Day Seven Hundred Seventy Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Our young people returned with good news.  Indeed, there was a passage under this mountain that disgorges onto the other side.

With this comforting knowledge we settled down to pass the night in the safety of the cave.

Come morning we pressed onward led by Tomas and Mei.

There were a couple of tricky sections where we had to descend a good height by handholds chipped from the rock by persons who had explored this way before. Who knows how long ago?

Once through to the other side, Mei and Tomas waited for us to catch up. Tomas collected our firebrands and suggested that we rest up and spend the night again in the cave.

His thoughtfulness was very welcome.

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Day Six Hundred Seventy Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We have stayed put today in the nice dry cave Elijah found for us. We need to sort through some issues before making our next move.

Just as we had our news to share with Tomas and the Captain, so too have they returned the favor.

They had observed various scouting patrols in the area, each one checking out the routes up to the mountain pass. All have hastily beat a retreat back down to the plain.

Tomas went out on his own to see what was what. He brought back some unsettling news.

Dire warnings are posted on the roads westward. They warn that radiation is present at dangerous levels.

It must be why the army has not budged.

Day Six Hundred Forty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

A welcome time of rest and recuperation today. Tomas is bouncing back nicely, he may be ready to continue on much sooner than we first believed.

Elijah did not come back to the camp beside the caravan trail until very late in the day. He kept to the cave for what he tells us was an intense preparation for the hardships ahead.

I kept myself busy, trying to be helpful for everyone, shuttling back and forth between our camp and the cave. It was readily apparent that Elijah did not require any ministrations from me. So I did not disturb his peace, rather I was folded into it for the brief times I was present.

I had time to wonder.

Day Six Hundred Forty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Through a mutual agreement Elijah and I kept an eye on our friend lest he do something rash. I kept him engaged in conversation and later accompanied him to the cave. There we prayed for Tomas.

Later upon our return, the sky to the south was filled with more lights than ever. The Captain asked Elijah how long it had been going on. His reply upset him. And the Captain demanded to know why we had not been fetched. Before he could answer, a string of flashes lit up the foothills below the high mountains.

There was no stopping the Captain at that point. But we managed to limit our travel backward to the amount of night left to us.

Day Six Hundred Forty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Twenty-four hours have passed in our new location. It has proven a very pleasant choice. The Captain found a water well some distance from the caravan trail. It’s on a well worn offshoot from this main route.

The water is a bit brackish, but drinkable. Perhaps traces of minerals are leeching into it.

There was evidence that a group of travelers had passed through here recently. Ashes from cooking fires, and bits of garbage collected in a pit.

Elijah found a nearby cave, or rather an overhang just beyond the well. It is now our place of meditation.

But it has no view southward, so the Captain sticks to the caravan trail. He doesn’t want to chance missing Tomas.

Day Ninety One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

An eventful night. And surprising. Stan and Lyle persisted in chasing down noises that rose from the back of the cave. Each time they returned empty handed and with no explanations. With the morning Stan had disappeared completely. We checked ahead down the path with negative results. Therefore we conclude he must have went deeper down into the cave. Fearing Stan may be in trouble, Lyle descended into the depths further than hitherto. All was silent as the tomb, not a single sound this time. We wasted the better part of the day looking for the young man with a beard.  Nothing.

Lyle remarked that the cave would be a good fallback position to keep in mind for future contingencies.

Day Ninety #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

This time around Lyle caught a number of fish before turning in last night. He added them to our larder, increasing the weight we are packing. But gladly, with the knowledge that it will get lighter.

Stan borrowed the binoculars to check out the trail on the other side of the lake. He gave a good report. The way is clear though he added that it will take longer.

Soon all was prepared and we set out.

This way has a lot of ups and downs quite different in that respect to the one we came in on. At whatever level we were always in sight of the water.

Come night, Stan settled us in a cave near a rise.