Day One Thousand One Hundred Seventeen #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

A fine powder coated everything out of doors in the city. No one could identify it. So the unease of yesterday returned.

Elijah and I were kept quartered close to the Supreme Commander’s command center. Tomas stopped in and out throughout the day and gave us updates. He had been tasked to analyze the powder. Was it by design from the enemy?

He had a breakthrough come afternoon. The material in combination with another compound is highly combustible when water is present.

It made little sense until someone else realized the attack may be directed at the river coming into the city or the tanks fed by the desalination plants.

Thus the army must decide whether to evacuate or not.

Day One Thousand Eighty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Off to our right today we saw elements of the army of the East. They were hard at work digging in and setting defenses for the main army which must be within Babylon, now visible to our front.

Sy brought back word from Mawuli that forces were on their way for a similar purpose in this area, and advised we skirt this development by swinging even further east.

We lost no time in complying, finding ourselves nearing the river Elijah and I had followed to the megapolis many months ago.

Thus we found it necessary to regroup and move as a single unit around the increasing number of patrols.

I suggested that we make our way down to the river.

Day Eight Hundred Eighteen #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

No one pursued us. Quasimo was sure they halted at the property limit and will await their master’s return to report the matter.

By the new day we were beyond the palaces, only the hovels of field hands dotted the landscape of green growth.

Knowing we were nearing the river, our guide paused. We needed to decide between two bridges. For one we would have to take the next path north. If we were to opt for the other, we would continue on to the river on our current path, then turn south for a good distance.

Both Elijah and I opted for straight ahead. And when we reached the river we each took a hand and walked him across.

Day Eight Hundred Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I thought I was seeing things. For no apparent reason water was pooling in the once dry riverbed. It spread from the direction of the megapolis, instead of down from the mountains at our back.

Soon it was filled from bank to bank, and not long after we discovered the explanation to my mystery.

Several tanker trucks were queued up and one by one were discharging their contents forming the river.

No one detained us as we skirted the area, but many stared with suspicion.

One of the drivers got out and followed – until he was ordered back to his vehicle.

Further on I puzzled over some machinery, submerged near the water’s edge.

Elijah looked and said, “It’s for irrigation.”

Day Seven Hundred Thirty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The lake has shrunken. Due to our distance from it, not because of the water taken out of it. Though I suppose, given time, that will have its effect too.

Three tanker trucks were visible, applying their pumps, upon our last view before we descended into a valley the other side of the foothills. Perhaps we will see it again when we climb into the next pass.

Our road parallels a river which carries scarcely a trickle. If it ever reached the lake below, I don’t think it could now.

It seems to me that Tomas is returning to check in more often than he used to. He converses with Elijah almost always. And sometimes the Captain.

Mei notices him.

Day Seven Hundred Twenty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

There is a body of water at the back of the city, a lake that has shrunken due to the drought. The river that feeds it is running low, and at the other end stands a dam that impedes outflow.

This source of water is most precious to the inhabitants and it is what they intend to protect and preserve at all costs. So we conclude after observing the comings and goings of the local militia all day, and in particular their concentration in the vicinity of the dam.

Over on that side of the city Tomas was a witness to their opposition to some tanker trucks he recognized.

Though they retreated we are sure they will return in force.

Day Seven Hundred Twenty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The speck on the horizon has taken on a more recognizable form. Buildings spread out in a line, conforming, I surmise, to the presence of a river or some other feature out of our sight.

The Captain bubbles over with excitement at the prospect of fresh fruit. For he believes he sees groves of trees grouped around the approaches to the city.

Tomas stayed awake late last night smelting the gold from the satellite components. This morning he showed us the results of his labors – four small, shiny rectangles of the precious substance. One for each of us if we wanted to divide them up.

We will make a short day of it. We prefer to enter tomorrow in daylight.

Day Six Hundred Seventy Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We passed the night down by the river northeast of the town. It was quiet and uneventful as the army was far from us, spread from south of the town westward towards the mountains.

However with the new day the tanker trucks were back. But not for long.

As we were watching them, they suddenly halted their operations and left. The wail of sirens hurried them off.

I followed Elijah to the top of a knoll. The sky was filled with shell bursts directed at the warplanes overhead. They were vectoring in from all points of the compass.

Elijah stood there, raised his staff over his head and shouted.

Every single warplane shuddered as though stricken and plummeted to earth.

Day Six Hundred Seventy Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah and I passed the day dodging patrols searching for us. Patrols set upon us by the innkeeper who recognized Elijah as the “troublemaker.”

Before he came back for me, Elijah hid the Captain and Tomas away somewhere in the mountains. And they are waiting for us there now.

When we will rejoin them is the question. For we are being held here at the direction of the Spirit for His purposes.

In our wanderings we noticed that the army’s tanker trucks are hard at work siphoning up any water that is left in the river. The whole process shouldn’t take much longer.

I wonder what the town will do once the army leaves and they’ve taken all they wanted.

Day Six Hundred Sixty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah remained in one of the two rooms we have taken in the inn, while the rest of us went out to look around the town. I don’t believe he will stir from there for the next few days. I am considering leaving our room solely to him and joining our friends in theirs.

We split up upon leaving the inn.

Tomas visited the town center, its marketplace and civic buildings. He reported an encouraging lack of presence on the part of the global authority. And no posters of Stan anywhere.

The Captain checked for transportation alternatives over the mountains. We have several possibilities.

I walked down by the river. It was even lower there than upstream.

We returned exhausted.