DAY TWO HUNDRED THIRTY EIGHT
At the summit.
In the presence.
Remove my shoes.
Sense others nearby but I only have eyes for the One.
The Ancient of Days.
Lyle has attained the summit. He stands with four others, arranged around a sixth at their center.
The Sixth in brilliance as the sun.
DAY TWO HUNDRED THIRTY NINE
All is now clear.
All the streams of the past have converged. The way ahead is sure, but arduous.
The promise is ours.
I was present, but not there. I shared in everything, but unseen.
I no longer ask why not.
‘Twas the reward for faith.
DAY TWO HUNDRED FORTY
I am the Tishbite, Elijah, prophet of God.
I am Enoch, seventh from Adam.
DAY TWO HUNDRED FORTY ONE
Carried down from the mountain and left by my pool. My fast is at an end but won’t be really over until I find food.
Ended my fast today with fruit from the date palms. The dates are sweet.
As I ate, two pigeons joined me and begged to eat.
DAY TWO HUNDRED FORTY TWO
Opened my weary eyes this morning to see Rufus and Clarissa waiting for me to awaken.
They brought me food and a smile to my face.
Rufus and Clarissa returned for more provisions for Elijah (yes, I know Lyle’s real identity).
Pray we will soon be together and be about our work.
DAY TWO HUNDRED FORTY THREE
Need to take the next step.
I noted from which direction the pigeons brought the food. It was the same by which they returned.
Set my course.
Awaiting the return of Rufus and Clarissa. I am certain that Elijah must be in the other oasis that I saw on my trek into this one.
DAY TWO HUNDRED FORTY FOUR
Another oasis in sight. Should be there by afternoon.
Treasure my staff. It has been a faithful and reliable support.
Long to see Enoch who is more so.
Elijah came to us out of the desert from the north.
We welcomed him with a banquet of fruit. At our ease.
Rufus favors perching atop his staff.
DAY TWO HUNDRED FORTY FIVE
Elijah has assumed the leadership role. And I take back all of the scribe functions.
I knew both of these facts beforehand. After all I am a prophet also.
We must prepare ourselves for we shall depart this oasis tomorrow. Rufus and Clarissa shall remain. Where we are going they cannot follow.
I shall keep to my special place the rest of the day.
DAY TWO HUNDRED FORTY SIX
Our journey from the oasis was nothing like our trek there. We stood side by side and set our faces towards the city. Elijah raised his staff and the next minute we were in the vineyard on the outskirts.
The once great city is gone – except for the east end where a few buildings still stand.
We see movement in the field, our next stop.
DAY TWO HUNDRED FORTY SEVEN
We found the camp of the East Enders split into two factions. None of them bearing the mark, but completely divorced from one another.
While Elijah met with them to straighten things out, I went into the city.
The West End is nothing but a hole in the ground, with the deepest pit in the locale of the First district.
A fire burns there in the depths.
DAY TWO HUNDRED FORTY EIGHT
We have a better picture of what has happened in our absence. The two factions have lived in fear of one another and especially as regards the future.
Frankly they believe they have none.
Both sides admit their non-belief got them to where they are.
Finally Elijah convinced them that though difficulties lay ahead, all is not lost. They believe now. They need only bear witness until the end.
DAY TWO HUNDRED FORTY NINE
A large party of dissenters slunk away under cover of night. Those who remain think they went in search of the mark and the protection it offers.
Elijah conferred with me. We are in perfect accord. His work is done here. He will send others to reach out to the villages on this side of the mountain. I have one place left to check before we move on.
Probably as soon as tomorrow.
DAY TWO HUNDRED FIFTY
Found my walled courtyard easily enough. It is nestled among still standing buildings in the otherwise leveled East End. Having landmarks to go by prevented me from wasting the whole day looking for it.
Which was a good thing. Beforehand I had decided to allow myself just the barest minimum of time there. As it was, I was enabled to stay longer. What I learned I shared with Elijah and he in turn was able to warn everyone before we scatter to the four winds.
DAY TWO HUNDRED FIFTY ONE
We came to the mountain peak at first light. Courtesy of the Spirit.
The view is unobstructed in all directions. I wanted to see this view on our outbound trip weeks ago, but we kept to the pass which meanders by, far beneath us. We turn our backs on the flattened city with the fields and desert beyond and take in the other view. We see the walled city and its bridges where Elijah and I met.
Its distance means nothing. We could be there now if we wanted.
For now we wait.
I am intrigued by the ocean that awaits beyond that.
DAY TWO HUNDRED FIFTY TWO
There is something about mountain tops. One wants to linger there, and is reluctant to descend into the valleys below. (I can understand that fellow’s desire when on that peak in the desert a few days ago to put up tents for the Ancient of Days and Elijah and their companions). Just like that time came to an end so must this one. But not today in any event.
Timing is everything. Elijah tells me that circumstances are not yet ripe for our next foray. Which news is alright by me. I am content to linger – with the caveat that I not look backward, but forward.
DAY TWO HUNDRED FIFTY THREE
We have retaken our place beside the lake from which we caught some trout, so long ago, the trout that Elijah seasoned with the hazelnuts which were discovered by Clarissa.
Elijah thought it good to take one more day to prepare before launching into the city on our next quest.
So, after a lunch of fresh trout (without hazelnuts) we climbed up out of the valley that cradles the lake in order to get a closer look at the city.
We had to go a considerable distance to rise above the tree line and gain an unobstructed view.
Its wall appears intact, though the skyline beyond is not what I remember. Hit by the fire from heaven?
DAY TWO HUNDRED FIFTY FOUR
Getting past the city wall was no problem at all. We bypassed it all together.
From our vantage point yesterday Elijah picked out our landing point on this side of the wall. He didn’t tell me the reason behind his choice until we got here.
It all harkens back to the time we were separated when seeking a way out of the city. Elijah had gone back from the wall in search of rope. He had informed me that he had fallen into the control of our nemesis. It was she who supplied us with rope, proving herself a friend instead.
What he didn’t tell me was that she knew who we both were. She knew I am named Enoch.
DAY TWO HUNDRED FIFTY FIVE
When last in this vicinity we were hounded by drones. Nothing flies above our heads now, not even birds.
Our host explained everything to Elijah. He is related to the woman who had helped us. She disappeared a few days before the deluge from the skies took down everything electronic.
Elijah in his turn explained the mystery behind the woman’s disappearance. It was a great comfort for our host. The time was indeed ripe for him to believe.
When we told him our intent to continue moving onwards into the city, he balked and practically begged us not to. He does all within his power to avoid drawing attention to himself and his people.
We decided to acquiesce for now.
DAY TWO HUNDRED FIFTY SIX
I believe our host is more paranoid about the world government than I am.
Case in point, I went out for a morning walk to familiarize myself with the area, but before I could, he stopped me. He did finally let me go but only after he laid down a most stringent set of rules.
I cannot go back to the wall area, as it is frequently patrolled. Nor can I head down to the bridges, unless it be at night and in their company.
This time of day that only leaves two directions and in those sectors he requires that I stay under cover.
I did go out but not very far.
Elijah will have to talk to him.
DAY TWO HUNDRED FIFTY SEVEN
I saw the insides of a lot of basements in my morning rounds. For the most part they are the only things sure to be intact in those sectors I can set foot in.
Elijah has spent a lot of time with our host, answering his questions, and then asking some of his own.
Many, our host included, blame the former leader of this country for the devastation that has befallen it. They were glad to be rid of him, but now he has assumed control of the world government whose seat is far beyond the ocean. From there he promises to bring peace and safety, if all will only surrender to his power.
I sense the hand of Stan.
DAY TWO HUNDRED FIFTY EIGHT
Elijah has prepared our host for our departure. He assures him that we will in no way call attention to this place of safety.
He promises that where we go when we go, the focus will be solely upon us. Elijah hopes that by our example, they will mature and imitate our obedience. For certainly, all who follow must heed and obey. It helps when we realize the unique part we have in His plan.
That truth is constantly on my mind. I so do not want to miss what I should be about. Nor fail in the attempt.
The trial is rushing towards us, and reluctant though I am, I discover within me the desire to rush towards it.
DAY TWO HUNDRED FIFTY NINE
Left our host and his safe haven in the early morning hours. We easily avoided the patrol that changes the guard at the wall. I had observed its activity as well as that of another that swings through the area around noon.
Elijah is unhappy about slinking around. He’d prefer advancing right out in the open and let happen come what may.
I agree on the strategy (or lack of one), just not for this side of the river. I want to wait until we get to the other side before we get into any confrontations.
From where we are held up now we can see the towers of the bridges. We need to decide the best one to cross.
DAY TWO HUNDRED SIXTY
What I had hoped would not come to pass this early, did.
Earlier than expected, much earlier than I wanted.
We had set our sights on the bridge with the high towers and directed our steps accordingly. Elijah sheltered underneath its span when he first came to this city, and before he moved to the bridge under which I discovered him. He thinks it a good starting point this time too.
We had just turned onto the boulevard that crosses this bridge when we were hailed by the leader of a patrol.
Elijah led us boldly forward to answer their challenge. We were immediately surrounded and told to come with them.
Elijah said no.
Fire fell. They were consumed.
DAY TWO HUNDRED SIXTY ONE
The image is forever etched in my mind’s eye. Those marks on the foreheads of the soldiers flashed and the consuming flames spread from there.
It happened yesterday and twice today, as two more patrols tried to deny us access to the bridge or worse. Neither time did Elijah allow them to get close enough to harm us.
We paused our advance upon reaching the bridge. The area on the other side has changed. Gone are some of the ruins; new structures are rising throughout the core of the city.
It wasn’t long before a man under a flag of truce appeared at the other end of the bridge. Elijah allowed him to approach.
We have agreed to accompany him.
DAY TWO HUNDRED SIXTY TWO
Our escorts (I will not say captors) have treated us respectfully. We are under no restraints of a physical nature. We could walk off at a whim if we so desired, and in any direction, but always with six or seven in our wake.
Six of them indeed did shadow us as Elijah followed a sudden urge to retreat back across the bridge. He desired to check out his old haunt under that end.
Our “companions” seemed surprised that this hidden place existed. They are an unimaginative lot, not at all curious.
Elijah settled in to contemplate. I took the hint and went topside with my threesome. Their leader met us and requested our presence back here at their encampment.
DAY TWO HUNDRED SIXTY THREE
The leader of our “escorts” has not a clue what to do with us. Elijah for his part has been content for us to remain along the river for now. But that will change soon.
We made a short expedition over to Elijah’s other bridge. The escorts (seven this time) became agitated when they realized where we were headed. No one from the city will go near that bridge. They take seriously the minefield warnings placed around its approaches. I wondered what they would do if they knew the signs were placed by Elijah. He persuaded them no harm would ensue if they followed in his footsteps.
Elijah was pleased to find all as before. I marvel our reputation grows.
DAY TWO HUNDRED SIXTY FOUR
Elijah was holding out for my inspection an item that he brought with him from his hideout when the leader of the guards interrupted us.
The poor man was beside himself as half of his command was laid up with fevers. As they were the ones that had accompanied us yesterday he wanted to know how we were faring. After we assured him that we were hale and hearty, he begged us to help the sick.
We went immediately.
When we reached them, those attending them were down ill also. Elijah sent me to fetch water while he tended to their needs.
Upon my return all were back on their feet and thirsty. And none any longer bore the mark.
DAY TWO HUNDRED SIXTY FIVE
The leader of the guard would not leave Elijah’s side. Instead they conversed the night through. His men joined them upon rising with the sun.
All camp discipline and duties have been pushed aside.
I puttered about and got together a meal for everyone.
Then served each one as the meeting continued.
At the last, the leader begged Elijah to remove his mark. Elijah turned to me and called for a mirror. I soon returned with a small hand one. As soon as he gazed on his image, the mark faded. Elijah said he would now be called Sy.
As he sent them away to our former host, Elijah was candid about what lay ahead for them. Hardship and persecution.
DAY TWO HUNDRED SIXTY SIX
Before we parted Sy warned us that it would only be a few hours before the city forces come checking for him and his men. Once they missed his daily report, the city would go on full alert, looking for them and us.
I took the lead, as Elijah has never been on this side of the river. I thought it best to keep to the riverside and follow it to the next bridge down river, the bridge which the subterranean passage gives onto. Besides there was little sight or sound of reconstruction that way.
And so it turned out.
The tunnel entranceway was a jumble with no sign of recent use. We easily climbed over the rubble and descended.
ON TO MONTH TEN