Guilt

A Holes Fanfiction by Mae Woods

"Your father left when you were three, is that right?"

Squid kept his gaze on the floor, his arms crossed defensively across his chest, dark chocolate hair falling over his eyes, making no move to show that he had heard Dr Kirkwards question.

"And your mother became an alcoholic shortly after he left?"

Again, Squid didn't answer. He stared vacantly at the floor. His eyes, once full of spark, mischievous and excitable, were dull and empty.

Dr Kirkward watched Squid intently over her glasses. Her eyes flickered down at the file she was holding on her lap.

"You spent 18 months at Camp Green Lake: Juvenile Detention Facility. That's where you met Rex, Theodore, Jose, Stanley, Hector, and… Ricky, isn't it?"

Something flickered in Squids dark brown eyes. At the last name in Dr Kirkwards list, he raised his head slightly, but still didn't say anything. Dr Kirkward saw that the hands of the teenage boy in front of her were clenched into fists so tightly that the knuckles had turned white.

"That's where you met Ricky," Dr Kirkward repeated, watching Squids face. Again, something flashed behind his eyes. He blinked and lowered his head again. He loosened his fists and let his arms drop to his sides, but still, he refused to respond.

"Alan," Dr Kirkward started slowly, "Why wont you talk to me?"

She waited, biting her lip, hoping for a response, any response.

Finally, after several moments of silence, Squid looked up. He slowly met Dr Kirkwards gaze, just for an instant, then he looked back down at the carpet.

"I shouldn't be here," he murmured.

Dr Kirkward sighed with relief – they'd been at it for half an hour and it was the first time Squid had answered.

"Why do you think that?" she asked.

Squid shrugged.

"Well where should you be then?"

Squid met her gaze once more with his startlingly intense eyes.

"I should be in jail."

Dr Kirkward didn't even blink, "Why do you think that?"

Squids eyebrows furrowed. He looked at Dr Kirkward as if she was missing the obvious, "Because I should be."

"Why?"

"Because…" Squids eyes dimmed again, "Because of Zig…"

Dr Kirkward put her file aside. "Alan, the reason you're here-"

"I know why I'm here!" Squid jumped to his feet.

"You're here because you need help."

Squid dropped back into his seat. "I'm a murderer," he said dully. "You can't help murderers."

"Do you think that?" Dr Kirkward asked softly.

"The court said…"

"It's not the same as murder, Alan, and they didn't send you to jail. They sent you here because they didn't think you belonged in jail."

"Well, I think I belong in jail," Squid muttered sullenly.

Dr Kirkward made a note before continuing. "How old were you when you had your first drink Alan?"

Squid tensed up again. His fingers gripped the chair, he bent his head forward and his hair fell over his eyes. The carpet below him was too clean, too white. He scuffed his foot across it but it made no difference.

"16, I guess… after I got back from Camp."

"Why did you start drinking?" Dr Kirkward was staring at the top of Squids head now, it was bent so far down.

"It made everything… feel better."

"Why did you want to feel better? What was so bad?"

Squid glared at her, "Have you even read my file? Just look at it! Read what it says about my father, and my mother, and my past, then figure out for yourself why I wanted to feel better."

Dr Kirkward looked at him, "But it didn't make you feel better?"

"It did most of the time…"

"What about the night of the accident?"

Squid jerked slightly, involunteerily, and the scowl fades from his face. His eyes turned glassy again and he slumped back in his chair. He shook his head. "Not then."

"Why not?"

Squid ran a hand through his hair, staring at the ground, "I just… I had a fight with my Ma…"

"What about?"

"She thought I was stealin' her booze."

"Were you?"

"Yeah."

"So you were angry?"

Squid nodded.

"And that's why you drank so much?"

Squid shrugged, putting his head in his hands.

Dr Kirkward tucked her graying hair behind her ears. She placed her pen and the file aside, putting her full attention on the teenager in front of her. "Alan, can you tell me what happened on the night of the accident?"

"I… don't remember."

"What you do remember then."

Squid looked out the window, into the park below. Some children were playing on the swing set. He could see their mouths open, smiling widely but couldn't hear their words or laughter. The clamped shut window blocked out all noise. He was separated from their carefree world by a sound-proof clear glass window, and by his own guilt.

"Alan?"

Squid looked at Dr Kirkward, then back to the floor. "Um…" he fidgeted as he tried to remember what he wanted more than ever to forget. "Well, I was angry about my mother… X-Ray gave me a drink of something… I don't know what it was, I don't remember, I drank so much… Caveman and Zero went home early… I remember Magnet saying something about getting a taxi home and Armpit saying that no taxi driver would pick up people as drunk as us… X-Ray had this new car and I really wanted to drive it… Armpit wouldn't let X drive 'cos he was even drunker than me…"

Squid ran his fingers through his hair, "X, Pit and Magnet were in the back, I was driving of course… and Zig… Ziggy had shotgun…"

Squid trailed off, chewing his fingernails.

"Yes?" Dr Kirkward prompted.

"I remember… I remember X saying that if… if I hurt his car he'd kill me…" Squid sunk even further back into his chair, "They're never gonna forgive me," he whispered.

"Have you spoken to X-Ray since the accident?"

Squid shook his head dismally, "He wouldn't want to talk to me."

"Why not?"

Squid banged his fists down on the arms of his chair, "I drove his car into a tree! I killed his friend! He's not gonna forgive me for that!"

He unclenched his fists, "I killed my best friend… I killed Ziggy…"

He put his head in his hands.

"Alan," Dr Kirkward started gently, leaning forwards, "You're here because you have an alcohol problem. You can't help that."

Squid looked at her. The lack of emotion in his eyes was frightening. They were the eyes of someone who had seen the worst, done the worst, and been the worst. These eyes had given up completely.

"I want to go to jail," he said tonelessly, his gaze passing through her.

Dr Kirkward looked sadly at the teenage boy in front of her. He bent his head, his beautiful brown hair falling over his face, hiding it in shadows. She had helped a lot of people, sometimes she truly felt that she had saved their lives, but she'd never had a case like this. The boy before her was killing himself, destroying himself, out of grief and guilt. She had read and re-read his file the night before and had gone to bed thinking the same thing over and over: How can I save him?

Now she looked at him and a terrible thought entered her mind. Maybe she couldn't save him. Maybe he really didn't want to be saved. Maybe he would be better off in jail, where he could feel that he was being truly punished.

She shook her head slightly to rid herself of these thoughts and glanced at the clock. She sighed, "Well Alan, our session is over. I'll see you next week."

Squid walked out of the room without feeling his feet touch the floor, or his hand turn the doorknob. He never felt anything anymore

Behind him, in the room he had just exited, Dorothy Kirkward did something neither she, nor Squid, had done in a long time – she started to cry.