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.

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Day Six Hundred Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Some unusual activity today. The Captain and Tomas told us later about the waves of soldiers passing through the area. Thankfully they were not stopping anywhere along their route. Elijah and I missed it for we were off in the city for news.

Everything appeared calm and even dull there. We attracted notice in certain sections, but there was a marked difference in the willingness of the people to respond when we talked to them. It made us curious.

We discovered why on our way back. Fresh posters were mounted on the walls outside the temple. They announced that Stan would deliver a message to the world in two days and included a simple admonition – to be kind to everyone.

Day Five Hundred Seventy Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The port has been a study in contrasts today. All the other ships were abuzz with activity, while ours was just sitting by the dock, waiting.

Waiting for the Captain and P to return. (If they return at all). Waiting for news of what comes next.

Small boats were plying the waters constantly between the warship and the shore. We spotted one unit coming in that we were sure will be paying visits to the shrines of the city, claiming them in Stan’s name.

At one point Tomas was called for. He brought back word of the Captain’s imminent return, and a suggestion that we depart.

Neither Elijah nor myself sense that our time aboard has come to an end.

Day Five Hundred Thirty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

There were no overt signs, no indication on any level that this place was given over to the enemy. Not even any posters of Stan’s image staring down from the walls.

But a brooding sense of malignancy made its presence felt at the edge of our senses.

Elijah and I remained in the ship. One look over the ship’s railing was enough for us.

Tomas took P ashore to school him in the purser’s responsibilities with the dispatcher. The other Raj twin G wanted to accompany them, but was told his charge was to remain with the ship.

Tomas brought back surprising news – we will be allowed to load several containers whose owners don’t bear the mark either.

Astonishing indeed.

Day Five Hundred Twenty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

When the Raj twins failed to return from the shipyard over night, the rest of their family begged us to seek them out.

Since Elijah and I were aware of the push to finish repairs on our ship, we weren’t too concerned, and explained our reasoning. This calmed them until rumors electrified the streets that global security forces were entering the city.

We left immediately for the shipyard, taking the family with us. They realized that now is the time.

We were the first to arrive at the yard with the news, and in turn were surprised to see our ship again afloat.

The Captain brought everyone aboard, reuniting the family with the twins.

We standby for our next move.

Day Four Hundred Sixty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The last of the boatloads was winched up and stowed aboard this afternoon. I’ve lost track of the amount of trips they’ve made, but I have an exacting account of the amounts of tin and bauxite.

Elijah made a trip ashore to look around and meet the people. He brought back news about the Purser. Some people from the village had heard about his passage northward, and being followers of Hamashiach went out and joined his group.

The shipper has paid half of the shipping costs, and we are to collect our other half from the consignees. (The metals are in trade for items that they have received already).

An eleven hour trip across the mouth of the gulf awaits.

Day Three Hundred Sixty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The Captain and the Purser returned to the ship after a day ashore on a quest for news about their families. Everyone else was confined to the ship in their absence. Both went out hopeful, but came back drained.

Elijah could see it in their demeanor as they neared the dock, so he descended to meet them. Some of the crewmen confronted the Captain to beg leave to go into the city also, but he refused to hear their pleas.

Later, he recounted the tale of their day to us and Tomas. They found the Purser’s home abandoned but undisturbed. The Captain’s, however, showed signs of violence.

I sense he has steeled himself and will focus only on his duty.

Day Three Hundred Fifty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We had cast off the night before and were awaiting a pilot in the roadstead in the growing light of morning, when a tug hailed us and drew alongside.

It did not deliver our pilot, but rather a group of three young men sent for by Tomas. They have volunteered to replace some of the hands that had gone with the First Mate. The Captain gave his approval, no doubt helped along by the fact that none of them bear the mark. And one of them, a fisherman in these waters, offered to pilot our ship out.

When we were underway, Elijah took me aside to share some news, the Hamashiachites per his instruction are all safe in the hills.

Day Three Hundred Forty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Well, our doubts have vanished. We arrived off the harbor of our destination port, and were awaiting a pilot to take us in. From our vantage point we could see clearly that the grain ship had preceded us.

Through his glass the Captain made out a commotion engulfing that vessel. Her deck appeared to be aswarm with scavengers, and an ever growing number of soldiers was arriving to combat them.

The Captain confessed that he felt conflicted at the sight. On the one hand satisfied at the misfortune of his subordinate, and on the other filled with pity for him.

News that we will be kept here longer arrived with the pilot.

Elijah had already come to the same conclusion.

Day Three Hundred Thirty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The water was noticeably placid where we held up last night. An undisturbed mirror. No wave action at all.

That all changed after the Captain ordered our ship forward to close with the becalmed ship. The cut water at the bow cleaved ahead, parting the waters and ruffling its placidity.

We hailed the ship and received back no answer whatsoever.

The Captain sent his First Mate over in their cutter. After a few attempts with a rope and grapple they were able to gain the deck above.

They were some time getting back with their news.

The ship is a grain ship. But no longer carrying grain. It is filled with the carcasses of locusts.

Elijah wants to go over.