Day One Thousand Two Hundred Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Mawuli has been deeply effected by his ordeal. The windows to his soul are filled with a vacancy that hurts others to see. It is for the best that he was not sent back to his parents in the hiding place. For now.

Elijah has taken him aside to seek his healing.

Sy has taken stock of supplies here in the redoubt. We can easily hold up for a month, barring other circumstances.

Tomas and Reuben scouted further east, going well beyond the stone bridge. They encountered no opposition.

The mouth to the valley is heavily garrisoned. And a lot of traffic flowed back and forth in the direction of Babylon.

Before resting I looked in on Elijah  and Mawuli.

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Day One Thousand One Hundred Sixty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Word about our intended mission spread throughout the hiding place and we soon had more volunteers than necessary, or, frankly, desirable.

Elijah and I had already selected two to accompany us – Quasimo and Reuben. So the others were all disappointed. I did encourage each one to commit to the all important labor of intercession, and received encouragement myself when they answered in the affirmative.

We made our way North. Knowing that our expedition would take up a few days we kept an easy pace. Especially climbing out by the remaining path in that direction.

We stayed well away from the main road, observing the traffic thereon – mostly tanker trucks.

Reuben found us a nice sheltered spot to pass the night.

Day One Thousand Twenty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I passed the morning with Quasimo. I wanted to gather as much information as possible about our missing friends. And Quasimo, for his part, desired above all else to be useful.

He told me that the tanker truck was little more than a carcass. He could make out where it had been placed in order to block the road, but its remains had been dragged from the center to the sides of the road in an area where it widened.

What puzzled him, (and it did me too), being in the vicinity of the hiding place, why did they not come in afterwards?

It then occurred to me – did they also cut off traffic somehow above our position that night?

Day One Thousand Twenty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We are across. I feel as if I were swept up in a whirlwind. It all happened so fast.

The road was still throttled with traffic when Elijah turned to me and said that it was time. He directed me to summon the others.

I was glad for those dry runs.

When I arrived back at the relay point, Reuben already had his people alert and prepared to move.

Time seemed to standstill as we raced back to our waiting friends.

Elijah was then in the middle of an empty road holding aloft his staff, and commanding us to cross.

Quasimo met us on the other side and guided us around a platoon of sleeping soldiers.

Soon we ourselves rested.

Day Nine Hundred Sixty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Reuben and his guards kept vigil under the stars last night. And talked through any and all options that did not include retracing our steps.

The stars shone bright in their courses, but the lights from the traffic were brighter still. At least, they were when I turned in.

All had changed by the time I got up. The checkpoint was gone. Along with the traffic.

Reuben told me that beginning at midnight onwards the traffic was all towards Damascus. And the elements of the checkpoint joined in as the last of the column went through.

Having no one or nothing to impede our progress, we reached the hiding place by evening.

They received us with open arms and hearts.

Day Nine Hundred Sixty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We have arrived at an impasse. A major checkpoint blocks our progress, with too much activity swelling the roadway in both directions.

We were considering sending a small group of Reuben’s men forward to test whether or not we could make it across in small sections. But I noticed that a patrol coming from the other side was stopped and questioned. Evidently they did not possess the right orders or papers for they were sent back from whence they came.

The whole process of checking papers must be what is slowing the traffic.

Then it occurred to Reuben that perhaps word is out about the prison escape. Hearing this, Elijah paused, but then said, “No, something else is at play.”

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.

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 #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The nothingness of our surroundings continued right up until the afternoon. Then, a line crossing our road quite some distance ahead, joined it from the east. In distinction to our route it held a lot of activity, with many vehicles passing in both directions.

They were too small to make out at our remove. Only later could we identify the bulk of the traffic to be tanker trucks.

We halted for the night with this road in view, but taking pains that we were not.

We needed to decide our next course of action. Stick to the road or travel parallel out of sight.

Traffic continued without abatement. Most limited to our road ahead, very little on the western road.

Day Seven Hundred Fifty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

This day it seems we have spent more time off the road than on it. For the traffic has increased the farther west we travel. Tanker trucks mostly. But also some army convoys.

Their presence upsets Mei, for she fears it means that her comrades in the army are cut off or surrounded. In any event it doesn’t bode well.

Elijah is concerned that our westward drift is taking us away from our desired destination. So he has instructed Tomas to seek out a more northerly route.

With an expected full moon tonight, he is preparing to do just that.

Mei and the Captain put together our evening meal. And noticeably Tomas’ portion was double that of any one else.