Below is the scene where the entire McAllister family heads back to their own ranches after quite an unusual Christmas together at a remote cabin in Wyoming.
Smiling, Troy let Oatie, Little Charlie, and Shadow out, knowing they would stay close to their humans. The cats remained in the Jeep.
“Where’s Billy? I thought you were bringing him back.”
“Well, yes. That was the plan, but plans do change.”
“I’m surprised he didn’t beg to come back with you,” Ivy said, looking up into Troy’s eyes.
Troy’s face seemed to brighten with amusement, and he said, “Oh, he begged.”
“And you wouldn’t let him come?” Ivy asked with a frown on her face.
“He begged to stay with Grandma and Grandpa. Said he’d keep them safe.”
“Ah. That’s our boy,” she replied.
I could not stand the suspense. Not even for one more second. “Read the note, Trace. Read it out loud.”
“A note? From who?” Troy looked surprised.
“Here’s what it says: Beware! You McAllisters won’t get away with it. You’ve been warned.”
Those disturbing words seemed to take everyone’s breath away. We’d all had our fair share of danger over the past few months – more than most people have in a lifetime. Enough! We didn’t need any more. Ever!
“Get away with what?” Ivy asked, her eyes squinting.
“Yeah. What does that mean?” Troy wanted to know too.
“I have no idea. This makes no sense,” Trace added. “Especially here in Wyoming.”
“I guess we can’t pin this on Mother Nature. But how did the note writer even get here?” I asked. “No way could he or she have gotten around our caravan of cars and trucks, and no other road leads to our undeveloped old ranch.”
“We can’t leave Billy in the Suburban much longer,” stated Troy. “And I don’t want Mom and Dad to miss their plane.” He was right. We needed to hurry.
“Agreed!” Ivy said. “I don’t know about you, but I’m getting cold. While we’re still together, let’s go inside for a three-minute, stand-up conversation to create a mental list of any McAllister haters that we know of.”
No one objected. A three-minute delay to our departure wouldn’t make much of a difference. Troy stationed himself at the front window watching the pets who were hanging out on the porch. I’m certain he was keeping an eye out for far more than that.
Trace and I came up with a few names. The first two were Rick, my ex-friend who was supposed to share The Lucky Seven with me, and his twin brother, Rudy. Either one or both of them together wanted to steal the money I’d recently won in the Lottery. Then there was the jealous bad girl, Callie, who wanted to steal Trace from me.
Troy didn’t mention any names, but he said, “We just had a Chicago gangster and his goons try to steal my fictitious treasure and kill us all in the process.” Someday, I will ask Ivy to tell me more about that.
So many thoughts ran through my head. It seemed all but the bad girl (though she had been an accomplice) were willing to kill. Their motive? Money. Lots of money. But those men could not be involved in this. Not way out here. Besides, they were dead or in prison. No. This was merely a threat to scare us; after all, the note-writer had demanded nothing, although that fact was troublesome too.
“Shouldn’t we call the police?” Ivy asked.