WIPpet Wednesday—Walking practice

Welcome back to WIPpet Wednesday, hosted by K.L. Schwengel, a weekly blog hop wherein participants share excerpts from their WIPs related in some way to the date. 2+7+5=14, so I’m sharing 14 lines from the third chapter of my WIP.

Two weeks after the miraculous rescue of the Imperial children and two of their retainers, the assassins are scheduled to be publicly hanged. At breakfast, Aleksey speaks with the soldiers guarding the house about the possibility of walking for this event. He suggests lying about getting hurt during the attack to explain away the wheelchair, but one of the soldiers says that would never fly after everyone has seen the images of him being carried around, and the constant rumours about his health.

At age 23, I was run over by a car and pinned underneath for 15–20 minutes, resulting in four leg surgeries and a limp in my right leg. I couldn’t walk for 11 months after the accident, and was on crutches and a walker again for awhile after the fourth surgery, which removed some of the metal hardware. I know the helplessness of not being able to walk, and the terror of finally being able to start doing it again after being out of practice for so long. It’s a miracle only my right leg broke, since both were pinned under the wheel. My left leg was protected because the right leg had rolled on top of it.

Writing characters with leg injuries or limps is now second nature to me, and eerily enough, two of my limping characters had that written into their stories long before my car accident. It’s almost like I knew, even before I knew. The future Tsaritsa in this particular story also walks with a limp. I felt kind of ashamed and depressed about my newfound limp till I found out Curly Howard had a real-life limp. That’s pretty nice company to be in.


“I can bend my knee a little bit.  Maybe I could try walking, and only have to walk as much as necessary till I feel like I’m completely healed.  I’ve recovered from serious injuries and illnesses before, and God always performs a miracle for me.”

After breakfast was over, Alekséy wheeled himself away from the table and slowly stood up out of the wheelchair, holding onto two of the soldiers.  He was able to bend both of his knees, though not as easily as he had prior to the hemorrhage of a few months ago.  If only he hadn’t fallen while getting into bed, he would’ve been walking normally.  Now that he was getting older, he should have the presence of mind to be much more careful and avoid such situations.  If he wanted to be one of the blessèd few hemophiliacs who lived into adulthood, he’d have to watch himself much more carefully, particularly now that his parents were gone and he’d be under the care of court physicians only.  And as loath as he was to admit such a thing, particularly so soon after his parents’ murders, perhaps they’d made some of his outbreaks worse.  When everyone around him was panicked, that made him feel more panicked as well.  Some good court physicians might be just the calming influence he needed to become healthier and recover from bleeding episodes more quickly.

Alekséy walked around the large former mansion, holding onto the kindly soldiers every minuscule, excruciating, painstaking step of the way.  At this point, after the last few months, he was more used to not walking than walking, but it felt so liberating to finally be able to walk again.  It wasn’t the world’s easiest task, but he shouldn’t expect it to come easily after being out of practice for so long.


22 thoughts on “WIPpet Wednesday—Walking practice

  1. Wow. Just a whole lot of wow. Excellent excerpt, and the tie in with your own personal history. I love that photo also. The expressions on everyone’s faces tells so much. Especially the… would she be the t’sarina?? She looks so terribly sad.


    • Yes, that’s the Tsaritsa. Alix was quite an unhappy, troubled woman for much of her life, even before she had to deal with a sickly son. It’s rather sad how she clearly wasn’t well on any level, physically, mentally, emotionally, or psychologically.


  2. Ouch. I’m sorry about your leg. What a terrible experience, though it sound slike you put it to good use. 🙂

    Aleksy strikes me as being very mature for his age. He seems to have a pretty good handle on the way things work.


    • Thanks. My leg injury has given me lots of first-hand research for writing these kinds of characters.

      Growing up with an incurable sickness definitely helps to shape one into early maturity, and a good handle on how to prevent early mortality. After Aleksey recovered from his near-death experience at Spala in the fall of 1912, he seemed to have become much more mature and self-aware, not so much of a spoilt brat anymore or inviting situations which could cause serious injury.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Great excerpt! It’s an interesting look at the politics of being disabled, too. He has to pretend for the sake of the public event, regardless of his personal needs.


  4. Though it was my wrist and not my leg, I do understand the desire to continually favor the injury after the fact. The fear that it might break again (which seems emotionally sound but isn’t at all factual), the way ghost pains can linger… Aleksey is a strong young man. Nice how he caught the fact that his parents’ fears for him made him fear pushing himself as well.


    • It’s really shocking to read about how his parents seemed to have made his condition worse through their (well-meaning) mismanagement of his care, by being both too overprotective and not strict enough. Although evidence also shows he became healthier and stronger when he was older, and finally understood how to take care of himself better.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Think about how the things that were considered standard medicine in those days, Anna. Parents used to put drops of cocaine on their children’s gums to help reduce teething pain, they would get their feet X-rayed for shoe fittings not much later… His parents were parents who did the best as they knew how at the time.


  5. I had spine surgery at 15, but I can’t imagine the pain you went through with your legs after those surgeries. And I thought walking again with a rod in my back was difficult…

    My surgeries, injuries, and illnesses have greatly helped me with my writing too.


  6. For me, it’s the loss of a baby…. I can tap into those emotions anytime; they’re never far away.

    I think any trauma can have that impact – if we don’t hide from the pain of it, and allow ourselves to experience it…

    I’m glad you’ve been able to use your severe injury to feed your art and understanding of Aleksey’s life. It’s a window into his life that feels truer, because you’ve lived the same reality.

    I’m happy you both can walk again, limp or not.


  7. Ouch. This was a little hard to read, but the difficulty made it all the more poignant. Also ouch on your real life experience, though it’s awesome you’ve used it to strengthen yourself and your writing. It definitely adds dimension.


  8. What a horrible experience! Something similar happened to a friend of mine, but his injuries weren’t as extensive as yours. The excerpt was great – could tell you used your own experience is describing his pain.


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