Day Eight Hundred Sixty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We have Damascus in sight. Meesa led us off the road to a ridge above its outskirts, where we have a commanding view of the road and a neighboring one to the west. We can see where each enters the city. And are in a good position to evaluate our options.

Meesa had listened to our explanations with avidity, and peppered us with questions. Before leaving she had proposed another solution by offering to affix a mark like hers upon our persons – an offer we both declined.

We shall not stoop to subterfuge, but we shall oppose Stan and his ilk face to face.

That being said, we shall stay put until we have clarity as to when and how.

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Day Eight Hundred Sixty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The villages we passed through yesterday and today were quiet and almost empty, for their inhabitants were out laboring in the fields. The requisite posters of Stan increased in number as we grew closer to Damascus.

And as we were getting closer, Elijah and I strategized about our entry.

We decided that we would hold up at a distance and observe the patterns of movement into and out of the city.

It would also need to be an out of the way site, the better to seek the Spirit’s direction.

We have noted already that at certain times of the day the road traffic slows due to an increase in vehicles and backs up. This may prove an important factor.

Day Eight Hundred Sixty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We did not make any progress towards Damascus today. We encamped on the outskirts of a larger town last night – the capital for this district, as we soon discovered. For we decided to begin the day’s journey by strolling through rather than around it.

The telltale posters of Stan hung everywhere with extra added touches of adornment.

We were no sooner in its central square than we were surrounded by a convergence of celebratory citizens that clogged all the exits.

We were a captive audience.

When the officials spoke we learned that they were collected to celebrate the anniversary of the world government coming to their rescue in the drought.

When it broke up, the day was too far gone.

Day Eight Hundred Twenty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We kept well off the road as we made our way west. The traffic thereon has been noticeably less than we remember. Tanker trucks were still in the majority, but more appeared to be headed west than we had seen rolling down to the megapolis.

Quasimo thought it an indication of big changes in store for the region and for the world. Stan always talked about moving west to Jerusalem. The financial levers would remain in Babylon. What he had planned for the City of David was on a whole other level.

Quasimo was silent for a spell, obviously disturbed by his thoughts.

Elijah moved beside him to encourage, and to tell him that certain things must come to pass.

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 Eight Hundred Twenty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We divided our attention today between watching our steps and observing the activity in the skies over the megapolis. The ground was uneven, so at times treacherous. Hence our caution. But the presence of fleets of drones and circling warplanes over the city were a another source of concern.

Quasimo thinks we have no need  to worry.  He was certain that they are celebrating his “successful” assassination of Elijah and myself. Even if he had to bring down the building to accomplish that end. (Though he joked that Stan would not be above charging him for the value of the structure).

I just hope we can make it out of the area before they ascertain that our bodies aren’t there.

Day Eight Hundred Twelve #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

While now we saw the cage with which Stan thought he could contain us, I was left wondering by what means he meant to neutralize us. By that I meant, kill us.

I no more expressed that thought out loud when Elijah motioned me to be silent.

He turned and announced to the empty room, “You can come out now.”

A diminutive man did so.

He’d been ensconced behind a sliding panel in an alcove behind the podium of the audience chamber. His hands held high, and one holding a dagger. As he advanced he let it fall harmless to the floor.

Having observed us the past few days, he had decided to defy his master and help us instead.

Day Eight Hundred Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Stan could not have been more wrong. And we were content not to disabuse him of his mistaken notion. Not that he left us any means to communicate that back to him. Unless, of course, he had some kind of “eyes” on us. In which case he might guess at the reason behind our unconcern.

For what would he make of the fact our staying the night? Or that we took our ease and went on walks around the megapolis seeing the sights and taking the measure of our adversary?

For as in other places we’ve been through, his image was everywhere, wreathed in honor and pomp.

Very sad, really. Such an immense pride shall surely have a great fall.

Day Eight Hundred Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

With each step the city seems to grow taller, towering over everything in sight and blotting out half the sky to the south of us. One can sense the hum of industry going night and day without cease emanating from its presence. I commented on it, but Elijah brushed off my sense of foreboding and remained focused on our march to the city.

Posted signs appeared after that with the message praising the one responsible for all this plenteous new growth, printed beneath the smiling picture of our nemesis, Stan.

Next a drone confronted us. It stood stock still, scanning the two of us.

Elijah stood at ease; his staff remained at his side.

The drone went vertical and fled.

Day Seven Hundred Seventy Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Yesterday was a refreshing day of rest for all of us. We each drew apart at times for communion with the Spirit.

Both Tomas and Mei desired to venture on to see what lay beyond our line of sight, but we prevailed upon them to just wait.

This morning, therefore, we were more than ready to depart. So, we let loose the young people to tumble down the mountain ahead of us.

More switchbacks eased our descent and we remained bundled up against a bracing cold. And thankfully no sign of Stan’s presence, brooding or otherwise, disturbed our peace.

The Captain and I lagged behind and filled our time with conversation on many topics. But  at their center was Jerusalem.