Mindy was holding one of the large frames from the hive for Jane to see. It was a rectangular wax honeycomb mounted in a wooden frame and covered with bees. "Look closely Jane.", she said, pointing to one larger bee surrounded by a circle of more normal bees. "That is the queen and her entourage." Jane was amazed how calm the bees were and how they simply went about their business despite the huge intrusion that was occurring. "They are happy today", Nicole added, "It's sunny! They get grumpy when its a cloudy day!"
Mindy pointed her finger at another location on the comb. "Watch this little one!" Jane watched as one of the bees was doing a small dance and other bees were trying to get close and feel the dance. "She is telling the other bees where she found some nectar. The speed of the dance tells them how far away it is, and the direction of the dance gives the the direction based on the location of the sun and the hive."
"Wooo...", Jane murmured, "They have their own little GPS system!"
Mindy looked at her with question showing in her face. "What is a GPS system?"
"It's a Global Pos.... Hummm... I knew it a second ago. I'm sorry."
"That's ok", Mindy said, "Parts of your memory are showing through. I bet in time it will come back to you. Till then, it will be a mystery!"
"Oh, well mysteries are my mistress!"
Another look of question... Jane got embarrassed. "I don't know where that came from, but it had a feeling of truth."
Mindy shook her head as she returned the comb frame to the hive. "The only mystery we have in these parts is the haunted mansion on the hill. We've all gone up there to get scared at least once. Kind of a right of passage in these parts."
Jane frowned. "Still drawing a blank.... Why would anybody want to do that?"
The old bridge had finally given out forcing Shelly and the gang-minus-one to hike up the road and path to the house.......
Fred finished up his most recent tour of the mansion. "Shelly, I am not sure this place is worth fixing up. Let me qualify that, the whole situation with Velma has clouded my judgment." Fred paused and then continued, "I don't think the place is haunted. Sometimes, something happens and people think it is supernatural, then it gets in their minds and everything that happens is seen as supernatural!"
A low whining howl filled the room. Fred's eyes opened wide!
"L..L...L...Like That??? Gulp!" Shaggy whimpered.
Daphne glanced at Fred "Ah.. That hasn't happened before..."
Shelly was turning pale. "Crazy noises... Mysterious collapses.. People disappearing.... and the place is not haunted? ... Are you sure?"
Fred pondered the question for a second. "Lets reappraise the situation from outside."
Outside, Fred pointed to the large chimney on the roof. "The wind could have blown over that and caused it to sound, much like a flute!"
Shelly looked toward the roof. "What wind?"
Daphne returned her thoughts to the missing Velma. "Fred, have we really checked the depths of the basement and crawl spaces under this house? She could be trapped in some deep pit or something."
Fred scratched his head. "I gave it a good going over the night of the disappearance, but it wouldn't hurt to look again."
Entering the house, they headed for the rotted wooden steps leading to the basement. "Should we split up?" Fred asked. "No, this time lets stick together!", Daphne answered.
Jane could not remember if she had ever ridden horseback before, but her and Nicole seemed to be doing fine. Mindy was on another horse leading the way. She stopped and got off.
"We'll leave the horses here in the woods. They get spooked when they get near the old place!" With that Mindy got off and tied her horse to a tree. Nicole and Jane did the same.
Jane was deeply embarrassed. "You know, you don't have to do this"
"Anything that might help you get your memory back in not a bother! Besides, I haven't been here in so long, it will be interesting to see the place!"
The three of them, still clad in their white jumpsuits, entered the back door and made their way to the front. There was a large pile of rubble where part of a balcony and staircase had fallen. "Anything look familiar?"
Jane shook her head. "Wow, this place has a lot of mirrors!", she noticed looking down a long hall.
Suddenly, there was a loud thump below them! All three ran for the hallway. Jane ran into a large dusty cobweb that covered her glasses over. Unable to see, she put her hands forward and continued to stumble along.
Fred shook his head, having banged it hard on a broken beam. There was the sound of footsteps scrambling above them. "YIKES!" Shaggy yelled, as Scooby jumped into his arms!
Cleaning her glasses as she went, Jane ran to catch up with Nicole and Mindy who were already back at the horses. She climbed on the back with Nicole and they started back down the path. "Told you that place was haunted!", Mindy said as they trotted along.
Jane smiled. "I can't put my finger on it, but there was something very familiar about the whole running through a haunted house thing! It was really cool !"
Mindy laughed as they rode along. "So you're a ghost-buster! Ha! Yea, even we get into town and see the occasional movie!"
Jane pressed her lips together into a combination frown and smile. "....not a good one I guess!"
All five sat on the front porch. "I know what I saw", Fred said.
Daphne patted him on the back. "Maybe it was just because you hit your head....."
"No, it was Velma, only not alive. She was all white and her arms were outstretched like a zombie as she floated along."
Shelly shuttered. "Your friend is now another ghost in this horrible place! I should get it torn down before it claims anybody else!"
"I am going to explore the grounds! If someone else was here, they would have leave some clues behind!"
Daphne turned turned on her heel and headed around the outside of the house.
Fred rose to his feet. "You heard the woman! Lets crack this case wide open!
It wasn't long before Daphne came across the path. She had seen it before, they all had, but now she looked at it differently.
"Velma would want to see where this thing led." She headed down the path. A few hundred feet in, she found horseshoe markings in the dirt of the path.
"Ghost horses! I think not! Someone has been down the path since the rain hit." With that Daphne headed down the path with determination!
Fred returned to the place in the basement where he had hit his head. He slowly peaked up through the hole, almost expecting to see Velma again. Nothing... He pointed his flashlight in the direction where he has saw her. The beam seamed to disappear. About 10 feet to his left, he saw Shaggy and Scooby standing. "Shaggy!" he yelled in a hushed whisper!
"Zoinks! ..... Oh Fred! It's you!" "Yea, it's me. Listen, I have a laser pointer. I'm going to point the beam where I saw her. I want you to follow it, looking closely for anything that might be disturbed." With that, Fred pointed the laser. Shaggy and Scooby carefully followed the beam...
"Fred, it hits this mirror and heads down this other hallway!" Slowly the two headed down the hallway. Fred could see their blurred reflection in the mirror...
"Relma!", Scooby said. Shaggy looked around and then turned toward Fred. "Scooby says he smells Velma!"
"We're coming right up, stay put!" Fred and Shelly worked their way to the stairs and up to where Shaggy and Scooby were standing. It was a hallway that led toward the back door. Fred pointed his flashlight on the floor. "Foot prints!"
Kneeling down, he carefully examined the footprints. "Sneakers. Three different pairs. Two look to be the same size. The third pair is larger. Why would Velma try to scare us, and why would she be wearing sneakers?"
Scooby pointed to the one pair of prints. "Relma!", he said again!
Fred looked at the pattern of the prints. Two sets looked like they had run down the hall, the third, Velma's, looked to be staggering!
"Three people, Velma is one of them. Are the other two holding her captive?"
Daphne was well on her way down the path and had reached the first field. She tried to call Fred, but there was no service on her phone. Even the walkie-talkie feature seemed to require service to be used. In the distance she could see a farmhouse. She tried to figure out if it had been one they visited but from the distance she was at, she could not be sure. The horseshoe prints headed in that direction, so she continued on her way.
"Why would somebody try to scare us, and what would Velma be doing with them if that is who Fred saw..."
Her legs were getting tired, and the cut on her shin was starting to throb again, but she was more determined then ever.
As she crossed the field, something shiny caught her attention. It was a pack of spare batteries like the ones they had left with Velma.
Velma was here! But why??? Why would she not want to make contact with them???
The faster Daphne ran, the bigger the field seemed to be, but nothing could stop her now! Her heart was pounding in her throat, but still she ran!
Fred pointed to the shoe prints near the path in back of the house. "Those are Daphne's shoes, she must have headed down this path."
Fred headed down the path followed by Shelly, Shaggy and Scooby. "Relma! rot rong rago!"
"What did he say", Shelly asked. "Velma, not long ago!", Shaggy replied.
"Look! Horse Shoe Prints!", Freddy exclaimed. "She must be following them!"
"Ro Relma, ron rorse?" .... "Hu?" ..... "He said, No Velma, on horse? Like, he must think she got onto a horse cause he can't smell her anymore."
Daphne was panting, trying to catch her breath while leaning on a fence. She had crossed the first field, and the second one lie in front of her. In the distance, she could see the beehives!
"pant...pant... The Beekeepers! pant....pant... There were three of them! pant...pant.. Why would Velma be working on beehives? pant...pant... They were in white jumpsuits! pant...pant..."
It was a modest lunch of beans and fresh baked bread. Jane was enjoying the taste. For some reason, she must not eat too many fresh cooked meals. That would have to change!
"Welcome to our culture! Looks like you passed our big right-of-passage, visiting the haunted house!", Mindy said jokingly.
Jane smiled. "There is something I am enjoying here that I don't think I was enjoying in life before. Maybe that is why I am having trouble remembering..."
"Tisk Tisk", Mindy said, "Life is what you make of it. I had a chance to move into town and start a new life, or even leave this area. I chose to stay. But, I don't believe for one second that moving would cause me to loose the simple pleasures I get from life. That travels with you no matter where you are."
There was a knock at the door. Mindy seemed surprised. "We don't get too many people knocking on our door!"
"I'll get it.", Jane said. She got up and walked over to the door. As she opened it, she saw a red headed woman standing there.
"Can I help you?"
Daphne could not speak! The smile on her face however said volumes!
Jane looked baffled! There was a flood of emotions swamping her. Overwhelming was the feeling of familiarity!
"Velma!", she finally choked out!
Mindy had taken the cue as to what was going on and decided to downplay the situation to take the emotional edge off of it...
"Oh, so that's her name! We've been calling her Jane", she said with a smile.
Jane fell back into her chair and into an almost trance like state.
"Your friend here, she was out in the storm the other night, and was struck by lightning!"
It all started to come together for Daphne, but she could not say a word. The look of joy in her eyes was saying it all.
Jane looked puzzled, but slowly a look of joy came over her face as Velma resurfaced! Jane, however was not lost!
The smile slowly broadened and grew ear to ear...
Daphne! She exclaimed at the top of her lungs!
As she ran to hug Daphne, Nicole entered the room. She saw what was going on and ran to her mother's side.
"Mom, have we lost Jane?"
Mindy smiled. "My hunch is no, only the name is different!"
Velma showed Daphne the strange rash on her leg and her burnt shoe. Daphne showed Velma her bruised and bandaged leg. It was all coming back to her, yet some things had changed for good.
The four sat down at the table and continued eating the lunch Velma had started. When Daphne told her about Fred seeing her ghost, she laughed so hard she almost choked!
Slowly, Velma was also trying to understand why her "Jane" persona was so different from her usual self.
About then, the rest of the gang showed up and a hug-fest started! Spirits were never higher!
Afternoon turned into evening as stories were exchanged. Shaggy and Scooby gathered wood and a campfire was started in the back yard. Each related their own life's experience!
Another haunting was put to bed as the combined stories merged to explain why so many people thought the old mansion was haunted. Seems Fred and Velma's experience was far from the first time one person spooked another in the old house! Shelly announced her first step in restoration was going to be removing all the mirrors!
As the night faded towards sleep and the fire died down, Velma became philosophical.
"I think part of me desperately wanted to see life in simpler terms. The lightning bolt rebooted my brain and freed me from the pattern of over analysis I had gotten myself into. Jane was what I was looking for in myself. I have that now!"
Leaning back, she looked at the night sky. A white flash flew overhead. Velma smiled. It was just a shooting star!