Day Seven Hundred Thirty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We were feeling abandoned. And losing track of the time since we last saw our captors.

Then something happened that interrupted the passage of time. The sameness we had been locked into. The ground beneath our feet shuddered and heaved.

Was it an earthquake? Or something manmade and more sinister?

When the chamber quit shaking, the door fell open. It had sprung free from its frame.

We lost no time in exiting. Nothing and no one impeded our scramble up and out from the bottom of the dam.

All the sentry points in the area were deserted and a pungent odor pervaded everywhere.

We made one attempt to reach the city, but turned back at the sight of bodies everywhere.

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Day Seven Hundred Twenty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

There is a body of water at the back of the city, a lake that has shrunken due to the drought. The river that feeds it is running low, and at the other end stands a dam that impedes outflow.

This source of water is most precious to the inhabitants and it is what they intend to protect and preserve at all costs. So we conclude after observing the comings and goings of the local militia all day, and in particular their concentration in the vicinity of the dam.

Over on that side of the city Tomas was a witness to their opposition to some tanker trucks he recognized.

Though they retreated we are sure they will return in force.

Day Seven Hundred Twenty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We exercised the usual caution today.  At first light Tomas went into the city to scout, while we stayed on the outskirts.

The Captain was focused on the fruit trees that were indeed on the approaches to the city. Very little fruit was left to glean. What there was, was green or in one instance mealy.

Tomas brought an end to our foraging upon his return. With a long explanation he hustled us into the city.

The city was in the throes of preparing to stave off an invasion.  He convinced us that we needed to be settled as soon as possible.

Thankfully we found an inn. Though Stan’s image was everywhere no one asked if we bore the mark.

Day Seven Hundred Twenty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The speck on the horizon has taken on a more recognizable form. Buildings spread out in a line, conforming, I surmise, to the presence of a river or some other feature out of our sight.

The Captain bubbles over with excitement at the prospect of fresh fruit. For he believes he sees groves of trees grouped around the approaches to the city.

Tomas stayed awake late last night smelting the gold from the satellite components. This morning he showed us the results of his labors – four small, shiny rectangles of the precious substance. One for each of us if we wanted to divide them up.

We will make a short day of it. We prefer to enter tomorrow in daylight.

Day Seven Hundred Twenty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Two caravans passed by us today, and unlike the first, these in their turn tried to interest us in their wares. The Captain was drawn to the fruit they were hawking, but balked at the price. After haggling he passed.

Elijah congratulated him afterwards. And pointed to a hazy speck on the horizon. He said we would find a city at the edge of the desert. No doubt fruit would be cheaper at its source.

We kept on in order – Tomas far to the front, the Captain walking and conversing with Elijah, and I brought up the rear, thinking about many things.

Did that satellite crash accidentally or was it shot down?

Neither Tomas nor the Captain offered an opinion.

Day Six Hundred Nineteen #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The darkness has returned again. It’s like the land wanted to roll over and go back to sleep.

Even the farmers were late getting on the road. But only a few traveled towards the army camp.

It got darker. Like a storm ready to break over our heads. You could smell it in the air.

Elijah took me with him into the city. Our friends remained behind – unhappy, but obedient.

Upon our arrival in the central square a mass meeting was underway. Rain was spitting.

Elijah interrupted.

I saw his image on the building wall as he announced to the world that he was sealing up the heavens.

The rain stopped. The sky cleared. And the Spirit whisked us away.

Day Six Hundred Seventeen #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Tomas hammered away all morning at Elijah with reasons why we should travel to the other side of the city and seek refuge with Mr. Kagi’s uncle.

After Elijah dealt with each argument in turn, Tomas proposed going by himself. This idea in particular upset the Captain greatly. Tomas reminded him that nothing can happen to either of them apart from one another, if they are to believe the prophecy spoken over them.

The Captain countered by agreeing with him in that instance but was at pains to point out that other outcomes equally undesirable were also possible.

“Like Tomas,” I interjected, “being scooped up as an army conscript. What would we do then?”

Waiting can test the best friendships.

Day Six Hundred Sixteen #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

From an early hour, Elijah was wrestling with the decision of what to do next. None of us could help him, for each of us had a different and conflicting answer. He listened readily enough, but shook his head at each suggestion.

But probably most surprising of all has been his decision to reverse himself about going to Mr. Kagi’s uncle on the other side of the city. Both the Captain and Tomas reacted as though Elijah had lost his senses. The Captain’s ire in particular has been awakened.

I stepped forward as peacemaker and pointed out that we do not yet need to take any action and that it is in our best interest not to at this time.

Day Six Hundred Fifteen #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The stamp of feet no longer reverberates throughout the house. The last soldier column passed our crossroads around midnight during my watch.

The silence was welcome.

After my turn on guard I slept and actually got some rest.

Upon rising, Elijah was just returning from some time apart on the causeway. He reported more strangeness.

The farmers were on the roads again, but instead of being bound for the city, they were headed towards the army camp.

We decided to postpone our departure for today. Instead we dispatched the Captain into the city to reconnoiter.

The news he brought back was disconcerting. Not a single man of military age remains in the city, only women or children or old men.

Day Six Hundred Thirteen #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Tomas entertained us with tales of his adventures on the road before turning in. He found the conditions the same as reported by our neighbor. And no one bothered him.

We showed him the map to the other exile’s place and he recognized most of the landmarks therein. He was excited at the prospect of leading us there.

We intended to leave at first morning light and join the farmers in their daily movement to the city. However, come the dawn not only weren’t there any farmers and their produce heading to market, but the roads were clogged with columns of soldiers.

I pointed out the obvious conclusion – construction of the army camp must be complete.

We are waiting again.