cup of tea. Honestly, this kind of intro grabs my attention rather quickly, and I know that there is more to the story so I keep reading. Just because it's not how you like it doesn't mean it's completely boring. (Not that your opinion doesn't matter; I'm not saying that.)

Besides, creative writing is just that-creative. While we may like of dislike the story, the decision to ch... (more »)

 
The-Mentalist This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Sept. 28, 2010 at 7:27 pm :

I never said it was a bad piece. I never even thought it really, it's well written but it fails to grab my attention. I have no care that this person is fighting for their life if I don't know this person. If they die in the next page I wouldn't honestly care either way. (Compare this to Steinbeck's 'Of Mice and Men' where I think we all criend at the end)

 

As for the argument of Tolkien, Tolkien wasn't writing a book. Tolkien's mission had nothing to do with the book. Tol... (more »)

 
apocalyptigirl replied...
Sept. 28, 2010 at 9:30 pm :
avengedjasonfold: I'm pretty sure Ilya is a male Rus.sian name. I've never heard of Fire Emblem...
 
apocalyptigirl replied...
Sept. 28, 2010 at 9:34 pm :
AvengedJasonFold: Christopher Paolini tries to be Tolkein. He spends most of the sequels showing off how smart he is....and it annoys me, lol. It's like he's trying to be Tolkein + George Lucas...hahaha. I like the first book the best, b/c it's the least pretentious. :P
 
apocalyptigirl replied...
Sept. 28, 2010 at 9:35 pm :
....sorry to keep posting, but i am actually honored, in a rather wry way, to be compared to Tolkien...
 
apocalyptigirl replied...
Sept. 29, 2010 at 12:05 am :
and don't be offended by "mor.on;" it was not meant to be mean. Sorry, it's just that my little brother and i call each other that affectionately and i sometimes forget other people take it seriously...
 
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