Day Eight Hundred Sixty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We did not make any progress towards Damascus today. We encamped on the outskirts of a larger town last night – the capital for this district, as we soon discovered. For we decided to begin the day’s journey by strolling through rather than around it.

The telltale posters of Stan hung everywhere with extra added touches of adornment.

We were no sooner in its central square than we were surrounded by a convergence of celebratory citizens that clogged all the exits.

We were a captive audience.

When the officials spoke we learned that they were collected to celebrate the anniversary of the world government coming to their rescue in the drought.

When it broke up, the day was too far gone.

Day One Hundred Sixty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

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 Forty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Lyle returned without Kip this morning, so we had lots to talk about on the way out to the vineyard. The gates closed while they were in Kip’s district, so they had to spend the night. And though Lyle was free to leave, Kip could not. However, he is confident that after completing some paperwork he will be allowed to depart.

Lyle reported that an offer for use of the machines was indeed made. As a condition we must all first receive a mark issued by the world government, a permit to do business with them.

We are both suspicious.

At the agreed time, Grazie joined us. She, like Kip, wants to leave the west end. And asked our help.

Day One Hundred Eleven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

It was Lyle’s turn to stay and help the widow today. I explained to him where I had left off, and what is left to be done.

He gave me some tips on what I might run into as I tour the western half of the city. He wants me to keep a look out for any sign of authority. He wants to meet with them and ask questions about their future plans.

It turned out to be a long day with little progress. I chose the district that I thought would lead to the other gateway. As it turned out, this district has no inhabitants and no gateway link.

The west end must be much bigger than we estimated.