Day One Thousand One Hundred Forty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Here at day’s end and I’m still recovering from yesterday’s surprise appearance of our young friend. Elijah kept our greetings brief, enforcing a strict regimen of silence and driving us onward by his example. Continuing through the night.

Our pace only slackened with the dawn of the new day, yet we kept onward. At one point it was as if we entered a space of our own reality in which nothing else and no one else existed. Only then did Elijah allow us to converse.

Everything came tumbling out as we pressed Tomas for information.

Most startling was the news that the Supreme Commander is dead. And the army of the East has allied with the army of the North.

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Day One Thousand One Hundred Forty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

This morning Elijah sent Reuben out again to check. He returned almost immediately. While he watched, Moglen who was still lurking, turned about and left.

With this news, Reuben and I thought we should leave as soon as possible. But Elijah surprised us by insisting that we wait a while longer. Adding that we have an appointment to keep.

He waved aside any further query and asked us to be praying for his two bands of pupils. He said they were in sore need of our support.

This we did until Elijah announced it was time to depart.

At every turn of the path I expected to see one of Elijah’s pupils. Imagine my surprise when we came upon Tomas.

Day One Thousand One Hundred Thirteen #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We did not see Tomas  the rest of the day yesterday. Because of the good report we did not think it odd. But when he did not show this morning, we wondered if another attack was underway.

We asked to go into the city and were denied. The first time ever.

When Elijah asked to go down to the harbor and the desalination plants, our guards granted the request.

To our surprise the docks were empty of ships. A few were out in the harbor – warships.

We expected to see Tomas at the desalination plants, but were again disappointed.

Sensing that he needed our intercession, we sought out a place to be in the presence of the One who sees.

Day One Thousand Sixty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The Captain had been correct that a dramatic event would be the sign. And everything else lined up after that.

The direction Mawuli indicated, coincided with the unstated one held by Elijah.

(I think he was actually taken by surprise).

So, the morning found our group climbing up the mountain, not down as everyone originally thought, but hiking up the path beside the stream bed.

Elam and Sy took pains helping Elijah and me over some of the trickier sections.

Something was still flowing down the rocks of the stream bed. Yet slowly, for it was drying in the sun.  And the heavy metallic odor gained in intensity as we reached the top.

Where carnage was spread out before us.

Day One Thousand Fifty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Our surprise was mutual. Raj P recovered first, brimming over with thanksgiving for answered prayer before he even said a word to us.

He had accompanied Quasimo into the Galilee, and had been dispatched by him to go in search of us and bring us back to help persuade Sy to leave.

I asked if Elam had made it back and was overjoyed to learn that he was safe and sound in their midst.

We made it as far as the road before making camp.

We inquired about everyone else and buoyed by his good report turned in.

Today was an even longer day.  It takes so much longer when you’re not riding in the cab of a tanker truck.

Day Nine Hundred Eighty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

As preparation for the next stage of our search, I suggested we replenish our water skins at the desert crossroads before heading into the desert.

As we all deemed it necessary, it was an easy decision to make the detour. As always Tomas was happy to go anywhere he’d never been before, especially with the additional incentive of seeing where we had first encountered Jezer.

It took longer than we remembered for it was late in the day when we finally arrived. We had the spot all to ourselves and set up camp.

While we filled the water skins, Tomas explored the area.

Our surprise was great when he returned minutes later with a struggling youth, my youngest friend Mawuli.

Day Nine Hundred Thirty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

As for Elijah, there was no question over the decision. We were out here and very close to turning up another missing group. And that was the bedrock of his thinking.

Jezer expressed surprise over this decision given the concrete evidence for one versus the scant evidence of the wheel tracks for the other. Even when he added that rumors were afloat that the group in prison was facing capital charges, did nothing to budge Elijah off of his decision.

I was torn seeing the value behind both arguments. So I counseled to wait and pray for direction. My two friends concurred.

Thus we waited, prayed, and watched. And this morning we saw our answer – a tanker truck lumbering along.

Day Eight Hundred Sixty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

This time Elijah wasn’t the only one to notice. When the young woman overtook and passed us by on the road, I saw that she bore a mark, and I could tell it was very much like that of Jezer. Phony.

For her part when she looked back at us, shock registered in her face. And I knew that her surprise was due to the absence of the mark on either of us.

She stopped in her tracks, not knowing what to do.

Elijah rushed forward to reassure her. The fact that she was alone on the road, I believe, made her even more apprehensive, so I held back.

Elijah was able to calm her.

It was a propitious meeting.

Day Seven Hundred Seventy Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The sound of two gunshots and an answering fusillade crashed out of the pathway to our left.  Before their echoes trailed off, we made our easy choice, the right-hand fork, and hurried out of the area.

Tomas ran ahead to sweep the path and to ensure we wouldn’t come up against another surprise.

Mei took up her favored position,  keeping a constant watch behind us. The Captain dropped back also to keep her company and lend additional support.

Thus we continued all day.

I walked with Elijah. With not a word between us. A whole new vista was opening up before us – the hills flattening into rolling prairie to which we could see no end.

“Almost there,” said Elijah.

Day Seven Hundred Forty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We finally relented, and allowed Lung to go back down the trail, accompanied by Tomas. They reported that the trail was washed out by the force of the water from the glacier.  And that a huge chunk of the glacier had cascaded down to a lower elevation.

Still, Lung desires to get back to his unit with this intelligence. And to see if any of the runoff has made its way down to the lake.

Elijah advised him to continue on with us until another way down can be found.

At the same time, Mei let it be known that she does not want to return.

This caught Lung completely by surprise.

We put further discussion aside and continued on.