Day One Thousand One Hundred Eighty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We passed the night under the stars. And stars were all we could see, for our only view was straight overhead from a dirt floor at the bottom of a rocky depression.

I traded the early morning watch to Magwich who wanted to take in the view. He remarked to me afterwards that he had thought he’d never see it again.

Throughout the day’s hike Magwich overflowed with joy and thankfulness, an infectious feeling that sped us along.

Reuben kept the advance, dropping back only twice to hold us in place while two patrols passed through.

Quasimo is optimistic that we will be back at the hiding place before the meridian tomorrow.

Elijah and I had much to talk over.

Day Eight Hundred Forty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The barking returned on our nightly hike. Though nothing came near enough for us to actually identify. At least it wasn’t those unsettling voices.

I was glad for the morning, if not only to check on the ‘growth’ of our hill.

It looked much the same to me, though Elijah thought it was gaining in breadth.

Our bivouac for the day had an unobstructed view at least in that quarter. It was better from my watch post, but that was high enough to take in every direction, so my attention was understandably divided.

After Elijah relieved me from the first stint, I could not sleep. I had to discipline my mind from dwelling on the nagging memories of the day.

Day Eight Hundred Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah’s prediction came to pass. By late afternoon we stood in the city gates. All by ourselves.

We had noticed immediately this morning that the air overhead was free from man-made objects. And we climbed up from the riverside to the road to investigate the sudden outbreak of silence. There were no movements in either direction. No vehicles nor even pedestrians.

So, we passed through the formidable gateway, unopposed – except for the glare of the fantastical beasts (or demons) etched into the surface of the walls.

The gateway opened onto a large market area. Its stalls or shops all shuttered and again marked by the absence of people.

A long hike followed to the gigantic skyscraper selected by Elijah.

Day Seven Hundred #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Our captors were more uneasy than us. They had rushed to the side of the stricken officer, and were relieved that he still breathed. They kept their weapons trained on us, but at a respectful distance.

The commander was at a loss as to what to do with us. Once he settled it in his mind that what had happened was defensive and we had no inclination to go on offense, he put us in a room with twelve guards.

This morning he dispatched us with our detail to appear before the Supreme Commander of the army.

It was a long hike through ring after ring of army units to its hierarchical center.

Our weary day ended in more waiting.

Day Two Hundred Five Early Morning #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Lyle writes:

Today I am farther away from the city, yet I still see the glow of it burning.

I covered a good deal of ground overnight, and am now sheltering in what shade I can find along this boulder strewn path.

I see the play of heat waves rising over desert ahead. I estimate that I should reach it by the end of tonight’s hike.