The Duel | Teen Ink

The Duel

February 5, 2011
By Tatiel PLATINUM, Washington, Vermont
Tatiel PLATINUM, Washington, Vermont
23 articles 21 photos 57 comments

Favorite Quote:
Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.
~Mark Twain

Quietly, fearfully, she walked towards the lake. The trees, rising on either side of the path she followed, cast blue shadows over her white face. She pulled her shawl closer around her shoulders, shivering more from fear than cold, and slowed her walk. She was near the edge of the woods. A barbed needle of dread pricked her heart as her wide eyes traveled over the sloping lawn at the lakeside and the pier that ran out over the mist-covered waters. Four men stood upon the far end. Reflected back from the sterile gray mist that blanketed the water, a cold light gleamed from the hands of two of them. Light shining off the muzzles of two loaded pistols.

She started, and stepping behind a tree, looked on in terror as the men with the pistols turned their backs on each other and walked to opposite ends of the pier. Their companions, acting as seconds to the duel, carefully measured off the distance with slow paces, pausing to give instructions and encouragement to the duelers. Harsh wires of alarm sprang alive in the young woman’s mind. Her thoughts raced, frantic. "No! Dueling – he’ll be killed, I know it – Olga – what will I tell her – Evgeny can’t – Evgeny!" Here her mind stopped abruptly, and her gray eyes fixed immovably on the figure farthest to the right. "...He wouldn’t..."

Dimly she saw the two duelers salute each other and take their stances, separated by a mist of hesitation, regret, and incomplete anger. Faintly she heard the whistle blown by one of the seconds. She watched two pairs of hands cock the pistols as though from a world away. Slowly the muzzles were lowered, until they pointed their cruel, unflinching mouths towards each other. The men began to advance. With increasing horror the young woman, scarcely more than a child, tore her eyes away from the firm, unwavering, yet regret-filled figure on the right and flew to the other man. He stood trembling, terrified and unresolved. His steps wavered and he paused, still far from his opponent, whose firm, sure steps halted as well. "No."

He would not do it. She knew he would not do it. Evgeny could not be so cruel. Those kind, handsome dark eyes could not harbor such unfeeling disregard for his friend. His friend! Those two, the duelers, had stood in comradeship not many days before. What had happened? One dance, that was all. Why had Evgeny done it? She could not understand. How could he, the man she loved, dare to cause such pain in his friend? How could he dare to dance with Olga while her lover watched, jealousy blossoming in his heart? If He killed him, if Evgeny killed Vladimir…He would not. He could not. Impossible. He would lower the gun, any moment now. He would realize the stupidity, apologize, make Vladimir understand. It was only one dance...

She watched, frozen in place, torn between love and revulsion. She could see Vladimir’s pistol shaking in his hand. Her thoughts jumped in her head. "No, Vladimir! No! Don’t kill cannot kill him. Why?" The hesitation in Vladimir’s eyes gave way to forced resolution. His shuddering hand squeezed the pistol. The young woman hid her face in her shawl. Evgeny’s eyes narrowed.

A gunshot ricocheted across the lake, bouncing cruelly in the misty silence. She screamed, but no one heard. Vladimir stood, shock, shame, and repentance written across his face. Evgeny blinked. The shot had gone wide. The young woman collapsed against the tree, sure of Evgeny’s response. "He will end it now. Put away the gun..." The duelers stood motionless on the pier.

The lines of Evgeny’s gentle face grew hard as stone. His eyes lost their warmth and became cold as ice. A burning rage covered the regret in his form. He raised his pistol and stepped forward. Vladimir’s eyes filled with confusion, but he did not flinch. Staring into the face of his opponent, Evgeny pulled the trigger.


The young woman ran as though her heart were on fire, back towards the house. Her shawl snagged on a branch and fell from her shoulders. She did not notice. She hardly realized where she was. She reeled, staggering with shock, her world broken by what she had seen. "Blood, washing the pier, pouring into the lake – Death – He’s dead. He killed him. Evgeny – Evgeny, what have you done – A doctor – no, too late. I saw him fall. Vladimir – Olga! Dead, Olga, he’s dead. Cruel Evgeny, you liar! You were his friend – friend – does it mean nothing to you? Friendship, love, do you have a heart? Have I been deceived? Why, why, why – Blood – a lake of blood – I loved you. Never. I hate you Evgeny, I hate you! I cannot hate you. Never, ever come back. Coward, cruel, heartless! Evgeny, how could you?"

Back in the house. Sobbing, screaming, shaking. Olga confused, unregistering. "But I saw it, I saw it, he’s dead. Dead! Evgeny killed him, killed his friend, killed Vladimir. Killed your love, Olga. Killed your heart! Don’t you understand what this means?"

Olga sank, rigid with grief. The young woman screamed, again and again, not comprehending the tears that poured down her face. Evgeny, her Evgeny, a killer. A wound so deep no medicine could heal it opened in her breast. With time her tears would dry, her horror pass, her confusion fade...but now, before her eyes, a lake of blood thrashed in stormy winds. A man, firm of step and proud of bearing, stood upon the waters, pistol raised high in triumphant cruelty. Her broken heart sank beneath his feet.

The author's comments:
This story is based on a scene from Fiennes’ film "Onegin." The words that I have put inside quotation marks are the thoughts of the girl from who's perspective this is told. Unfortunately, the formatting (and thus the italics I had originally put those words in) does not stay, so I set apart her thoughts with quotation marks.

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This article has 26 comments.

on Apr. 7 2012 at 10:47 am
Tatiel PLATINUM, Washington, Vermont
23 articles 21 photos 57 comments

Favorite Quote:
Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.
~Mark Twain

Thank you so much! And I most certainly will =)

on Apr. 7 2012 at 10:45 am
LiteraryMastermind BRONZE, Graytown, Connecticut
1 article 0 photos 39 comments

It's a great piece. Everything flows together, and I like how you developed the characters in such a short scene. Deserved Editor's Choice. That said, I agree with Epiclyawesome that it was confusing, but I also read your reply about the italics. Considering that, when the thoughts were italized it would be miles easier to understand. Good job.


As a reminder, could you check out my novel, A Rebellion, Underground? Just click my profile, it's the only non-anonymous story I've written on Teenink.

on Apr. 7 2012 at 10:07 am
Allicat001 SILVER, Waukesha, Wisconsin
6 articles 0 photos 170 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Love is not someone you can live with, love is someone you can't live without."

"Always stand up for what's right even if that means you're standing alone."

The imagery and emotion you worked into this piece was flawless.  5/5 good job!

on Apr. 2 2012 at 5:17 pm
Tatiel PLATINUM, Washington, Vermont
23 articles 21 photos 57 comments

Favorite Quote:
Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.
~Mark Twain

Yea, I lost the formating with her thoughts (I had them italicized so you could tell them appart from the rest) when I posted it on here. -_- Haha. Thanks! =)

GeeGi BRONZE said...
on Apr. 2 2012 at 4:12 pm
GeeGi BRONZE, Park City, Utah
3 articles 0 photos 51 comments

Favorite Quote:
“Being crazy isn't enough.”
― Dr. Seuss

“Why fit in when you were born to stand out?”
― Dr. Seuss

You are an excellent writer and obviously have much talent, but this peice was a little confusing. Maybe if you seperated her thoughts from everything else, it would be easier to understand. Again, I loved this and think you are an excellent writer. Good luck on your future writing :)

on Apr. 1 2012 at 7:01 pm
Austin42 SILVER, Carlsbad, California
6 articles 1 photo 4 comments

Favorite Quote:
"No eternal reward will forgive us now for wasting the dawn."
-Jim Morrison

I thought your story was good. I was a little confused on who is who and the relationships between the characters. But You did a very nice job of showing her thoughts. Although I was confused about somethings, in a way it adds to the stream of conscience effect since her thoughts patterns seemed realistic. 

on Mar. 29 2012 at 7:57 am
torilynn400 GOLD, Poughkeepsie, New York
10 articles 1 photo 41 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The only thing we have to fear, is fear itself."
-President Franklin Delano Roosevelt

This is a great piece- I loved every word of it! I love the imagery and vividness of your writing- I felt like I was right there with the characters. Great job!

on Mar. 28 2012 at 8:46 pm
ItsAshMal SILVER, Guilford, Connecticut
8 articles 0 photos 44 comments
This is a great peek into this woman's life. I really like your syntax, as it compells the reader to continue. You also refrained from simple introduction of facts, instead choosing to allow the narrator to reveal all as she thought of it, which I think was a great decision. On the flip side, I think you may have been a bit overzealous in your punctuation usage, and there are a couple of moments (particularly in the stream-of-consciousness sections) where the story becomes not only unclear, but almost unfollowable. All in all, though, magnificent work. Brava! 

on Mar. 24 2012 at 7:42 am
Tatiel PLATINUM, Washington, Vermont
23 articles 21 photos 57 comments

Favorite Quote:
Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.
~Mark Twain

=) Thanks so much!

Haha, and YES. You definitely should. ;) It's one of my all-time favorite movies. =D

KateLA GOLD said...
on Mar. 24 2012 at 7:15 am
KateLA GOLD, Everett, Washington
11 articles 20 photos 194 comments

Favorite Quote:
Don’t you find it Funny that after Monday(M) and Tuesday(T), the rest of the week says WTF?

Wow-I love your descriptions they're mesmerizing! You're a great writer, I can't think of anything to improve it. I was thinking about watching Onegin, and now I'm convinced I should :-)

on Mar. 23 2012 at 10:04 pm
CountryPopGirl PLATINUM, Lawrenceville, New Jersey
38 articles 16 photos 64 comments

Favorite Quote:
"You love someone, you open yourself up to suffering, that's the sad truth. Maybe they'll break your heart, maybe you'll break their heart and never be able to look at yourself in the same way. Those are the risks. The thought of losing so much control over personal happiness is unbearable. That's the burden. Like wings, they have weight, we feel that weight on our backs, but they are a burden that lifts us. Burdens which allow us to fly..."
-Dr. Jack Hodgins (Bones)

This was awesome. I think that if you wanted to, you could turn this into a story. Your descriptions and inner thoughts were a-maze-ing! :D

on Mar. 23 2012 at 4:51 pm
Tatiel PLATINUM, Washington, Vermont
23 articles 21 photos 57 comments

Favorite Quote:
Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.
~Mark Twain

Haha, yes, the "He" thing was a typo =P ...And I'm kiind of impressed it's still in there, since I submitted this to a writing teacher who graded it XD *makes mental note to fix it* =)

As for the relationship thing, I agree =P I realized that after I finished it. Anyone who is unfamiliar with the story of Eugene Onegin will have a hard time grasping that...I'll go back and edit =)

Thank you so  much for your comments!! =)

on Mar. 23 2012 at 4:02 pm
DaisyAngel BRONZE, Sandy Springs, Georgia
3 articles 0 photos 65 comments
This was really good! I loved your descriptions, because they were so vivid. However, there are some places where you need to add commas and change capitalization. At one point, you referred to someone in the middle of a sentence as "He". You can't do that, because most religious people see "He" and think "God". Also, I was confused at to who was in a relationship with whom. That needs to be clarified a little further, I think. Other than that, though, this was really great! I'm surprised that it isn't in higher places on the site yet.

on Mar. 23 2012 at 8:25 am
Tatiel PLATINUM, Washington, Vermont
23 articles 21 photos 57 comments

Favorite Quote:
Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.
~Mark Twain

Hahaha! I originally wrote this for an online Creative Writing class, and due to technical difficulties, I couldn't read it out loud myself so another student read if for me. He finally gave up and called him Evan. XD The pronunciation is just the way it is spelled: ev-GAY-nee. His last name is weirder: un-YAY-gin. Hehe =P Russian names make me so happy XD

Thanks for your comments! =)

on Mar. 23 2012 at 8:03 am
Eshshah PLATINUM, Galloway, New Jersey
32 articles 31 photos 239 comments

Favorite Quote:
"The woods are lovely, dark and deep. But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep." -Robert Frost

first off, Great job on the badge! I like this story, the detail is especially good, great job! I don't really understand how to pronounce evgeny's name though... I keep thinking it's egg vinny (don't ask)

on Mar. 22 2012 at 3:07 pm
AnimaCordis GOLD, London, Other
13 articles 0 photos 131 comments

Favorite Quote:
"Evil is when the good do nothing"

I'll start by saying I love the story you based this on! 

In terms of structure, I thought your use of short paragraphs was very good. I think it was very sutible to use them. However, your use of speech was a little comfuing at times, perhaps you meant it to be this way though. I like your range of sentance structure, it makes you sound like a well rounded writer and has a good effect.

I thought your use of langauge was very good, your descriptions are very vivid and at the same time elegent.  

The ending I liked in particular 'her broken heart sank beneath his feet' i think was perfect. It slightly twists the usual sentance and has a very dramatic effect. 

I think it's very good. It deserved the award it got, well done! I enjoyed reading this.

Woodles said...
on Mar. 22 2012 at 11:08 am
Wow this is amazing! You did a great job! Keep it up :D 

on Mar. 21 2012 at 8:47 pm
Tatiel PLATINUM, Washington, Vermont
23 articles 21 photos 57 comments

Favorite Quote:
Against the assault of laughter nothing can stand.
~Mark Twain

Thanks so much! =)

Haha, I based it on a scene from the movie Onegin, like I said in my comments at the top. That movie is based off of Alexander Pushkin's novel in verse, called Eugene Onegin. That was written around 1820. So that is the setting in terms of time period =)

*grins* I HIGHLY recommend Ralph Fiennes' production of Onegin, if you're interested in a good movie...hehehe =P *totally in love with Pushkin's story* <3

on Mar. 21 2012 at 8:21 pm
WSwilliams GOLD, Toronto, Ontario, Other
12 articles 3 photos 95 comments

Favorite Quote:
If you keep writing, you will pick up structure. You will pick up form

- Richard Matheson

No wonder this is an Editor's Choice. Maybe someday I can them to notice me like this. Pretty good story. It was raw, you used a lot fo description, and I liked the way you portrayed the character's thought as she witnesses the duel. One question though: Did this take place somewhere in the 1900's. i heard there were duels like this back then. Otherwise, REALLY great work

on Mar. 18 2012 at 7:25 pm
futurenovelista SILVER, Staatsburg, New York
8 articles 0 photos 64 comments

Favorite Quote:
"But I being poor have only my dreams...I place my dreams at your feet. Tread softly for you tread on my dreams." -Yeats

this was great! You did an excellent job in describing the scenes and I felt drawn into the story. Keep writing...