Day Nine Hundred Seventy Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We encountered no one today. Not even a lone sheep without its shepherd. Tomas returned to ask if we should head back into villages nearer the road.

At first, Elijah refused his suggestion for he believes our friends are held up somewhere in the desert.  But he at last relented and said if Tomas was moved to do so, he was free to go off on his own.

Tomas, hesitated, for he wanted us to go together. And stated he would be very reluctant to be out of contact with us.

I was touched by his love and concern, and took pains to assure him that nothing untoward was going to happen to any of us. Remember whose we are.

Day Nine Hundred Seventy Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Tomas, as always, was out front where he could observe and report back to us what was ahead. I think he has increased the occasions he returns just to check up on us. To be sure we are not succumbing to some adversity or other.

Once it was to ask if we should enter a village off the beaten path. Elijah thought it best, so we found ourselves the focus of suspicion in their midst.

First, they believed we were from the government and bitterly complained about not having their water cistern filled. Then realizing we weren’t, their young men emerged. They were fearful of forced conscription.

We left soon after, it being clear they knew nothing about our friends.

Day Nine Hundred Sixty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elam begged to leave today. He calculated that Sy and his people would be in need of a fresh supply of water.

Elijah and I gave our hearty approval, adding at the same time a request that Sy mount a search to the east beyond their stronghold for the missing Purser and his group.

At this juncture, Magwich stepped forward and volunteered to accompany Elam. They had become fast friends during their latest expedition.

To this we assented after referring the matter to Reuben first, who easily agreed. And then in turn he proposed himself to reconnoiter the area in and around Damascus.

Elijah called a halt to the proceedings at that point, saying we needed to wait a day.

Day Nine Hundred Sixty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

It was so good to be in the company of the Captain and Tomas, Quasimo and Raj P, and Mei and Meesa again. And they were so glad, and relieved to see us. We were up late with our friends, catching up. And introducing Reuben and his men.

Meesa had them settled in their own quarters in no time at all. And I soon slipped off to sleep myself.

But Elijah kept awake the night through and was still going strong when I awoke this morning. For a new problem had arisen and on the way to the set apart place to pray, he sent me to Mei.

She had had a vision of others trying to come to us.

Day Nine Hundred Thirty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

As for Elijah, there was no question over the decision. We were out here and very close to turning up another missing group. And that was the bedrock of his thinking.

Jezer expressed surprise over this decision given the concrete evidence for one versus the scant evidence of the wheel tracks for the other. Even when he added that rumors were afloat that the group in prison was facing capital charges, did nothing to budge Elijah off of his decision.

I was torn seeing the value behind both arguments. So I counseled to wait and pray for direction. My two friends concurred.

Thus we waited, prayed, and watched. And this morning we saw our answer – a tanker truck lumbering along.

Day Nine Hundred Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

A sand storm seemed imminent throughout the morning, so I grounded the drone. And we hunkered down ourselves and did what we could to prepare for the coming blast.

Therefore we did not see the storm front veer away. Nor did we notice the approach of a lone figure crossing the sands to our position.

So we almost had a tragic incident when Jezer appeared in our midst, bearing his phony mark. He did not know he was among friends and those whom he first encountered tried to send him away, or worse.

I was first on the scene before anything untoward could happen. And hauled the more irate off of him.

Elijah dusted him off and made the introductions.

Day Nine Hundred Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Meesa has reunited us with our friends – Mei, Tomas, the Captain and Raj P. Much to our joy and theirs. The trail she came across when north of Damascus led her at the last to their refuge here in the desert.

The group is almost four times bigger than everyone now in the hiding place. This simple fact has caused us to settle in to talk about how we can get them all into safety.

Of course it took awhile to get around to the topic at hand for we had so much else to discuss to satisfy each other’s curiosity.

Finally Elijah called us all to order. And while we discussed our options, Quasimo kept watch with the drone.

Day Eight Hundred Ninety Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah and I are wanted men. So Jezer reports after his southern expedition. Our pictures are everywhere. Not as numerous or as large as those of Stan. And nowhere were there any reports of what Elijah had said. Instead we are listed as disturbers of the peace.

I launched my new drone. Not to disturb the peace, but to preserve our own. I’d like to send it out on a wider search for our friends too. But it doesn’t have the range.

What may help instead is sending Meesa out. And Elijah has just cleared her participation with those who had originally spoken against it.

We all agree that the specter of capture remains but finding our people overrules it.

Day Eight Hundred Fifty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I took Elijah’s words to heart and pondered them during my quiet times. It required chasing away the images of our friends in dire straits. Something not easy to do, for I did not want to miss any opportunity to intercede for them in what I was sure was their current peril.

Elijah kept us on the move. Forward. For the only other way would be back to the scene of the attack upon us.

I took comfort from the fact that these rock formations hem us in on each side.

It was then that I realized that the Spirit had used the attack to channel us forward. In a way l feel it has helped to confirm our destination.

Day Eight Hundred Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We avoided the center of the riverbed. It was too swollen with dust, making movement nigh impossible. In addition staying on the edges had the happy result of insulating us from the roar of the road traffic.

Our friends were much in our thoughts and prayers as Elijah and I went along. I must say I miss Tomas’s intrepid oversight of our band. And the thought that he doubtless continues in that capacity, cheers me.

As we trekked onward, the soil became more sandy, the air more arid. Yet the view ahead did not look at all like a desert. Instead the landscape was green and lush, stretching to the horizon across which was spread the megapolis that is Babylon.