Day Nine Hundred Fifty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I awoke this morning with a song bubbling up from within. Its tune, the same as that given to me two days before Elijah and I met the Raj family. And the one they were singing at the moment our paths crossed.

This coupled with what Elijah shared with us yesterday sent shivers of excitement through me.

I ran to tell Elijah. And found him with Reuben and Magwich. I just barely finished my explanation when a guard interrupted us, jabbering about needing our presence in the delivery area of the prison.

Three tanker trucks had pulled into the prison and were pumping out their contents into the water cisterns.

The three drivers greeted us – Jezer, Elam, and Raj G.

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Day Nine Hundred Fifty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah made the first move. Through Reuben’s good judgment he identified the guard with the most influence with the other guards. One who has resisted the despotic bent of the prison’s commandant. And no longer kowtows to the creeds and dictates of the world government headed up by Stan.

By the end of their meeting Elijah gave Magwich what he most desired, the removal of the mark.

At this change of status he immediately offered himself to his brother guards for incarceration.

This they refused to do, instead they joined him.

The word spread throughout the prison and the commandant finding no one left who was aligned with him, barricaded himself in his office (and his despondency) and hung himself.

Day Nine Hundred Fifty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The boot of our oppressor has ever so slightly been lifted off of our necks. It gives us hope that we will soon have more freedom of action. And eases my suspicion that knowledge of our identities had been rediscovered.

Elijah found a place apart and held up there all day. While I kept in contact off and on with the leaders to discuss future plans. But really there was little we felt we could do until we hear from Reuben, the guard who is working on our behalf.

Later we heard the most shocking news from him. The Hamashiachite followers of Raj G in the other dungeons of this prison have all disappeared.

Hence the severe crackdown of yesterday.

Day Nine Hundred Forty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

There was a note hidden along with our food last night. It was addressed to Elijah. They identified themselves as followers of Hamashiach, formerly led by Raj G. And they are excited at the prospect of meeting him.

This news set us rejoicing that we had been brought to the same prison.

(And the thought occurred to me that the guard must have known about the message. He would have to have been blind otherwise).

All morning we anticipated the arrival of the guards sent to move us. And our elation continued despite the rather rough handling we experienced when they came in and chained us together.

The chains remained in place as we were led into the grim dungeon.

Day Nine Hundred Forty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah passed the day in one corner of our cell. I kept watch, moving to the door whenever I heard the approach of footsteps. There was not much traffic down in this wing, and the few of which I became aware, continued on past. (Probably a guard).

As the day went on it was beginning to look like no one would be paying us a call to demand our answer and we would be given another day to accept the mark.

But that thought was interrupted by the arrival of our food. The guard who passed it through to me said it would be the last meal delivered here if we did not agree to the mark by his return.

Day Eight Hundred Ninety Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

It happened much as Elijah planned.

We entered Jerusalem with the morning crowds. And made our way to its heart. There were depictions of Stan on every side. Much nicer than the paper posters we’d seen to date.

And soldiers stood guard on every street, scrutinizing every passerby.

In fact, one left his post to follow us. Elijah took the attention in stride. I moved to keep myself between the two. And to shield Elijah.

We emerged onto the Temple court and there Elijah announced to the multitudes the continuation of the drought. And closed his announcement with the promise of its deepening.

A great roar of anger arose.

And the guard made to seize us, but we were gone.

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 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 Seven Hundred Eighty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah and I arrived at the hunters’ village just fine, and were even allowed in without fuss. And no ceremony. Not that we were expecting any deference; in fact just the opposite.

I chalk it up to the Leader being absent and they didn’t quite know what to do.

When told he had gone to the city, we replied that we would wait.

He did not return until this morning.

It was a long night, but we sat patiently under the gaze of an image of Stan.

Upon entering his face was lit with a glow of triumph. Before we could say a word he turned to his guard and barked an order, and the Captain was brought in, bound.

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.