DAY TWO HUNDRED NINETY SEVEN
Nothing but hard cases up until now. Dull of ear and mind.
I persevere despite the magnitude of the opposition. I know I am buoyed by the intercession of Enoch. My prayers go with him and Elam.
Now I am inching towards the seaport area and there is a noticeable change in the look and feel of everything.
Elam had a dream last night. He had a sense of what it meant, but wanted me to confirm it.
In his dream a bird roosted on a wire. It was joined by another. The wire shook and they flew away. The wire caught fire.
I agreed with his interpretation.
Twelve days remain, time for us to leave.
DAY TWO HUNDRED NINETY EIGHT
I stayed in today. Enoch and Elam much on my mind. It is time to move on, but I don’t want to change our base until they return.
A deep sleep hung over the whole place, from the subterranean floors to each succeeding one above.
Elam and I pushed past one supposed locked door after another, and past a dozen dozing guards.
When finally in the open air outside of the administration building we felt as if we were surfacing from underwater, like we had sleep-walked the whole way. We shook off our disorientation and went in search of Elijah.
I am confident we’ll find him well before the next eleven days come to pass.
DAY TWO HUNDRED NINETY NINE
Find myself greatly agitated. A band of men, (not certain they were of the city government), tried to trap me in this old building. They even made a play to seize my staff while I was sleeping. I had to bring what was left of the building down on top of them.
I am now on the move.
Elam easily brought us to the building where we were all last together. Or what was left of it.
I sensed Elijah was no where near, but Elam insisted upon looking through the rubble. It was a fruitless search.
We marched away despite Elam’s exhaustion. I didn’t want to wait around for that woman.
Ten days to go.
DAY THREE HUNDRED
Spent the night watching the activity swirling around the administration building. A curious sight. I suspected Enoch and Elam are no longer their guests. I waylaid one of the guards and made him talk. He confirmed it.
Returned to our last quarters. Still an empty ruin.
Decided to continue on to the seaport.
Hope to find them there.
With nine days left, we hoped to catch up with Elijah before the sun set.
We knew his desire is to cover the whole city and that the seaport should be next. So, we wandered in that direction, alert for any sign of him.
He found us instead.
Elam was overjoyed. By nightfall we were breathing salt air.
DAY THREE HUNDRED ONE
Our room has a view of the harbor. Ships crowd the docks. And many more are out in the roads, waiting to come in, or awaiting the best conditions to depart. We will have to find one that is going our way before the clock ticks down the last eight days.
Elijah led us into the highways and byways to proclaim the warning.
It was as though all had blinders on, eyes open to their tasks, and ears closed to anything outside their focus.
Then we noticed that the streets were filling with soldiers trying to separate us from the crowds. And Stan stood at their head.
Elijah resisted and they fell back in a swoon.
Stan could only retreat.
DAY THREE HUNDRED TWO
The message of Elijah is spurring some action on the waterfront. People are lining up seeking passage away from the city.
I was among them, and had just secured a place for us on a container ship departing in six days, when the soldiers showed up. They waded into the crowd and began dispersing it right and left.
Elam saw his opportunity. He collected the remnants and led them apart and offered to take them all out another way.
I was successful in keeping the soldiers occupied elsewhere. Stan had joined those guarding the piers and sent the extra to “look after me.”
I asked him where he planned to be in seven days.
His look told me “not here.”
DAY THREE HUNDRED THREE
We bid Elam goodbye and God speed, as we sent him off with the last group of those wanting to get out of the city.
Elijah advised him to tell Sy to move everyone beyond the wall, and explained how to do it.
We passed the day out walking in the streets. The crowds are gone. We only encountered workers, and they were easily outnumbered by the ever present soldiers.
We were unwelcome at every turn, yet they feared to oppose our movements.
Stan appeared when we returned to our quarters, and we watched as they put a cordon in place around the building.
Their obvious plan is to hold us in place for the next six days and beyond.
DAY THREE HUNDRED FOUR
We are content for now to rest where we are. The seaport bustles with ships coming and going at all hours. Our vessel is still dockside taking on cargo. We will join her four days from now, and should be offshore on the city’s last day.
Stan intends to keep us here.
He has changed the guard, and even added more to their number.
Elijah thinks Stan has noted our reluctance to harm anyone, and therefore more and more is assigning younger guards to us.
I think they are still puzzled about how Elam and I escaped their custody. And I wonder if that woman forfeited her life in consequence.
They have no idea of the power of the Spirit.
DAY THREE HUNDRED FIVE
It’s been a long and trying day. But I must say it was worse for those attempting to harm us.
It started early. Before we were awake. But the crashing sounds of the assault fixed that.
Still, by the time we opened our door to look, it had fallen silent again. It took several minutes before we could ascertain what had happened. The stairwells at both ends of our floor were clogged with dead bodies. All trampled.
From our room we called down to Stan to come and remove the bodies. For answer we received some bricks through the windows.
Little by little bodies were dragged from the building. And a new perimeter was set up.
Four days no more.
DAY THREE HUNDRED SIX
Storm clouds blew in this afternoon. And appear to go on forever, encircling and closing in on the city. It seems too early as there yet remains three days to run.
Elijah and I discussed plans to get through the cordon and into our ship. We had just settled on a stratagem, when the said ship cast off from the dock and pulled away out into the roads.
Obviously Stan has identified it as ours and ordered her off. At the same time he has reinforced the troops on the perimeter around us.
I admitted disappointment, but Elijah remained non-plussed.
At that moment the storm broke loose. Lightning and hail fell from the turbulent skies.
They both spared us.
DAY THREE HUNDRED SEVEN
But the hail did not spare those surrounding us. To the last man they were swept away or crushed under boulders of ice.
And there is no sign of Stan. Elijah is sure he is well away from the city. I am sure we have not seen the last of him.
We made it down to the dockside where our vessel had previously berthed. Another was is its place, its back broken, as though dropped from the sky too.
Our ship rode at anchor still out in the roads. Elijah observed me watching it, then took me in tow.
We rounded some buildings and climbed down to the beach.
From there I followed Elijah as we walked to our ship.
DAY THREE HUNDRED EIGHT
Almost too much has happened today for me to write about.
And the sights I was witness to crowd out all else.
The storm clouds have moved on, leaving behind them a new reality.
The great city is no more. Its structures razed down to ground level – and below. The deepest depression appears to be in the area of the administration building. And there is no movement, of man or beast across the landscape. No fires burn and no smoke fills the air above. Silence only spreads its wings, flushing out the sighing of the wind.
Elijah and I returned aft to our cabin in the superstructure of the vessel, as the ship’s engines rumbled the deck beneath our feet.
DAY THREE HUNDRED NINE
Land, the very coastline, has dropped from view. The sea fills the horizon in every direction. We stay in where it is warm. Any time we’ve gone out, everyone avoids us.
It all hearkens back to when they picked us up. It wasn’t enough to witness the leveling of the city, but to have two men walking on water to the ship was over the top. They were paralyzed with fear. If it wasn’t for the insistence of the Purser who recognized us, no one would have lowered a line to haul us up.
He is the only one who will talk to us. He has arranged an audience with the Captain for early tomorrow.
Will he acquiesce to us?
DAY THREE HUNDRED TEN
The Purser ushered us into the Captain’s quarters. He said a few words and upon turning to leave, the Captain stopped him and ordered him to stay.
I didn’t sense that he was nervous exactly, just overly cautious.
Elijah spoke first. And right to the point.
He walked to a wall chart and placed a finger on a dot on the map. He told the Captain that it was crucial that we put in at that island.
Even I was taken aback and had expected Elijah to be more diplomatic.
“In whose interest is it crucial?” he demanded.
“Every one’s survival,” he replied.
He confirmed that it’s on our way, but wants to know more.
Elijah stayed to explain ourselves.
DAY THREE HUNDRED ELEVEN
I missed Elijah’s return last night. The Captain took him on a tour of the ship after their talk.
I did the same today, but with the Purser instead. I heard from him first that the Captain has agreed to the slight course change necessary to put in at the island.
Later, Elijah added the information that the Captain’s main concern is for his fuel supply. A commodity difficult to come by these days.
The crew is a small one. They seem ready to relax in my presence, but not so in Elijah’s.
I asked the Purser if there was a quiet place in which to meditate. He showed me an empty cabin near his office.
He uses it himself.
DAY THREE HUNDRED TWELVE
We have acclimated our daily routine to that of the ship. We eat when they eat, and sleep when they do. Or to be more precise, with the day crews. As a consequence we have little to no contact with the night crew.
The Captain thinks we will touch at the island in a week and a half, provided all goes smoothly. The main unknown factor being how long we will be at the next port of call. Nothing is scheduled for delivery there, but we will be taking on another hundred containers.
From conversations on other topics Elijah has learned that none aboard belong to or have an affinity for the world government. They are tolerated for their services.
DAY THREE HUNDRED THIRTEEN
We sighted land late in the afternoon. With the fall of night the ship will anchor at sea until the dawn. There is nothing by which to navigate, neither lights nor radio signal. The Captain will not venture near land save in broad daylight.
Elijah spends much time with him. They go over charts and schedules. There will be three other ports of call besides the one now in front of us and the island after. Along with our ultimate destination they are all stops of our choice, places we feel compelled to visit.
I passed the bulk of the day in the makeshift sanctuary, deep in the Spirit. I drew from this time a confirmation of our chosen path.
DAY THREE HUNDRED FOURTEEN
The Captain has extended to us an open invitation to join him on the bridge any time he is there. (I think he wants to keep an eye on us).
We came on the bridge just after eating, and hovered in the background. The sea anchor was still down as the shore ahead was shrouded in clouds or fog. The Captain looked at us and shook his head.
Elijah told the Captain he would take care of it and to prepare by weighing anchor.
He sent me to our cabin to retrieve his staff.
The Captain had us underway by the time I reached Elijah on the bow. He raised the staff and the sun broke through dispelling the clouds.
DAY THREE HUNDRED FIFTEEN
More than the scheduled containers were waiting to be loaded, including two that are billed for the island not originally on the planned port of calls. The Captain is pleased with this development, as he now has an economic reason for his course change.
Elijah and I went ashore while the loading process was underway. The look was the same as the great city before it was taken down, with new structures rising from the ruins, but a whole different feeling emanated from the people in the streets.
Elijah questioned a passerby who directed us to a meeting hall whose entrance was marked by the sign of a fish.
We returned to the ship, confident that here all is well.
DAY THREE HUNDRED SIXTEEN
We went ashore again at the rise of the sun. Elijah desired to call on the people of the fish one last time before we leave to encourage and advise them.
Upon our return to the ship the Captain informed us that two officials of the world government had paid a call on the ship. And consequently the Purser wanted to talk with us.
We did. And he explained that it was the duty of these officials to check on world government shipments to insure that they are sealed and undisturbed. What the Purser thought was odd, was their asking after any passengers. Definitely outside their purview, given their low rank.
The Purser told them nothing, on the Captain’s orders.
DAY THREE HUNDRED SEVENTEEN
We are underway. It was a swift passage out of the harbor. We were in the open sea in short order. Next stop – our island, in about three days, according to the calculations of the Captain. And that soon only if all goes well.
The Purser informs us that we have a new passenger. One of the world government officials has stayed on to accompany their container to its destination. He has a berth forward with the night crew. The Captain insisted on the arrangement.
Elijah pressed the Purser for a description of its contents, but he said he can’t. It’s a matter of his integrity. We understand completely.
We trust that whether we know or not will not matter.
DAY THREE HUNDRED EIGHTEEN
The sun shining and the sea mild today. It made it easy for walking about. To that end, we climbed down from the bridge to the deck and skirted the containers to the bow.
Almost too much fresh air in our faces there. Before we ducked out we did see islands ahead, but not ours. And we saw a porpoise alongside racing the ship, leading several others. We kept them in view on our walk back to the superstructure and the bridge. It was a magnificent sight.
The Captain was present so Elijah stayed to converse with him. I continued to the cabin set apart for quiet contemplation.
I must be getting old. For I had a series of dreams.
DAY THREE HUNDRED NINETEEN
Though I had those dreams, I’ve kept them to myself for now. I’ve no need for an interpretation, the meaning is plain enough. It’s only a matter of waiting for the right time and place.
What is most disquieting is that it will involve the world government official who is currently on board. It makes me the more curious to see him – I wouldn’t need to meet him – and to see exactly what is in their container. Though I am sure that it would make no difference to Elijah.
The weather remains clear and optimum for a swift passage. The Captain tells us that we should sight the island later today and make landfall tomorrow.
I am not so sanguine.
DAY THREE HUNDRED TWENTY
Foul weather had blown in. And from every direction it seemed. The island as of then had not come into our view. The Captain assured us that we were close, and added that it would be a good time for Elijah to do his “trick” again.
I started to protest his worldly understanding, but Elijah interrupted, told me to fetch his staff, go out to the bow, and there command the storm to cease.
I caught on immediately that this way would educate the Captain better than my words. And it was also the fulfillment for one of my dreams.
And to the amazement of those watching the storm blew itself out.
One of those watching was Stan.
DAY THREE HUNDRED TWENTY ONE
In my dreams, the world government official had no face. But it was not surprising that he turned out to be our old nemesis. He saw me, of course, but I am certain he does not realize that I saw him.
He disappeared as the ship entered the island’s single port.
Elijah and I were well away from the ship on our errands before unloading commenced this morning.
We passed through the town and made directly for the summit of the mountain, which is the whole reason behind the island’s existence. A caldera actually.
The minute we set foot on the trail, a tremor staggered us. We did not turn back, but pressed on.
Something is stirring within the mountain.
DAY THREE HUNDRED TWENTY TWO
The night was tremulous, but not uncomfortable as the climate is tropical.
At the hour of dawn it became darker still. I detected a swirling motion in the clouds but then realized it was actually a massive swarm of insects being flung far and wide overwhelming the horizon. I traced its source to a fissure in the mountain dome, and there directed Elijah’s attention.
Elijah simply said, “It is time.” And pounded the butt of his staff on the rocky ground.
The fissure gaped open and a chained monstrosity issued forth.
“Could this be Abaddon?” was my single thought.
Stan charged by oblivious to us and placed a collar around its neck.
Elijah struck the ground again releasing its bonds.
DAY THREE HUNDRED TWENTY THREE
Elijah assures me that Stan had been totally unaware of our presence. And further, Stan’s perception is so deceived that he fully believes that he commands the fantastic being and hence every situation.
He stated this revelation to me on the bridge of the ship, as we stared back at the island shrinking in the distance. The skies above it have returned to normal. And the Captain watches with approval as the darkness flees from before us.
The Purser reports that the world government official (whom we know as Stan) failed to return before our stated departure. He can only surmise that he has remained with his cargo. This is at odds with their original understanding.
I await more revelations.
DAY THREE HUNDRED TWENTY FOUR
We have settled in for a lengthy stretch until our next port, at least two weeks per the Captain. A longer time is necessary to navigate the difficulties lurking in our course consequent to the Troubles.
And to his experience they are constantly changing.
Elijah wanders about talking to the crew, but spends more time scanning the horizon ahead. He thinks the passage will take longer than the Captain’s estimate.
I am inclined to agree.
And I tremble for those on the land. My times alone in the set apart cabin are filled with unsettling visions. Visions of clouds of insects falling upon ripening fields and consuming everything in sight. And those who are bitten run away in a frenzy.
DAY THREE HUNDRED TWENTY FIVE
Elijah was the first to spot it. Movement in the waters dead ahead. The Captain looked and saw something else in addition and immediately ordered a course change.
He moved the ship onto a westerly tack, and remarked that it would add a couple more days to our transit.
I asked him what it was.
He answered that the movement we saw was hundreds, maybe thousands of sharks, thrashing about seeking the source of the blood in the water.
And before I could ask why not just go through, he added that it must have spread from further south where he had encountered it before and was nearly bogged down in its congealed mess.
Elijah glanced my way and nodded.
ON TO MONTH TWELVE