Day Eight Hundred Thirty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I still heard barking in the distance on the way and kept my attention directed to it. It appeared to gain on us, then passed off to our right. And was silent.

When I saw mounting clouds to the west, blocking out the stars, I guessed the reason behind the actions of the trailing animal. I called Elijah’s attention to the coming storm. He concurred that we needed to seek shelter.

But there was none. All we could do was watch and pray. And to our amazement the storm front veered to the south and passed by.

So another night march and still no well. Elijah remains unperturbed. We continue to keep rested each day, despite our rounds of watching.

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Day Six Hundred Eighty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We could not communicate with one another save through gestures and signs. Their weapons did most of the pointing.

After a few tense moments they seemed satisfied that we were not on a mission from their enemies which we took to be the army in the pass.

Thankfully they did not force us out into the night, but neither would they let us depart this morning.

The Captain had a sense they were waiting for someone else with the authority to make that decision.

Tomas went outside briefly with one of them and brought back news that the storm had passed.

Both Elijah and I sought to redeem the time in prayer. We were allowed use of the sleeping quarters.

Day Six Hundred Eighty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We kept warm last night, having ignited wood left in a fire pit at the center of the chamber.

Tomas, as ever, made the most helpful discoveries. He rummaged around beyond the limit of the light from the fire and fell into an alcove that contained a gasoline generator. He was able to crank it up and we had lights.

We thus learned that this place was a whole lot bigger than we thought. Other tunnels branch off the chamber to sleeping quarters, ammunition stores, and food supplies.

So we ate well and rested while awaiting the storm to subside.

The Captain regularly went outside to check the storm. The last time he was ushered back in by two soldiers.

Day Six Hundred Nineteen #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The darkness has returned again. It’s like the land wanted to roll over and go back to sleep.

Even the farmers were late getting on the road. But only a few traveled towards the army camp.

It got darker. Like a storm ready to break over our heads. You could smell it in the air.

Elijah took me with him into the city. Our friends remained behind – unhappy, but obedient.

Upon our arrival in the central square a mass meeting was underway. Rain was spitting.

Elijah interrupted.

I saw his image on the building wall as he announced to the world that he was sealing up the heavens.

The rain stopped. The sky cleared. And the Spirit whisked us away.

Day Five Hundred Fifty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Strangely uneasy all day.  But no one else aboard shares my apprehension.

It started this morning over breakfast. The dawn was slow arriving. The darkness clung everywhere, refusing to lift and give place to the light.

I mentioned this to Elijah. He only shrugged his shoulders and kept eating.

I planned to take some exercise on the deck, stopping first to check in on the bridge. Both the Captain and Tomas were present. But each was irritated about something, so I took the cue and launched into my walk down below.

It seemed to me that the storm of a couple of days ago had returned, only this time it was internal instead of external.

Time for the special cabin.

Day Five Hundred Forty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The crew was busier than usual putting to rights problems left in the aftermath of yesterday’s storm. I joined G’s team as they investigated a higher than usual level of water in the bilges. It wouldn’t do to have a leak.

All the hatches topside proved to be functioning properly. So we moved below. We soon discovered the problem.

A sliver of daylight was showing between two hull plates high up in the forward section. With a calm sea no water was coming in.

The Captain put a welding crew on it. And we completed our search. G wanted to be thorough.

Elijah came out of the special cabin and passed the remainder of the day building up our guests.

Day Five Hundred Forty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

A storm lashed the ship all day. Our guests remained in their quarters except the five of their number who are joining the crew. G oversaw their baptism as it were into this lot of a sailor’s life.

Elijah remained in the special cabin for the duration of the storm.  I could sense him wrestling for our safe passage.

I kept to the bridge and to the company of Tomas and P. Between the times of intense activity we talked about our lives, our past, and what it was that led us to this point in our life journeys.

Come my turn, their jaws dropped at the revelation of my great age. And marveled at my memories of my youth.

Day Four Hundred Eighty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

After our night in the shallow cave, we had to climb to higher ground in order to gain access to the road again. Standing water in the wake of the storm left the road inaccessible at the lower levels.

Elijah thinks it may take a month or more to reach the other coast. This gave me pause. Would we be able to rejoin the ship again if it took that long?

Elijah knew the answer, of course. The Captain had confided to him the ship was due for a lengthy refit at a shipyard when finished with their deliveries on that side.

We may very well arrive before the ship is prepared for the next leg of their voyage.

Day Four Hundred Sixty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Clouds gave way to blue skies today. Opening to our view, the seas that stretch interminably before us.

In my downtime a thought flitted across my consciousness. It was so easy to imagine that we had sailed off the face of the earth. Is there any land left out there in that vastness we have not been to?

Elijah responded to my musings. He said our journey was far from over. If only because he does not sense a release from his charge. But he added that we should take full advantage of these times of peace to recharge and prepare. For a time is coming when we shall have no respite from the storm. With every hand against us.

Day Four Hundred Fifty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

In my capacity as purser I accompanied Tomas on his rounds today. Every thing was in its place and as far as outward appearances go, in perfect condition. And Emil’s special container still crowned the stack of deck cargo.

We caught up with the other ships at the mouth of the channel. One split off and headed for the island port. The other two just sat there waiting.

And it was easy to see why. Another storm looked to be brewing in the south. Our Captain took a wait and see attitude too.

Back on the bridge, I watched as Elijah went forward. He dropped from sight. But I knew he made it to the bow.

For the skies cleared.