Day Nine Hundred Forty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah had been taken out of our cell by a detail of guards, and not returned until hours later. My turn came immediately after so there had been no time to speak.

I was seated before a woman who was not a interrogator but rather, for lack of a better word, a salesman.

She extolled the benefits and virtues of taking on the mark. All persuasion – no threats, nor coercion.

She did not even ask for an immediate decision.

Elijah’s account mirrored mine.

I am comforted by the overwhelming sense that someone (or someones) somewhere were praying for us. I feel it at each intake of breath. It inspires me to be praying for them and for all I know.

Day Six Hundred Eighty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

A wind storm blew in over night. It became so fierce we backtracked on the trail to a rock wall with a crevice-like opening on its face.

All four of us easily fit inside. We just stood there shivering and listening to the howl of the wind. Praying it would soon pass.

Tomas, crammed in the back of the crevice, felt the movement of air on his legs. Upon investigation he found another opening through which he could crawl to a larger chamber.

We gratefully joined him.

The smell of burnt wood was pervasive. Feeling around the Captain found a firebrand which he ignited with flint and steel.

We held up inside all day as the storm continued unabated.

Day Six Hundred Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We actually saw the squad of soldiers coming a minute before our neighbor’s signal. And like he thought they tackled his home first.

The Captain and Tomas had plenty of time to hide themselves in the tunnel.

When the soldiers finished banging around our neighbor’s home, they regrouped outside, conferred briefly, then entered our dwelling.

Elijah stood immovable in the middle of the great room. The soldiers ignored him, peppering me instead with their questions.

Because we are obviously foreigners, I believe they stayed longer than at our neighbor’s, scouring through our things.

At long last they departed, and when they did, they took the guards at the crossroads with them.

Our friends emerged, having spent the whole time praying.