Day One Thousand Two Hundred Thirty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Mawuli was the one to discover their bodies. We had passed the night without them in a place chosen by him. We unanimously decided not to leave the area until we could learn their whereabouts.

Judging by their final position and it’s great distance off our current path, Mawuli surmises that they encountered a patrol and led them away from us. Ultimately sacrificing themselves.

With care, Mr. Kagi and I buried their mortal remains.

Mawuli then assumed the chore of directing our way back to the hiding place.

Thoughts crowded in upon me – remembrances of all our times together- both at sea and on land. Through it all they were the most steadfast and faithful helpers for Elijah and me.

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Day One Thousand Two Hundred Thirty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Had we entertained beforehand the thought of going to Damascus, we would have changed our minds when the city came into view. It was a city no longer. What was left was little bigger than a village. A village broken down and smoldering.

I had a flash of concern for our people in the hiding place. And wondered if what befell Damascus had spread its impact that far afield.

Elijah spoke up and put my mind at ease with his assurances.

Tomas, soon after, diverted us onto another path and what was left of Damascus slipped from our view.

I wish I had talked once more with Tomas before he and the Captain took the lead and departed this life.

Day One Thousand Two Hundred Thirty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

There were signs of a recent occupation when we reached the village at the edge of the wilderness. But we didn’t realize just how much until we set out this morning.

One entire building was filled up with dead bodies, our attention drawn to it by a swarm of buzzing flies. A makeshift hospital I assumed, but Mr. Kagi called that into question when he observed that all of them wore the uniform of the army of the North. A detail that bore a more sinister connotation.

While Tomas and the Captain ranged ahead, picking a way for us off of the beaten path, Elijah walked with Mawuli.

Mr. Kagi and I marveled at the depth of the lad’s understanding.

Day One Thousand Two Hundred Seventeen #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah had chosen three of his disciples to go to Babylon. They had acted on a suggestion he had made to them long before they had last parted from us. He had told them that the Spirit would nudge them to the task when the time was proper.

And when it had came to pass, at that self-same instant one was given a vision of Mr. Kagi. That disciple was with that worthy somewhere on the path behind them.

We dispatched the Captain and one of the disciples to bring them in.

We waited and waited. Through a long night. And when they arrived this morning even Tomas and Mawuli abandoned their lookout to come greet our old friend.

Day One Thousand One Hundred Seventy Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah laid hands on Magwich this morning and raised him from his couch. Judging him sound we left after eating.

Upon leaving I noticed a sign posted at the entrance to the compound that announced it was quarantined. I shot Reuben a glance and he gave me a wink in return.

Reuben led the way on a path new to everyone. At the bottom of a gully he asked Quasimo to send the drone aloft for a quick look ahead.

It indicated that we had the path to ourselves.

From the next high point we could see the way ahead was quite rugged with lots of ups and downs as it wound its way down from the heights of Jerusalem.

Day One Thousand One Hundred Seventy Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

After our comrades recovered from the suddenness of our return, we decided not to venture beyond our thicket – but pressed further back into its wild undergrowth. And there passed the night.

Come the morning we were surprised when Quasimo discovered a huge water reservoir nearby. Reuben recognized the structure and led us around to the other side where he knew of a path that could take us east.

We eschewed the side where the tanker trucks were adding their loads to the reservoir. Even then someone must have spotted us for a warplane dropped down from a great height and lined up on our position.

Elijah raised his staff and the jet tumbled from the sky – but not before firing.

Day One Thousand One Hundred Sixty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Word about our intended mission spread throughout the hiding place and we soon had more volunteers than necessary, or, frankly, desirable.

Elijah and I had already selected two to accompany us – Quasimo and Reuben. So the others were all disappointed. I did encourage each one to commit to the all important labor of intercession, and received encouragement myself when they answered in the affirmative.

We made our way North. Knowing that our expedition would take up a few days we kept an easy pace. Especially climbing out by the remaining path in that direction.

We stayed well away from the main road, observing the traffic thereon – mostly tanker trucks.

Reuben found us a nice sheltered spot to pass the night.

Day One Thousand One Hundred Fifty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

This last leg of our journey has sapped our strength and taxed our comprehension. Every where we turned our way was blocked. We had exhausted, it seems, all the approaches to the hiding place from the west and down towards Damascus.

Finally we gave up going in that direction and doubled back around to the north. There, at last, we found a way clear that was headed in the right direction.

The night had ended long before and we were tired. But we wanted to struggle on after a brief rest. (Besides, the path was more of a track – better traversed in daylight).

So, with Tomas in the lead and Elijah right behind we gained the hiding place by day’s end.

Day One Thousand One Hundred Forty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

This morning Elijah sent Reuben out again to check. He returned almost immediately. While he watched, Moglen who was still lurking, turned about and left.

With this news, Reuben and I thought we should leave as soon as possible. But Elijah surprised us by insisting that we wait a while longer. Adding that we have an appointment to keep.

He waved aside any further query and asked us to be praying for his two bands of pupils. He said they were in sore need of our support.

This we did until Elijah announced it was time to depart.

At every turn of the path I expected to see one of Elijah’s pupils. Imagine my surprise when we came upon Tomas.

Day One Thousand One Hundred Forty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Reuben was the one who discovered the cave. He said afterwards that it was as though he was pulled into it. And I marvel that he did, for no way was the entrance visible from the path below on which we were fleeing.

And we gained its safety none too soon for otherwise the swarm of drones would have overtaken us.

And here we have stayed put through the night and all of today.  Reuben was restless and made frequent forays to take a peek around. He reported the movement of soldiers in the distance, happily, headed in the wrong direction, but was shaken to his core the last time when he spotted Moglen standing nearby, watching in silence, alone.