25 December 2006

Ranger - Sand and surf.


Your Autumn suspicions are confirmed. No doubt you too have noted the world service has picked up word that the French are withdrawing their special forces from Afghanistan. Resolve!

A French prison is pessimism. And that is what we have found, along with Yarborough. On our approach it was clear there was no continuing presence here. The jungle and sea air are engaged in the danse macabre with scents of heat rot and decaying fish. And over the remains of the old geol that same wind drives a tricolour.

Yarborough is not the turncoat, as I feared. We found him here, in the oubliette, chained to the wall, long dead. The heat here does horrible things to the body and there is no way for us to tell how many suns have set since he left our troupe. As if to mock us, the window above where he spent his final moments allowed the midday sun to shine into his cell, and on the window ledge a rooster statue was placed. Its shadow cast as a reminder for the dead and the living. On the wall, we were able to translate the Baudelaire:

If rape, poison, dagger, burning,
Have still not embroidered their pleasant designs
On the banal canvas of our pitiable destinies,
It's because our souls, alas, are not bold enough!

Deseilligny did this. But there is little need for me to reward his bloodlust with vengeance for we found what remains of him as well. He died thirty meters from the main entrance to the prison. I’m certain he had been moved for our benefit. We found defensive wounds of the right radius and ulna, with the hands removed. Heath discovered the plate and screws in his ankle where you long ago shattered it. Otherwise, I doubt we would have been able to make an identification. I have sent photos to Corporal of these and other conditions to see whether he has any further insight. No whit of information as to what happened, although we can discern that there was a sizeable encampment here. They make no effort to hide their numbers.

We cut Yarborough down and buried him in the Atlantic today. Not my first choice, given he was from Vancouver. He was a MARCOM man before he was called to serve in The Regiment. To his family, I believe we are closer to the eighth anniversary of his death. I hope they have work for snipers in heaven.

My unit is in need of medical attention. We will finish our reconnoiter of this area and then return to civilization. I have a man, Ramirez, already working in Mexico. He reports – the Lady Jane Gray lay in clean green sheets. Godspeed.


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