Day One Thousand One Hundred Seventy One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We took turns through the night watching the prison. No one reported signs of seeing anyone – no prisoners, no guards, no deliveries, (even by drone).

Those contraptions and birds were all that moved. And always passing overhead on their way to somewhere else. And if any bird dropped down to roost it was only momentary.

So, this morning Elijah rose and boldly went down into the road and walked into the prison. No one and nothing stopped us. From top to bottom it was empty.

Magwich was at a total loss. And could not understand why what he had seen with his own eyes proved to be false.

Elijah announced that we would return to Jerusalem and the Temple Mount.

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Day One Thousand One Hundred Forty Six #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Just as Elijah had forced us on day and night, so now that we have reached the village at the edge of the wasteland, he has forced us into a prolonged rest.

The village is still deserted, yet strangely, any vestige of the sentry camps at either end have all been removed.

We had our pick of accommodations in the inn off the square. Reuben took the first watch and the one after that. To me the heaviness of desolation hangs over the place. Reuben felt this keenly too, a fact he confessed to me when I relieved him. And the reason he took the two shifts. I think he dreads the thought of closing his eyes in this place.

Day One Thousand One Hundred Thirty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I fell to talking with Reuben when we exchanged positions at the watch turnover. It started normally enough, but turned rather serious when he told me that he and Elijah had answers to our two questions – what are we going to do, and when.

I wasn’t prepared for the answer to the first question (nor the second for that matter).

According to them we will stay and destroy the idol. Or to clarify- we all are staying but only I have been selected to destroy Stan’s idol.

The second question, however, hinges upon whether or not I have the same leading.

So I knew what I’d be doing during the next watch. I joined Elijah to seek that very confirmation.

Day One Thousand One Hundred Thirty Seven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We stopped short of the sacrificial high place yesterday. And still were undecided as to our next course of action. Elijah thought it best that we seclude ourselves for the day and seek direction as to our way forward.

This we did together, but only briefly, as we almost immediately were convinced that we should proceed in alternation.

So, one stood watch while the other two interceded.

There was little to see when the time for my vigil came around – just that towering column of smoke that has been billowing since we first witnessed it.

Then on my second watch a figure appeared and tended to the altar fire. I was certain that it was Moglen, up from Sy’s redoubt.

Day Eight Hundred Forty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The visions continued. And were more and more upsetting. One by one the people who have been closest to us on our pilgrimage appeared to my mind’s eye, and then slipped from view into a roiling darkness. And my heart was wrung by a great sadness.

Then those images were blotted out by a blizzard of crimson snow. A phenomenon that proved real upon the opening of my eyes.

I ran towards Elijah then on watch, up on the rock outcropping. We met on the rock shelf as he was descending.

We took what shelter was afforded by the outcropping.

And there we conferred.

Elijah reported that it had only just started. And inquired if I had anything to share.

Day Eight Hundred Forty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We are one night’s march along the corridor of this valley, and the ‘hill’ at the far end has indeed “grown.” We are more confident than ever we are adhering to the path laid out for us by Quasimo. Hence today we have brought our fast to a close.

I had much to ruminate about in my times on watch. Over night it was much colder than ever before. Elijah thinks we may see snow in the next day or so. I can believe it.

The barking has ceased to dog our steps. Whatever they were must have continued on north. Silence instead muffled our ears – then and now.

Two more night marches should bring us out of the desert.

Day Eight Hundred Forty Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

More barking. And not just one or two. The thought that a pack may be trying to work up the courage to attack caused us to greet the morning with thankfulness.

We stood down in a valley between two ranges of dunes. We were pleased to see that our hill had gained in stature, in great part due by comparison, I am sure, to our position within this sort of valley.

Elijah pointed down its length and said, “Tomorrow we shall turn the corner.”

On my watch I resolved to rein in my excitement at the new step ahead of us. I knew if I were to fail, it would only eat away at me and sleep would be impossible.

Day Eight Hundred Forty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We stared and stared at the western horizon as we chose our camp for the day. And I could not but help continue to inspect the sight each time when serving my watch.

The tiniest of bumps disturbed the line of the horizon. A mountain it was not. A hill maybe.

Elijah and I discussed it when exchanging places. He was certain it was what we were looking for. But suggested that we wait until it ‘grows’ in stature before turning in its direction.

At day’s end when we arose to resume our march, some low-lying clouds obscured the western horizon.

Elijah smiled at me and asked what I thought about fasting until our hill grows into a mountain.

Day Eight Hundred Thirty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Despite our times on and off watch through the night and then the daylight hours, Elijah and I continued to gain strength. Partaking of the well water liberally, helped tremendously.

I was on the last watch before our departure when the jackals returned. I nudged Elijah awake.

As it was still light, we had a better view of these animals than last time.

They were horribly deformed, as well as emaciated. Their obvious hunger was spurring them to the attack.

Elijah cracked the lead one on the head with his staff. Its skull fractured in pieces and its body fell in a heap. The other jackal turned and fled.

We set out as planned, remaining on guard against its return.

Day Eight Hundred Thirty Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Arose thankful for what a time of rest can do. Elijah called for a time of meditation and put off our trek until later in the night. I was thankful for that too.

Come time to leave it was a simultaneous decision without a spoken word between us.

But we had much to say between us along the way. Elijah said we should make it a short hike, confident we would find the landmark well soon. I shared that we should be prepared to defend ourselves.

And so both sayings came to pass.

Within the next hour we discovered the well. And we had to run off a pair of jackals that disputed our presence.

We took turns on watch.