DAY ONE HUNDRED FORTY NINE
Kip has not talked to Moglen since he heard that his former colleague agreed to receive the mark. He is in the dark as to his reasons for accepting the city’s detente with the world government. Therefore we don’t know how that will complicate matters when we help his daughter Grazie to come over. Kip and Lyle feel the obligation to talk to him.
I do not.
I have a bad feeling about all this. Especially since Moglen did not reply to an invitation from all three of us yesterday.
I gave it a lot of thought today out in the vineyard. With their harvest in, practically no one was in the western fields. Grazie may no longer be allowed out.
DAY ONE HUNDRED FIFTY
All the “I”s are dotted and “T”s crossed on the paperwork for Kip. Lyle remained behind to accompany him.
I left early from the second district to make a run out to the fields and vineyards to look for Grazie.
Only a few people were at work in the western fields, while ours were a beehive of activity.
I took my time and scanned each individual. I waved at a likely candidate and was rewarded by a salute in return.
Grazie was overwhelmed with thankfulness to encounter me. This marked her last day in the vineyards. At her request she accompanied me to our encampment.
Lyle arrived alone. Kip was refused exit due to a protest from Moglen.
DAY ONE HUNDRED FIFTY ONE
Grazie had been under surveillance. Probably a drone that kept well out of view.
Moglen alleges that Kip is responsible for alienating the affections of his daughter, Terresta. He will oppose Kip’s transfer to the east end until he has Terresta back.
Grazie is beside herself. She feels keenly being the source of conflict – saddened for Kip, and fearful for herself. She repudiates the name Terresta and does not want to go back.
Lyle has gone into the second district to meet with Moglen, if he can. And to possibly work out a compromise.
I gave Grazie into the care of the widow. She will do her best to keep her occupied.
I passed the day in my walled courtyard.
DAY ONE HUNDRED FIFTY TWO
Grazie was inconsolable this morning. Overnight she has decided she cannot be the reason for Kip’s imprisonment. She wants to return to the west end as soon as possible.
I cautioned her to await developments and held up the value of being patient in such matters. The widow spoke out and affirmed my words in her hearing.
Still she was restless and I feared she would slip away, given the opportunity.
Thankfully Lyle brought word from Kip. The former west end leader declared he would never allow himself to be exchanged for anyone else or anything. And as he can always refuse the mark, he is certain Grazie’s father will force it on her.
Now we await Moglen’s next move.
DAY ONE HUNDRED FIFTY THREE
Pressure is mounting on two fronts.
Moglen is the undisputed leader now in the second district. It is even whispered that he may rise to rule the entire west end. We expect an ultimatum soon.
And Lyle faces opposition from two of his leaders. They were denied access to a west end market unless they bear the mark. They proposed that they take it on to represent the east end in these matters. I advised Lyle to counter their notion with the suggestion that they maintain their market here. Let the west end come to us, we set no restrictions.
Grazie worked diligently in our fields today. I worry about the return of her depression once the harvest is finished.
DAY ONE HUNDRED FIFTY FOUR
The gates to the west remain open, but no one from the east end, save Lyle pass through them.
People from the west are coming to our markets here. So Lyle is vindicated in the eyes of his leaders. The two former dissenting members are quite pleased.
How long this will last, I have my doubts. But I won’t hold my breath.
They allowed Lyle to meet with Kip. He reports he is in good spirits, though very much bored. Kip asked after Grazie and again stipulated that she stand fast and not return. As to his own case, he senses that Moglen doesn’t know what to do and is awaiting instruction.
I long for time in my walled courtyard.
DAY ONE HUNDRED FIFTY FIVE
One more day should do it, and the early harvest will be in. There’ll be a short respite before the late crops will be ready. I see gratitude on every face.
Lyle spent the day in the vineyard with Grazie. At last, he believes, she is free of the guilt for her part in Kip’s predicament. Kip wanted her to know that he is right where he needs to be, and will do all he can to bring the Light to others.
I had accompanied them to the vineyard, but the sight of the desert beyond did not have the same hold over me. I took my leave and sought solace in the walled courtyard.
There the visions came again.
DAY ONE HUNDRED FIFTY SIX
Lyle and I had barely nodded at one another before the responsibilities of the day pulled us apart. I had no time to share my vision, nor he his.
The widow told me it was imperative that I check on Grazie. An over-bearing sadness is how she described it.
I caught up with her at the vineyard. Indeed she was shrouded in gloom, and avoided my gaze. On inspiration I shared with her my vision of the Glorious Appearing. That made the difference – hope!
Lyle had been summoned to a meeting by Moglen. He went without hesitation.
At the end of the day we caught up with one another. Stan has returned. And we both had the same vision.
DAY ONE HUNDRED FIFTY SEVEN
Moglen is forbidding any contact between the citizens of his second district and the markets of the east end.
We expect that the other western districts will soon follow example.
Going forward, Lyle is expecting renewed problems with leaders wanting to take on the mark. I don’t think things will get critical until we can no longer supply our own needs.
Lyle does not want to share the vision with everyone just yet. And I agree. Timing is everything and between us we should know the proper time. I have cautioned Grazie along the same lines. She will not tell the vision to anyone.
Tomorrow the people of the east end will move from the encampment back into their residences.
DAY ONE HUNDRED FIFTY EIGHT
The movement back into the east end is under way. After reconsideration, only two thirds of the work force will return. The rest will remain behind and prepare for the latter harvest.
Lyle plans to contact Moglen and ask if he can meet with the representative of the world authority. He believes it to be only logical at this stage. For my part, I doubt that Stan has the courage to meet with us.
I helped the widow and her son back into their home. Grazie lent a hand, and though she knows she is welcome to stay, she has volunteered to remain behind in the field.
Later I had the urge to check the first district.
It was closed.
DAY ONE HUNDRED FIFTY NINE
Lyle has put his request in with Moglen. Moglen declared he would do all he could to bring about the meeting desired, but stopped short of any promises.
On his way back, Lyle, like me, also had a prompting to go to the first district. But unlike in my case, he found the gate open.
A shiver went through me, even before he told me that a golden statue now stands on the pedestal in its great square. It is a statue of a man, bearing the likeness of Stan.
I had to go see this for myself. I arrived to find the gate still open and many people milling around the square.
But a white canvas covered the statue.
DAY ONE HUNDRED SIXTY
Thick cloud cover moved in overnight. Dawn came but it remained darkened, and a heavy downpour greeted us instead of the sun.
Word came in from the field that some of the late crops were beat down and ruined. Concern is spreading that the latter harvest will fall short of our needs for the year.
On the heels of this grave news, we were notified that a meeting has been granted to us for tomorrow. Not with Stan, but with Moglen again, in his new capacity as the supreme leader of the entire city.
Lyle is going. I may not. Frankly I think that Moglen has gotten this position because of his unyielding stance. So what would be the difference?
DAY ONE HUNDRED SIXTY ONE
Against my inclinations I accompanied Lyle to the meeting with Moglen. Lyle wouldn’t go without me. He told me that he needed “Enough” to be by his side to call “enough” over the proceedings, if necessary.
We entered the second district. Evidently Moglen was not required to change venues when promoted. The “Capital” is wherever he is.
He was friendly, but he spoke and it was our job to listen. In addition to taking the mark to be allowed to trade, we also will require it to remain in our homes. Then he insisted on taking us to the first district. He brought us before the statue, which pointed at us and said, “Bow.”
We both said “Enough,” and left.
DAY ONE HUNDRED SIXTY TWO
The meeting with Lyle’s leaders this morning was rancorous – only because the dissidents though few in number, made all the noise. The two involved in the east end market came to the meeting having already taken on the mark. They were eager to go on record that nothing untoward had happened to them because of it. They touted it as merely a census like measure which will carry little downside consequences. They gained some adherents, but when the majority opposed them, they backed down.
Then the clamor renewed, but this time from those who wanted to fight, or at least stay and defend their property.
At the last, Lyle told all that he was moving back out to the encampment.
DAY ONE HUNDRED SIXTY THREE
Our immediate household is all in the field today. Lyle, the widow and her son, and myself. Grazie when she learned of our return, joined us. She became very concerned when we explained the recent developments. She wants to know if anything can be done for those like herself still in the west end. Lyle asked her for the particulars.
We all clammed up, as at that moment the two east enders bearing the mark arrived at our camp. They offered their services as mediators. Lyle told them that it would never work out, as Moglen, claiming control of the whole city, needn’t bargain with anyone.
They left, and we talked long into the night.
What to do next indeed.
DAY ONE HUNDRED SIXTY FOUR
I spent the day out in the vineyard. At one point I left Grazie on guard and ventured down towards the desert. It was a little tricky as the slope at one point dropped off sheer to the desert floor below.
I scouted around the area and found a narrow track that should be easy to navigate downwards. But judging that the time remaining to me today insufficient to get down and back, I postponed the attempt to another day.
Coming in from the vineyard with Grazie we conversed about what we might do to help those in the west end who do not want to take the mark. We both agreed that we will need some help from within.
DAY ONE HUNDRED SIXTY FIVE
Lyle and the others were all occupied in the fields today. The latter crops are ready for harvest, those that remain standing after the driving rains.
I was excused for the day. I went back into the east end at the prompting of an impulse or impression, say what you will.
The once crowded streets and thoroughfares are now less so. I passed by the marketplaces where there was much activity. At least at present they do not require the mark for any transaction. I wonder if Moglen is aware of this. Or is it a stratagem on their part?
I stopped by my walled courtyard. The vision returned.
This may be the time. I went in search of Lyle.
DAY ONE HUNDRED SIXTY SIX
This is definitely not the time. Lyle had no confirmation. In fact, he feels it is vital for us to remain at this time.
He went into the west end to follow up on some leads gleaned from his conversations with Grazie.
Grazie and I hiked out to the vineyard early. There, as before she stood guard while I ventured out to explore the ways down to the desert floor. After some searching I found the narrow track again. To say the descent was difficult would be an understatement, let us say, I would not want to be in a hurry.
At last, I reached the bottom. From there the track divided into two paths.
I could sense our future.
DAY ONE HUNDRED SIXTY SEVEN
Lyle’s mission yesterday bore fruit. He emerged from the west with five children. They are now scattered to other families throughout the encampment for safe keeping.
We now know that by no means is the mark borne universally in the west. But people there reported rumors that those who have, are forming bands to sweep through the city to seek out those who don’t. And Lyle saw evidence of this on his way back through the district. A band surrounded one of the west end markets and checked each customer.
Talking with Lyle about this, I was feeling overwhelmed. There must be a better way to help.
I was unsettled further when he described smoke rising from the first district.
DAY ONE HUNDRED SIXTY EIGHT
All witness accounts line up. The single column of smoke rising from the center of the first district made its first appearance two days ago.
I went into the city to investigate. I walked to where the gates to the first district once stood. They have been removed, and the gap walled up.
An easterly wind pushed the smoke in this direction filling the sky overhead. It bore with it the sound of cymbals and drums.
I turned my back on the sights and sounds and strode away. A man came out of his house and stopped me. He asked what it all meant. I shrugged my shoulders and said, “Nothing good.”
Peace returned to me in the walled courtyard.
DAY ONE HUNDRED SIXTY NINE
Yesterday Lyle brought out four more children. They added to our disquiet with tales of the removal of their grandparents and older people from their midst, some of whom bore the mark. The only explanation given – they are to populate the empty first district to make room in the other districts for the influx of people from without. An influx willing to receive the mark.
Beneath the surface, Lyle judges it to be the world authority’s way of strengthening its position. Remove a people’s memory and you can control and form them to your ends.
Lyle has decided to widen his net. I suggested he talk to Grazie first.
I can’t shake the feeling that something more sinister is transpiring.
DAY ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY
A man by the name of Flowers came to see me today. He may be what we have been hoping for. He is one of the men connected with the market in the east end, and has asked us to aid him by bringing over his parents from the west end.
The parents, we are assured, are free of the mark. Flowers who has the mark, now wishes he hadn’t. He does not care what happens to himself, so long as his parents reach freedom from what he sees as a growing oppression.
I brought his case to Lyle with an additional caution. Flowers does not know how much longer those without the mark will be free to move about.
DAY ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY ONE
I was about to write down that nothing happened today. Or, as a subnote, little that I was aware of. For it is unusual not to record anything.
But then Lyle returned.
He was alone. It was not what I had expected. This morning he left with Flowers into the third district to meet the merchant’s parents.
They had reached the street on which they reside, when ahead on the stair before their house they spied Stan waiting.
Flowers made an abrupt about face and evaporated from sight.
Lyle continued on and confronted Stan. But Stan would have none of that and dismissed him when Lyle had no mark to show when asked.
I think the gates are closing forever.
DAY ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY TWO
Lyle sent me on an errand at the rising of the sun. I made a tour of the encampment to invite his leaders to a meeting, while he crossed into the east end to look for Flowers.
I was able to delegate others to spread the invitation, so by the time of our gathering there was a boost to the turnout. Lyle was a few minutes late and without Flowers. But he did bring with him a dozen people from the east end who want to move out here to the fields. All welcomed the newcomers and pledged their support.
Lyle settled everyone in and began to speak. He announced that the time is at hand and shared our vision.
DAY ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY THREE
All from the meeting now know what to expect. They will know what to do when they hear and see the Glorious Appearing.
Lyle was equally clear that in the meantime they are not to neglect their normal duties. And especially to use all opportunities to bring in others that they may not miss it.
Those attending disseminated the vision throughout the encampment.
For his part Lyle went in search of Flowers again. Above all he wants him to know that he has a place here where there is no condemnation. No one has seen or heard anything more about him.
Grazie turned to me with her questions. She has such a tender heart. I did my best to answer.
DAY ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY FOUR
Grazie and I spent the day working in the vineyard. She was quiet and pensive. So much so that it was plain something was bothering her.
Nothing I said could get her to open up. At the time I assumed she was still concerned about those who are held against their will in the city. So I spoke to her along that line. After I expounded for a good while about the safety of those who follow despite their circumstances, she stopped what she was doing and explained herself.
Though she admitted her concern was a factor, it was no longer the all consuming one. Instead she confessed her sadness that Lyle and myself would not be going with them.
DAY ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY FIVE
Two drones circulated the encampment today, twice. They first appeared in the sky above us by dawn’s early light. Least ways, that was when we noticed them.
The next time, I am told, they orbited during the noon hour. For some reason they did not fly out over the vineyard area.
Lyle paid a call on the vineyard and gave us the news. We then left Grazie on post and I took Lyle to the narrow track that leads down to the desert. I made sure that he learned the way well enough that he could find it again on his own.
When we gathered in the encampment for the evening meal, no drones dropped by to spy on us.
DAY ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY SIX
On the heels of the morning drone fly over, we had another visitor from the city. Moglen.
Along with him came the demand that we hand over Flowers to them.
I spoke up and told Moglen that Flowers has been missing for days. Moglen begged to differ, stating that the fugitive had been spotted by their drone.
No one knew what to say to that. And we told him so.
Moglen wasn’t happy with our answer and even less so when Lyle asked if he could speak to Flowers if and when he was found.
Moglen left after that. But with a parting shot. We no longer will be allowed free movement within the city. And hinted at stricter measures.
DAY ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY SEVEN
Lyle and I spent our day going from one end of the encampment to the other looking for Flowers. We did find a look-alike in our little market area, but this doppelgänger, unlike Flowers, does not bear the mark.
I wanted to take him to Moglen as proof that their drones are in error. Lyle, however disapproved. He’d rather have Moglen come here. I can see his point and concede Moglen more than likely will be back sooner than anyone wants.
We finished our canvass around the end of the noon hour, about the same time that the midday drone flyby was departing.
I watched its last lazy circuit before it winged its way back over the city wall.
DAY ONE HUNDRED SEVENTY EIGHT
Awoke this morning and during my ablutions I discovered I had been bitten by something. Such is life in the outdoors.
On a similar note, we also received a messenger from Moglen. A different type of pest.
I know – how uncharitable of me. Probably the irritation factor of that bite unsettling my equilibrium.
Lyle was commanded to accompany the messenger back into the city. He went freely. After I argued with him. That bite again.
I kept busy in Lyle’s absence. I had to change our original plan of trying to find a more direct route down to the desert. Instead I stood with Grazie and selected seed for planting.
In times like these, I really miss my walled courtyard.
ON TO MONTH SEVEN