Diamonds in the Ruff
With apologies to Warner Brothers, Hanna Barbara and anyone else who might hate this story. (although I believe any true Scooby Doo fan will love it!) All borrowed characters have been safely returned intact and healthy. This is a Scrappy free story. It's a long one, so, feel free to print it out and save it for later reading!
This is bad! Here we are, the whole gang, chained up in jail, and charged with murder! I'm suppose to be the smart one, but I'm feeling kind of stupid right now. I must admit I am scared. We've been in plenty of haunted houses, but I've never felt like this! Where did we go wrong? Where did I go wrong? I thought it would be the next logical step, advertise Mystery Inc on the Internet. Freddy liked the idea. Daphne liked it. Even Shaggy and Scooby liked it and they never like anything that can't be put on a plate! Now, here we are in this stupid back woods town, that doesn't even have a telephone! How did that girl Email us? I don't think this place knows about computers yet! Heck, I don't think I even saw an electrical outlet in this stupid place! We were all so optimistic last week when we got the Email. I can remember it so clearly.......
"Hey Velma!" Freddy called out, "We've got mail!" Velma walks into the study and over to the computer. "What is it? Another ad for phone service? More junk mail? Let me see... Hum, this looks real, print it out so we can all read it." As Freddy prints out the letter, Velma calls down the hall for the rest of the gang to come listen. With everyone seated in the study, she reads the letter.
"Dear people at Mystery Inc. I have heard about all the great work you guys have done and I am desperately in need of your help. You all are my last hope. I live in a small town in south Georgia, in fact, calling it a town might be a bit optimistic. Ever since my parents died, I have been living with my grandfather in the old plantation. Kind of a quirky recluse, but I always loved him. He didn't believe in banks, so he kept all his money around the house somewhere. I came home yesterday and the place was trashed! My grandad was missing, and there was some blood in the kitchen. I called Jake. He's the sherif for the area. The judge too! In any case, he came out, looked around, then told me there was nothing he could do for me and he was sorry and left. What do I do? I know you guys are more into the "ghost busting" thing, but I really need your help! Please! Signed, Becky Sue"
Daphne looked a little puzzled. "Missing persons is a little outside of what we do best. It sounds like someone robbed him, then kidnaped him or worse... But I think we should help." Shaggy is shaking his head. "No, no, not some old haunted plantation in some alligator infested swamp! I like eating, but I don't want to be the food!" "Rut Rha! Roo Ralligators!" Freddy stands up, "She didn't say anything about alligators! Solving mysteries is what we are about gang. I say we go!" All eyes are now on Velma, who must break the tie vote. Velma is facing the window. After a few seconds, that seam like minutes, she spins on one heel, and puts her hand in the air. "We haven't been to Georgia in years! I say we go!"
The Mystery Machine heads down the highways of Georgia. Three of the five occupants are discussing the directions to a town that is so small, it is not on the map. The other two, well.... "Pecan Logs! Scooby, wait till you try these things! Marshmallows rolled in pecan bits! And the fried chicken down here! No one makes fried chicken like they make it in the south!" "Yummm ... Reran Rogs!" Velma turns around, laughing from the front seat. "Food! All you two ever talk about is food! It's only been an hour since we stopped for lunch!" Shaggy turns his attention forward. "Yea, well a growing boy needs to think about his nutrition!" Daphne Shakes her head. "I don't understand it. With the amount of food you guys eat, you should both weigh a ton!" Velma Chuckles, "The word nutrition would indicate some form of balance in your diet! I don't think it's the right word!" Freddy hits the brakes! "Sorry guys, but I think that might have been the turn we were suppose to take. Look! There's the small lake she talked about in the directions." Slowly, Freddy backs up along the shoulder of the road, then exits down the ramp. "Creek Road, this is it. How far are we suppose to take it?" Daphne looks over the directions. "Looks like about twenty miles till we hit the town of Gatorville." Shaggy's thoughts leave the subject of food for a second. "I knew it! Alligators! What did I tell you Scoob? There taking us into some swampland to be eaten by alligators!" Velma protests, "Stop it you two! It's just the name of the town. They probably don't have a single alligator!" Shaggy sits back in the seat. "No, not a single alligators... Many!" Freddy chuckles. "Off the subject of gators for a second, Velma, you couldn't find much out about this Becky Sue in the public records, right?" "That's right Freddy, but I did find out a lot about this Jake character. Talk about your one-man towns! This guy is everything! Sherif, mailman, judge, cop on the beat, and mayor, he holds all the posts! He's one guy we don't want to cross. The town itself only has a registered population of forty, but covers thirty square miles!" Daphne looks surprised. "And on Becky Sue?" Velma continues, "Twenty two years old. Does live with her grandad, there are no records about him, must be a swamp dweller. And, her parents did die in an air-boat accident." "Romp Rellers??" Scooby moans in horror. "Died in an air-boat accident?" Shaggy adds. "I don't know much, but I know air-boats are used on swamps! We're gonna die!"
"Gatorville City Limits! There's the sign!" Freddy says. Daphne looks out the window at the rotted sign hanging from a swamp cypress. "City limits? Boy, whoever came up with that sign was dreaming! Look at this. The road is barely paved, and there isn't a building in sight!" Velma joins Daphne looking out the window. "I agree, this does not look good! I think I see some kind of building ahead. Ok, slow down a bit Freddy, so I can read the sign on it... Uh Oh.." Shaggy pushes he way over the front seat to see what's going on as the building passes out of view. "I don't like this, Velma uh oh'ed! What's going on?" Velma has plopped back into the seat. "That was downtown Gatorville! The sign said, Gatorville Post office, Court house, and Jail house!" All five in unison say it, "Uh Oh!"
A few miles down the road, there is a small drive that breaks off to the left. "Swamp End Drive, we turn here, it should be the fourth house on the right." Velma and Daphne look out the window as they pass a dirt drive that leads to a pile of rubble and a chicken coup. "Would that count as the first house?" Daphne asks. They pass a second house, that although standing, does not look like it would still be there after the next storm. Further down, they pass a third house that does not look much better. The road is now not much more then a well used dirt path with some stone on it. "Here it is, 152 Swamp End Drive!" Freddy says, as he pulls in the driveway. In front of them lies an old, run down plantation house with a big front porch that is grown over with vines. "H..he...hee... here?" Shaggy asks. "Yep!" Freddy says, "Hey Velma, if you can break away from your laptop computer, we're here.... What on earth are you typing away at anyhow?" Velma flips the laptop shut. "Sorry, I just want to keep a good record of what we know. I have a strange feeling we're going to need it! Woman's intuition, I guess.."
All five walk up to the front porch. The house looks like it may have been beautiful at one point in time, but has fallen into ruin. "Watch out for these planks, some of them may be rotted." Freddy says. Freddy makes it to the front door first and knocks. The door slowly swings open a bit. "Hello? Is anyone home?" He asks. A small animal scurries across the porch. "Zoinks!", Shaggy shouts. "Jinkies! It's just a rabbit!" exclaims Velma. All fall dead quit as they hear footsteps approaching. "You must be the gang from Mystery Inc." The voice says. "My name is Becky Sue." Freddy's jaw drops as Becky comes into view. She is gorgeous! Daphne, looking a little miffed says, "I have a chin strap in my purse if you need it Fred. Wouldn't want any flies to fly in!" Velma walks up to Becky and takes over the conversation. "We've studied the case a bit. You grandpa was rumored to be rich, but never had any bank accounts. I take it there has been no further word in the past four days on what became of him. Have you touched anything since Sherif Jake went over the house?" Becky Sue shakes her head. "I live here, but I have tried not to touch anything important. As for Jake, all he did was look around and leave." Becky leads them into the house. The front rooms are so neat, they look like exhibits at a museum, the rooms toward the rear, look like a wreck. Someone has bashed the walls open with a wrecking bar, there are spots on the floor which look like blood, and the back door is broken off of it's hinges. "They found what they were looking for." says Velma. Becky looks surprised. "Why do you say that?" Velma points to the holes in the walls. "If they hadn't, they would have continued ripping things apart throughout the whole house. I have a test kit out in the van, we can find out if this is real blood." Freddy interrupts, "Well, before we go hi-tech, lets see if Scooby can pick up the sent of your grandpa, and lead us to him!" Scooby backs up toward the door. "Rut Ra, Rators!" "Oh Scooby", Velma says, "There's no alligators here! Besides, We'll all be with you." Becky Sue picks up a work glove. "Here, this was his." Scooby sniffs it and begins to pick up a trail.
The group is led out of the building, through the woods, and up past the old cemetery. "Why are old houses always next to cemeteries?" Shaggy asks, as Scooby remains hot on the trail. Soon, they are heading into another patch of woods. "If my sense of direction is correct," Velma says, "we are headed toward the town, so to speak." Suddenly, Scooby stops short. "Rear... right rear!" He has stopped at what looks like some slightly disturbed dirt. "I don't like the looks of this!" Freddy says. "I agree." Adds Velma. "Becky, we have to come back here with a shovel and check this out. I think you had better stay at the house until we explore this." Velma pulls some colored plastic tape out of her pocket, tears off a piece, and attaches it to a stick that she pushes into the ground.
Back at the Mystery Machine, Freddy gathers some tools as Velma makes another log entry in her laptop. Shaggy and Scooby are snacking on what remains of the food packed for the trip, as Daphne plays with the cell phone. "Looks like we are out of range, there's no service in this area..." Velma chuckles, "Surprised? That's why I invested in the satellite phone in the briefcase over there." With the entry finished, the food gone, and the tools gathered, the gang heads back into the woods. It's about a fifteen minute trip back to the marker, and darkness has started to set in. Once there, Freddy fires up the gas lantern to provide some light. "Shaggy, lets start digging here." Freddy says. "Do..d..do..do I have to?" Shaggy replies. Freddy and Shaggy start digging. The dirt is very loose and it isn't long before Freddy's shovel catches something. Reaching down into the hole, Freddy grabs it and pulls it free of the dirt. "It's a jacket!" Freddy exclaims, "Scooby, is this his?" Scooby sniffs at it. "YeaYea... Rackt Ris!" Just then, a voice booms from the woods! "Returning to the scene of the crime eh?" A large figure marches out of the darkness and into the light. He is wearing a sherif's hat, and carrying a shotgun! "You are all under arrest for the murder of Amos Swampsnapper!"
Daphne looks down at the cuffs and chains attached to her wrists. "I don't get it! He didn't listen to a word we said. He's not even going to call Becky Sue!" Shaggy, who is sitting on a different bench in the cell, shakes his head. "They can't find us guilty. We didn't do anything! There's not even a body... yet... yipes!" Freddy looks pretty glum. "I have a feeling this guy is judge, jury, and executioner! Guilt and innocents doesn't matter. Velma... you're pretty quiet. What's on your mind?" Velma, who has been stairing at the floor, raises her head and speaks, "Not good. Even though we are innocent, if we break out of here, we really do become criminals! .... On the bright side of things, I think I found a really big clue!"
Onward to Part Two of Diamonds in the Ruff