Day One Thousand One Hundred Fifty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We have arrived at the parting of the ways. The last trio of disciples is off to Jerusalem, resigned at last that Elijah will not be of their number and affirming our individual responsibilities to the Spirit.

The drone activity continues nil. Our watches throughout the day reported no one stirring anywhere. We have the main Damascus – Jerusalem road in sight and this total lack of people and vehicles is striking.

The four of us debated the merits of continuing on in the daylight and without resting. In the end we agreed to continue with our present plan.

In talking with Tomas and Reuben, there is excitement and anticipation about being with their friends again. I share the same feelings.

Day One Thousand One Hundred Twenty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Stop and go all day, in effect slowing our progress greatly. Many units of reinforcements have crossed our line of march, forcing a halt. Sometimes for as long as an hour. The longer halts were occasioned by caravans of wounded returning from the front.

We then knew for certain that we were behind the lines of the army of the North. In one instance we were close enough to see the insignia on their vehicles.

The image of Moglen again haunted my thoughts in between times. When Elijah noticed my absence from the present, he called me back from my revery. I do believe that had I not responded immediately each time he would have rapped me with his staff.

Day Nine Hundred Sixty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Jezer helped us out of the tank at a remote place in the wilderness. The guards in the other vehicles soon joined us. From here we’ll make our way to the hiding place, while our trio of rescuers return the tanker trucks.

Before parting Jezer took pains to caution us. There had been many less checkpoints than usual, so he fears they have been shifted, possibly athwart the route we would be taking. Or perhaps something more sinister was afoot.

Magwich asked and was allowed to accompany Raj G.

Reuben took to the trail, walking up front with Elijah and me. With his uniform and that of the other guards we could pass for an army or a police unit.

Day Eight Hundred Sixty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Our observations of the last day and a half have brought up something very curious. The two main roads are often backed up at certain times as the vehicles are checked before entry. A third way into the city lies between them. A steady stream of people on foot depart the main roads on either side to join the path to this gateway.

So, to my mind without a vehicle ourselves, this looks to offer the best way in, leaving the only decision as to the morning or the evening busy times.

But Elijah hasn’t ruled out one of the vehicle only entries. In fact he rather prefers it.

In which case I think it calls for a closer look.

Day Eight Hundred Sixty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The villages we passed through yesterday and today were quiet and almost empty, for their inhabitants were out laboring in the fields. The requisite posters of Stan increased in number as we grew closer to Damascus.

And as we were getting closer, Elijah and I strategized about our entry.

We decided that we would hold up at a distance and observe the patterns of movement into and out of the city.

It would also need to be an out of the way site, the better to seek the Spirit’s direction.

We have noted already that at certain times of the day the road traffic slows due to an increase in vehicles and backs up. This may prove an important factor.

Day Eight Hundred Fifty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We no longer had the road to ourselves. People passed us by in both directions. With the desert behind, small clumps of civilization were huddled around wells and their denizens were going about their business from place to place.

No adults paid us any attention. Only the children in the villages threw themselves in our path. But turned away when they saw we had nothing to give them.

We also had to watch out for vehicles. The best walking was on the paved road, but not when they came by. Especially the tanker trucks delivering water to out of the way places. We never saw them in villages with wells.

We were both silent preparing ourselves for the ordeal ahead.

Day Eight Hundred Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Today will be remembered for the dizzying amount of activity swirling around us. From our standpoint we were at ground zero of all this attention. But in every instance they kept well away from us.

I think it was designed to isolate rather than confront. Elijah for his part remained fully aware but unconcerned. He just plodded on.

A whole fleet of drones formed a moving dome over us. And beyond them warplanes flew far ranging patrols.

Even the roadbed out of our line of sight rumbled with more than the usual traffic noise. At a few points along the way I could take stock of the vehicles. Combat vehicles outnumbered the tanker trucks.

Elijah believes we will enter tomorrow.

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.

Day Six Hundred Ninety Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

A number of vehicles passed by today. We had plenty of notice, so we were well out of sight before they came into view.

Many more came from the hospital behind us than came from the army ahead on the pass. I concluded that meant that things must be going very well for the army.

This appeared to be confirmed shortly after when trucks lumbered by carrying the elements of the mobile hospital.

And we were once again dropping further and further behind the army.

So, with Elijah’s consent I dispatched Tomas ahead for the express purpose of finding a better way to catch up.

But when the time came to camp for the night, Tomas was nowhere in sight.