Day Two Hundred Forty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Our journey from the oasis was nothing like our trek there. We stood side by side and set our faces towards the city. Elijah raised his staff and the next minute we were in the vineyard on the outskirts.

The once great city is gone – except for the east end where a few buildings still stand.

We see movement in the field, our next stop.

Day Two Hundred One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Lyle and I left immediately. We took nothing with us, save the clothes on our backs. Not a morsel of food, for each knew that days of fasting awaited us.

We reached the vineyard easy enough, helped by the path’s familiarity and the penetrating light of a full moon before it set.

And there we stayed. And rested. Neither of us wanted to stumble around in the dark attempting to find the narrow track down from the plateau to the desert.

With the first glimmer of dawn we were on our feet and on our way.

We had just emerged from the narrow track when the trumpet blew. The very air shook and the ground trembled.

No time to waste.

Day One Hundred Ninety Five Morning #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Lyle writes:

Silence blanketed the camp, as if the very earth paused between breaths.

I took a walk in the quiet. No one stirred from their tents. Only the muffled sounds of whispered conversations.

My feet bore me over the well trodden path down to the vineyard. There I sat, and watched and pondered.

No, nothing to get ready, just be ready.

Day One Hundred Ninety Four Morning #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Lyle writes:

There has been a strange turn of events.

They held Grazie at the vineyard, but we had them surrounded and cut off from the way back to the city. At this impasse, Moglen slunk away, probably to confer with Stan as to his next move.

Then, word came from Grazie that she had to speak to me.

And this her guards allowed. She wants to go with them back the city, even if it means, to her father. In a whisper she added it’s her true path, for the time is at hand.

So I let them pass.

Day One Hundred Ninety Three Morning #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Lyle writes:

Grazie is being held at her post in the vineyard. And we can’t do anything about it.

She had left for it at the normal hour this morning. One of the patrolling drones pealed off and followed her. That seemed normal too, until Moglen came into the camp to claim his daughter Terresta.

Regret seized me. I should have insisted a change in Grazie’s duties to keep her in the camp. But then again she always made herself scarce if ever there were even a hint of her father anywhere near.

I told Moglen we will oppose him however we may.

Day One Hundred Eighty Nine morning #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Lyle writes:

Sent Grazie off to the vineyard again. In full view of the drones overhead.

Called for a meeting with the community leaders. Spent much time in thought leading up to it.

Open yourself to being led, and expect yourself to be called upon to lead.

Once we had the gripes and complaints out of the way, I made a proposal to the group. Since our goal is to open communication with those within the city, I suggested we pack up the camp for a move. And begin with the noon drone flyby. Perhaps that way we can goad them to a parley.

Day One Hundred Eighty Eight morning #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Lyle writes:

An exercise in futility? I prefer to see it as battling the temptation to impatience.

Stayed all day yesterday, returning to camp with no answers. Grazie remained until the end, and would have been waiting there still if I had not prevailed upon her that she had other duties and responsibilities.

Encouraged her to take her post at the vineyard today, and promised that I would remain in camp. She made me vow further that I would not venture to the city without her.

Two drones, one after the other, buzzed the camp.

I stood out front and waved.

Day One Hundred Eighty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The messenger came into our camp this afternoon with Flowers in tow.

He delivered his charge then departed. Flowers took up a stance and motioned to all to gather around. He announced that all was resolved. He had met with Moglen and together had hammered out an agreement. Since the world authority would settle for one in the outside community to represent the others by bearing the mark, he, Flowers, had volunteered to fill that position.

Lyle raised a hand and halted the proceedings. He crossed to Flowers, tapped his shoulder, and led him out. ¬†At Lyle’s nod, I followed.

At the vineyard, Lyle pointed to the desert and said, “Go and find yourself.” Flowers launched out without a word.

Day One Hundred Seventy Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Two drones circulated the encampment today, twice. They first appeared in the sky above us by dawn’s early light. Least ways, that was when we noticed them.

The next time, I am told, they orbited during the noon hour. For some reason they did not fly out over the vineyard area.

Lyle paid a call on the vineyard and gave us the news. We then left Grazie on post and I took Lyle to the narrow track that leads down to the desert. I made sure that he learned the way well enough that he could find it again on his own.

When we gathered in the encampment for the evening meal, no drones dropped by to spy on us.

Day One Hundred Seventy Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Grazie and I spent the day working in the vineyard. She was quiet and pensive. So much so that it was plain something was bothering her.

Nothing I said could get her to open up. At the time I assumed she was still concerned about those who are held against their will in the city. So I spoke to her along that line. After I expounded for a good while about the safety of those who follow despite their circumstances, she stopped what she was doing and explained herself.

Though she admitted her concern was a factor, it was no longer the all consuming one. Instead she confessed her sadness that Lyle and myself would not be going with them.