Day Nine Hundred Forty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah passed the day in one corner of our cell. I kept watch, moving to the door whenever I heard the approach of footsteps. There was not much traffic down in this wing, and the few of which I became aware, continued on past. (Probably a guard).

As the day went on it was beginning to look like no one would be paying us a call to demand our answer and we would be given another day to accept the mark.

But that thought was interrupted by the arrival of our food. The guard who passed it through to me said it would be the last meal delivered here if we did not agree to the mark by his return.

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Day Nine Hundred Forty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We believe this complex is much bigger than what we have seen thus far. And suspect many more people are behind its walls than the small number we have encountered.

Elijah surmises that we are being held outside the general population of the prison. And once we refuse the mark, we will be thrown in with them.

No one has called for our presence. We have blissfully been left to ourselves.

Many people have been paraded by our cell all day long. Each one sporting the mark.  We recognize them from the first day in the holding cell.

Plainly it’s all a piece of theater aimed at us.

Today it’s all been carrot, so I’m guessing tomorrow we’ll feel the stick.

Day Nine Hundred Forty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah had been taken out of our cell by a detail of guards, and not returned until hours later. My turn came immediately after so there had been no time to speak.

I was seated before a woman who was not a interrogator but rather, for lack of a better word, a salesman.

She extolled the benefits and virtues of taking on the mark. All persuasion – no threats, nor coercion.

She did not even ask for an immediate decision.

Elijah’s account mirrored mine.

I am comforted by the overwhelming sense that someone (or someones) somewhere were praying for us. I feel it at each intake of breath. It inspires me to be praying for them and for all I know.

Day Nine Hundred Forty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We were separated this morning and questioned. Then were reunited hours later in an holding cell with a dozen other prisoners. Our one common denominator-lack of the mark upon our bodies.

I moved to Elijah’s side and was about to ask him about his interrogation, when I realized that he didn’t want to speak with so many listening ears.

We seized the opportunity later when the other prisoners were moved out.

We were puzzled at the apparent ignorance of our interrogators here. Those in Damascus appeared to know who we were, but showed more interest in Elijah’s staff. (Perhaps they thought that by its possession they’ve rendered him powerless).

None of their suspicions appear to have followed us here.

Day Nine Hundred Thirty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elam squeezed the three of us into the cab beside himself, and began the long tale of the pilgrimage across sea and land of the group led by Sy and himself. A story that continued this morning by the mere dint of the wealth of detail Elam wanted to share.

And we listened with great interest, plying him with our many questions.

There was one note of sadness – Sy, the former soldier from whom Elijah removed the mark, lost his aged parents on the ocean passage.

During the times of silence I marveled at the work of the Spirit in their lives. And Jezer, to my surprise, burst forth with outright praise.

Then came our turn to share our stories.

Day Nine Hundred Thirteen #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I kept the drone up the first half of the day. Then Elijah ordered it down. Still it told us what we needed to know.

Our friend Jezer was being held in the last police station we checked. Obviously they did not attach much importance to him for he was lightly guarded.

We maintained our position and observed the comings and goings. And formulated our plan of rescue.

We marched in and claimed him as a runaway slave. Elijah misdirected their attention by offering a sum well below what they were asking.  And they never noticed that both of us lacked the mark. Instead they were willing to haggle.

And accepted Elijah’s offer when he raised it to their liking.

Day Eight Hundred Ninety Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Overall we were encouraged by developments today. This despite the need to rein in my drone when a massive swarm of government drones appeared in our area.

For Meesa returned with promising results from her scouring of the area near Damascus. A small band was reported wandering about in the desert to the south. None bearing the mark.

Jezer will investigate in that direction tomorrow as he is quite familiar with that section. (That we know because we first met him at a well in that very desert).

Elijah talked about going out by himself, but I reminded him of our long-standing agreement to never wander around without the other again.

He grudgingly acceded, concluding we’ll go out tomorrow.

Day Eight Hundred Seventy Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

It has come to pass sooner than Jezer thought possible. Stricter controls have been dropped in place overnight between the various quarters within the city, and on all the ways in and out.

And demands have been stepped up for more work and longer hours from those who refuse the mark. Rumors are flying about that harsher measures will soon be implemented.

On the plus side Meesa has scheduled meetings for Elijah and me to reach out through the network leaders.

So Elijah and I were resting in preparation for the next series of meetings, when Jezer came in with news that a search is on for us, launched by world government forces in Damascus.

Someone has betrayed our presence.

Day Eight Hundred Sixty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

During the daylight hours, the constant din of construction assails our ears. I find myself longing for the relative quiet of the night.

Jezer welcomes the noise. To him it means, that for the time being, the authorities have chosen to ignore the goings on in this quarter, one in which can be found a multitude of those not bearing the mark.

As to himself he is currently basking in plenty, having sold off all his camels. And is contemplating his next investment.

I just hope we do not end up part of his calculations.

Meesa has praised him to Elijah and said his aid has been pivotal to the needy in this quarter. We passed the afternoon with her.

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.