Author's Note: Hey guys! This is my first Holes story and the idea's been swarming around in my head for days and I couldn't resist writing it and posting it up as soon as possible. It's going to be a Zigzag/OC story because I just can't seem to get enough of Zigzag and it's hard to find stories about him. I've come across a few, but that's it. I'm trying really hard to make sure this isn't doesn't have a cliche, over-used plot. It's not one of those "first girl to attend Camp Green Lake" stories because I've seen way too many of those.
I'm going to try and have this story match up with the book, but it's been a while since I've read it so some things might be more related to the movie version because my mind's a little foggy. If there are any mistakes I make, tell me and I'll try my best to fix them in the upcoming chapters.
Please review! If you have any questions about the story, please let me know. I'm going to try to get a new chapter out soon and I like to write long chapters, so hopefully the rest will be as long as this one was! I'm sorry the guys aren't involved in it yet, it was mainly an introduction chapter. But they'll be in it soon enough. ;)
It wasn't until the calming scenery of green shrubbery and tall trees diminished into brown mountains and dirt as far as the eye could see that I started to become a little worried.
I didn't know too much about Louise Walker other than the fact that she was my aunt. She wasn't the type of woman who attended family reunions or was pointed out in scrapbooks when reminiscing on the good ole days. I could probably count on one hand the amount of times I had actually seen her in person, most of which occurred when I was younger. Whenever Aunt Louise was mentioned at the dinner table or when my grandparents visited, my mother always referred to her as 'obsessed'. I could never figure out what that meant and even though my lack of contact and knowledge of the woman in general left a lot to the imagination, it was also for those reasons that I didn't care to find out. It was hard to show much concern over someone that was talked about so little, it was like they didn't exist.
Any outsider could recognize the similarities between my aunt and I once it was known we were related. We both had red hair, freckles and brown eyes, though my hair was more of a reddish-brown because of my father's dark brown hair. It was also because of my father's genes that my nose was a little less pointed and instead more rounded.
I had the traditional pale skin, but I could tan pretty easily compared to those on my mother's side. I figured that also had something to do with my father's genes. At the moment, however, I was sporting the lily-white skin without much pride because the summer just began and I hadn't found the time to relax and soak up the sun.
I trained my gaze out the open window, allowing the warm air to rustle through my short hair as I continued to watch the scenery—or lack thereof—pass by.
I wasn't sure what possessed my parents to send me to visit my Aunt Louise. Well, I knew the reason why they wanted me out of the house for a few months, but I didn't understand why they didn't just let me stay with a friend or even fly to Colorado so I could stay with my grandparents. Then again, my grandparents were getting old. It was difficult enough for them to take care of themselves, let alone a sixteen year old girl. And regardless of the fact that she was more or less the outcast of the family, my parents still trusted Louise Walker with me more than one of my friends.
I wasn't a social butterfly. I had a few close friends, but most of them had moved away in the time that I knew them. I still kept in contact with them, but never got the chance to visit since my parents weren't comfortable with me staying with anyone overnight that were more than a few miles away. But if it was family, then that was a different story.
Green Lake was approximately a six hour drive from Fort Worth. I enjoyed road trips, but I was a little wary of sitting in a car with my aunt who was practically a stranger to me. At first I assumed my parents would drive me to Aunt Louise's house, but apparently the woman insisted on picking me up. Upon reacquainting, I discovered that Aunt Louise wasn't as bad as I expected, though I wasn't quite sure what I was expecting to begin with. But the tall, red-haired woman proved to be quite nice, if not a bit too nice.
We managed to talk the first half hour of the drive, exchanging pleasantries and vaguely discussing our lives since the last time we met. I learned that Aunt Louise was a warden at a place called Camp Green Lake. I heard from my mother that she worked at a camp, but didn't have a name to go with it. Plus I just figured that Aunt Louise was a volunteer at the camp or maybe one of those camp counselors. To say I was surprised that Aunt Louise was practically head honcho of the camp was putting it mildly.
Upon first hearing the news that I'd be attending the camp with Aunt Louise, I was pretty excited. I had never been to camp before and it seemed that I was getting a one-way ticket for my first time. It wasn't hard for me to admit that I'd been fantasizing about swimming in the lake and getting a good suntan for a few days.
But now, I wasn't so sure.
On each side of the road, a desert stretched for miles until it reached the mountains or the horizon. We'd been on the road since nine o'clock that morning and it was already nearing three. The camp, or at least a sign for the camp, should've been approaching. So where was the lake? Where were the nice trees and woods that surrounded the camp? I may not have been to camp before, but I'd seen my fair share of movies and brochures and none of them took place in the middle of a desert.
I adjusted the sunglasses on my face, the car ride becoming more and more bumpy as we progressed. It took me a moment before I realized the road was no longer cemented. Actually, we weren't on much of a road at all. There were tire tracks where cars had come and gone and the tracks seemed to have turned into some sort of surrogate road for guidance.
Up ahead, I began to notice many dirt piles coming into focus. They were piled up on each side of the pseudo-road, stretching on for miles beyond my sight. Once the car approached them, I realized that they were holes. My vision jumped from left to right as we passed by hole after hole after hole. Dust was beginning to pick up as the tires created friction on the ground, leaving clouds of filth in our wake.
For the life of me, I couldn't even begin to guess what the holes were for. They all seemed about the same size, not that I was paying much attention. I had half a mind to ask Aunt Louise, but all in all we'd remained in a fairly comfortable silence the past hour or so and I had no intention of ruining it.
I kept my attention on the holes we passed, wondering how many of them there were and if I'd ever see untouched land again.
Just as I was starting to space out, something bright caught my eye.
Actually, a few somethings.
There were small orange specks appearing in the distance. I squinted my eyes to try and make out what they were, but I couldn't see them clearly. As the car continued down the road and gave me a better view, my eyes widened.
There were at least two dozen boys clad in orange suits with shovels in their hands, digging. The fact that they were all wearing identical jumpsuits helped me connect the dots fairly quickly, determining that they were most likely convicts. But what were they doing out in the middle of nowhere, and in that God forsaken heat of all things? Were digging those holes some sort of community service?
And the main question was: where was the facility that housed those criminals? Did they run away?
Stupid question, I deadpanned, rolling my eyes. The last thing an escaped convict would do is start digging holes in the middle of nowhere.
I was nearly bursting at the seams with curiosity but as a few vague buildings came into view, I figured I could break the silence once we arrived at the 'camp'.
Aunt Louise pulled up alongside what looked to be a decent-sized cabin that housed the only two trees in a hundred-mile radius in its front yard. Not that you could really consider it a front yard, but still. A hammock was hung in between the two trees, looking worse for the wear. It was most likely sun-bleached from the sun's powerful rays. Not even the two trees were capable of shielding it fully.
After Aunt Louise stepped out of the driver's seat, I followed her example and got out of the car, stretching. I then took the time to observe where I would be staying for the next two months and frowned, instantly disappointed.
There were six tents spread out a decent ways apart across the vicinity with two rundown buildings on each side, one of which was noticeably larger than the other. I saw a few boys roaming about the area. Some of them were even lounging on chairs in front of the larger building.
And to my horror, they were all wearing orange jumpsuits.
I'm not sure how long I stood there, mouth agape, but soon enough all the commotion from Aunt Louise removing my luggage from her trunk was beginning to gain the attention of the wandering convicts. I suddenly felt very uneasy as the reality of where I was staying began to set in.
My aunt was the warden of a camp that housed criminals, most of which were of the male gender as I had yet to see any females, and I was to be staying with her for the summer. There would be delinquents surrounding me every day and the possibility of being attacked or raped by one was very high considering the amount of orange suits I saw scattered about on way there.
"Vee?" I heard my name called from somewhere behind me. I snapped my mouth shut and turned quickly to face my aunt who was standing on the porch entrance to the cabin that I figured belonged to her.
I opened my mouth and then closed it again. It took me a moment to gather my bearings before I finally asked, "What kind of camp is this?"
She pursed her lips at my question and for a second I thought maybe I'd angered her, but she smiled at me and said in a polite tone, "Come on inside."
A part of me wanted to stomp my foot and yell, "No, I want answers and I want them now, damn it!" but I refrained from doing so. Partially because I wasn't that outspoken and rarely cussed, and partially because I was becoming more and more worried about the looks the convicts were giving us.
I quickly made my way around the front of the car and she motioned me with her free hand inside. I entered the cabin, squirming uncomfortably at the stuffiness of it. Aunt Louise trailed behind me and shut the door.
She placed my two medium-sized suitcases on the ground before scurrying over to the far wall near a window. It was silent for a moment as I stood somewhat awkwardly in front of the closed door before a loud whining bang startled me and I jumped a foot in the air. I looked up at the ceiling where it came from, then allowed my eyes to roam over to where Aunt Louise was. The white lace curtains began to sway slightly where she'd been fiddling with something beneath the window and I realized she turned the air conditioner on.
"Ah," she sighed happily, taking a few steps forward to sit on the couch.
The living room was a reasonable size. It was the perfect size, actually, for someone who lived alone. It had a nice décor with cream-colored whites and pale reds and browns. There was a couch and a loveseat with a coffee table in front of them and a small entertainment center directly across from the couch with a little television sitting delicately inside. Near the curtained window sat a tall wooden bureau up against the wall, shelved with possessions. The wallpaper looked to have been floral at some point, but it was so faded you could hardly make out the print.
Aunt Louise smiled up at me as I remained standing in my previous spot. "Now," she began. "I think you wanted to know what kind of camp this was, am I right?" I nodded, crossing my arms against my chest with no intention of sitting down. "Well," she breathed. "When kids commit a crime and are placed on trial for their misconduct, the judge will give them the option of going to jail or coming here."
I narrowed my eyes suspiciously. "And they dig holes because...?" I trailed off, leaving the question open for her to answer.
"Well," she said again with a hearty sigh. "Each boy is required to dig one hole each day, five feet in depth and diameter," she informed me. "They aren't allowed to return to camp until their hole is finished." She added, "It builds character."
I looked positively scandalized. They were being forced to dig holes every day in the scalding hot sun? Were the camp advisors even allowed to demand such a thing? Weren't there some sort of child labor laws that prohibited that? There must've been some other way for the convicts to do their time without being put to work in hundred-degree weather. In no way was that healthy. I wouldn't have been surprised if some of them suffered from heat strokes. Many were known to become delusional when left in hot climates for long periods of time.
"But they're just kids," I gasped. I was sure I hadn't seen anyone over the age of eighteen.
Aunt Louise's smile was somewhat condescending, as if she found me particularly slow. "All of them were sent here for a reason," she said smoothly. "They committed a felony and now they're paying the consequences." As I continued to look skeptical, she attempted to reassure me, "Believe me, there hasn't been a single person admitted to this camp that didn't deserve to be here."
The way she said that caused the concern in my stomach to bubble back to life and I suddenly felt uncomfortable with replying.
A thought then struck me as I analyzed her earlier words. "If that's what the boys do, then what about the girls?" Maybe they did some sort of work inside. That would explain why I only saw boys digging the holes. But that was hardly fair if they had to suffer through the heat and the girls didn't.
She laughed jovially, tossing her head back. "Oh Vee, there aren't any girls here. This is an all-boys camp."
I nodded to myself. Of course it was. That's perfect.
I glanced about the cabin absentmindedly, recognizing the slowly decreasing temperature as the air conditioner worked its magic. I shifted my weight from one foot to the other, contemplating on what to do next.
Aunt Louise took notice of my unease and her once demeaning smile transformed into that of a more polite, kind one.
"Well," she said for the third time that afternoon. "Let me show you your room. Come on, grab your things!" she quickly stood from the couch and flicked her wrist towards my abandoned suitcases before marching purposefully down a small hallway next to the bureau.
I snatched my suitcases and followed her. I held both pieces of luggage on each side of me and the hallway was just wide enough to fit everything through. There were two closed doors spaced throughout the hallway and one open door at the end which she gestured towards.
"This is where you'll be staying."
I slipped past her into the small room and grimaced. Everything was white. And not a soft, cream white, either. A bright, piercing white equivalent of a hospital emergency room that always blinded you when you woke up from some sort of accident. The quilt—which I probably wouldn't be using at all throughout the duration of my stay—did have small pink and blue flowers patterned onto it, but the background was still white.
The room had its own small bureau with a mirror sitting on top of it. It was wooden like the one in the living room, but the wood was painted... white.
I made a pact with myself then and there that I would never bring food into that room because white was a magnet for anything dirty and I was sure to spill something on everything.
"That door right there is the bathroom," Aunt Louise's voice brought me out of my reverie. I turned towards her and followed her pointed finger to the closed door a little ways down the hall on the opposite side. "My room is right there in case you need anything in the night." She pointed to the other closed door next door to mine.
She swiveled back to face me. "I'll leave you to get settled, then." She smiled one last time before disappearing back down the hall, her fiery red hair flowing behind her.
I finally sat my luggage on the bed, which I'd forgot I was still holding, and looked around the room again. I sighed and grabbed my cell phone out of my pocket to let my parents know I made it there safely.
I dialed the number and waited patiently for it to ring. I bit the inside of my lip as I stared at the flowers on the bedspread. The line was quiet for a moment before a dull beep sounded and I pulled the phone away with a frown. A little message popped up in front of the 'Calling Home' screen that read, "No signal!"
"You have got to be kidding me," I muttered lowly in stunned disbelief.
I drug my feet around the room, tossing the phone in all kinds of directions in a desperate attempt to gain some bars. I stood on the bed and held the phone at different intervals until it was touching the ceiling. I even opened the window—which also had white lace curtains—and stuck my upper body out, extending my arm as far and high as it would go but quickly hurled myself back inside once I received a combination of confused, surprised and amused stares from the convicts.
This was it. I was going to be attacked by one of the criminals and they were going to try and kill me and there would be no way to call for help because this place didn't have a signal!
I ambled over to the doorway and leaned against it, feeling awkward again.
"Er, Aunt Louise?" I called—or squeaked.
"Yes?" she answered back from somewhere in the front of the cabin.
I cleared my throat. "Um, do you know where I can get a signal?" I clamped my eyes shut as I clutched the currently useless cell phone to my chest. I hope that didn't sound like a stupid question.
Her laugh echoed throughout the cabin. "The living room has the best signal. Come on in here."
I walked forward and entered the room I was in before. She was in the kitchenette off to the side of the front door, browsing through her cabinets. I carefully glanced down at my phone, releasing a sigh of relief as I noticed three small bars at the top of the screen. I could just hear the Hallelujah Chorus.
I redialed my home phone and exhaled gratefully again when I heard it ring. I let my eyes wander around the room, taking in small things I didn't notice before until a voice answered, "Hello?"
I smiled without even meaning to. "Hey, Mom."
"Oh Violet, I'm so happy to hear your voice! I take it you got there safe and sound?" I could just hear the relief bleeding from her words.
I grinned. "Yeah, everything's fine. We're here. The trip was kind of boring but, well, what do you expect sitting in a car for six hours?" I chuckled.
"And how's Lou? Is she treating you alright? Are you guys getting along?" Mom asked worriedly with a rough undertone of malice.
"Oh yeah, everything's good. She's really nice." I felt uncomfortable knowing that Aunt Louise was only a few feet away and could hear everything I was saying.
Mom sounded relieved again. "Good, good." She paused for a moment. "So, how's Camp Green Lake?" she asked excitedly.
I pursed my lips as I thought of a proper response.
Part of me wanted to rant and complain like a six year old girl about how hot it was, how unnerving yet completely disheartening it was that the camp housed juvenile delinquents and forced them into manual labor, and the fact that Aunt Louise could be a bit shifty at times. But another part of me knew it'd be a bad idea to scare my mother half to death with the fact that I was practically living with criminals. She had enough on her plate already and I knew that if she found out, she'd be on her way to pick me up before I could even utter a protest. My parents had to get me out of their hair for a reason and I didn't want to get in the way.
Plus, I didn't want to offend Aunt Louise and I really didn't want to get on her bad side the first day I was there.
So I just stuck with, "Oh, it's good. The weather's warm but I'm not too surprised, I guess."
I spared a quick sideways glance at Aunt Louise who appeared satisfied with what I'd said, as if she'd heard my mother's question.
"I bet," Mom droned from the other line. "It's hot up here, too. Do you think you'll go swimming in the lake today?"
I barely bit back the pitiful moan at the thought of swimming in a lake while knowing there was no chance of me ever seeing a large body of water for the next two months.
I also really wanted to retort on the bitter irony of the place. It was called Camp Green Lake, yet there was no greenery or lakes anywhere in sight.
"I don't know, maybe." I lied. I had to keep up the pretense that Camp Green Lake was a happy, go-lucky place to ease my parents' minds. Hopefully they'd never get the urge to look it up online. I was actually surprised they had yet to do so.
"I hope you have fun! You've always wanted to go to camp and, well, here you are!" I almost laughed. Almost. "I need to get off here, though. Your father's calling me to give him a hand. I'll talk to you soon though, okay?"
"Okay, Mom. Good luck with everything. Talk to you later."
"Love you, too!"
We exchanged our goodbyes and I snapped the phone shut, sighing for what felt like the umpteenth time that day. I missed my parents already.
I directed my attention to Aunt Louise to get my mind off that topic.
And it was like she knew someone was watching her because she turned around from one of the cabinets and smiled sweetly at me. "What would you like for dinner?"
The rest of the day went by without much of a hassle. Aunt Louise ended up mentioning that she had leftover spaghetti in the fridge and I decided to just have that for dinner. While she was heating it up, I headed back to my room for the time being and opened my suitcases to unpack. Usually whenever I stayed somewhere, I just left my suitcase open on the floor for easy access to my clothes and accessories. I decided to continue this tradition and sat both suitcases up against the wall next to the bed.
I took my toiletries out of one of the suitcases and sat them on the bureau. I contemplated whether or not if I should take them into the bathroom and sit them on the sink. I figured I could've also sat my shampoo, conditioner and body wash inside the shower as well, but finally decided against it. Unless told otherwise, I would just bring the large bag with me whenever I needed to shower or brush my teeth. I didn't want to leave my stuff everywhere and irritate her.
We ate our spaghetti in silence which was quickly broken by the sound of the television turning on. Aunt Louise got caught up in some sort of game show and I excused myself to my room after I was finished eating and she waved me off without asking me to wash my dishes.
After sitting on the bed, staring blankly at the white walls for at least ten minutes straight, unknowing of what to do, I eventually stood and changing into my pajamas before brushing my teeth. I then bid Aunt Louise goodnight who was also heading to bed.
The sheets on the bed felt rough and unused, like shirts did when you first bought them and they had yet to be washed. The mattress was also hard which suggested it hadn't been slept on in years, if any at all. And as expected, after laying in the bed for about fifteen minutes I unceremoniously tossed the comforter off of me, already beginning to sweat and was just left with the coarse sheet covering me.
I exhaled heavily, tossing and turning for about an hour before I finally managed to drift off to sleep.
I was startled awake by the sound of a trumpet going off in rhythm.
I jerked upright, my eyes practically sealed shut from sleep and were as heavy as fifty-pound weights as I squinted them open.
"Hmmwhat?" My heart was beating rapidly in my chest as I leaned on my elbow, trying to figure out what was going on and if I'd only been imagining the irritating sound. The trumpet went off again and I moaned, lying back on my stomach. "Oh God, what—oh my God, what is that?" I mumbled groggily, my voice squeaking from sleep and lack of use.
I turned to face the clock on the bedside table, leering at the glowing green digits that read 4:30am. I muttered every obscenity in the book as I stuffed my face against the cotton pillow, winding my arms underneath it as I curled into the material.
Once my brain started to comprehend what was going on around me, I was able to remember where I'd heard that trumpet sound from. It was in every movie I watched that involved camp. It was used to wake the campers up to begin the day's activities.
"Ogh you gotta be kidig meh," I groaned with my face smashed into the pillow. I then lifted my head, angry at the world, and covered it with the pillow to block out the trumpet that went off a third time as if to make sure everyone was awake.
So I was going to be woken up every morning at four-thirty because I was staying with my aunt, the warden, who supervised a camp full of deranged teenage boys that were being forced against their will to dig holes in order to build character and ultimately overcome their conniving ways.
Fan. Fucking. Tastic.