Day Eight Hundred Sixty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We got in for closer views of all three entrances, but we kept on the move to avoid scrutiny of ourselves. And as a consequence, we became quite familiar with the paths connecting the two motor roadways with the footpath entry.

The whole area is filled up with rubble that must have been carted out of the city after its destruction.

I sighed to think about all the new buildings beyond, and the people within them, facing the destruction of destruction in the day’s ahead.

We learned that very few on foot went through the motor road entries. And the central path was exclusively for those on foot. Even many not bearing the mark, by all appearances doing forced labor.

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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.

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 Eight Hundred Fifty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I thought Jezer merely unscrupulous in his business dealings. Clearly his attempts to sell to people not bearing the mark (Elijah and me) would make him guilty in the eyes of the authorities. At the time I guessed that his view was just a matter of – no witnesses – no crime.

But that he bore a phony mark didn’t change my estimation of his character. And that was at the crux of my apprehensions to being in the same city as him.

As ever Elijah is unconcerned. He points out that we have no idea how we will be treated much less whether or not we will be allowed to enter the city.

He just knows that we must go there.

Day Eight Hundred Fifty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Jezer bid us farewell in the late morning. Charming as ever despite his failure to strike a deal or two. He took the eastward road, saying that he was headed for Damascus. It was the first we knew that we were further west than we had supposed, which meant our final destination lay somewhere north of us.

But the mention of Damascus resonated in my being. And lingered. So much so that I  asked Elijah if that was the waypoint through which we must pass before ending in Jerusalem.

His answer in the affirmative went a long way in explaining his former reticence. I would not have wanted to go there either. For it has been long under the mark.

Day Eight Hundred Fifty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

For the time being, we’ve mutually agreed to hold up here to await developments. Elijah still holds back and is waiting for me to confirm the next waypoint on our way to Jerusalem.
A series of new images puzzled me. None of them indicated a destination. Or at the least, no correlation came to mind. Only one face after another, all complete strangers to me.
That is, until this afternoon. A man emerged from out of the west, leading a string of camels. And though this man was the same as the first of my images, there was one difference. He bore the mark on his forehead.
He hailed us upon his approach and begged leave to enter our circle.

Day Eight Hundred Twenty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

His tribal home, that is. The shepherds were members of his clan. But unlike his immediate family they had not left in the Glorious appearing. They had been scoffers then, and were still. They just wanted to be left alone. So much so that they even refused the mark.

Quasimo welcomed the opportunity to answer their questions. And they were full of them. And in each instance his answers always came around again to his testimony to what he had seen and heard. But nothing he said or showed them convinced them, not even the fact that he no longer bore the mark in his person.

For all of their rough edges they were hospitable, especially to Elijah and myself.

Day Eight Hundred Seventeen #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Watching the ships in the harbor last night mesmerized me. Their lights traced ever-moving, intricate patterns.

And at the same time they spoke of the affluence and commercial power we saw reflected in our surroundings today.

Quasimo took us through this area of garden-like estates, or palaces (for lack of a better word). We saw no one except at a distance, gardeners at work or servants of some kind.

Quasimo had us stop for a simple meal at one whose owner he knew. The master was away and the servants knew not to refuse him.

All was well until the time of our leaving. One of the servants noticed that Quasimo no longer bore the mark.

We ran.

Day Eight Hundred Thirteen #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I am naturally suspicious. So it took awhile for me to warm to Quasimo. Elijah had no such qualms. He kept him nearby all of yesterday and together they planned for our exit.

It was necessary to remain in the audience chamber for, per his knowledge, everywhere else was under surveillance. There, I finally took some time with him this morning to get to know him better.

His family was taken up in the glorious appearance. He was left behind and bitter. And sought the kind of employment that landed him in the inner circles of the world government.

He was blinded, but now he sees.

As we set out, he turned and asked for the removal of the mark.

Day Eight Hundred One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We started out by walking along the side of the road. If anything it seemed busier than yesterday. With the tanker trucks whizzing by at speeds faster than the other vehicles.

I believe those truck drivers delighted in catching us in their backwash. After two such occurrences we moved further over on the shoulder.

One of the tanker trucks pulled over and its driver asked if we wanted a ride. However, he immediately withdrew the offer when he saw that neither of us bore the mark.

Elijah suggested then that it might perhaps be better to abandon the road. So, when the dry river bed that paralleled the road passed under to the other side we climbed down to it.