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.

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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.

Day Six Hundred Twelve #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Another day of waiting. Still hopeful.

Our neighbor dropped in and with all gathered around to watch, he drew up a map for us. I noted down his running commentary as additional directions for our use.

He also presented Elijah with a letter of introduction to his friend, and fellow exile, on the other side of the city.

So, we will be well prepared to leave immediately after Tomas’ return.

The Captain made it his responsibility to insure that all is set right in the house. It fits his personality as one who’s a stickler for having everything ship-shape.

I was at the point of winding up this entry when Tomas, all smiles,  came walking through the front door.

Day Six Hundred Eleven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Our neighbor returned in the wee hours. It was in the middle of the Captain’s last watch for the night.

He went out to greet him and learned he had indeed been to the other side of the city. In his travels he hadn’t crossed paths with Tomas. It is probably too much to expect that he would have, still we remain hopeful for our friend.

We invited our neighbor in and he gave us some valuable information. There was no military presence once he got through the city, not even any guards at crossroads.

When I explained our desire to relocate, he immediately offered the assistance of his fellow exile.

Now we just have to wait for Tomas’ return.

Day Six Hundred Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Our time here is drawing to a close. We all feel it. The Captain wants it sooner rather than later, before the path westward is closed off by the completion of the army base.

Tomas, however wants to explore other ways first.  Perhaps to go through the city and head westward on the other side.

I thought the idea commendable but wondered if there might be an easier way to turn up the information.

I asked Elijah about going to our neighbor to sound him out on his knowledge of the lay of the land. Certainly he has proven trustworthy.

Elijah was open to the idea, but cautioned to make no promises.

We called next door and found him gone.

Day Six Hundred Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We all made the trek to the city. Beforehand we prepared by rehearsing among ourselves what to do if stopped and confronted. We intended to scatter and make our way back individually.

Elijah was silent throughout our time in the huddle. We took it for his tacit approval.

None of us knew what to expect actually regarding this announcement. We saw giant speakers mounted in the square, so it seemed natural to assume a satellite radio connection.

We were shocked along with the whole crowd when Stan’s moving image appeared above the speakers on the walls of the building behind them.

Stan declared peace to the world, and made extravagant promises.

We had no problem returning through the cheering crowd.

Day Six Hundred Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Some unusual activity today. The Captain and Tomas told us later about the waves of soldiers passing through the area. Thankfully they were not stopping anywhere along their route. Elijah and I missed it for we were off in the city for news.

Everything appeared calm and even dull there. We attracted notice in certain sections, but there was a marked difference in the willingness of the people to respond when we talked to them. It made us curious.

We discovered why on our way back. Fresh posters were mounted on the walls outside the temple. They announced that Stan would deliver a message to the world in two days and included a simple admonition – to be kind to everyone.