If you haven't read Part 1, click here.
Sleigh Bells Ringing
The Sleigh Bells Mountain Rides group stopped for the night at another large cabin, similar to the one they had stayed in the night before. Everyone had been accounted for except the last sleigh, which was Kristie, Julie-Anne, and Shell’s.
“I wonder why their sleigh isn’t here,” wondered Mr. Kalid, the group leader and owner.
“I don’t know, but we’d better go check it out,” said Mrs. Kalid. “We can’t have them being left out in the cold all night. I don’t want anyone out there in that snow; it’s falling quickly. There’s not much else we can do, though, except go to find them.”
Mr. Kalid, and an employee of his, Mr. Juckson, went out on the search. They rode horse back to go quicker.
Three hours later, Mr. Kalid and Mr. Juckson returned without the three missing women. Many of the people in the cabin were up because they were worried about Mr. Kalid, Mr. Juckson, Kristie, Julie-Anne, and Shell.
“We aren’t sure what happened to them. We went back to the spot we had lunch, but there was no sign of them anywhere. Do you remember the place we were late in the afternoon? Well, in that spot, there was a fallen tree.” Mr. Kalid said, giving his report to Mrs. Kalid and a few other employees. “I feel especially bad that I don’t know where they are since Mrs. Coneel is pregnant. If the women are out in the cold, they’ll probably die. I feel horrible, but I had nowhere else to look.”
“Don’t take all the blame. We all should remember to regularly check on our customers. It makes me feel horrible that we weren’t checking on them, so now we don’t know were they are,” Mrs. Kalid replied to her husband.
That night, all the people in the group went to bed with heavy hearts.
~~~~~~“Okay, Dustin, we need to write that ransom note.” The outlaws and women were in a cabin in the mountains, with the fire roaring, the women huddled together in front of the fire. John had built the cabin many years ago, when he first became an outlaw. The outlaws wrote the ransom note, murmuring together quietly, which the women were glad of. The only time the women could hear what the outlaws were saying was when they said, “Just put it in one of the sleighs.” The women went to sleep, but all had a restless night, with the men snoring loudly and them just being frightened, not knowing what was going to happen to them.
When the women woke up in the morning, only the outlaw leader was still at the cabin. He said, “Ladies, I’m going outside for a bit. You stay put; I’ll be watching you.”
When he left the cabin, Shell started talking. “Darwin taught me how to shoot a gun. If I get the gun over there,” she said, pointing towards a gun sticking out from under a blanket, “then I can hide it and keep it with me. When he comes in, I’ll threaten him and bonk him over the head with the gun. Then we can tie him up and lay him under the blanket he was using to sleep with. When the other man comes back, and he starts coming inside, I’ll the point the gun at him and tell him not to move. Then Julie-Anne, you can go tie him up.”
“Yes, I can do that.” Julie-Anne said, even though it may be scary. “And it’s good that Kristie isn’t doing anything.”
“I am too doing something to help you girls,” Kristie retorted. “I’m not sitting here and not doing anything to help.”
“Yes you are,” Shell replied firmly. “We don’t want you to loose the baby, so you can just sit there. You’ll help us by watching to see when either of the outlaws get back.”
“Do you want me to go get the gun for you, Shell?” Julie-Anne said. I can crawl over there and get it so no one sees me.”
“Yes. That’ll work. And Kristie and I can watch to see if the outlaws are coming back. Hurry now!” When Julie-Anne had the gun, she rushed it over to Shell, who put it beside her. She knew the outlaw who had gone outside didn’t have his gun on him, so she didn’t need to load the gun.
~~~~~~~Dustin placed the ransom note on the first sleigh in the line and quickly galloped away. He had left that morning at about 5:00 A.M. to bring the ransom note down the mountain and get it to the sleigh before they would be getting up. He hurried away, forgetting to think about doing something to cover his tracks.
About 20 minutes after Dustin had left the ransom note, Mr. Kalid was getting up and went to check on the sleighs and the livestock. On the sleigh his wife rode, he saw a clean, white envelope. Curiously, he picked it up and then opened it. Inside was a small scrap of paper. He quickly read it, his fear and anger growing by the second. Forgetting to check the livestock, he hurried inside to find his wife just waking up, and showed it to her.
She read: For the safe return of the three women who were on your sleigh ride, leave $10,000 in this envelope on the fallen log about 7 miles back. Do so immediately, and the women will be let go, unharmed. Otherwise, we’ll send back the sleigh with three dead bodies inside.
“Oh, no! What are we going to do?” Mrs. Kalid cried.
“I don’t know. I’d better go see if there are any tracks or anything. I forgot to look, I was so angry.” He hurried outside and saw the tracks of a horse leading to and from the sleigh. He hurried inside and told his wife, then went and woke up Mr. Juckson and told him to get dressed. Five minutes later they were on their way, following the tracks. Their guns were on their side, loaded and ready to go.
Stay tuned for the rest of the story ~ hopefully I won't take as long this time to post it:)
God's Peace & Love,