Zero and I help Stanley dig as comes with lunch.

"Let's go boys and girl!"He yells.

"Where's your whip Caveman?You don't want your slaves to be slacking off!"Armpit says as he passes by.

"It's not slavery,it's an agreement!"Stanley yells.

"Whatever dude."Armpit says.

We get out of our hole and go get our lunch. Stanley and I just get apples because we HATE bologna!

Stanley goes back to his hole while I sit by my finished one.

I turn and see ZigZag going to Stanley who is sitting by his hole. This can not be good.

"How about I give you my cookie and you let me dig your hole?"ZigZag offers.

Stanley does nothing but take a bite out of his apple.

"Come on. Take it."ZigZag pushes the cookie towards Stanley.

"Look,I get it alright?I'll dig my own hole from now on. Just let me eat my lunch."Stanley says.

"He isnt gonna take it."ZigZag laughs.

ZigZag crouches down in front of ZigZag.

"Come on. Eat the cookie!"ZigZag says pushing the cookie to Stanley's mouth.

Stanley pushes it away so ZigZag pushes him.

"Back off man!"Stanley says standing up only to nearly fall when ZigZag pushes him again.

"Hey,hey,hey,hey,hey!What's going on here?"Dr. Pendanski asks.

"Nothin' mom!We were just foolin'. Right?"Squid says.

"No,I saw what was going in. Go on Stanley,teach him a lesson. Hit him back."Dr. Pendanski says.

"Yeah,teach me a lesson."ZigZag taunts.

"Yeah,Stanley!Teach him a lesson!"Armpit says.

ZigZag pushes Stanley while taunting him and Stanley weakly slaps him.

It's enough to get ZigZag angry. ZigZag pushes Stanley into the dirt and ZigZag starts punching Stanley.

"Stop!"I yell before Squid stops me from helping.

He grabs onto my waist with a death grip. I'm forced to watch my brother get beat up.

Stanley and ZigZag roll into a hole before Stanley hits ZigZag. Stanley gets out of the hole only for ZigZag to punch him in the face.

Stanley falls to the ground.

"STANLEY!"I yell struggling against Squid.

"That's enough!"Dr. Pendanski yells. Zero doesn't listen to Dr. Pendanski as he jumps onto ZigZag's back.

He starts choking ZigZag and they fall on the ground with Zero still choking him.

"Zero!Stop man he can't breath!"Armpit yells as he tries to get Zero to let go.

Dr. Pendanski fires his rifle in the air.


Squid finally lets go of me.

I run to Stanley as Zero helps him up. I hug Stanley.

"Thank God you're okay."I whisper.

I pull away only for the warden and Mr. Sir to pull up.

Oh joy!

We all gather around as Dr. Pendanski speaks.

"Basically,Zero almost killed Ricky."Dr. Pendanski says.

"Basically?"The warden questions.

"Ziggy was beating up the Caveman,right?And then Zero started choking ZigZag. I had to pull Zero off of him."Armpit says.

"Yeah,I mean,Zig just got a little hot. Out in the sun all day,the blood starts to boil."X-Ray says.

"Is that what happened,ZigZag?"The warden asks going over to ZigZag and Squid.

"Yep. Like X-ray said,workin' all day out in the hot sun,while Caveman just sits around and does nothin'."ZigZag says.

My mouth gapes open.

"Excuse me?Caveman digs his hole just like everyone else."The warden says.

"Sometimes."ZigZag says.

"Excuse me?"The warden asks getting annoyed.

"Malm,Zero and Arch's been digging a part of Caveman's hole everyday."Squid steps in.

"You're not digging holes no more?Huh?"Mr. Sir asks Stanley.

"Arch and I are teaching Zero how to read."Stanley says.

"What?"Mr. Sir asks.

"He's a smart kid."Stanley says.

"Smart?Oh yeah?Hey Zero!What does C-A-T spell?Huh?What's it spell?"Dr. Pendanski asks a silent Zero.

"Yeah he's a real genius. He's so stupid,he doesn't even know he's stupid!"Dr. Pendanski says.

"Ok,from now on,I don't want ANYONE digging anyone else's hole. And no more reading lessons."The warden directs the last part to Stanley.

"Why?I mean if the hole gets dug,who cares who's digging it,right?"Stanley asks.

"You wanna know why you're digging holes?'Cause it's good for you. It teaches ya' a lesson."Mr. Sir tells him.

"If Zero digs your hole for you,you aren't learning your lesson,are you?"The warden asks.

"Well,why can't I still just dig my hole and teach him how to read?"Stanley asks.

"Because I said so."The warden says.

"We know you mean well Stanley,but the mental stress just causes his brain too much of a challenge. That's what made his blood boil,not the hot sun."Dr. Pendanski says.

"I'm not digging anymore holes."Zero says.

"Good."The warden says.

Dr. Pendanski takes ZigZag's shovel and hands it to Zero.

"I mean,you might as well teach this shovel to read. Go on,take it. It's all you'll ever be good for. D-I-G. What's that spell?"Dr. Pendanski asks as Zero drops his water canteen on the ground.

Zero acts like he's thinking before he swings the shovel like a baseball bat. It hits Dr. Pendanski's face.

He falls over unconscious.

"Dig."Zero answers Pendanski's question.

Still holding the shovel,he starts running.

"GO ZERO!GO!"Stanley and I yell.

Mr. Sir starts after him. He gets his gun out.

"Don't shoot!He can't go anywhere!"The warden yells causing Mr. Sir to stop and look at her.

"You think I was gonna shoot him?!"Mr. Sir asks her.

"The last thing we need is an investigation."The warden says.

"I know that!Misinterpretation!Let him go then!"Mr. Sir yells before walking to the car.

"I want round-the-clock guards on all water sources!"The warden yells as she pours the rest of Zero's canteen on Dr. Pendanski.

"I still expect eight holes."The warden says to us before she walks to her car.

Dr. Pendanski starts getting up.

"I'll have the chicken tenders,warden..."Dr. Pendanski gets out before he falls back unconscious.

Stanley and I walk to our tent only to hear the warden,Mr. Sir,and Dr. Pendanski's voices inside it.

"I'm feeling queasy. Take it or leave it."Mr. Sir says.

"You still poutin'?"The warden asks.

"No,I'm not pountin'. I'm just askin',are we sure that he had no family?"Mr. Sir asks.

"He was a ward of the state. He was living on the streets when he was arrested."Dr. Pendanski says.

"Is there some prissy caseworker that might ask questions?"The warden asks.

"He had nobody. He WAS nobody."Dr. Pendanski says.

"I want you to destroy his records. He was never here. Can you get into the state files from our computer?"The warden asks.

"I can do anything. But I'm telling you,no one is going to come looking for him. No one cares about Hector Zeroni."Dr. Pendanski says.

Stanley and I walk into the tent.

"We do."Stanley says.

"They was all in this thing together."Mr. Sir mumbles.

They all start to leave but Mr. Sir stops to say something to us.

"His blood's on ya'lls hands then."Mr. Sir says before he follows the others out.

Stanley and I look at each other in disbelief.

Everyone lies on their cots talking about Zero.

"Man,if he's not back by morning?He's dead."Armpit says.

"He's dead either way. If he stays out there or if he comes back."X-Ray says.

"Hey,when do ya' think their gonna find his body?"ZigZag asks.

"What body?Man Zero's buzzard food."Squid says.

"Ya' know what?They'll pick out the eyeballs first."Squid says before he makes an absolutely DISGUSTING sound.

"Lord,I can't believe you just said that."X-Ray says.

"Squid,that's disgusting."ZigZag says while Squid laughs.

I turn so my back faces them.

I go to sleep while trying to block their conversation out.

I finished my hole long ago,but I still sit by it. Thinking of Zero.

"She left him stranded in the desert. No water. No food. For sixteen days!"Grandpa's voice says in my head.

"But grandpa,how'd he survive?"Stanley's voice asks.

"They said he found refuge on God's thumb."Grandpa's voice says.

"What's God's thumb?"My voice asks.

"Who knows?He was half crazy when they found him."Grandpa's voice says.

"ZERO!"I hear Stanley yell.

I look up to see him helplessly screaming Zero's name out over the desert. I hear an engine.

I look behind me and see the yellow school bus coming to drop a passenger off.

"ZERO!"Stanley yells again.

I get up and side hug him.

"It's hopeless,isn't it?"He asks me sadly.

"Not necessarily."I lie.

"If you're done with your hole,how 'bout we go meet the new kid?"I suggest.

"Okay."He mumbles while getting his stuff.

I get my stuff and we go back to camp.

Brian(The new kid)sits at the dinner table.

"So,what're ya' in here for,Twitch?"X-Ray asks him.

The poor kid is already deemed Twitch because of how he fidgets every few seconds.

"Oh,joy ridin'. I guess I never really planned to steal one or nothing but when I walk past a really nice car?I just start twtchin',ya' know?Oh,you think I'm jumpy now?You should've seen me behind the wheel of that Mustang convertible,whoo!"Twitch says.

I look at everyone as they sleep. I get up from my cot and slip on my jumpsuit over my tank top and shorts.

I go to my crate and grab my bag that I had brought when Stanley and I were sent here. I make sure I have what I need.

I have my flashlight,extra batteries,fully filled canteen,two other pairs of shorts,two other pairs of tank tops,and some gum.

I stuff my other jumpsuit(My clean one)in my bag. I put on my boots and lace them up. I grab my stationary box and quickly write the guys a note.

I also write Stanley a note.

The one to the boys reads...

Dear D tent,

If you notice I'm not here(which you should)it's because I'm going to try and find Zero. I need to see if I can get him back here. If we can't make it back,know that each of you have made these last few months at Camp Green Lake AMAZING. I love you all.


Angel 'Arch' Yelnats.

The one to Stanley reads...

Dear Stanley,

I'm going to try and find Zero. I KNOW that I'll probably not make it back but I'm too adventurous and you know that. PLEASE tell mom,dad,and grandpa that I LOVE them. I love you too Stanley. You're an amazing brother.

Love your sister,

Angel Yelnats.

I put my notes in envelopes. The one to the guys says 'D TENT GUYS' on the front while the one to my brother says 'STANLEY YELNATS' on the front.

I set them on my cot,grab my bag,and leave. I start running the way Zero went.

I grab my flashlight and turn it on to see where I'm going,though. After some time of running,I come upon an old,overturned boat.

I go to it and see legs.

"Zero?"I ask.

"Zero?"I ask again after the legs don't move.

The legs move and Zero's head comes out from under the boat.

"Angel?"He asks in a hoarse voice.

"Hey!"I say getting down to his level and hugging him.

Zero pulls away and goes back under the boat.

I follow him to see a little hideout.

"Nice."I say.

"Do you have any water?"Zero asks pointing to my canteen.

"Yeah."I say handing him mine.

He drinks some of it before giving it back to me.

"Thanks."He says.

"Welcome."I say.

"Why are you out here?"He asks me.

"I ran away from camp so I could find you."I say before I yawn.

"How about we go to sleep and we'll talk about this tomorrow?"I suggests.

"Okay."He says laying down.

Within a few minutes,we're fast asleep.

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