Day Eight Hundred Thirty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Quasimo’s instructions as to the next waypoint on our desert crossing were somewhat vague. We were to direct our march towards the first mountain peak in a grouping of three until a single larger one came into view in the west.

It was easy enough to set our course in the dying light before setting out, but we were left wondering how we could detect the second in the dark. We may have to consider walking in the daylight hours.

We were able to hike for a couple of hours on the bedrock before it was subsumed again by the desert sands.

Then our pace greatly slowed. Whereas we had been quite talkative before, we fell silent with the exertion.

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Day Eight Hundred Thirty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I asked Elijah if we could rise before nightfall and  go off our current vector to check over in the area where the barking had ceased.

It also meant a little back tracking, but ended up worthwhile. The sand gave way to bedrock and after a short search we found some water in a pool on the rock surface. It had been fouled by the presence of animals. Unclean for sure.

Elijah found the close by pump and basin whose spillage fed the other. (He practically tripped over it in the darkness).

We were back on track, so we decided to halt and rest.

With the dawn we were able to reacquire our bearings before taking up our alternating watches.

Day Eight Hundred Thirty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I still heard barking in the distance on the way and kept my attention directed to it. It appeared to gain on us, then passed off to our right. And was silent.

When I saw mounting clouds to the west, blocking out the stars, I guessed the reason behind the actions of the trailing animal. I called Elijah’s attention to the coming storm. He concurred that we needed to seek shelter.

But there was none. All we could do was watch and pray. And to our amazement the storm front veered to the south and passed by.

So another night march and still no well. Elijah remains unperturbed. We continue to keep rested each day, despite our rounds of watching.

Day Eight Hundred Thirty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We left the easy path behind us at the well. It’s all up and down sand dunes now, so it’s hard to keep straight as Quasimo advised. We were supposed to keep the path of the moon perpendicular to ours. Hard to do as it was cloudy most of the night.

Though I was losing my bearings, Elijah kept steadfast. And our finding the next well depends upon it.

Upon the uphill trudge I would wonder what everything would look like in the daylight, but on the downhill slope all such thoughts fly off.

I realized I needed to focus my thoughts on something else. Something with weight.

As we settle in at daylight we hear barking in the distance.

Day Eight Hundred Thirty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Despite our times on and off watch through the night and then the daylight hours, Elijah and I continued to gain strength. Partaking of the well water liberally, helped tremendously.

I was on the last watch before our departure when the jackals returned. I nudged Elijah awake.

As it was still light, we had a better view of these animals than last time.

They were horribly deformed, as well as emaciated. Their obvious hunger was spurring them to the attack.

Elijah cracked the lead one on the head with his staff. Its skull fractured in pieces and its body fell in a heap. The other jackal turned and fled.

We set out as planned, remaining on guard against its return.

Day Eight Hundred Thirty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Arose thankful for what a time of rest can do. Elijah called for a time of meditation and put off our trek until later in the night. I was thankful for that too.

Come time to leave it was a simultaneous decision without a spoken word between us.

But we had much to say between us along the way. Elijah said we should make it a short hike, confident we would find the landmark well soon. I shared that we should be prepared to defend ourselves.

And so both sayings came to pass.

Within the next hour we discovered the well. And we had to run off a pair of jackals that disputed our presence.

We took turns on watch.

Day Eight Hundred Thirty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We were exhausted by the time morning rolled along, having been awake and moving all day and night.

Our path was easy going, helped along by the glow of the moon while it was up.

Still, as we turned in for the daylight hours, my mind was overfull with the trek so far.

The events from the bridge to the rock formation run over and over in my thoughts, colored by my apprehension that a drone might overtake us before we found it. And the trek through the desert night carried its own unease as we were alert to find our next landmark. A well that should mark an end to this effortless pathway.

It helps to breathe and pray.

Day Eight Hundred Thirty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The desert was in sight by trek’s end last night. We knew better than attempt to enter it from this point. Instead we passed the morning looking for the landmark mentioned by Quasimo. A pile of rocks in the shape of a kingly statue.

Our side movement to the northwest proved fruitless, so we reversed direction and finally found the rock structure well to the southeast.

It stood guard where an emerging wadi continued its course into the desert itself, forming an avenue east to follow in the otherwise trackless sand.

We waited by the curious rock pile for the cool of the night to come on. And fortified ourselves with water from a nearby well against our future march.

Day Eight Hundred Thirty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Our roundabout route via the wadi to the spot beneath the bridge consumed the rest of the day. But we remained there over night not because of the coming on of night, but because of the drone that was sniffing at our heels.

It was still present this morning. By the pattern of its movements we could tell it was combing back and forth, scanning each wadi. At one point it stopped midair as though contemplating something under its gaze.

Both of our hearts leapt with the thought that Quasimo’s cousin was the object of its scrutiny. And we both sighed with relief when it continued on without perpetrating any deadly action.

Elijah lowered his staff and we moved on.

Day Eight Hundred Thirty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The traffic noise from the road was strong all night and intensified this morning. From our remove we scanned the length of the road section in view for the best point of crossing.

We set out for our chosen spot, but were overtaken on the way by Quasimo’s cousin. She had been dispatched to us with a warning.

A drone had circled the encampment at sunup, disappeared southward, then returned and headed westward. Quasimo believes it will return again and then head northward. She relayed his compulsion that we be alerted to that possibility.

We thanked her, only to have our gratitude increased when she suggested we follow the wadi around to the right where it crosses under a  bridge.