Gleb Lapukhin

A Story About A True Man

It was a cold Saturday in the middle of January. It was even colder for soldiers inside of their hearts when they saw the Germans approaching closer and closer. Soldiers were no match against heavily armed Tigers (German tanks) with long-range guns. Every battle was the same - dirty, cold, and dark. The ground was shaking and more and more soldiers were passing away with each second. In one of those battles was Ivan, an experienced pilot.

Ivan shot couple of German planes down and was running out of fuel. Now he had to fly back to the fuel station. It was not far. He just had to cross the forest, which was about twenty miles long. As he turned back, he was spotted by two German pilots who found out that he ran out of fuel. Instead of shooting Ivan from the back, they pressed him from two sides so he could only fly straight. Ivan understood that he could not fly like that, so he jumped out of the plane. After his parachute opened its top got hit by another German plane.

When Ivan opened his eyes, he was laying on the ground - some kind of miracle had saved his life. “Maybe branches" he thought. After a while he felt something. It was a really warm and unpleasant breath. Ivan carefully opened his right eye and could not believe it. The bear looked at him with its eyes getting bigger and bigger. The bear was woken up by the war so he was incredibly mad. Ivan closed his eyes and pretended that he was dead. The bear licked him to find out if the Ivan was dead, but the Ivan did not move. The bear thought that Ivan was dead but continued to sit on him. After a couple of seconds Ivan understood that the bear would eat him up in five seconds if he did not do something fast. Only then he remembered that he had a gun in his pocket, but it was difficult to get because if the bear spotted him, it would rip him apart. Ivan even made a joke in his head: “I went to the war, but instead of getting killed by my enemy I got killed by the bear.” He started to reach for his gun. After he reached his gun he immediately drew it out and shot the whole magazine at the bear’s mouth. The bear roared loudly and fell on Ivan.

After struggling intensively, Ivan won the battle against the bear. It took about thirty minutes for Ivan to push that heavy bear off his body. He knew in which direction he should go because it was a familiar forest for him. When he served as a regular soldier in the Red Army, he used to patrol this forest every day. It was noon time and he knew that he had to walk more than ten miles until he could get to the Russian base. Ivan discovered one more thing about himself. He could not walk anymore because he broke his legs when he fell from his plane. He now had to climb ten miles in a cold forest. Ivan was struggling with the feeling that nobody was going to help him and that he would die. After about an hour of struggling he calmed himself down and started to climb his way back to the base.

After about six hours he had climbed about three miles in a cold snow. It was getting dark now. He heard some shooting back in the front but nothing was going on in the forest. Now Ivan was completely exhausted. He had no food or drink. The energy started to abandon Ivan. He woke up the next morning enclosed by two men. They had on Russian uniforms. Ivan got really excited. “Brothers!” he cried.

“Who are you and where did you come from?” they asked him. Ivan told them his story. At first the men did not believe him, but they soon agreed to carry him to the Russian base which was six miles from there.

After Ivan got to his base, his comrades got really excited. Ivan could not walk and was sent to the doctor. The doctor said that it was a really hard case and he needed to amputate Ivan’s legs. After Ivan heard what the doctor said, he had a shock right away.  When Ivan woke up he looked at his legs. He did not have them anymore; now he had wooden legs. The doctor told him that he was lucky and would be able to walk, but it would hurt at first. Ivan got really sad, but he understood that he was really lucky and at least had wooden legs.

Next morning the first thing Ivan wanted to do was to get up and walk. As soon as he stood up he fell back in terrible agony. He thought that it would hurt only a little as the doctor said, but it hurt like hell. He thought that it hurt more than being stabbed with a knife. After he calmed down he stood up again and tried to walk but fell back again with the same suffering. He tried to do it a couple more times but did not have the power. After this, every day Ivan’s purpose was to get up and try to walk, and every day he fell back in his bed.

With each passing day the pain started to disappear, but still it was really strong. Even though the doctor told Ivan not to get up more than six times a day, Ivan got up about a hundred times a day. Each day the number increased. Once he even stood up for one minute. About three months later, the pain almost disappeared. Ivan was ready to make his first steps.


Copyright 2002-2006 Student Publishing Program (SPP). Poetry and prose 2002-2006 by individual authors. Reprinted with permission. SPP developed and designed by Strong Bat Productions.