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!

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?

Day-Dreamer17 replied...
Sept. 29, 2010 at 6:10 pm
Is Ilya a Russ.ian spy? ;)
apocalyptigirl replied...
Sept. 29, 2010 at 8:45 pm
nah, this is fantasy, haha. ;)
Imaginedangerous This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 1, 2010 at 11:49 am

It was a pretty good piece, but I personally didn't like it just because I don't handle gore well. (I don't mind violence, just when it gets really bloody or graphic. The description of his bone showing almost made me woozy. Your writing is very powerful.) A sequel would be good for picking up the plot.

Note to The-Mentalist: I hated Space Odessy 2001. It was about three hours too long. :D

apocalyptigirl replied...
Oct. 1, 2010 at 10:36 pm
Imaginedangerous: Thank you for reading! Sorry about the gore thing; I didn't even consider that when writing it...I don't have a problem with it (obviously) but I never thought others might. Again, sorry....
Imaginedangerous This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. replied...
Oct. 2, 2010 at 8:53 am
It's fine, don't worry- it's not like it made me pass out or anything... :)
Ari_lol replied...
Oct. 4, 2010 at 5:40 pm
I like how you keep refrencing to peoples sacrifices for him, it makes you wonder who he is to be so important. The writing is amazing, but the concept is just the slightest bit cliche...(though that may just be me, I've read a freakish number of books...) The description is good, and you really seem to know what your talking about... my leg kinda hurts now :P
AvengedJasonFold replied...
Oct. 5, 2010 at 7:22 pm

Mentalist no wonder you hated this. If you liked Of Mice and Men I'm afraid you will enjoy next to nothing that poeple on this website, or in today's world will ever post. No I didn't cry at the end of that book, nor did I enjoy a single part of it. It was probably the most boring and depressing thing I had ever read--been forced to read mind you.

Where do you expect a story to start? Where did Of Mice and Men start? While Lenny and George were in the middle of the... (more »)

apocalyptigirl replied...
Oct. 8, 2010 at 8:21 am

AJF: Bahaha. I have never read Of Mice and Men and it sounds like I don't want to. As for this, I never affected to writing literature. It's an action-adventure story posted on a teen writing site, for crying out loud. I made it up b/c I didn't want to submit anything I already had. Oh yeah, and the comparison to Inception was pretty good for where this story finds Ilya....basically, dying in the middle of nowhere til some nice person decides to help him.


more »)

mudpuppy said...
Sept. 28, 2010 at 9:22 am
I would like to read part two also. I am curious to see how he got into this situtation in the first place and what mode of action he does next. :)
apocalyptigirl replied...
Sept. 29, 2010 at 12:08 am
Glad you liked it. :) Since you seem to have more articles published than me, could you tell me how long it has usually taken for them to approve your stuff?
mudpuppy replied...
Sept. 29, 2010 at 9:21 am
It takes about two weeks by my understanding. :)
lovebug_again_ said...
Sept. 28, 2010 at 8:09 am
well this is really awesomee! i honestly love the way its written... Cool-ness! id love to see wat happens next!
apocalyptigirl replied...
Sept. 29, 2010 at 12:06 am
Thank you! Part 2 is awaiting approval...*taps foot impatiently*
thepreechyteenager said...
Sept. 28, 2010 at 5:42 am

Nice story!  I agree with AsIAm, the plot line sounds really cool.  The one thing I have to say about it is the whole my-life-has-been-sacreficed-for-and-now-I-must-not-fail thing.  It's a very valid and common part of a story line for there to be a little mystery of the past during the stories exposition, but I don't really see a point for it here.

I mean, I know you want suspense and mystery in the story, but there's no support for it.  The cgaracter repeatedly ta... (more »)

apocalyptigirl replied...
Sept. 28, 2010 at 7:31 am
...How do you know he's not trying to forget a painful memory? If I tell you now then you don't want to read part 2...;)
AsIAm This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. said...
Sept. 27, 2010 at 10:29 pm

The good:  This is really intriguing!  I like the details, and the plot sounds really cool - I want to know more!

The bad: Looks good to me!

The random: Can't wait to read on!


apocalyptigirl replied...
Sept. 27, 2010 at 10:35 pm
Thanks! :D
Samantha.07 replied...
Sept. 29, 2010 at 3:34 pm
I think this passage needs more...feeling. I understand what the character feels, but not the atmosphere. The reader should know what's going on..I felt like I was reading a page of something right in the middle, not the beginning. I think after you include more information and a clearer mood, then the reader will be able to fully understand and follow along. Otherwise, description was great, just make sure you don't over-do it!
apocalyptigirl replied...
Sept. 29, 2010 at 9:57 pm
So setting was lacking? I can see why you'd say that....yeah i don't give much except that it's in a forest at dusk.
Samantha.07 replied...
Sept. 30, 2010 at 7:57 pm
Hmm..more than setting. More background, I suppose. Why not referencing to something in the past that'll hint the future and the reason he's there?
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