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.

Day Seven Hundred Fifty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

     We had to dodge a patrol last night that was coming towards our position. We used the situation to skirt around the compound in the opposite direction with our ultimate goal a track Tomas said we could use instead of the main road.

     We rested the remainder of the night safe from view.

     The track took us by a lake fed by mountain streams. On the far side two tanker trucks were backing in to fill up. A third waited its turn.

     At the sight of them Elijah called a halt. This applied to Tomas too.

    While the Captain kept watch, I thought it an appropriate time for our two young people to dispel the tension.

     So they did, quietly.

Day Six Hundred Fifteen #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The stamp of feet no longer reverberates throughout the house. The last soldier column passed our crossroads around midnight during my watch.

The silence was welcome.

After my turn on guard I slept and actually got some rest.

Upon rising, Elijah was just returning from some time apart on the causeway. He reported more strangeness.

The farmers were on the roads again, but instead of being bound for the city, they were headed towards the army camp.

We decided to postpone our departure for today. Instead we dispatched the Captain into the city to reconnoiter.

The news he brought back was disconcerting. Not a single man of military age remains in the city, only women or children or old men.

Day Six Hundred Eleven #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Our neighbor returned in the wee hours. It was in the middle of the Captain’s last watch for the night.

He went out to greet him and learned he had indeed been to the other side of the city. In his travels he hadn’t crossed paths with Tomas. It is probably too much to expect that he would have, still we remain hopeful for our friend.

We invited our neighbor in and he gave us some valuable information. There was no military presence once he got through the city, not even any guards at crossroads.

When I explained our desire to relocate, he immediately offered the assistance of his fellow exile.

Now we just have to wait for Tomas’ return.

Day Five Hundred Thirty Five #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

I had a dream in the early morning. I was jolted out of a deep sleep by a rhythmic pounding reverberating throughout the ship.

I left our cabin. There the pounding became muffled, but I could see a globe of light glowing as though through the bulkheads, emanating from somewhere below.

My footsteps took me to its source – the first container strapped to the deck.

The minute I touched its door, I awoke for real.

I looked to Elijah’s bunk. He was not there.

I encountered Tomas in the passageway. He had been on watch and saw a light down on the deck.

We found Elijah peering in through its open door.

We passed the day combing through its contents.

Day Four Hundred Eighty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Another day was dawning and we had not yet found a suitable place to pass the day. Until Elijah spotted a hovel some distance off the beaten path.

We made our way to it, down a culvert and up the other side. It was one room with earthen walls and floor – deserted, and for quite some time.

Elijah stood watch while I slept. However, he judged there was nothing to fear, so he did not waken me to stand a watch, but turned in himself.

I awoke in a panic to a new night.  And then anger with my friend for not letting me cover my watch.

He finally calmed me with assurances that we had nothing to fear.

Day Four Hundred Seventy One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

When Tomas joined me on my afternoon watch, he was expecting our imminent arrival at the next destination.

During the ensuing wait he floated a guess as to the purpose of our latest shipment. He believes they are meant for use in the manufacture of satellite communication equipment. Word was circulating in some recent ports of call that the world government was looking to re-establish the global networks.

Although neither Elijah nor I had heard any mention of this in our travels, it certainly seemed reasonable.

But when the Captain passed word that we had arrived, the sight of the small village before us seemed to belie that notion. Again small boats were utilized to transport the goods ashore.