Day One Thousand Two Hundred Thirty Two #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

There were signs of a recent occupation when we reached the village at the edge of the wilderness. But we didn’t realize just how much until we set out this morning.

One entire building was filled up with dead bodies, our attention drawn to it by a swarm of buzzing flies. A makeshift hospital I assumed, but Mr. Kagi called that into question when he observed that all of them wore the uniform of the army of the North. A detail that bore a more sinister connotation.

While Tomas and the Captain ranged ahead, picking a way for us off of the beaten path, Elijah walked with Mawuli.

Mr. Kagi and I marveled at the depth of the lad’s understanding.

Day One Thousand Two Hundred Thirty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We found the redoubt empty and in disarray. It had been abandoned in a hurry. Whether it was to join the battle or to flee we didn’t know.

Mawuli and Tomas opted to keep vigil. Through the whole night.

But I took over at midnight and sent them in for a much deserved rest.

Actually there was nothing to watch or guard against. Save wild animals. And none put in an appearance.

Elijah led us out in the early morning. He wants to reach the village at the edge of the wilderness by tonight.

No matter how late.

Along the way the Captain shared a premonition. He doesn’t think he and Tomas will arrive at the hiding place with us.

Day One Thousand One Hundred Ninety Four #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

There were many roving patrols we had to dodge up on these heights above the altar. And we had to set up even further back as Moglen had positioned an outpost where we hid when last we were here.

After we were in place, we sent Tomas back down the trail. From the hills on the way here we had spotted Sy’s group emerge out of the village into the wilderness. He will meet up with them and lead them up to this position.

Elijah and I made a quick trip down for a closer look. We saw that all its stone work appears to be back in place. But as of yet no golden idol.

Five days to go.

Day One Thousand One Hundred Ninety Three #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We have left behind the area affected by the earthquake and passed the village at the edge of the wilderness, which we note had been severely damaged. We should arrive above Sy’s old redoubt tomorrow.

I had to remind Tomas we needed to select a pathway just outside the village to obtain the heights above our destination. He had another in mind farther along, but agreed that this selection best met the intentions behind our plan.

I asked him if fatigue was overtaking him and if so suggested a halt.

He protested that we had not the time. That’s when Elijah broke in and ordered a halt.

We set him down and laid hands on him, praying for his strengthening.

Day One Thousand Forty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The silence in the wilderness was highly unusual. Not even a breeze disturbed the air around us. And one had the sense that if there were any noise out there, at however great a distance, we would have plenty of time to prepare before we made visual contact.

Thus we heard the footsteps. But we weren’t prepared for what came.

By the sound we knew it could only be a single individual, making his way across the bedrock of the ground to our front.

We halted and waited, confident we would be hidden from view until whatever it was, was past us.

So, we did not see that it was Raj P until then. I bounded out to greet him.

Day One Thousand Forty Eight #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We passed into the territory that lead to the village at the edge of the wilderness that surrounds our destination. Only at the sight of that town did I realize that we had not encountered the patrolling drones that plagued us on that former occasion.

I remarked on their absence to Elijah. Even as I did so we both knew the answer. They were needed elsewhere for a bigger military operation.

So too with the village. It was deserted. And there, signs were evident of abandoned encampments at both ends of the town. Neither of which had been there the last time we were in the vicinity.

We stopped to rest in the town square, then took up our march.

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 Nine Hundred Forty One #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

The wind changed and was at our backs when we walked out of the wilderness into the village. The streets were deserted but we didn’t think it strange, given the time of day- early afternoon.

The only building not closed up was an inn on the main street. We entered and were greeted by the innkeeper. He remained friendly even after we said we would not be staying. When Elijah asked after the news of the day, a youngster sweeping the floor sidled away.

The innkeeper had just finished his account of police patrols combing the area for two strangers, when in burst five men who seized us.

As they placed us in their vehicle I saw the pesky villager.

Day Nine Hundred Forty #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

We had the wind in our faces all day. Few words passed between us while we were moving. The couple instances when talk was necessary we stopped and huddled on the ground.

The first time we discussed how long to keep going today. We decided to press on while it was light.

We halted the second time when the village at the edge of the wilderness came into view. I wanted to alter course to avoid it and the nosy villager. But Elijah was eager for news, even if it were more than likely hopelessly out of date.

He just had a sense that something important awaited us.

Thus we forged on in silence, retracing our path to the village.

Day Nine Hundred Thirty Nine #DiaryoftheEndoftheWorld

Elijah and I are all by ourselves again. Elam dropped us off per our request near to the spot where he had picked us up four days ago.

Jezer continued on with Elam. Not only to continue his instruction about the whereabouts of the hiding place and how to get there, but also to be instructed himself about the water depot from him.

We retraced our track through the wilderness, debating on the way our next step. Elijah wanted to seek out a path to the prison near Jerusalem. Just to see it.

I convinced him to return to the hiding place first to retrieve one of the drones to make the task all the easier.

This time he agreed.