It is just before dawn. We survived another night, albeit narrowly. Our harrowing plight continues. The generator heating our camp began sputtering last night, leaving us dark, cold, and, I must admit, sorely afraid for our circumstances. It was off for hours, and is now only working sporadically. Upon hearing the news of its failure, in a moment of angry delirium, I shot it. This impulsive, foolish act served only to hinder the progress in repairing it. The officer charged with keeping vigil over the generator during the second watch of the night was strapped to a tree and whipped before it was discovered that the complications were no fault of his own. A regrettable consequence indeed.
It's quite cold. I cannot feel my extremities. The temperature within the compound registers an icy -28 degrees. Outside, it is 35 degrees. Our supply of warm clothing is dwindling. My sympathies are with the pitifully unfortunate one who is doomed to cleanse this camp and wash our garments at the end of this abysmal mission. Only Divine Intervention will relieve the agonies inflicted upon that poor, wretched soul. The putrid stench rising out of this encampment, and off of each and every unclean soul within it, is so sinfully wicked I cannot speak of it. Young gentlemen, when left without the aid of soap and water, are an abomination to all that is good and holy.
Our depleting resources continue to cause great consternation. I am now M&M-less and consequently, hopeless. I had what turned out to be the grave misfortune of eating the last M&M in the camp; one that was found in a dank corner. I deceitfully hid it from one I was charged to protect and the shame I feel now is almost more than I can bear. This agony would not be, had the candy offered up any satisfaction. The unbearable need for the chocolate overpowered my guilt, as well as the voice of reason that would have otherwise convinced me not to consume such a discolored and disgustingly dusty scrap. The will to go on was swallowed up with the distasteful morsel. These long years of difficulty have taken their toll on my youth, my vigor, my dignity. Can it be possible that I have only been entrenched in this misery since last Saturday? Surely not. It must be another cruel trick of the mind, as insanity begins to take its toll.
The delirium affects others as well. Last night, I was sure I heard wolves howling outside the camp. Alas, it turned out to be my fellow leader of this outfit; the one I once called Husband and Friend, but is now known to me only as Loon. I fear I will not make it, and can only hope my remains will not be eaten by either wild beast or ingrate. The camp's mascot, a lazy canine, looks at me with fearfully suspect glances. I no longer trust him. God help us. God help us all.
Last night, in the dark, one of the smaller members of our party began to heave and retch violently. Could it be that she also found and ate a bad M&M? There was no time to inquire. One of the responsibilities entrusted to me as Capt. is to hold the hair of a vomiting underling. This task proved to be quite difficult, if not impossible, as I was also charged with the duty of holding the lantern so that the ailing subordinate could aim the fetid expulsions into a suitable vessel. Alas, I admit with a head hung in shame, I failed at this task quite miserably. It continues to amaze and confound these aged eyes that one so small and frail can spew forth such great measure of unspeakably vile and unholy matter. The weakling has been banished to the wilderness, so as to avoid infecting the rest of the camp, but also-in some small measure- as punishment for inflicting upon me such an atrocious, horrific experience. The full account of last night's terrors are more than I can bear to tell. I must try to forget; to block those sights, sounds and smells from my mind forever. I can only tell you this. I will never be the same. The socks I was wearing at the time had to be destroyed.
I'm continually reminded by one of the more irksome young lads in our expedition that a holiday is approaching. I have lost all track of time and know not when the celebrations are to be held, but I see no possibility of joining in the merriment. I am a sorry, pathetic leader indeed; incapable of making merry during such a time as this, although my charges are in great need of holiday cheer. I am quickly losing the will to "suck it up" as they say, and feign joy for the sake of the troops. I cannot bake a cookie or prepare a ham, nor do I possess the fortitude to wrap a gift. A can of Pledge sits within my grasp, but I am too weakened by sorrow to make use of it. I can only sit in my own filth and pray for swift and sweet release from this interminable suffering, mostly for myself, but at times, for the subordinates as well.
We've heard faint rumblings among the heathen inhabitants of this wasteland that rescue teams are approaching. It is said they wear bright yellow coats, travel in large orange wagon trains and bring with them the ability to restore, within short order, warmth, light, and all forms of comfort and normalcy. In my youth, I would have readily believed such fantastic claims. However, I have been forced to contemplate these ideas through the tired eyes of cynicism, born from the continual disappointments wrought upon me since Saturday last. I can no longer afford the luxury of such sadly naive flights of fancy.
The vast majority of my malodorous minions continues to show great courage and generosity of spirit during these sad and trying times (save for the whipped one, who disgracefully weeps like a young lass, and the vomitous creature, who is a young lass) and I must say it is an honor and a privilege to have served such a fine group. If I do not make it, please tell them I did my best (most of the time), I am beyond sorry for the moment of cowardly weakness in eating the last M&M, and I wish them courage and strength as they continue on without me. Tell them also, not to forget the tragically exiled member who committed the crime of falling ill on my watch and upon my feet. Allow her to rejoin our group when she can assure those in charge that her disgusting projections have ceased. Thank you. That is all. God bless us, every one.