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Authors: Todd Strasser,John Hughes

Home Alone (3 page)

BOOK: Home Alone
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December 21
Oak Park
7:30 P.M.

Kate was at her wit's end. "It's getting late," she told Kevin angrily. "We're leaving for Paris first thing in the morning and you're driving everyone crazy."

"You're all driving me crazy," Kevin yelled back.

Kate pulled him into the upstairs hallway. She took a breath and tried to control her ternper. The truth was, she hated punishing any of her kids. If Kevin would just say he was sorry and start to act like a human being instead of a spoiled brat, she would be happy to let him go.

"Now listen to me, young man," she said sternly. "There are fifteen people in this house. And you're the only one who has to make trouble."

"I'm the only one getting picked on," Kevin wailed.

"You're the only one acting up," Kate snapped back, feeling her blood begin to boil. "Now get upstairs."

upstairs, dummy."

That was it!
Kate had never felt angrier. How had this . . . this monster come into their family? There must've been a mistake at the hospital. Babies were switched or something. Anyway, she knew what she had to do.

"Come with me," she said, grabbing him by the collar.

"Where?" Kevin gasped.

"You know where." Kate pulled open the door at the end of the hallway. A narrow flight of stairs led up to the attic. Kevin's eyes grew large.

"The attic?" he whimpered.

"Go!" Kate pointed up the stairs. Kevin looked up into the attic. It was dark and empty. There were noises up there.

"It's scary, Mom" His voice was filled with pleading, but Kate's was filled with resolve.

"You should have thought of that before you lost your temper," she scolded.

"I'm sorry," Kevin whispered. He thought about throwing himself at her feet and begging for mercy.

"It's too late for that," Kate said firmly, "Now go."

Kevin pursed his lips together angrily. The remorseful approach wasn't going to work.

"Everybody in this family hates me!" he shouted.

"Then maybe you should ask Santa Claus for a new family," his mother suggested.

"I don't want a new family," Kevin cried as he climbed the first step. "I don't want any family! Families stink!"

"Go!" his mother shouted. "And you stay up there. I don't want to see you for the rest of the night!"

Kevin took another step. "I don't want to ever see you again for the rest of my life and I don't want to see anybody else either!"

Kate watched her angry little boy climb up the steps. She felt a strange mixture of frustration and heartache.

"I hope you don't mean that," she said. "You'd feel pretty sad if you woke up tomorrow and we were all gone."

"No, I wouldn't," Kevin said, and slammed the attic door. "I hope I never see any of you jerks again!"

December 22
Oak Park
3:15 A.M.

That night strong gusts of cold wind blew through the Chicago area. On Kevin's street the trees swayed and branches rattled, Christmas decorations blew over and a plastic Santa tumbled across a yard. Broken twigs clattered against the roof of the McCallister house, waking Kevin in the attic.

Kevin sat up. He was still angry. He'd show them. He'd run away. He looked across the shadowy attic at the big metal hook and escape rope near the window. His father kept the rope in case there was a fire and someone had to escape by crawling out onto the roof and lowering himself down. That's what he'd do. He'd crawl out the window, lower himself to the oak tree next to the house, and hide all night in his tree house. Tomorrow morning when his mother couldn't find him, she'd think he'd run away. That would teach her to put him in the attic.

But Kevin didn't move. The wind and noises outside scared him. The thought of spending the night in his tree house was scary, too. And so was the idea of climbing out the attic window. Kevin sighed and looked at the attic door. He wasn't going to show them anything. And all he did when he tried to show them was get into more trouble. Why did he have to say such mean things? He knew it just hurt his mother's feelings. What good did that do?

It did no good at all. All it meant was now he had to spend the night in this scary attic.

Kevin lay down again and shut his eyes. Outside the wind blew even louder. Somewhere in the night a loose shutter banged. A few doors down from the McCallisters', a large branch on a tall elm snapped and fell across the telephone and power lines; bringing them down with a shower of sparks.

In every house on Kevin's side of the street the refrigerators shut off, the burglar alarms deactivated and the electric clocks stopped. Including the alarm clock beside Peter and Kate McCallister's bed.

December 22
Oak Park
9 A.M.

Kate McCallister was dreaming about Paris. She and Peter were in an elegant hotel suite overlooking the Seine. The French doors to the balcony were open and fragrant French air billowed in. Room service had just left a tray of
café au lait
, fresh croissants and assorted

jams. . . .

But someone was knocking loudly on their hotel room door.

Why are they knocking so loudly? Kate wondered in her dream. She rolled over in her bed. The dream slowly disappeared, but the knocking didn't.
Bang! Bang! Bang!

"Hello!?" someone shouted outside. "Is anyone there? It s the airport limo!"

Kate's eyes opened. Airport limo? Oh no! She sat straight up in bed and stared at the alarm clock. 3:17? It couldn't be. It was light outside. Downstairs the banging and shouting continued.

"The electricity must've gone off during the night," Kate gasped as she shook Peter's shoulder. She grabbed her wristwatch from the night table. The big hand was on the 12. The little hand was on the 9. Peter rubbed his eyes.

"Hurry!" Kate said. "We're late!"

Seconds later Kate was pulling on her robe and flying through the house like a maniac, shouting and banging on doors as she went.

"Wake up! Everybody, up, up!" She got to the front door and told the two van drivers her family was running a little behind schedule, but they'd be right down. There were two other vans parked out on the street. One was from Commonwealth Power and Light. The other was from the OHKAY Heating and Plumbing Company. But Kate didn't have time to wonder about that now.

In bedrooms all over the house people hurriedly dressed and grabbed their bags. Kate ran back upstairs to dress herself. Heather was coming down the stairs and Kate grabbed her.

"Heather, you have to do a head count. Make sure everyone's in the vans," Kate said. Then she saw Peter lugging their suitcases out onto the upstairs landing.

"Have you got the tickets and the passports?" Kate shouted.

"I thought you had 'em," Peter shouted back.

"I have them!" Aunt Leslie squeaked,

"Yours or ours?" Kate shouted.

"All of them," Aunt Leslie squeaked back. "I know because they smell of sour milk."

As sleepy-faced kids began to file out of the house, dragging their bags across the lawn to the airport vans, it attracted the attention of little Mitch Murphy, who lived in the house next door. Mitch was seven years old and about the same size as Kevin. In a few hours he and his parents would be leaving for Orlando, Florida. But Mitch had some time to kill and the airport vans looked neat.

"These vans are cool," Mitch said as he wandered over and watched the van drivers hastily load luggage inside.

"No way on earth we're gonna catch that plane," Uncle Frank wheezed as he came out of the house with a suitcase.

"Think positive," said Peter.

Mitch stuck his head in one of the vans. He'd never seen one so long. You could get a whole baseball team inside.

"Frank?" Aunt Leslie was shouting. "Do you have the money?"

"Darn," Frank mumbled and jogged back inside. "I left it upstairs."

"Come on, everyone," Heather shouted. "Line up so I can get a count."

The kids gathered beside the van. Mitch Murphy was there too, looking inside. Cool dashboard, he thought.

"One, two, three, four . . ." Heather quickly began to count the kids, including Mitch, whose back was turned so she couldn't see his face.

"Ninety-three, six hundred and five, elevendy-trillion," Buzz yelled.

"Don't be a moron, Buzz," Heather snapped. She finished the head count. Everyone was there. "Okay, get in! Half in this van, half in the other."

The kids all climbed into the vans. Mitch Murphy turned around and headed back to his house. A moment later Kate locked the front door and ran toward the lead van.

"Heather!" she gasped. "You counted everyone?"

"Eleven kids including me," Heather replied. "Six girls, five boys, four parents, two drivers and a partridge in a pear tree."

"Great!" said Kate. She was just about to climb into the airport van when the man from Commonwealth Power and Light came by. He was wearing a blue hard hat.

"Excuse me, ma'am," he said.

"I'm sorry," Kate said quickly as she got into the van. "But I'm really in a rush. I have a plane to catch."

"I just wanted to say that the power's fixed," the man said. "But the phone lines were torn up real bad. It'll probably take the phone company a couple of days to fix your phones. . . ."

But the airport van was already rolling down the driveway.

Across the street in the OHKAY Heating and Plumbing van, Marv and Harry watched the two airport vans speed away. Harry grinned and his gold tooth glinted.

"Four down, one family to go," he said. "As soon as the Murphys leave for Florida, the block is ours. I keep thinking about all that money, all those greenbacks."

"Yeah," grinned Marv. Then he started to sing, "I'm dreaming of a green Christmas!"

Someone else was dreaming, too. In the McCallisters' attic, Kevin jerked and groaned as he dreamed of all the body parts in old man Marley's basement. Arms and legs and heads laying around with bugs and rats crawling in and out of them. . . .

Kevin lurched out of his sleep, He rubbed his eyes and looked around. For once he was glad to be in the attic. Anything was better than old man Marley's basement. Kevin got up. He'd gone to bed the previous night without dinner and he was hungry.

He let himself out of the attic and used the bathroom, then went down to the kitchen. No one was there yet so he turned on the counter TV and watched Road Runner cartoons. As soon as his mom came down he was going to ask her for bacon and eggs and toast. Kevin scratched his ear and yawned. Where was she anyway? It sure seemed quiet in the house this morning.

December 22
O'Hare Airport
Chicago 10 A.M.

Miraculously, the McCallisters made it to the airport just in time to board the 747 bound for Paris. The four adults sat in the first-class section. The kids sat in coach. Peter and Kate were still trying to catch their breaths as the jet took off with a roar and nosed its way up into the sky.

"I can't believe we made it," Kate sighed happily.

"Hey, it's Christmas," Peter whispered, squeezing her hand. "The time for miracles."

"It'll be a miracle if we make it all the way to France without being bothered by those kids," muttered Frank. He and Leslie were sitting across the aisle.

"Did the kids get settled okay?" Kate asked.

"They only had single seats left in coach," Peter said. "They're okay, just spread out."

"Do you think it's right to sit in first class while the kids fly coach?" Aunt Leslie asked.

"When I was a kid we didn't even fly coach," Frank grumbled. "We flew station wagon. And it wasn't to France either. Those kids'Il be fine. Don't worry."

Kate tried to relax, but something was nagging at her. Peter noticed that she was fidgeting.

"Hey, what is it?" he asked.

"I don't know." Kate tried to shrug it off.

"Come on, be happy," Peter said. "Not only did we make the flight, but we're headed for Paris."

"I know." Kate smiled weakly. "There's just something bothering me. I can't put my finger on it. It's probably something silly like rushing out and leaving the beds unmade."

December 22
Oak Park
10:15 A.M.

Kevin could've watched the Road Runner bash Wile E. Coyote all day, but his stomach was starting to growl. Everyone must've stayed up real late last night because there wasn't a sound in the house. Kevin frowned. That was so typical. They all stayed up and had a good time while he had to go to bed.

He decided to go upstairs and wake his parents. If they wouldn't let him stay up late at night, there was no way he'd let them sleep late in the morning.

A moment later Kevin stepped into his parents' bedroom. The bed was empty and unmade. "Mom? Dad?" he called. No one answered.

He looked in the bathroom and back out in the hall.

"Hey, where are you guys?" Again, no one answered.

Kevin decided to ask Buzz. He'd know where their parents were. But Buzz's bedroom was empty. So was Megan's and his own. Soon Kevin had worked his way through the whole house. Every room was empty.

"I know! They're in the basement, playing a trick on me."

Kevin ran downstairs and burst through the basement door. It was dark and shadowy.

"Dad? Mom? Megan? Buzz? Aunt Leslie? Uncle Frank?" Kevin called out all their names, but no one answered. Where were those dumb people?

Then Kevin remembered . . . France! They were all supposed to go to France today! A terrible thought struck him. Could they have gone without him?

Kevin raced to the garage and looked inside. Relief! His parents' cars were there. And Uncle Frank's car was still parked in the driveway. So they couldn't have gone to the airport.

But if they weren't gone and they weren't here, where were they? Kevin went back into the kitchen. The red light on the coffeemaker was glowing. His mother always made sure it was off before she went out. She always made the beds, too. Kevin's eye drifted to the pile of empty pizza boxes, And his mom always, always, made sure the garbage was thrown—

BOOK: Home Alone
5.8Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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