Day One Thousand Seventy Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Mei recognized him first, and resisted her impulse to rush to greet him. For we all knew the need for caution. But when she saw that it was her old unit with their tanker truck she called out to him.

We were welcomed into their camp and made comfortable.

Lung asked to meet with Elijah and myself.

He spent the night detailing all that has happened to him since he parted from us on the mountain on that long ago day.

When he shared about his transformation we called Mei in to hear the news too.

And as his crew continued pumping water at daylight, we heard the rumors that Stan had been fatally wounded in the battle before Babylon.

Day One Thousand Seventy Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Come morning we had second thoughts about our decision to stay put. The rear guard of the world government forces were in our view, but they had halted to stave off multiple attacks by small units of the army of the East.

The danger, we realized, was that these small units in their efforts to flank the retreating army may come across our position.

Elijah ordered us to return to the area of the restored well. From there we could retrace Sy and Mawuli’s route to our next jumping off point.

We passed the other well on the way and found it no longer protected. We ignored it and continued on.

And that is how we encountered Mei’s comrade, Lung.

Day One Thousand Sixty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

From our observations of yesterday we formed a good notion of how we can cross the great plain ahead and follow in the wake of the army of the world government. We shall have to continue in the hills a bit longer in order to swing beyond the limits of the patrols sent out from the forces left behind.

Sy seconded the plan, for he knows of several wells along that arc that may provide water.

He accompanied Mawuli in the forward advance while we kept up the best we could.

I walked with Mei and we fell into a conversation about former times. The topic – her former position in the army of the East and where Lung might be.

Day Seven Hundred Forty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Lung parted from our little band this morning. He made one last attempt to persuade Mei to return with him. But she was adamant about remaining with us.

Lung accepted her decision at the last, and even offered to report that she had perished back at the glacier.

I, however, suggested he merely report that they had been separated and that he had no knowledge where she was.

I believe he understood the gist of my comment, and hope to trust in his discretion. Though I have a nagging doubt where Lung is concerned.

Mei spent the day with the Captain. He had a lot to share about Tomas.

I went out with our young friend for a long conversation.

Day Seven Hundred Forty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Waited all day for an opportunity to talk to Tomas alone. I would have accompanied him on one of his jaunts, but didn’t want to leave Elijah and the Captain without my support. Lung has been outwardly calm, yet I can tell agitation is festering just below the surface. Every step is taking us further and further away from his unit. If only he would talk to Elijah again. Lung has been avoiding him ever since the glacier.

Thankfully, Tomas brought word of another path branching off this one. He is certain it will take Lung back down. If not to the lake, at least to the desert.

I also decided to put off my talk with Tomas until tomorrow.

Day Seven Hundred Forty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Lung was continually on the lookout for another way down. Elijah assigned the Captain to stay by his side and save him from any rash action.

This has been made easier by the loss of both soldiers’ weapons back on the glacier. I judge we would not have been able to do so otherwise.

Elijah has kept Mei to himself all day. They have remained aloof, keeping their conversation only to themselves. Though I know for sure what they are discussing by her attention to Tomas each time he returns from his scouting.

I believe it will fall to me to talk to Tomas. Certain things he will have to do in the future require that he forgo others now.

Day Seven Hundred Forty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We finally relented, and allowed Lung to go back down the trail, accompanied by Tomas. They reported that the trail was washed out by the force of the water from the glacier.  And that a huge chunk of the glacier had cascaded down to a lower elevation.

Still, Lung desires to get back to his unit with this intelligence. And to see if any of the runoff has made its way down to the lake.

Elijah advised him to continue on with us until another way down can be found.

At the same time, Mei let it be known that she does not want to return.

This caught Lung completely by surprise.

We put further discussion aside and continued on.

Day Seven Hundred Forty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

When we reached Mei, Lung estimated that she had slipped deeper into the crevasse since his absence.

We could see the problem right off. Her wedged backpack was pulling her down, even as the crack opened more.

Tomas wasted no time and descended to her. An agony of minutes passed before he could free her from the dead weight. But as soon as he did, we pulled them both up.

We had no respite to savor the moment, for Mei urged us to depart immediately. That whole section of the glacier she felt was in danger of collapse.

So we ended up back with Elijah and the Captain today.

We had to restrain Lung from returning back down the mountain.

Day Seven Hundred Forty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Tomas had been making as many trips back down the trail as forward. A fact that had not escaped Elijah’s notice.

Tomas just returned from a long absence in the rear and Elijah stopped him before he could set off into the advance again. Instead he dispatched him to trace our path all the way back to wherever Lung and Mei may be.

I accompanied him. And Elijah and the Captain set up camp to wait.

We came to the brook, a torrent of rushing water. And there ran into Lung descending off of the mountain. He begged us to return with him to help rescue Mei. She had slipped into a crevasse they had opened accidentally with the flamethrower.

Day Seven Hundred Forty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Lung and Mei parted company from us midday. I thought I detected a little reluctance on the part of Mei to do so.

As I thought, their destination was the glacier on this mountain. They will survey the feasibilities of getting the water locked within, down the mountain to their tanker trucks.

The Captain told me that he saw a flamethrower in the pack that Lung was carrying. He lamented to me that he hoped that they knew what they were doing.

We kept on our way with frequent backward glances. And soon we could no longer make out the figures of our former companions trekking up the mountain, for our trail took us around and down the other side.