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 Forty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We have left the patrol and our false friend far behind. The latter whimpering about being abandoned and blind on the mountain path. I was sure that his friends would soon rescue him.

We came about to our original heading and pressed on. And we saw no one in pursuit the rest of the day.

Elijah and I conversed as we went along.

More and more there were signs of the drought deepening. This underlined the importance of convincing Sy and Jordan to bring their people into the safety and security, and yes, to an abundant supply of water offered in the hiding place.

I then finally told him about my dream. The dream of the rising tide of blood.

Day One Thousand Forty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Neither Elijah nor myself believed that our uninvited guest meant us well. He was genuinely surprised to see us when he chanced upon us, but I have no doubt he was trying to head off and ambush us. He has been all smiles and solicitous since then. Meek as a lamb.

But when he thought I was not looking, I saw the wolf lurking.

He has been evasive about where he is going, and simply states that he would like the company as long as we are heading the “same” direction.

When the patrol appeared in the distance, I caught him holding a small hand mirror.

I took it.

Elijah said, “Since you are blind to the good. Be blind!”

Day One Thousand Forty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Though we took to the trails upon the hillsides, we kept to those which held a view of the road, for we wanted to confirm the warnings of our erstwhile ‘defender.’

We did not discover what he was talking about until this morning.

There was a rather large encampment straddling the road. And as we sat watching we indeed saw army convoys being let through and civilians being turned back. Which made us wonder if the tanker trucks were operating any longer beyond this point.

Elijah and I then decided to turn our faces to the hills, as we had little reason to keep the road in view.

Before we did, I noticed a patrol set out in our direction.

Day One Thousand Twelve #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Quasimo assures us this first part was easy. The challenging difficulties still lie ahead – this after one passing patrol kept us pinned down for longer than was comfortable.

During that particular episode my attention was drawn to our problematic hothead, the one so filled with wrath. Something furtive in his manner seemed out of place then, as though poised to act at a signal.

At the end of a long day we came to Mei’s first relay point. One of Elijah’s pupils from the first twelve was waiting for us, or more precisely, for Elijah.

Afterwards Elijah collected Reuben and a few others to seize the hothead. He saw them first and bolted.

One should not run in the dark.

Day Nine Hundred Sixty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We have arrived at an impasse. A major checkpoint blocks our progress, with too much activity swelling the roadway in both directions.

We were considering sending a small group of Reuben’s men forward to test whether or not we could make it across in small sections. But I noticed that a patrol coming from the other side was stopped and questioned. Evidently they did not possess the right orders or papers for they were sent back from whence they came.

The whole process of checking papers must be what is slowing the traffic.

Then it occurred to Reuben that perhaps word is out about the prison escape. Hearing this, Elijah paused, but then said, “No, something else is at play.”

Day Eight Hundred Twenty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The skies were clear above the megapolis for most of the day. Only the occasional drone could be seen making the rounds on its patrol. Quasimo opined that the warplanes were no doubt back to their job of running sorties against the army of the East.

I asked him if he had knowledge about the conflict.

He replied that any contacts between these forces were minor by Stan’s design. And only used as a means to draw the army of the East where he wanted it.

We ended our day near the point of our parting from Tomas and the Captain, and Mei and Raj P – where the road to the west crossed the northern approach to the towerless city.

Day Seven Hundred Fifty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

     We had to dodge a patrol last night that was coming towards our position. We used the situation to skirt around the compound in the opposite direction with our ultimate goal a track Tomas said we could use instead of the main road.

     We rested the remainder of the night safe from view.

     The track took us by a lake fed by mountain streams. On the far side two tanker trucks were backing in to fill up. A third waited its turn.

     At the sight of them Elijah called a halt. This applied to Tomas too.

    While the Captain kept watch, I thought it an appropriate time for our two young people to dispel the tension.

     So they did, quietly.

Day Five Hundred Ninety Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Both the Captain and Tomas were thankful for their deliverance, and the Captain contrite about his attitude of yesterday.

They had been swept up by a patrol when a merchant raised a hue and cry after our friends tried to make a purchase without the mark.

Thankfully such a fervor has not spread out to this area. Yet.

For now the two are content to stay put and consider their options.

Just after noon the darkness returned. I thought it providential in that it would hide us from any pursuers. Elijah, however, considers it a finger pointed directly at us. But he says that without any concern.

Certainly we see no one walking about in the murk.

We’ll know tomorrow.

Day Two Hundred Sixty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Contact.

What I had hoped would not come to pass this early, did.

Earlier than expected, much earlier than I wanted.

We had set our sights on the bridge with the high towers and directed our steps accordingly. Elijah sheltered underneath its span when he first came to this city, and before he moved to the bridge under which I discovered him. He thinks it a good starting point this time too.

We had just turned onto the boulevard that crosses this bridge when we were hailed by the leader of a patrol.

Elijah led us boldly forward to answer their challenge. We were immediately surrounded and told to come with them.

Elijah said no.

Fire fell. They were consumed.