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This story expands on a character that I always felt had great potential. There will be more chapters eventually but, probably not as long as this one. I hope you enjoy it! Feedback and constructive criticism are always appreciated :D.
Disclaimer: I do not own these characters and the title comes from a short story (which you should all look up and read!)
Ilana Verdansky awoke with a start; the ship rocking from the force of the waves. Looking around frantically she found that her mother was no longer in the room with her. Hurrying out to the deck she found herself soaked with rain. There were not many crew members on the ship but they were all on the deck, struggling to regain control of the ship. Among them was her mother, Alyona.
“What’s going on?” She asked in a loud voice.
“The storm came out of nowhere!” Her mother replied. “Someone said that they saw land nearby, if we’re not careful we’ll hit the reef.” She knelt to her daughter’s eye level and continued. “I want you to go back down below and get your life jacket; put it on just like I showed you.”
“I don’t want to leave you…”
“Ilana! Do as I say.” Her mother snapped. “I’ll be fine.”
Reluctantly Ilana did as her mother said. She grabbed the life vest from under her bunk and strapped it on.
Suddenly the ship rocked again, more violently this time. There was a horrible groaning sound of straining metal the hull of the ship had been breached and water began to rush in. Ilana was gripped with fear as she waded back to the deck of the ship.
Many of the crew had decided to abandon the ship and were preparing the life rafts.
“Ilana!” Alyona screamed, taking hold of her daughter’s hand. “Come on, we’ve got to get off the ship but, there’s an island nearby, we’re going to try and make it there.” Ilana quickly scanned the horizon and thought she could make out the outline of an island. Mother and daughter climbed into the life raft with the others and sailed off toward the shadowy island.
Ilana tried to ignore the banging on her door and focus on her book. She reached down and patted the dog at her side that looked up at her contently.
She was forced to look up at the sound of splintering wood; the door had been forced open. She looked up at her father in disgust, already smelling the usual scent of alcohol that her father brought with him. “What do you want?”
Rather than acknowledging her he strode into the room and started to put a leash on the dog.
“What are you doing?!” Ilana yelled.
“I’m done paying for this mutt.” The man said. “He’s going to the pound.”
“I don’t work to feed this dumb dog”
“No you work to keep yourself in a drunken stupor half the time!” Ilana said, incensed.
In one swift motion he swung his arm and struck her in the face with enough force to knock her to the floor. “You’ll not talk to me like that girl! Not in my own house!” Ilana’s dog growled; her father pulled the leash sharply. With one last look the man turned and left the room.
Ilana looked up at her father with contempt as he led her dog away from her.
Later that same say Ilana’s mother found her daughter in her bed staring rather despondently at the wall. “Ilana? What’s wrong…?” She said sitting down beside her daughter. Ilana merely wiped the tears from her eyes.
Alyona reached out and gently turned her daughter’s face toward her. “What happened to your face?” She said sharply.
“Don’t lie to me!” Alyona said. “Did he hurt you again?”
Her mother was suddenly furious. “Gather your things.” She said. “I’m not staying with that man anymore. Only take what you need, we’ll have to travel light. Where’s your dog?”
Ilana only cried.
All she could feel was sand; all she could taste was salt. Lifting up her head she took several deep, rasping breaths of air as the water crashed around her. She struggled forward, up to the beach where she nearly collapsed with exhaustion.
Weakly she looked around and took in her surroundings, the only things she could see were the sea and the setting sun and the jungle.
Ilana staggered to her feet and walked toward the trees. “Mother!” She called.
Up ahead she saw someone.
Then she drifted into unconsciousness.
“Ilana…” Someone said through the haze. “Ilana, wake up…”
Ilana awoke and felt her mother gently shaking her. She snapped awake. “ Mom!” She said, embracing Alyona. “What happened?”
“There was a huge wave; you fell out of the life boat… I thought….” Alyona said, holding her daughter close.
“I’m okay mom…” Ilana said, slowly pulling away from her mother. They were sitting in the shade of the trees, with the other survivors sitting in a semi-circle. A short distance away two others were building a large rescue fire.
“Glad to see you’re awake.” One of the men said. “I was the captain of the ship. My name is Grigory.”
“How long do you think it will be until we can expect a rescue team?” Alyona asked.
Grigory sighed. “By the time they realize something is wrong….maybe two weeks.”
There was a collective groan from the group. “What is this place?” Someone asked.
The Captain shook his head. “I don’t know. There was no island near here on the map.”
“How do you not know where we are?!” Another person yelled.
“There are dozens of uninhabited islands.” The Captain said. “Now, we’ve got to start thinking about surviving here, at least for a while until we’re rescued. We should split up, look for food, water.”
There were murmurs of agreement all around. The small group walked together into the jungle; some collected fire wood others climbed trees to collect mangos and coconuts. It was starting to get dark when Ilana thought she heard something in the jungle.
“What was that?”
Alyona looked around. “I didn’t hear anything. The jungle is playing tricks on your mind…”
Suddenly there was another sound; a rattling, screeching noise, followed by a loud roar. One of the men in the trees looked around in alarm and screamed when a cloud of black smoke emerged from the jungle. Alyona and Ilana were frozen with terror as the black smoke reached out with a dark tendril and grabbed the man, hurling him out of the tree. A short distance away a tree shot up out of the ground.
“Come on…”Alyona said on a shaky voice. “Run! Run!”
Mother and daughter turned and ran as fast as their feet would carry them deeper into the jungle. Behind them they could hear the screams of the other survivors. They continued on until they had to stop and they both took gasps of air breaths.
“What was that?!”
“I don’t know but, I think we…”
Almost as if in response there was a rustling of leaves and the black monstrosity rumbled out of the trees. Alyona stepped in front of her daughter, arms spread out in an effort to protect her. The black thing hovered in front of the two of them; there were a few odd, bright flashes of light. The monster reared back for just a moment, and then it grabbed Alyona and lifted her clear off the ground. Ilana screamed and screamed.
“Ilana…Run!” Alyona yelled down at her daughter. “Get out of here!”
Ilana saw the monster slam her mother into the nearby trees then she turned and ran, a few tears escaping her eyes.
She came to a small clearing and looked around frantically for some place to hide. There was nothing except more trees; more of this damn jungle. She was going to start running again when something caught her eye.
A short distance away there was a wooden cabin.
Ilana looked at it, confused, she was sure that it had not been there before. But, deciding it didn’t really matter she headed toward the cabin. Suddenly the cabin door opened, Ilana froze as a man stepped out of the cabin. He looked about forty years old, was dressed in white, he had blond hair and kind blue eyes.
Ilana was about to speak when the black smoke emerged from the jungle again. She backed away in fear, then the man in white spoke. “Get inside, you’ll be safe.”
Deciding to take her chances with the man and hurried inside the cabin. The monster hovered a distance from the cabin. The man stared at the monster as of the two were having a staring contest. After several moments the smoke receded back into the trees.
The man turned and entered the cabin again. “He’s gone. Are you all right?”
“No I’m not!” Ilana yelled in frustration, tears coming down her face again. “I just saw my mother eaten by some kind of monster.”
Ilana sat down on the floor leaning against the wall. The man looked very uncomfortable as he sat down beside her. “Well, he didn’t eat her exactly…”
“I don’t care!” She said. “What in God’s name was that thing?”
The man said nothing. Ilana took a deep breath then, looked around the small room, all she could see was a chair, a table and a pile of books.
“Who are you?”
The man looked into her eyes and it felt as though there he were looking into her soul. “My name is Jacob.”