Day One Thousand Two Hundred Twenty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We were hesitant this morning about whether we should push on or not.  The battlefield to the south had fallen silent,  and no victorious troops (which we assumed were the armies of the East and North) had moved up into the positions vacated by the world government.

Mawuli removed every reason that we thought could hold us there when he simply stated that we must move on, and do so immediately. Every member of our party simultaneously felt impressed with the same instruction.

So in short order we decamped.

Along the way Mr. Kagi had a revelation and asked me a question- why were there no warplanes?

I then told him what had happened up near the reservoir above Jerusalem.

Day One Thousand One Hundred Seventy Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The explosion rocked the ground beneath us, throwing us down. After we regained our footing, I looked back and saw a rising plume of smoke from somewhere on the other side of the reservoir.

Pandemonium reigned in the sky above us. Drones and warplanes criss crossing and colliding and falling to earth.

I briefly remember being thankful for the confusion for I realized it favored our escape. But then as I fled with Elijah in tow I saw that the confusion was affecting the cohesion of our group.

Reuben was in the advance urging us on, but Quasimo and Magwich were no where in sight.

Quasimo and his drone did catch up with us later, but Magwich is still missing.

Day Eight Hundred Twenty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The skies were clear above the megapolis for most of the day. Only the occasional drone could be seen making the rounds on its patrol. Quasimo opined that the warplanes were no doubt back to their job of running sorties against the army of the East.

I asked him if he had knowledge about the conflict.

He replied that any contacts between these forces were minor by Stan’s design. And only used as a means to draw the army of the East where he wanted it.

We ended our day near the point of our parting from Tomas and the Captain, and Mei and Raj P – where the road to the west crossed the northern approach to the towerless city.

Day Eight Hundred Twenty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We divided our attention today between watching our steps and observing the activity in the skies over the megapolis. The ground was uneven, so at times treacherous. Hence our caution. But the presence of fleets of drones and circling warplanes over the city were a another source of concern.

Quasimo thinks we have no need  to worry.  He was certain that they are celebrating his “successful” assassination of Elijah and myself. Even if he had to bring down the building to accomplish that end. (Though he joked that Stan would not be above charging him for the value of the structure).

I just hope we can make it out of the area before they ascertain that our bodies aren’t there.

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 Six Hundred Seventy Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We passed the night down by the river northeast of the town. It was quiet and uneventful as the army was far from us, spread from south of the town westward towards the mountains.

However with the new day the tanker trucks were back. But not for long.

As we were watching them, they suddenly halted their operations and left. The wail of sirens hurried them off.

I followed Elijah to the top of a knoll. The sky was filled with shell bursts directed at the warplanes overhead. They were vectoring in from all points of the compass.

Elijah stood there, raised his staff over his head and shouted.

Every single warplane shuddered as though stricken and plummeted to earth.

Day Six Hundred Sixty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Dried up scrub characterizes the terrain we pass through. So all the more we are excited by the prospect of greenery in the distant valley. We should reach it tomorrow.

No doubt it will be refreshingly green, but I wonder for how long.

How long until it’s lushness gives way to the grayness that surrounds us here?

That question paled to nothing when the Captain reminded us that it’s been days since we last glimpsed the army to our south.

We know, per Tomas and later the ex-soldiers, that the warplanes did no damage to its viability.

Are they still behind us? Or have they gained or surpassed us?

I have a premonition that they must come through here.

Day Six Hundred Forty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

After the briefest of rests, we set out. But within minutes the reason for our backward movement was removed when a lone figure appeared on the horizon.  Even at a distance we knew it was Tomas.

We rushed to him.

I have never seen a more bedraggled and emaciated individual. Yet the Captain fell on his neck, weeping in gratitude to see his friend again.

Elijah and I had to assist them both back to the caravan stop.

Tomas reported there had been a clash between that huge army and many warplanes. With devastation on both sides – but particularly fatal to the flying force as their wreckage lay everywhere.

He is grateful to have escaped being under their renewal of hostilities.