Mr. Blake was a formidable looking man. He decided the best way to handle this was as if it was a job interview and the four teens in the room were applying for the job.
"Mysteries Inc., Eh? I suppose you each have very specific skills you are bringing into this organization. Let's start by each of you telling me what you can contribute. Who wants to go first?"
After a few moments of silence, Velma was the first to speak;
"I am confident that I can prove beyond any reasonable doubt that there is nothing supernatural happening at the factory. Simply put, there is no such thing as ghosts! If we look at the facts, the first thing we see is that your factory has been there for seven years, and the so-called haunting has only occurred for the last six months! Given what has been written about the so-called supernatural, why would this, or these, spirits wait until now to start their activities? If I have the chance, I am sure I will uncover evidence that what is going on is far more to do with the world we live in rather than something from beyond the grave!"
Blake was impressed, but like a good businessman, he did not let it show. "Next?"
Freddy decided he would put his best foot forward.
"I agree with what Velma said. I want to build on this and say that if we make the assumption that what is going on is of this world, that at some point there may be a need to tackle the perpetrators, either through the used of a carefully designed trap, or, quite literally, a tackle. With my past experience in football, I am pretty good at bringing someone down to the ground if needed."
Once again, Blake was impressed. Still, there was more to be considered. His eyes focused on the hippy kid in the green shirt.
Shaggy had been the reluctant member. Still, today had been a very special day. It had started with a new low point, and ended on quite a high note. These were his new friends, and he was not going to let them down!
"Excuse me, Mr. Sir, I mean Mr. Blake... I may look like I have little to offer, but I can assure you that I have a special talent at drawing people out. All my life, people have chased after me, usually for no reason at all! I'm always the one that's picked out if something has gone wrong no matter how much it wasn't my fault! Somebody in life always has to be the bait and I believe I was born with that tattooed on my forehead! It doesn't sound like much, but like, it's all I have to offer!"
"Impressive!", Blake said. He quickly realized that he had left a complement slip out and did his best to regain his composure. He looked at his daughter....
"And now my dear, What do you have to offer?"
Daphne was shocked! Her father was questioning her worth! Wasn't it her idea to save this factory in the first place? Still, if she didn't say anything she would look like a fool.
"You're not running for office my dear!", he boomed, "But I have heard enough."
All four stood in silence awaiting the results of this unexpected test. Blake stood and addressed them all;
"I'm not paying you for this job. I have little confidence you will be able to do anything to save the factory. If you do it, you do it out of your own free will. I will however give you this one perk; I am buying our landscaper a new van. You kids can have the old one to use as a base of operations. It needs a paint job and a women's touch, but it's a good van. Freddy, I'm putting you in charge of the van. If by some unexpected miracle you do save the factory, I will cover the cost of gas and insurance for the van for a period of two years. There's the deal kids, take it or leave it!"
With that, he turned and left the room. He knew what their decision would be and wanted them to be able to enjoy it alone. He was afraid he would crack a smile or start laughing with them! They needed to treat this job with respect. Making if all fun and games would prevent this from happening.
All four watched as he left the room, trying to conceal their excitement.
"A Van!", Freddy said, "This is so cool! It is the one thing I've always wanted but could never afford!"
"Our van.", Daphne added, "Our own Mysteries Incorporated van!"
"Our own machine to cruse around in!", Shaggy added, "This is like the best day of my life!!"
"Mystery Inc van... no, Mystery Inc Machine...", Velma said in a low voice .......
"Jinkies! It's The Mystery Machine!"
All cheered in agreement!
In a dark green van, with a fresh coat of base paint, four teenagers started out on their first adventure. Four days had passed and each evening the gang had gotten together to work out a plan, and to work on the van as well. Friday evening seemed like the perfect time to set out on an adventure. It was a three day weekend, with Monday being a Holyday. Plenty of time to figure this mystery out!
Shaggy was musing over his day at school, and how suppressed the teacher had been! This time, Shaggy had known the answer when picked on! How cool was that !
Fred and Daphne were seated in the front. Shaggy and Velma in the back. The ride was a bit bumpy. Freddy was pretty sure the Mystery Machine needed new shocks in the front and back. "It still smells like fertilizer!", Daphne commented.
Freddy laughed. "How can you smell that over the bottle of perfume you dumped in the back? Anyway, in a couple of weeks, I am sure the smell will fade."
Daphne was reading through her case notes. "If you look at the opening date, and the date of the first haunting event, the factory was open for six year, six months, and six days without incident."
"Zoinks! Like Velma, isn't 666 a real bad number??"
"Zoinks?", Velma chuckled, "I don't believe I've heard that word before! Looks like we are even! Now, about 666... Only if you let it be. Its like the number thirteen. From a mathematical point of view, it is simply the next whole number after twelve and before fourteen. Nothing more. Nothing less."
"Fred?", Daphne asked, "What do you think of oversized daises for a design on the hubcaps?"
Freddy cringed. "I guess I could live with that...."
Velma leaned forward. "So Daphne, what kind of events have been happening that have everybody spooked?"
"Well, it started with machinery that would turn on or off with no explainable cause.."
"Could be electrical or wiring Daphne....."
"But then things got worse, strange odors and mists."
"Then strange groaning noises."
"Old chimneys and the wind....."
"Then the windows steamed up and writing appeared on them that said Get Out!"
Velma sat quietly. "ok... I can't explain that one yet.... but I will."
The van turned down a long twisting wooded road, and an early evening fog began to settle in. Shaggy had his nose to the window looking out.
"Like I have the strangest feeling... Almost reverse Day Ja Voodoo!"
Velma laughed. "Déjà vu ? It's a French term that means already seen. So, the reverse means you already know you are going to see it again!"
"Like, yea! Exactly!"
Velma smiled and looked out the window with him. "It must be that building, over there..." She pointed at the warehouse looking complex. "Well, it's not a haunted mansion."
The brakes squealed as the Mystery Machine came to a halt. The four teens climbed out and took their first close up look at the building. "Well, everyone is gone for the long weekend.", Freddy said, "This will give us a good chance to look around."
Velma was already looking and had found her first... "I'm not sure this is a clue, but Freddy, look at this. It's a copper fitting in the grass. Shiny and new. Why would someone be doing plumbing on the outside of the building?"
Daphne and Freddy started at the front door and headed left. Velma and Shaggy headed right. It took about five minutes before they all met up behind the building. This time Velma and Shaggy came up empty handed, but Daphne had found a tube of clear lip gloss. "Not much of a start. Guess it's time to go inside.
Daphne had the keys and opened the front door, turning off the alarm system. She was amazed at the size of the place! "All of this, just so they can make my scarves!"
"Your scarves?", Velma said chuckling.
"Well, my favorite purple one comes from here. Actually it is a blue to mauve color."
"Yea, we all call that purple Daphne!", Velma said with a smile.
Freddy had worked his way to the back of the main room. "Golly Gee! Look at the size of this boiler!"
Daphne quickly made her way over. "From what I understand, steam is used in many of the processes from cloth relaxation to color embedment."
"Wow", Shaggy said, "Relaxing cloth! The term is making me sleepy!"
"This is out of place.", Velma mused. "These wires, they go into that ventilation duct. There is no way wires should be run through a ventilation duct." She started pulling at the wire. More and more came out until there was a clunking sound. "Freddy, do you have a screw driver?"
Freddy pulled a boy scout knife from his back pocket and and opened the grill on the duct. Out popped a small speaker!
"There's your strange noise source!"
Suddenly, a large press came to life shooting steam in every direction!
Before she knew what happened, Velma found herself running for the front door with Daphne, Fred, and Shaggy all in her arms! She blew through the front door and didn't stop until they all hit the Mystery Machine. Panting, they all fell to the ground!
"Hey, I though I was suppose to be the strong one!", Fred complained.
"Something is sure going on in there!", Daphne summarized!
"Yea, like it's haunted for real!", Shaggy squeaked in a new found high pitched voice.
Velma sat on the ground panting.. "No... (huff huff) ... I ... (huff huff) ... don't ... (huff huff) .. think so..."
It took a few minutes, but all recovered their breath.
"Fred, lets look at the building plans", said Velma.
"I've got them in the back of the van.. Here.."
Freddy unfolded the papers and all four looked them over. Velma traced out the duct work and the floor layout.
"Part of it is slab construction, but this other part is built up on a decked out section with truss beam construction."
"Like, what's that mean Velma??"
"It means you can get underneath this part of the building, but not this part... Lets go take a look!"
Being the smallest of the group, Velma put on a jump suit and a head mounted flashlight. Shaggy, being the second smallest, also reluctantly put on a similar outfit, while grumbling that Daphne was probably slightly smaller then him. Velma chuckled. "Somehow, I can't picture Daphne crawling around in the dirt!"
As the four rounded the back of the building, Daphne took a stumble. "I can't believe my balance lately, I really am not that prone to tripping!"
Velma was staring at the ground. "It's not you Daphne, there's a small rut here, like a worn path."
Freddy explored the path back towards the woods. "Look, dirt!"
The other three joined up with him. Near the end of the path there was a hill of dirt. It didn't look too new, but it didn't look like it had been there for seven years. Somebody had been up to something!
Velma took a closer look at the corner of the building. Under the floor level, there was a latticework that covered a crawlspace. It was loose. "Ok guys, I'm going in!", she announced.
"A tape deck!", Fred exclaimed.
"That's not all.", Velma responded, "Some wiring and piping have been disturbed as well. It looks like someone wanted to get to something under this building real bad and had to give up when they hit the concrete."
"But, what made the noises today?", Daphne asked.
"I don't know. It looks like the tape deck hasn't been used in awhile, so it wasn't that. I think we now have more questions then answers, but we are loosing the daylight! Guess we have to call it a night!"
As the four returned, Shaggy found his voice and filled in his theory:
"Cause it's like really haunted! There was no tape, and that thing came alive! It's 666! That's a bad number and maybe it's something trying to get out, not in! Like some Indian burial ground! Something spooky is under there!"
Velma stopped in her tracks. "Shaggy's right!"
"HUH?", the other three, including Shaggy all gasped at the same time!
"Well, not something spooky, but we have to research what this ground had been used for! I think something is buried under there, and someone wants it out!"
Most of Saturday morning was spent at the local library researching old newspaper articles. Velma focused on events, and Freddy researched the location. Daphne explained to her dad about what they had found, and her dad confirmed that there had been no authorized work done under the factory.
Shaggy leaned over Velma's shoulder. "Nothing?"
"Nothing! There are no events that would center around this property being anything but woods prior to the construction. There's lots of news events that happened around Coolsville in the last 15 years, but nothing that connects to this place.
"Wow, maybe it's like pirates that have come back from the dead to reclaim buried treasure!"
"In Ohio ??", Velma said with a laugh.
Velma could see that Shaggy looked dejected. She needed to say something to cheer him up.
"But you might be on to something... "
She pulled yesterday's finds out of her pocket. Lip gloss and a copper fitting. Suddenly her Eyes lit up!
Velma had just finished writing down the last few lines of text when Mr. Blake came into the room.
"We know you own the local paper, the Coolsville Post. Do you think you could run this article in today's paper?", Freddy asked, as he handed him the page Velma had just finished writing.
"Please Dad?", Daphne asked.
Mr. Blake read through the article. "Well, the four-thirty edition goes to press in about an hour, I might be able to do it." As he turned to leave the room he looked back over his shoulder, "You really think there is something to this?"
All four nodded their heads.
As the sun was setting, Freddy made his way back out of the woods. He looked over at the Mystery Machine and the three figures that were next to it. There was something exciting about the chemistry the four had developed. It some ways, it was the most fun that he could remember having! "Lets pull the van over by that shed. It should blend in like it's always been there."
Daphne opened the front door and they followed each other into the building.
Velma shot a glance at Fred. "There's that moaning again!"
"It sounds weaker Velma. And if you're right, we have a second mystery on our hands"
Each of the four found a comfortable place on the floor. They all knew it could be a long while before anything happened, if anything would happen at all!
Velma peered out a window that was above her head and looked at the sky as the sun set. Slowly the stars began to come out. The sky was far more colorful then the fake sky at the planetarium. It dawned on her that maybe she was spending too much time looking at that sky, and not enough time looking at the real one. She could tell that the sun was setting on her isolation as well. This mystery business was far more exciting, and she realized for the first time that mystery was in her blood! She also realized that these three friends shared a special bond with her. Something she could not put her finger on, but something, none-the-less.
Shaggy was a bit frightened. He looked over at Velma, then Fred, then Daphne. The fear seemed to fade slightly. In one short week he had a whole new group of friends. Friends that had more substance then most of the other people he had met in his life!
Freddy was also using the time for self contemplation. One week ago, he was just the school jock. Now he was part of a team that each had gifts to use that were as strong as any of his own. People were relying on him, and just as important, he was relying on them! What a difference a week could make!
Like Velma, Daphne was looking up through a skylight at the nighttime sky. This had all been set in motion by her desire to have a good supply of purple scarves. How stupid that now seemed! This was now about a team of people working toward a common goal. Her dad had caught her off guard when he questioned her about what she could offer. The shortcomings of her own feeble explanations had begun to sink in. Sure she was beautiful, and had style, but what else did she really have to offer the world? She realized now that her interest in Mysteries Inc. was an exploration of her other potentials. She would teach, and she would learn from this new group of..... friends!
It was the sound of the string breaking that Velma had attached around the loose latticework!
"OK, lets move!", Freddy whispered!
The four headed out the front door. Velma ran around the building and wedged a piece of wood against the lattice. Bam! The lattice burst off! Daphne, Freddy, and Shaggy all turned on their high power flashlights, shining them at the area as two figures burst forth and headed for the woods! Freddy grabbed one rope, Shaggy and Daphne grabbed another one, each pulling in opposite directions! The net in the woods did it's job, trapping the two figures dressed in black!
Velma had made her way back to the phone and gave the cops the cue they had been waiting for! Within minutes Police cars were at the scene and took the figures into custody! Mr. Blake, who had been in one of the parole cars stepped out, dropping his facade, he screamed "Great Job !!!"
Officer Dunken was the most suppressed! "How did you kids figure this out?"
Velma was the first to speak;
"I was thinking about pirates and buried treasure when it occurred to me that there is such a thing as modern pirates. People who would burry their stash until a later date and then dig it up! That's when it occurred to me that the news article I was reading was about a robbery from ten years ago, but might be relevant! Even though the crooks were caught, the five million dollars was never found!"
Freddy picked up the story;
"They were sentenced to ten years, which meant they got out about six months ago, right when all the problems started here!"
Shaggy took over;
"Like they came back for the loot, and there was a factory where they had buried it! They tried to dig under it but hit concrete!"
Daphne went next;
"So they tried to spook everyone out. If the factory closed, they could get to their money! We made up the story for the paper about a boiler repair man at the factory, and that he had come across all this cash!"
Velma took back over;
"We knew if they read the article they would put two and two together and make a last ditch effort to come out here in hopes of getting some of their stolen loot back!"
Officer Dunken shook his head. "Amazing! But there were some pretty weird stories about this place being haunted. I remember one about 'Get Out' appearing out of nowhere on all the windows! How did they do that?"
"I couldn't figure that out at first, but we found this copper fitting and lip gloss on the first day. What they did is write 'Get Out' on all the windows with the lip gloss. They had rigged up some copper tubing around the building and diverted steam from the boiler to produce a steam cloud. The writing was invisible until the steam condensed on all the windows!"
Officer Dunken smiled, "Well they almost got away with it!"
The larger of the two men grumbled from the back seat of the car, "We would have, if it wasn't for those stupid meddling kids!
Daphne worked her way over to Fred. "Do your traps always work so brilliantly?"
"Of Course!", he replied with a smile!
As the police drove away, Shaggy turned to Velma. "What about that moaning I was hearing tonight? That wasn't them."
Velma scratched her chin, "You're right. That wasn't them. Gang, I think we still have one mystery to solve here."
Each of the four grabbed a flashlight and began shining it through the ducts in the building. All of a sudden, Shaggy started laughing, and ran out of the building. The other three followed in hot pursuit.
Around the back, there was a large duct feeding a fan system. Shaggy leaned way into it and scooped up the contents....
"Here's the source of our strange oooobee noise!"
Daphne clutched her hands together and smiled! "A Puppy !!!"
"Poor little guy must have been abandon and got trapped in here! Look at how thin he is! I bet he's hungry!"
Velma smiled! "Shaggy Scooped up ooobee! Even I have to admit he is the cutest thing I've seen!"
Shaggy was now snout to snout with the small puppy! "I scooped up ooobbbe! Yes I did! I'm going to call you Scooby!"
Daphne came over and nudged Velma's side and leaned down to whisper something in her ear....
"Judging by Shaggy's shirt, I think he should call him 'Scooby Doo !' "
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