It's been almost two months now; two months of heading West. I am not sure how much longer I am supposed to go or how much longer I will be able to go. Heading in only one direction, without a spot-on destination is tough. Sometimes you wonder if you passed it, if you missed it, or if you will ever get to it. But in this age and time what else do I have to lose? Nothing! I shall continue going. What I can gain is much more important than dying without trying.
I have noticed, though, that during the last couple of days, there is more of a presence of people in the area. There are more foot tracks on the ground, more areas used as gathering places, more put out fire pits. It is like they are more people all around. Now don't be confused; when I mean more is not like I find these every couple of hundred yards. I mean I find these every couple of miles, whereas before I could go days without noticing anything. This discovery has to mean something. I must be close, but close to what? What will I encounter.
One night, after a couple more days of travelling, just before I set camp to sleep, I noticed this faint glare at a distance… this faint orange kinda hovering light at afar. Like one you would see at night from the lights of a baseball stadium from miles away. Similar to that but different. I could notice it only because it was a dark night, one without moon. One with no haze or smog or fog… a clear dark night. I checked my compass and the glimmer was effectively West! I had found my destination. I was eager and anxious. I wanted to run toward it just then and there, but I had to get my rest. I needed to conserve my energy and plan my approach. I can't get so close to my goal and just let it all go to hell because of lack of planning, triggered by pure desperation and excitement. I went to sleep!
The next morning I started my journey bright and early. It would take me at least a whole new day to get to my destination if I travel at a fast pace. So I packed up and started fast. Still careful of my surroundings and attentive to every noise. After about 16 hours I was close enough to asses the area, but far enough, at least in my mind, to not be detected if they had any kind of patrol. I was at the top of a hill, still miles away. I checked my surroundings, searched for a good spot, much like a sniper would do, and waited there to observe. I took my monocular out of my bag and began observing…… Impressive!
This looks like the last civilization standing. They are running on some sort of energy, that either emanates from the ground or from the sky. It is like a huge bolt. It is surrounded by these huge birds, or at least some kind of animal that flies. I had never seen those before, but hell, I have never being in this situation before either. The city is in a valley, surrounded by hills, with what seems as only one main entrance road. For now that is all I can see, still I continue watching.
After a couple hours of surveillance, and after being up for almost 24 hours, which is not uncommon in these end of times circumstances, I noticed movement. The road is patrolled. Very diligently and very stealthy. As one would say: "You can't just walk into Mordor". From this distance I can't quite see, but I am sure there has to be some kind of huge gate security and more before you get into this remnant of civilization. Also as noticed earlier, you seem to not be able to just walk in, you need to be taken in. I guess I need to start working on finding other ways to get into the city. But now is time to rest. I went to sleep!
The following couple of days I moved closer… slowly and vigilantly. I wanted to be able to monitor the area better without being detected and at the same time, try to pick up any pattern that I could use to my advantage. How do they move, how do they operate. It is clear by now: people that are not careful are captured and taken into the city. They are stripped of their belongings and just taken in by armed guards. Guards………. Guards! That is my in, I need to be a Guard! By hook or by crook!
I started monitoring dutifully the movement of the guards. Everything, every step, every hour, every minute. Tracked downtime, alone time, changing of shifts and even bathroom time. How they operate and how they communicate. This took me a couple more days. I wanted to make no mistakes. I think I figured it out.
I made my way down to the road…… I am determined, I am prepared, and I am ready.
It is time to enter the gates of hell…… into the Last City!
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