Ilya's Tale, Part 2: The Raven

September 28, 2010
By apocalyptigirl BRONZE, Staunton, Virginia
apocalyptigirl BRONZE, Staunton, Virginia
4 articles 2 photos 285 comments

Favorite Quote:
"DON'T PANIC." ~from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams


The pain woke him, sending its cruel vibrations up his leg. His heart sent back its miseries in reply. Slowly, his eyelids creaked open, squinting and then shutting again as the sun seared his pupils.

Ilya felt for his fingers. His body seemed disjointed, disconnected—only the pain tied its separate parts together. It was as if he was a spirit trying to return to a body he no longer owned. He wondered if he was dead—and the jolt of fear brought him fully awake.

He opened his eyes in spite of the sun, turning his head to the side. His arm lay stretched out beside him, fingers still wrapped around the branch that had helped him through last night’s forest. Ilya thought of the tree it had come from and the storm that must have knocked it from its bough and the years it might have waited for him to stagger across its path, and whispered, “Thank you.”

All that came out was a hiss of dry breath—and the realization that he was horribly thirsty. He’d had nothing to eat or drink since…He did not want to remember that last supper. Seated around the fire, they had complained about the fare as they usually did, remembering the comforts of home cooking. They had known that, in theory, it could have been their last meal—but none of them had really expected to die that day. Ilya remembered their faces—all his friends, one of them closer than his blood brother…

A sob wrenched itself from his chest. Alone in a strange wood, afraid, hurt, and exhausted, Ilya did not even try to stop his tears. His eyes burned as the hot drops traced down his face, spilling onto his lips…

Water. Ilya licked at his tears, not caring that they tasted of salt. Even that little bit of moisture was welcome, giving him fresh energy and hope. He could not mourn Kiran and the others now, he told himself. If he survived, he would have all the time he needed to grieve. If he died, then they could commiserate in the afterlife. A tiny smile lifted his cracked lips.

Wincing, he sat up. He could feel new bruises—his memories of the previous night were hazy, but he knew he had fallen more than once. Grimly, Ilya assessed his situation: broken leg; no food or water; unfamiliar country; one dagger; one staff; and his wits, such as they were. Ilya looked at the sun, fixing North in his mind, and cautiously got to his feet. He tried to set weight on the splinted leg—it held, but he did not relish the thought of the walk ahead.

He would head downhill; there might be a stream nearby that he could follow…His dry mouth sighed for water. Just yesterday—was it only yesterday?—he had carelessly flicked water at Kiran for his joke about the girl at Ceras. If he had known then what it was like to thirst, really thirst, he would never have wasted his precious water on Kiran…

Pain suddenly crippled him. He had everything and nothing to say to his dead friend; Thank you simply didn’t mean enough.

A raven cawed; Ilya’s head jerked up. The saucy bird was sitting in the tree above him, staring down with head cocked in a calculating manner: How long do I have to wait for this one? Ilya snarled a hoarse curse and gave the bird the courtesy of the most obscene gesture he knew. It cawed again and hopped to a lower branch, unimpressed. Ilya glowered at it and turned away, setting his staff down firmly in the loam as he started forward.

Yard by yard, he stumbled through the forest, following the gentle downward slope of the land. The raven stalked him from tree to tree, giving the occasional caw. Ilya was too focused on walking to pay it much notice, but when it swooped across his path, landing to hop up and down in front of him, he stopped and glared at it. “Go away, crow,” he rasped, his breath short and uneven. “I’m not dead…yet.”

“Ki-yah!” the bird insisted, cocking its feathered black head. “Ka-yah!”

Ilya shook his head, blinking sweat out of his eyes, and resumed walking. The raven cawed angrily. Ilya growled and swung his staff at it—then staggered as his leg betrayed him. The world spun dizzily before his eyes; he was falling—and then his flailing arm struck a tree and he leaned into it, panting. The raven looked at him as if to say, Serves you right.

“I’m sorry…” Ilya whispered through dry lips.

“Caw,” said the raven seriously, waddling up to him. On the ground, the carrion-bird’s ungainly gait rather destroyed the sinister image for which it was renowned. It bobbed its head, then cocked it to the right. It repeated the motion, giving and impatient Caw! when Ilya failed to respond.

Ilya just stared, blinking stupidly. What was it doing? The pain was dulling his mind; his thoughts were slow and cumbersome. Should he follow the bird? But he was looking for water…What was that noise? Was there a stream around here?

What was the point?

With a feeling of mild surprise, Ilya realized he was on the ground. He didn’t know how he’d gotten there, but his leg hurt worse than ever. The pain was deep in the bone, throbbing with the beats of his heart. An iron ball chained to his leg could not have crippled him more thoroughly.

For the sake of the dead, he gave a last, feeble attempt to stand. Secretly, he didn’t want to succeed. He just wanted to lie here and fall asleep, and who cared if he never woke up? The raven would be happy…

The black bird gave an angry caw and jabbed at his leg. Ilya gasped as its beak pierced torn flesh and new blood leaked from the wound. The raven jumped back and glared at him with a beady black eye. Or rather, it seemed to glare; no bird knew how to look like that…Ilya began to wonder if he was imagining things, hallucinating. Perhaps it was all a nightmare…He closed his eyes, hoping to wake up.

His last lucid thought was an apology to Kiran.


The author's comments:
Glad to see so many positive responses to Ilya's story! Here's what happens next...If the formatting doesn't work out, I'll be annoyed...

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This article has 44 comments.


on Aug. 17 2011 at 7:44 pm
ekaterinahansing, San Antonio, Texas
0 articles 0 photos 14 comments

Favorite Quote:
Being bored is a choice. Choose not to.

One word. TOTALLY AWESOME! Oops, that's two!

on Jul. 12 2011 at 11:51 am
Free_One PLATINUM, ????, Ohio
40 articles 1 photo 773 comments

Favorite Quote:
"I am not invincible or unstoppable, but I stay strong because it is the only way to survive in this world."

you write very well! I love it! I just posted two of my stories as well called nightstalker and the beast. if any of u read  it post comments and tell me if u like it or not! Thanks! :D

M.Kimmi BRONZE said...
on Mar. 3 2011 at 7:49 pm
M.Kimmi BRONZE, New York, New York
2 articles 0 photos 31 comments
Il be waiting! :DDDl

on Mar. 2 2011 at 7:57 pm
apocalyptigirl BRONZE, Staunton, Virginia
4 articles 2 photos 285 comments

Favorite Quote:
"DON'T PANIC." ~from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

lol I guess this means I will actually have to edit and post the next parts...so you can know why!!!! hahaha

M.Kimmi BRONZE said...
on Mar. 2 2011 at 4:34 pm
M.Kimmi BRONZE, New York, New York
2 articles 0 photos 31 comments

Again, wonderful DETAILS!!!!!!!!!! so wat is he doing, like wat happened. ur stories, im afraid to say, are a little short adn it annoys me that I DONT KNOW WHY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

(it menat to a good comment, no misconception hopefully)


on Feb. 26 2011 at 1:55 pm
apocalyptigirl BRONZE, Staunton, Virginia
4 articles 2 photos 285 comments

Favorite Quote:
"DON'T PANIC." ~from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

If you rate below a 3, please leave a comment about why you didn't like it. Thanks!

MadiBee BRONZE said...
on Oct. 11 2010 at 9:26 am
MadiBee BRONZE, Lancaster, New Hampshire
4 articles 0 photos 27 comments

Favorite Quote:
If at first you don't succeed, you are running about average.
- M.H. Anderson

Hehehehe The site takes waaaaaaaaaaaaaayy to long to put articles though! Ive been waiting forever 4 mine to go through

on Oct. 10 2010 at 11:08 pm
apocalyptigirl BRONZE, Staunton, Virginia
4 articles 2 photos 285 comments

Favorite Quote:
"DON'T PANIC." ~from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Hahahahaha, suspense! *dramatic music*

MadiBee BRONZE said...
on Oct. 10 2010 at 8:23 pm
MadiBee BRONZE, Lancaster, New Hampshire
4 articles 0 photos 27 comments

Favorite Quote:
If at first you don't succeed, you are running about average.
- M.H. Anderson

Cool! wowowowowowow major suspence!! hehe cant wait!

on Oct. 10 2010 at 5:39 pm
apocalyptigirl BRONZE, Staunton, Virginia
4 articles 2 photos 285 comments

Favorite Quote:
"DON'T PANIC." ~from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

"Ilya's Tale, Part 3: Draska." :) It's taking longer to edit than i expected, though---i decided to majorly change one part...

MadiBee BRONZE said...
on Oct. 10 2010 at 5:34 pm
MadiBee BRONZE, Lancaster, New Hampshire
4 articles 0 photos 27 comments

Favorite Quote:
If at first you don't succeed, you are running about average.
- M.H. Anderson

YAY!!!! lol i hate having to wait lol but i will. . . . . . :) What will the next part be called?

Fayrouz SILVER said...
on Oct. 10 2010 at 2:24 pm
Fayrouz SILVER, Fargo, North Dakota
9 articles 12 photos 364 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Only dead fish swim with the stream"

A little too much detail for my taste. Once the reader gets what the setting is and understands the characters, she/ he doesn't need excessive descriptions. I like your verbs, though and how we can picture the characters from the start! good job!

on Oct. 8 2010 at 3:16 pm
apocalyptigirl BRONZE, Staunton, Virginia
4 articles 2 photos 285 comments

Favorite Quote:
"DON'T PANIC." ~from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Wow, thanks. :) I'm glad to hear that; I started this not really sure how it would turn out. :)

on Oct. 8 2010 at 8:52 am
burningembers GOLD, Union City, Ohio
10 articles 0 photos 51 comments
I loved it.  Plain and simple.  You are an amazing writer. 

on Oct. 7 2010 at 3:09 pm
apocalyptigirl BRONZE, Staunton, Virginia
4 articles 2 photos 285 comments

Favorite Quote:
"DON'T PANIC." ~from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Well, I'm finishing up the third part on my computer right now, and once I submit it to the site it should take about a week, maybe a bit more than that, to go through. And don't worry, all will be explained...eventually... ;)

MadiBee BRONZE said...
on Oct. 7 2010 at 12:00 pm
MadiBee BRONZE, Lancaster, New Hampshire
4 articles 0 photos 27 comments

Favorite Quote:
If at first you don't succeed, you are running about average.
- M.H. Anderson

How long do your fans have to wait for the third part (me being one)? I cant wait for more!!! How old is Ilya? What does he look like? you dont have to include it in the story just maybe a little inside info plz!

on Oct. 6 2010 at 9:11 pm
apocalyptigirl BRONZE, Staunton, Virginia
4 articles 2 photos 285 comments

Favorite Quote:
"DON'T PANIC." ~from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Thank you! :)))))

on Oct. 6 2010 at 6:28 pm
apocalyptigirl BRONZE, Staunton, Virginia
4 articles 2 photos 285 comments

Favorite Quote:
"DON'T PANIC." ~from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

:) Well, part 3 should be up in a week or two! I'm glad you like the story; this started off as something of an experiment and I didn't really expect it to get this far... :)

on Oct. 6 2010 at 6:13 pm
apocalyptigirl BRONZE, Staunton, Virginia
4 articles 2 photos 285 comments

Favorite Quote:
"DON'T PANIC." ~from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Well, well, well, thank you! :) I partially agree about the detail thing; I tend to go a tad overboard and perhaps could cut down, but I like describing things!!! (can you tell? :P) It makes a nice mood...but I'm trying to work on conciseness...

on Oct. 6 2010 at 6:11 pm
apocalyptigirl BRONZE, Staunton, Virginia
4 articles 2 photos 285 comments

Favorite Quote:
"DON'T PANIC." ~from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Well, you'll have to tell me and I will remember to look at it! :) I'm finishing up part 3 of this on my comp right now, so it should be up in a week or two.




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