Grand Illusions in Ridmore Mansion:
Life was good for the gang of Mystery Inc. Since they got back together, they had formed an actual business out of their love for Solving Mysteries. Nothing changed much, except that Mysteries came to them, instead of them stumbling over them. That and the fact that they got paid was also a plus. It was like any other call... One of their rudimentary type cases. Missing will, hungry relatives, haunted mansion with the run of the mill ghost. They figured this would be like every other case. They were in for quite a surprise.
"Well Gang, We're here!"
Announced Fred as he pulled the Mystery Machine to the front of the destination of their next job.
"Are you sure this is the right address?"
Daphne asked as she leaned out of the passenger side window staring at the quaint little mansion sitting at the top of a hill in Belle Vernon PA. Unlike most of the other mansions they went to, they found the place disheveled, creepy and downright dark. But the small gardens filled with flowers and the occasional trees on the property threw the gang for a loop. It also looked very pretty as the sun was setting and casting the white mansion in a reddish hue.
"Like' since when did spooky spooks get digs this nice? Heh heh."
Shaggy laughed between the looks of his mid-lunch snack and the passenger window. Which the few glances that he made away from his tall Shaggy style sandwich, made them smaller as his canine pal took advantage of his buddies negligence of the meal to take a foot of two off of the stack between Shaggy’s hands. Thankfully for Shaggy’s stomach, he caught the act and Shaggy was actually able to eat some of his sandwich. Velma looked up from her laptop and then back at the black and white photo she had on her computer of the place.
"Yep, it's the right place. According to this, this is the mansion of the late John Ridmore. A judge who had a great career and settled down in the small town of Belle Vernon PA. He was also said, in this news paper interview that he was a collector of some sort, though the specific items he collected isn't recorded down here."
Velma told the others as she closed her laptop and gathered her things together. The gang piled out of the van and walked through the main iron rung gates in the front of the house. Surprisingly they were open and the gang was able to walk up to the main door. Taking a look at the gang, Fred turned to the main door and took up the knocker.
*BANG BANG BANG*
The wood echoed as the iron knocker hit the base as it sounded their arrival. Taking a step back, the gang waited till the door swung open. Sitting there was their greeter. An old man squinted over his spectacles from his lower position in a wheelchair. He didn't look like the most welcoming host.
He rasped, looking clearly annoyed and angry at what ever he had been doing had been disturbed. Coughing once, Fred took over for the gang, making their usual introduction.
"We are Mystery Inc. We were hired by a Miss Bella Ridmore to solve a case here."
"Ought to have known that old crone would have stuck her nose into things. Well, come in already. You’re letting the bugs in."
The old man scoffed and turned his wheelchair sharply around and led them further inside the house. Once inside, the interior seemed the total opposite of the pretty, and cheery exterior. Inside was the usual dark and creepy type mansion they were used to, though it still had a non-creepy atmosphere to it. It felt more like a museum, rather then a haunted place that it was claimed to be. Not to many walls didn't have pictures or paintings upon them. Cases lined some walls filled with nick knacks the previous owner had seemed to have collected over the years. The wheel-chaired man led them to what seemed to be a living room.
"Stay here... Someone will come along... If your lucky."
He grumpily huffed and quickly made his exit.
"Well wasn't he cheery."
Daphne commented rather flatly. Shaggy looked where the man had left then back to Daphne.
"You right Daph, Like' that old guy looked like he sucked on a sour lemon with that expression. Get it Scoob? Sour.. Lemon? Ha ha."
"Rah Rah! Remon! Eh hehehe."
Scooby agreed with his companion, as always Shaggy had not gotten too far in a conversation without bringing up something to do with food.
Fred signed almost exasperated. Not so much as the sour comment, for there was something annoying that old man, but the fact that food was always on those two's mind. He looked around the room that they were in. Since they were here, they might as well have a look around as they waited.
"Well, since we have to wait. We might as well look for clues. Or at least gather more information about the house. So look around guys."
Fred said falling into his usual role as leader.. They all turned and took stock of the insides of the living room they were in. As Daphne and Fred looked on the bookshelves at the books the owner had in his collection, Velma occupied the other side of the room looking in a few cases at the stuff sitting on the shelves inside. Shaggy and Scooby found themselves looking around the large fireplace that occupied one side of the room. After a bit of silence while looking, Scooby broke it with a question.
"Ah, Yeah Scoob?"
"Ru ris ran?"
"Eh? Who that? Like' I don't know old buddy, old pal. But the picture looks old. And it has some bit of cloth on the inside too. Strange eh Scoob?"
Curious at what Shaggy and Scooby had found, Velma went over to where they were. Her eyes grew a bit wide at the picture inside.
"That's a picture of Bela Lugosi. The man who was most known for his dramatic rendition of Dracula."
Shaggy and Scooby gulped as Shaggy's hand trembled as he held onto the picture.
"No you Goofs. He played Dracula in the 1931 black and white version. A movie."
Velma sighed. They were such a pair of scaredy cats sometimes.
"Oh... Heh heh"
Shaggy nervously laughed, though his hand stopped shaking.
"I knew that."
As Velma rolled her eyes, someone new entered the room.
"Wow, I was surprised someone actually knew who he was without his make-up on."
The gang turned and was greeted by the sight of a young girl. She had to be 13 or 14 years old as she stood there with her hands clasped behind her back as she rocked on her heels watching them. Her light black hair was cut at her shoulders in a simple straight fashion and she was wearing worn jeans and a t-shirt. Fred took up the initiative and introduced them.
"I'm Fred Jones and this is the group Mystery Inc…"
The girl by the door cut off Fred’s speech.
"And that is Daphne Blake. Shaggy Rogers, Velma Dinkley and Scooby Doo."
The girl finished up for Fred. She apparently recognized the gang. She was smiling at them as she introduced herself.
"My name is Anne Ridmore. My Grand dad was the owner of the house. I was told by Granduncle Edward to see you to your rooms. My grandaunt Bella was the one who told me that you guys would be coming. Follow me and I'll show you to some guest rooms you can put your stuff into while you stay here and work on the case."
She seemed overall nice and waited for them to get their stuff from the van before she continued on to lead them to their rooms.
"The house, Grandpa made it just to his liking. He made sure there was plenty of room for his collection."
She explained as she gestured to some of the cases that lined the walls. A lot of them were filled with old looking clothing with pictures with them. Others were various items that might have belongs to some rich person before. She led them up to the second floor before stopping by a door.
"This is where Ms. Blake and Ms. Dinkley will be staying. You guys will have the room next to them on the right. If you need anything, I'll be in the room at the end of the hall."
She pointed down where her door was.
"The kitchen is open for anyone to use. Feel free. And it was pre-stocked before you arrived because we got.. um..."
She blushed a bit as she tumbled on the words to say it in a way to not offend anyone.
"... We got a heads up of the eating habits of..."
"You were told about our two gluttons. It's alright, you can say it."
Velma told the young girl. The girl looked relieved. Daphne also had to add.
"It's alright for you to call us by our first name. Ms Blake just sounds to formal."
The girl blushed deeper color before retreating a bit in the direction of her room.
"Ok.. Ms. Bla... Daphne... Sleep well everyone. And I will see you in the morning."
She gave a nod of her head and then ran for her room. The gang watched the girl as she closed her door. They all then looked at each other and shrugged.
"She seemed to know about us, maybe she was just a shy fan."
Daphne mentioned offhand. Fred nodded, as that could be a possibility. Why else was she blushing around them? They had not said too much to really embarrass the girl.
"Well anyway gang. It took us a while to get here. And the day is getting short. So why not get some rest and start in the morning?"
"Like' sounds like a plan. We are early this time. The Spooks haven't even arrived."
Shaggy laughed, confident a bit since they had survived about an hour or two at the supposedly haunted mansion and no one tried to run them out yet. He took it as a good sign. They bid each other good night as they settled in each of their rooms for the night.
As morning hit, Daphne sat up confused. She got out of bed and was searching the walls for something. The movements of her best friend woke Velma up. Reaching groggly for her glasses, she placed them on to looked confused at her roomy.
"What's wrong Daph?"
"Well... I'm still here..."
Velma looked confused at that statement. She just stared waiting for her to explain.
"I mean, how many actual good night sleep, have we ever gotten at a 'haunted place'?"
"You do got a point there."
Velma considered, as she looked towards the window that looking into the large grassy backyard. The house overall was too nice of a place to be considered Haunted. Though if it turned out as it usually did, it isn't going to be haunted in the end anyway. There is almost always someone, some human behind the supposed haunting. Daphne kept going on her thoughts as she searched a new wall.
"I mean, if it isn't you and me, its Shaggy and Scooby getting food at night for a snack. And they come running in to wake us all up. Or something."
Velma looked back towards her as Daph gave up. Not being able to find anything.
"Oh, so you like getting kidnapped all the time."
Velma eyebrows tilted as a smile tugged at the corner of her mouth. Giving her one of those wiry smirks she gave when she playfully made fun of redheaded ditz.
"Oh no. They always muss my hair."
Daphne joined in on the teasing Velma did on her. Although it was an annoyance of her getting captured often, they had tended to joke about it a lot.
"But seriously. This is one for the books. A actual full night of sleep."
Daphne commented before they both broke into laughter. A light knock came from the door and broke their giggles. It was Fred and Shaggy.
"Well someone's in a good mood."
Fred piped up as he peeked his head in from the door.
"What's so funny in the morning?" He asked.
"Daph was just commenting on how much of her beauty sleep she got. Usually we don't get that much sleep on a job."
Fred put a hand to his chin as he tried to think of another night they had gotten away with sleeping the first night at a job site and not had something happen.
"You know, your right?"
Daphne said, nudging Velma who in turn nudged her back.
"Well, since you girls aren't ready, we'll have to meet you. Scooby is whining and I think if Shag's stomach gets any louder, he might knock the house down. They ate everything in the cooler last night."
"Alright Fred. We'll be down soon."
Fred closed the door and sighed. If they were lucky the girls would be down tomorrow at rate Daphne usually took. Though in the end, it didn't take as long as Fred had thought, but it was long enough for Shaggy and Scooby to make their second home in the kitchen. As Fred lingered in the hallway looking at a picture of John Ridmore waiting for the girls, Shaggy and Scooby were getting into everything. As usual, all the cupboards and drawers were open, and food items were all over the place. As the three of them entered the kitchen, they came in time to hear Shaggy over the clatter of food items.
"Hey... Where is all the corn syrup? Oh well... No. No.. Over there Scoob. The food coloring goes next to the baking sections, and the spaghetti sauce goes next to the pizza section by the oven."
Responded Scooby, as his paws were full of various items. As he spilled the food coloring by the baking section, he then tipped and skittered over to put the bottles of sauce down before he made a mess on the floor. Velma watched in amusement before something caught her eye.
"That's strange. The bottles of Red color dye are all used up."
Shaggy's head peeked out from the walk in closet to give his opinion.
"Like' maybe they really like the color of red?"
Scooby looked over and shrugged and continued to pour the sauce in to the pot. He really didn't mind if the color red was missing. Food coloring didn't have a taste. It just was there to make things to look pretty. He didn't know why Shaggy even used it.
Came a meek voice from the doorframe to the kitchen. It was Anne again.
"Did everyone sleep well?"
"Yes. Thank you Anne."
Daphne said to her, Anne blushed and bowed her head.
"Good... Well. In an hour my grand aunt Bella will be arriving and we plan to have a meeting with the banker in the living room about the missing will. I... I thought it might be a good idea if you attended."
She told them before disappearing around the door. The gang all looked at each other again and shrugged. She certainly seemed to be a shy one. The gang ate what food they could get their hands on that didn't go into Shaggy and Scooby's creations, and they made sure to get to the living room to attend the meeting. Once the Banker saw that everyone seemed there, he started.
"Greeting. My name is Mr. Whiden. I was the Banker for Mr. Ridmore and was put in charge of his estate in a manner of speaking. He, although I constantly told him to do it with the bank, made his own will. Now his will was not in the place he said it was. Thus I figure it is the reason you are all here. Though... Where is Mr. Ridmore's younger brother?"
The man looked around the guests present and noticed the man in the wheelchair had not arrived yet. After a short bit of wondering, the brother in questioned was rolled in by a man standing behind him. The man looked like a younger version of all the pictures in the house of John Ridmore. He was pushing the man with one hand while itching the side of his neck. His skin looked irritated and a clear birthmark sat upon his shoulder as his hand scratched.
"Father. You made Mr. Whiden wait."
"Really? I would have never thought about it. And stop that itching boy."
Edward scoffed at his son. Edward Junior reluctantly lowered his hand from his neck.
"Really Junior? Don't mull on matter as such. We are here and he is still here. That is all that matters."
The he turned to the Banker with the scowl still upon his face.
"Now Mr. Whiden. Have you said anything else that I didn't know? Or am I just wasting my time here?"
Mister Whiden sighed as he adjusted his glasses back on the perch of his nose.
"No Edward, no new news of the will yet. Though if things keep up this rate, you will be the owner of the mansion by default. Since you are the closest blood relative."
Edward didn't seem to look too happy at the news of getting the place.
"Good. Then I can kick you all out for disturbing my peace. Let's go Junior."
Just as the old man was wheeled around to head back to his room, a voice boomed over all.
"You would like that, wouldn't you little brother."
The voice echoed off the walls and it's source was impossible as the old walls made for good resonance and made it hard finding the exact direction it was coming from..
"I can't let you stay then in my house."
A shriek sounded off down the halls. It was a voice of a woman in distress. Edward Junior wheeled his father towards the shriek.
As the two disappeared into the hallway, Ms Norman came running into the living room. She was out of breath and looking very frightened. She was visibly trembling as the one who could only be Bella came over to her. The gang was going to go comfort her if Bella had not gone to her.
"Ms Norman. What happened to you?"
"Oh miss Bella! It was horrible. I was doing my chores and I was planning on taking some laundry down the stairs to the basement like I usually do when I opened the door I got attacked. It was Mister Ridmore. John Ridmore! Oh, it was a scary sight Miss Bella. I threw my laundry at him ran. Bless his heart Edward Junior and his father headed towards him to deal with him."
Was Edward seniors voice down the hall. The Gang was on it. Running out and down the hallway, Fred, Daphne, and Velma were at the head, while Shaggy and Scooby trailed behind everyone else. They watched as what seemed to be a masked figure pick up the body of Edward Junior and hike it over his shoulder. He turned and it looked like an old man was holding the limp body of Junior over his shoulder as he started to push the flailing Edward senior towards the end of the hall to escape.
"Stop right there!"
Yelled Fred as he pulled out in front of the group. He was determined to get the guy. Seeing Fred gaining fast. He spun Edward senior to face Fred and shoved the old man at him. Fred collided with the wheelchair, as Edward senior was furious.
"What are you doing? Quit dawdling and get my brother. He took my son!"
The old man scowled. Fred shook his head and decided against getting thanks out of the old geezer, instead he ran for the door that the supposed ghost of John Ridmore disappeared into with Edward junior. Fred burst into the room to meet a cluttered, but otherwise empty study room. Fred turned as the speaker above his head crackled to life.
"Not so fast my brother. You might have gotten away from me, but I have gotten your son. Leave this house and give up your rights to the house and you shall find your son. If not, I might have to do something drastic to him."
The voice cut out as Edward scowled up at the speaker. So that is where the voice had been coming from. Like most rich people in the area, Ridmore had installed speakers inside of his mansion so he would be able to play music or what ever, where ever in the house. Behind Fred and Edward, everyone else came panting into the room. Not only was the rest of the gang there, but Bella, Anne, Ms. Norman and Mr. Whiden had also came. Fred turned to the group.
"Where is the machine for the speaker system?"
Ms Norman pointed at the machine that sat at the table right behind where Fred had stopped and stood. Velma came over and inspected the device for a bit. After some careful examining and checking of wires, she shook her head.
"It's off. Everything on here seems to be in one piece and in working order. But nothing is here to suggest any alteration, or even a recording device. This just looks like your run of the mill communication device. Like one you might have in a school PA system."
She looked puzzled, but also somewhat excited. Besides the fact that Edward was missing, this wasn't looking like such a dull trip after all. They were in for a good mystery. Edward scowled at Velma's expression.
"So you are enjoying that fact that my son is captured. Eh? You guys are here to solve mysteries... Well here is one. Now find my son!"
"Now now Brother dear." Softly spoke Bella. "These kids are here to help yes, but you don't have to yell at them. That will get nothing done."
"I can yell at them all I please. My ghost of a brother took my only son. I knew he was to stupid and annoying to stay dead, that brother of mine. But to steal my own son. Now that is down right monstrous. You brats! Find my son!"
He scowled and wheeled himself past everyone. Probably heading to his room. Anna headed off after him to make sure he was ok, and Mr. Whiden cleared his throat.
"Well, I am not apart of this. I must be going. I will be back in a few days to check up if anything has happened. Please, Bella, call me when the young man is found. I have to be going for another appointment. Good luck finding him."
Ms Norman showed out Mr. Whiden and back in the room, Bella shook her head.
"My brother isn't a very good people person. But he really cares for his son. Please help us find Edward Junior."
Bella pleaded Fred and the others. They all nodded towards her.
"That's, like' Why were here."
Spoke up Shaggy, braver then he felt. He just hoped she didn't notice that his legs felt like jello and they knocked around more then a pair of maracas.
"We're on the case Miss Ridmore. There isn't any Mystery we can't solve."
Fred added in a confident voice. Bella's face warmed a bit at his enthusiasm. She left the room to see how her stubborn but beloved brother was. Fred turned to the gang; they all could tell what he was going to say.
"Alright gang, let's split up!"
"Like' I knew he was going to say that."
Groaned Shaggy as Fred unveiled his idea.
"This is we're going to do. Daph and I will search this room. We'll try to find out how the ghost of Mr. Ridmore got out of here with Edward Junior. Velma, I want you to look back and check if there are speakers in the living room and maybe see how it was tampered with. Shaggy, Scooby…"
The two-scaredy cats already feared the plans Fred had for them. Their fears were correct.
"You two check the basement. Ms. Norman said she opened up the basement when he came out at her. There might be a hidden passage or something in there as well. All right Gang. Let's solve this mystery!"
With a reassured nod from Velma, she took off back to the living room. Though Shaggy and Scooby had to be roughly tossed out of the study, they reluctantly headed towards the basement.
"Like' why do we have to get all the Creepy jobs, eh Scoob?"
"Rah rah.. Reepy."
The beatnik and his Great Dane headed towards their destination. With quivering knee and chattering teeth, the duo opened the door. They both braced for a fright, but nothing came. Shaggy peered down the stairs to the dark gloom below with a gulp.
"You go first pal."
"Ruh uh... Ru Raggy."
"Me? Why does it always have to be me?"
Shaggy though a bit then came up with a plan.
"Alright buddy. How about we play rock paper scissor to see who goes first."
Scooby thought it over, and then nodded his head.
"Rock paper scissor says' shoot!"
They both held out their hand. Shaggy had his hand in the shape of scissor, while Scooby held out his paw.
"Like' what is that? Paper or rock?"
Scooby looked at his paw then back to Shaggy.
"Rock. Rah rah... Rock."
"Aw... I lost man... I... I don't want to go down there."
Shaggy turned his head towards the inviting darkness of the basement. Checking his pockets, he pulled out a pocket light and shined it down into the shadows. With legs of jello, he started down the stairs. Holding onto the railing, he slowly descended into darkness, Scooby right at his heels. He shined the light but all he saw was the floor. Nothing seemed creepy or spooky, unless you counted the loads of seemingly dirty laundry. But as long as they didn't get up and chase him, he had nothing to worry from stained and dirty laundry. The beam from his flashlight cut through the darkness and he spotted the washing machine and dryer.
"Look Scoob. Unless these are haunted appliances, I think we got of Scott
free this time. Heh heh... Scoob.... Scooby?"
Shaggy looked around and found Scooby hiding behind him, his mouth hung open, eyes wide as he stared into the darkness behind him. People! A huge group of people all were standing there. He got so spooked he dropped the flashlight and dove behind to hide behind the Great Dane.
"ZOINKS! It's... It's... Zombies!"
His voice squeaked as he dashed around the back of Scooby. Seeing the flashlight hit the ground in front of him, Scooby picked it up and juggled the light for a few seconds till he was able to get it pointing straight and flinching his head away he shone the light at the mass of zombies. Shaggy peeked one eye open, just so he could see his doom coming...
"Heh hehe.. Hey Scoob.... Look. Mannequins."
"Yeah, Mannequins. Like the one's on store fronts with the clothes on at all those shops Daph goes to."
Scooby and Shaggy felt sheepish for being so scared over nothing. Shaggy took the flashlight and walked over to the bunch of mannequins. Some had heads, some were missing limbs, and some were just the base. A few had the beginnings of a wardrobe on them. Shaggy removed a hat that sat on one of the posed Mannequins and copied how the mannequin was positioned.
"Hey look Scoob. Gee, Think Daph would buy this hat?"
Scooby poked his head out from a pile of clothes and placed a paw to his face in though. Then he got a negative look and he shook his head. Shaggy took off the hat and looked at it.
"Yeah, you right Scoob. She's more of a purple person, not this green."
Shaggy continued to go through clothing while Scooby's nose had picked up something. He wound through the sea of mannequins till he came upon a box.
"No Raggy... A rue!"
"Oh.. A clue! Where?"
Shaggy followed the sound of Scooby's voice and came across Scooby sniffing a box of broken fireworks. It looked like someone split them all open and removed all the fuses.
"That's funny. Well. There seems to be nothing else down here besides these mannequins, laundry and these broken fireworks. Let's get back to the gang."
Shaggy said as he led Scooby winding through the sea of mannequins and towards the steps.
"Wait till the gang hears what we found. A bunch of Groovy hats and clothes!"
While Shaggy was in the basement, Velma found herself tittering upon a chair opening one of the speakers. She had her tools out and she was opening the case when she noticed something odd inside of it.
"Jinkies! It looks like as if someone had placed a second speaker on top of the first one."
She traced her hands and found that it seemed to be connected to what looked like an electronic board for some type of wireless communication device. She was about to remove the board when she lost her balance and she landed on the floor with a crash. It wasn't too high of a height, but it was enough to jostle her glasses off.
"My Glasses... Where are my glasses..? Sheesh. Why does this always seem to happen when I find something interesting?"
She patted around where she landed when she felt a tap on her shoulder. She turned around and squinted. It was a black blob that was in the shape.. Yes! It was her glasses. She took them gratefully and placed them on her face as she talked to the person who helped her.
"Thanks. I'm lost without my... my... Oh my..."
Once her vision zeroed in, she was staring at wicked grin of the ghost of John Ridmore. Eyes growing wide, stared at him.
"YOU! Leave this place!"
He didn't have to tell her twice. She jumped up and got to her feet running. The ghost watched for a second before he noticed that she wasn't running for the door, but back towards her friends. He couldn’t have that, so he pushed the fallen chair over with another crash and gave chase. Velma looked back and hurried running towards where Fred and Daphne where.
"Ooooooo.... Why does this happen to me... Shouldn't he be after Daphne or something?"
As Velma was running down the hall, she didn't noticed Anne coming out from one of the doors from the hallway.
"Velma.. I heard a crash and..."
Velma had just enough warning by Anne's voice to turn her head and notice the girl before she crashed right into her. Not missing a beat, Velma scooped up Anne and continued to run down the hall. The world spun once as she found herself being carried by Velma. Her jaw dropped and she was stunned for a few seconds before she noticed the ghost was gaining on them and that she wouldn’t make it to Fred and Daphne. Then Anne got an idea.
"Velma, turn right and run down this hall a few feet."
Not questioning the younger girl since she knew the house better then Velma did, she peeled right and almost ran into a wall. She looked in shock at the three walls closing her in before she felt Anne move in her arms. Velma watched Anne push something on the faceplate of the painting. After a second, the wall pushed in and a crack formed. Velma took no time to put Anne down and crawl into it herself before it closed. Panting, Velma looked up and took stock of the room they fell into. It seemed to be a study but it was filled with intricate cases willed with fully complete costumes on mannequins and gold laced trim on the displace cases.
"Jinkies... Where are we?"
"Pant... pant... This.. Is my grandfathers.. pant... favorite hiding room."
Velma asked looked at the younger girl confused.
"Yeah... Grandpa never liked having to do the backbreaking labor his wife told him to do. So when he built the house, he built in this room where he could hide from her."
"So.. Basically when time to clean the dishes came around, he ran for it."
"Basically. Ha ha ha ha..."
Anne laughed outright; Velma couldn't help but to giggle as well.
"Such a strange man.. Mr. John U. Ridmore...."
"U... Grandpa never had a U in his name."
"Really? Well the picture you did something to out there had a U in it."
Velma was downright puzzled at the girl. She thought back at what had just happened. She pictured the exact thing Anne had done.
"You pressed the R in Ridmore... Then that U. for his middle name.. Then the last letter of his name... Oh... I get it. R, u, n. Run. Very clever."
Anne broke out in more giggles, as she nodded at the even quick mind of Velma who rarely missed a beat.
"I thought you might figure it out. Yeah. He doesn’t have a U. middle name. He made it the buttons for his hiding place."
"Ahhh... Being in here brings back memories. This is where Grandpa used to take me and tell me stories."
Anne stood up and ran her hand fondly over the cases collecting dust.
"Grandpa liked collecting movie memorabilia. Anything from the cane from the Invisible man, to Dracula's actual cape used in the 1931 movie by Bela Lugosi, to even the original mask from the Phantom of the opera."
Velma let out a breathless Jinkies as she got up and looked at the full cases. It had a lot more then just the bits. Each was place with a sighed black and white portrait signed by the actors. From the bust from Lon Chaney jr. with one of the actual masks from the Wolf man, to even a ruby encrusted medallion from Vincent Van Ghoul. Each worth a lot of money just in their own right, but so much in one place was amazing. But Velma's calculation of how much just the room was worth alone was interrupted by Anne's voice.
"But Grandpa's favorite piece always sat on his desk. Anne walked over to her grandfathers still cluttered desk covered in dust and age. Sitting on one corner of it was a rather large wooden box. It looked like it contained lots of compartments... Almost like a make-up kit.
"This belonged to the late Lon Chaney."
"THE Lon Chaney... You mean, that's his make-up kit?! The one used and he was referred to as the Man of 1000 faces?"
Velma said shocked. She knew her history and Lon Chaney back in the day
was a movie legend and what was even more fabled was his case that they said he could become anyone out of. It was more of a myth then anything else. And she could see faintly at the bottom right of the case in his actual handwriting the signature of Lon Chaney. Velma leaned back against the wall in bit of a shock at how much was in the house. No wonder the villain wanted the house. Who ever was trying to scare everyone away probably wanted to sell everything here.
Anne's voice said from the desk. Velma walked over to see what was wrong.
"The dust isn't on the case like the rest of the room."
Velma looked and it was clear that someone had dusted off the case recently. Curious, she pulled out some gloves and asked Anne to step back. Taking great care, she opened one of the sides of the box. But how well crafted and how well taken care of the box was, it opened without any problems. Inside was a clear print of where there had been a folded piece of paper.
"Well.. I think we found where the will was. But it's not here."
"Maybe someone threw it out?"
Anne asked looking around. She spotted the trashcan and walked over to it. But there was nothing much in the way trash except a few papers and a box. Anne picked up the box and showed it to Velma.
"Is this a clue?"
Velma's eyes got wide as her face flushed red with embarrassment. She walked over to where Anne was and took the box quickly dropping it into the trash again. It was empty, but it still was what it was. Embarrassed, she tried to steer the baffled girl away from the trashcan. As she was pushing Anne away from it, she spotted a rather odd case that didn't look like it fit. Once Anne saw it she squeaked in surprise. Curious, Velma walked around the now stiff Anne and looked at the case. It wasn't as ornate as the rest in the room, one of the reason's it caught her eye. Also inside was a simple, rather banged up looking hubcap. It looked familiar. As she inspected the hub cape she recognized it in time for Anne to speak up.
"I... I didn't steal it!"
Velma turned around and looked at the girl, who was looking close to tears.
"You... You and the gang a few years ago passed through here. I... I
remember it clearly. You stopped at the local restaurant for something to eat. I... I was there with my father. I... I didn't mean to eavesdrop. But you guys all sounded so happy. It was after one of your cases you just solved and Shaggy said it was time for a victory dinner. He... He cleared out the whole place. But... My father nudged me and told me about you. About all of you. That a group of kids... A bit older then me, were going around helping people... I... I wanted to be like that."
She looked up at Velma. Staring at her, to see her reaction as some tears streamed down her eyes.
"I... I took a napkin and gathered my courage. The closer I got, the more I watched how close you guys were. And even though you had your nose in a book writing something, you had a smile on your face. My father came up behind me and pushed me the rest of the way to your table and asked it you guys wouldn't mind giving me a signature. Fred was more then happy to agree and he got you all to sign it before giving it back to me. I was very happy. Then, the hubcap came off of the van as you guys left. I... I took it home and cleaned it. When I told grandpa, he told me if I wanted to put it in a case, I could. So... well..."
She was rocking back and forth slightly, unsure and uneasy how her hero would react to her story.
"...I never expected for you to show up here. Let alone solve a mystery right..."
Her voice was cut off, as there was a pounding at the wall where they came in.
"I know your brats are in there! Come out!"
It was the voice of the ghost. Anne got scared and ran into a cling around Velma's waist. She couldn’t' help but get a bit shocked, but she doubted if he sounded that frustrated, he didn't know how to get inside. Pulling Anne away enough to kneel down to be at her eye level, she took part of her sleeve and dabbed at the girl’s cheeks.
"Don't worry. The gang and I will solve this mystery for you. I just wish we could see what was going on beyond this wall."
Anne brightened up, her hero didn't mind her story at all, and she knew of something that could help. She grabbed Velma's hand and tugged on it bringing her over to the wall that the guy was pounding on. There seemed to be a picture of a ball and chain painted on black material. Anne dropped Velma's hand to peel back the black material to show her what was underneath.
"Jinkies, this guy really thought of everything to get away from his wife, didn't he?"
Velma noticed the painting they saw before was painted on a one-way mirror. So he could look out at his fuming wife and her not be able to see in. They were then looking at a very angry looking John Ridmore ghost. Annoyed, he banged on the door a bit before taking a step back to get a better look at the wall to see it he noticed something he had missed before. Annoyed, he brought up his hand and scratched at his neck, exposing a bit of familiar birthmark. Velma's eyes grew wide as she let the cloth fall down.
"I think I have figured everything out. But I need to get to the gang. Is there any other way out?"
Anne thought and nodded.
"Grandpa always thought she was going to figure the code out one day, so he made a way to the living room from here. But he'll see us if we go out there."
Velma's thoughts were cut short as she heard Shaggy's voice.
"Stop right there Mr. Ghost! Like' I won't have you chasing Velma while I'm around..."
Then came a clear gulp.
Velma dove for the cloth as she watched the 'ghost' turn and then smile.
"As you wish."
The Ghost then bolted after Shaggy and Scooby. Velma's eyes grew wide. But she knew Shaggy and Scooby better then anyone and if anyone could out run a ghost, it was those two.
"Alright Anne, we got our chance. Let's go."
Anne nodded and pressed a button that slid one of the cases out of the way so that they could crawl through.
Shaggy heard the crash and he shakingly started up the stairs. After the second crash, he was at the top enough to peek up and watch the ghost of John Ridmore give chase after Velma and Anne. He watched in fear as the two of them disappeared around a corner and the ghost followed. A small string of curses came from the hallway, as it seemed that something got in the way of him getting at her. Shaggy slunk back to sit down some of the stairs as Scooby whined at him. He shook for a while before finding his voice.
"Oh hoo hoo... Hoy boy Scoob. Velma is in trouble and all I can think about is running. But She's possibility trapped. But if we go out there we might end up Ghost napped like Edward Junior."
He squeaked at the end of his statement. The annoyed yell of the angry ghost made Shaggy cringe. Half about his own safety, half on Velma's. Even though he was a coward, he couldn't just leave her there. But then what about he and Scooby. Well, he knew one thing for sure. He was better at running then anything else... well, except for being scared. But this was Velma he was talking about. Gathering his courage, he looked down at Scooby who was huddled form, shaking on the steps.
"Scooby Doo. We must save Velma!"
"Yes us. We may be chickens..."
"But even though we are cowards, we can't leave one of the gang in trouble. We have to save her!"
Scooby slumped back whining. Shaggy got an idea. Patting his pockets, he was able to find his last-last-last-last reserve Scooby snack for just such an emergency. He cracked it in half. The sound of the breaking snack got Scooby's attention.
"This is all I got buddy. Let's promise on this half of a snack, we cowards will swallow our fear and save Velma!"
Scooby took the offered piece, knowing that it was the last piece that Shaggy had on him. He couldn't smell anymore at least.
"Rah... Rave relma ra ret ro rooby ranks rater!"
"Yeah, more Scooby snacks later! But Save Velma first!"
They tapped together the two halves together like Champaign glasses before eating their respective halves. With renewed courage... Well, slightly… Shaggy crawled up to peek over the top step.
"I know your brats are in there! Come out!"
The ghost pounded on the wall. Giving one more nod of self-reassurance. Shaggy pushed himself to his feet and he walked towards the ghost. He passed the study where Daphne and Fred were and got right by the hallway where the ghost was banging on the wall and he hadn't noticed the sound of Shaggy’s knee's knocking together. Gathering his courage he thrust out his fist and pointed at the ghost.
"Stop right there Mr. Ghost! Like' I won't have you chasing Velma while I'm around..."
Echoed Scooby from where he was hiding behind Shaggy's shaking form. Then came a clear gulp.
The ghost of John Ridmore turned away from the painting and smiled at the two.
"As you wish."
The ghost gave chase. With a quick 'Zoinks!' once he knew what was happening, Shaggy turned to run. Scooby jumped up in surprise and with out a second passing, Shaggy grabbed his canine pal out of the air and ran for it. Leaving the ghost to eat their dust as he chased after the two.
"Like... I knew this was a bad idea Scoob..."
Shaggy said to Scooby as they ran down the hall.
Fred and Daphne went to work looking through the study for some thing that would open a hidden door or something to find how the Ghost had made off with Edward Junior and have disappeared a few seconds before Fred had charged into the room. They spent a while in silent search each working on a side of the room. But there room was just filled with various papers, weird magazines and books. A lot of the books seemed to be about wireless control, electronics, movies and history books oddly enough. Such a strange combination of things to have in a study. And with closer inspection, the magazines were about movies as well.
”This guy must have been a real Movie buff. All these magazines are about movies.”
Daphne nodded her head. She had been finding similar things on her side.
”Yeah, I found a few books on the late 1930’s actors and a few books of movie history. But the strange things are these few electronics books weeded in to the rest of them.”
”Strange. What would Old Man Ridmore need electronics books for.”
”Maybe he was the one who installed that machine over there?”
Daphne suggested, pointing to the PA like system that seemed to have been hooked up all over the house. Velma was looking into that at the moment, so he would have to ask her what she found later. Fred continued to look for a bit, getting more aggravated each second that ticked down. Finally he got fed up and slammed his hand down scaring Daphne.
”I was right there! He was right in front of me! And yet somehow he vanished.”
Fred grumbled angrily. A bit shaken from the bang he made previous, she came over to him. Placing her hands over his balled up fist she picked up his hand and held it between hers.
”Freddy… Listen to me.”
She took one hand to direct his vision from looking at the walls, to looking at her eyes.
”Freddy… Freddy… Ok, you listening now?”
She waited till his eyes were paying attention to her before she placed her hand back on top of her other one that was around his fist. His grip on his fist loosened up as his anger subsided as he listened to what she had to say.
”Getting all upset about this is not the thing to do right now. I know you are frustrated about Edward Junior and the ghost kidnapping him and you weren’t able to stop him. But beating yourself up isn’t the answer. We just have to keep searching. That’s what we do. This is why we are here. We figure out things. And it’s not just Velma figuring out everything, or Shaggy stumbling over things. We are a team remember? So don’t be trying to bear the weight for all of us. We are in this together. Don’t forget that.”
She said shaking his hand once then letting it go. He opened that hand and looked at it for a second before closing it again. His face brightened up as he gave a small chuckle.
”Your right Daph.”
She turned to him and flashed her usual smile.
”Oh course I am. Now let’s get back to searching.”
"Stop right there Mr. Ghost! Like' I won't have you chasing Velma while I'm around..."
Fred and Daphne heard Shaggy’s clear but terrified voice. Then came a clear gulp.
Fred and Daphne stuck their head out of the door in time to see the ghost of John Ridmore come out from the hallway.
"As you wish."
Fred yelled but the duo didn’t hear him. The Ghost turned to look in their direction; Fred jerked his head back knocking both him and Daphne, who had been standing behind him, off balance. As Daphne flailed about, her hand struck something and the wall behind her slid open in time for her to fall into it. Fred was right behind her, landing in a heap inside the hidden tunnel. As he picked himself off of Daphne, the entrance closed behind them.
”Well… I hope Shaggy and Scooby are all right. But you at least found us the hidden tunnel that the ghost took. Are you all right Daph?”
She sat up and shook her hand. It was what had hit what ever had opened the door.
”Besides I probably broke a nail or two, and my poor hand might bruise, I’m fine. But where are we?”
The only light was from under the closed hidden door, so they weren’t able to see to far.
”It’s the tunnel that must lead out somewhere else in the house. Come on, let’s check it out.”
Fred advised as he checked his pockets for his laser pointer. It wasn’t much, but at least it did show something beyond the dark and gloom. Daphne clung to Fred as he traveled one hand on the wall next to him, one hand outstretched with the laser pointer. They shuffled a while before something got tangled around his ankles. It wasn’t anything living, but it was something there. Pausing, he reached down and picked it up.
”What is it Fred? I can’t see anything.”
”It feels like a bit of fabric… It’s like a strip of something. There are two halves.”
He pulled it apart and it made an odd sound Daphne knew immediately what it was.
”It’s a strip of Velcro! I know that sound anywhere.”
Fred was a bit stunned at her positive-ness just from the sound, but the more he felt it, it had one kind of prickly side that grabbed on to the fuzzier side. It could just well be a strip of Velcro. He had to give her credit. If it had to do about fashion, Daphne was an expert. He pocketed some of it and continued going. After a while of walking, he found the wall at the end. With a hard push, expecting it to be difficult to move, the door swung easy and the momentum threw Fred and Daphne into the room landing on something.
”Zoinks! The ghosts are everywhere!”
Scooby whined, pinned under the mass that was on top of him.
”Daph? Fred? Guys!”
Shaggy hugged them as best as he could, being pinned under them.
”Like’ how did you get here?”
Shaggy asked as Fred and Daphne untangled themselves to sit more comfortably.
”We kinda stumbled over the secret passage the ghost used to kidnap Edward Junior. And we ended up here… Where is here exactly?”
Daph wondered. It was almost as dark at the previous tunnel had been. But it looked like shelves of some sort. And it was also big enough to fit them all without to much crowding.
”Re rin ra Ritchen!”
Scooby added, being helpful.
”Yeah, we’re in the kitchen. We ran in here from the dining room and quickly found ourselves a hiding spot. Namely this walk in closet.”
Then a sound was heard right before their door. The gang got quiet as they heard muffled voice beyond the door. While Shaggy and Scooby zipped to hide behind Fred and Daphne, Fred was inching closer.
”All right, as soon as this ghost opens the door. Shaggy and I will jump on him. Daph and Scooby, I want you to find something out in the kitchen to tie him up with once we got him pinned, ok?”
”Do I have to?”
Whined Shaggy, though he got right beside Fred, braced and ready. As the door slowly opened Fred charged forward.
Velma was thrown back as Fred and Shaggy launched themselves at her. She was shocked as her glasses went sliding across the floor. Anne squeaked as she watched the rest of the Gang appear and pause in their tracks as the noticed that it wasn’t the ghost they had captured, but their missing member.
”Like’ Velma! We thought you were Ghost bait.”
”Silly Shaggy. I’m fine… Except that you guys are crushing the life out of me.”
Fred and Shaggy sheepishly got off of her and pulled her to her feet. Anne had gotten Velma’s glasses and gave them back to Velma who accepted them with thanks. Whipping the lens off, she placed them on and her friends came into view.
”Boy, are you guys a sight for sore eyes. But I have big news. I know who it is!”
Velma sat the gang down in the kitchen and explained what had happened and what she found. She explained about the double speaker and the cases inside the hiding room. Plus the possible original location of the missing will. And the birthmark they saw on the ghost.
”I do remember seeing that on Edward Junior. But didn’t we see his limp body being taken?”
Shaggy spoke up.
”Well, there were a bunch of parts missing from the Mannequins downstairs and a mess of clothing. Maybe, like’ somehow they put the clothes on fast on the dummy and the switch was made.”
Velma thought it over.
”Well, that might be possible if there was a way to switch out of clothing.”
Daphne’s smile beamed as she pulled some of their findings from Fred’s back pocket.
”How about Velcro!”
Velma looked at the piece of Velcro and nodded.
”That will do it. Gang, I think we just solved the mystery.”
She told them with a smile creeping across her mouth. She always got giddy when they solved the mystery. Velma also noticed the amazed look on Anne, as she was sitting quietly nearby and just watching how the gang had figured out how everything was done. Fred was the first to speak up.
”Not to burst your bubble, but now that we know that Edward Junior isn’t in trouble, but he’s behind it all, how do we draw out the Ghost to capture him and unmask him? We need a plan.”
They all gazed off somewhere and set their minds at work. Fred was the first one to speak up.
”All right, I think I got it gang. Well, once the ghost sees that we won’t be looking for junior, maybe he’ll go after Edward Senior then. All we have to do is get him when he goes after the old man. Using the new passageways to our own advantage, we can cut him off on the first floor.”
They finalized the little bit of the plan, like who was to go where, and ironed out all the details before Shaggy’s stomach made itself known.
”All this running around sure builds up an appetite. How about we take a break and get something to eat?”
For once the gang agreed. While Shaggy and Scooby made everyone sandwiches, Velma went to work figuring out the time chart with each person’s route for the capture tomorrow. If they didn’t know the right time, they could let the ghost escape again. And they couldn’t have that happen. Anne was just stunned. She had witnessed them all in action and was actually part of their mystery and with her help, she was able to give information that was important. She couldn’t find the words to express anything except a stuttered thank you when Scooby gave her a sandwich as well. Daphne came over and nudged Velma out of her work to whisper into her ear.
”What’s wrong with Anne?”
Velma looked over and then looked back to her work, taking a bite of the Shaggy and Scooby provided sandwich before she responded.
”Oh, She’s one of our biggest fans. I think she’s just a bit shell shocked at her first ghost chase.”
Velma nodded as she calculated Fred’s time chart in front of her. Daphne looked down at the girl and shook head. When it came to a mystery, it certainly was Velma’s mistress. Daphne then noticed her nails and sat down to file them down back to perfection. They weren’t as bad as she thought they were. Fred was getting himself mentally ready for the task ahead, as he munched on a sandwich. Walking a bit, he found himself looking out the window.
”Wow… It’s getting dark. I wonder what time it is.”
With a quick gaze up at the window Velma was able to get a just of the time just from the position of the sun.
”I would say, 6ish… 7…”
She mentioned between taking another bite out of the sandwich. That broke Anne out of her spell. She looked down at her watch and saw it was 6:43pm.
”Oh! Shoot! Grandaunt Bella must be worried about me. Oh… Oh… I have to go!”
And with that she ran out of the room. She stopped long enough to pop her head back in to say one last thing to the gang.
And then she was gone. A smile was on all of the gang members. Fred stayed at the window for a while, while everyone else finished his or her sandwiches. Once Velma’s calculations were finished, she told it to them all and the joined Shaggy and Scooby washing the dishes as Fred and Daphne examined the panel they came out of. They were able to find the latch to open up the wall easier then the first section. They came out and reported it to Velma, who took notes on where it was. Daphne and Fred joined to dry the dishes and soon the kitchen was clean. They all turned to check out the living room one more time when Edward Senior rolled in.
”What are you Brats doing in the kitchen? You should be finding my son!”
He scowled. The gang looked at each other before Fred spoke up.
”We are looking Mr. Ridmore. We should be able to find your son by tomorrow.”
”TOMMORROW! You bunch of idiots. I thought Bella said you are then best crime solvers. Tomorrow! BAH! I’ll just have to find my son myself.”
”But sir! I don’t think you should do that.”
”Don’t tell me what to do Boy! I’ll do what I well please. I should tell Bella to not pay you after all this is done… Tomorrow… bah…”
He spun himself around and pushed though the double swing doors that the kitchen had. Fred thought to go after him, but then thought again. He would probably just yell at him for his efforts. He hung his head, but then he felt a hand on his shoulder.
”It’s all right Fred. He’s just a grouch. We’ll deal with him later once we unmask his son.”
Daphne piped in to cheer him up, he looked up at her and then looked at everyone else.
”You right. Well, we better do the last minute stuff before we turn in for tonight. Let’s get on it Gang!”
Fred lead the way though the doors and the rest of the gang followed. They set up their last minute preparations before they realized it was getting late. Then gang split off into the respective rooms and soon fell asleep. Waiting what tomorrow would bring with their plan in mind.
But this night’s sleep would not be as long as the night before. There was a knock at the door. Daphne snapped awake as she head footsteps leading away from her room. She shook Velma awake. It took a while, but the younger girl eventually stirred.
"Daph... what th..."
Velma stuttered out before Daphne covered her mouth and shushed her.
"Shhhh. Someone knocked on our door. They seemed to have walked away. Should we take a look?"
Velma got on her glasses and gave a silent nod. Pushing Daphne's hand off of her mouth. She picked up a flashlight while Daphne donned on a robe. Getting ready, Daphne peeked open the door while Velma stood ready. But nothing was on the other side of the door. Creaking the door open, they padded out of their door. Pensive and wary, they didn’t notice the guys creeping up behind them. Velma jumped as Fred's hands came across, smothering the scream he expected to of Daphne.
"Shhh. It's alright Daph. It's just me, Shaggy and Scooby."
"Fred. You scared me."
"I'm sorry. But you heard that knock right. Let's check it out."
Daphne nodded as Velma squinted into darkness.
"Guys... I think there are some foot prints here."
Velma pulled out her flashlight and covered most of it with her hand. Letting only a bit of light out between her fingers to look at the ground in front of her. Coming from behind her, were tracks of muddy footprints. They seemed to stop at her door. And then continue to the staircase. The whole gang crept behind Velma, who lead the way. Though as they climbed up the stairs, Velma noticed something rather odd about the footprints on the stairs. But she had no time to think about it because her thoughts were broken by the sound of a gunshot. Not thinking of caution, the gang raced up the stairs. Velma pointed the flashlight and she saw that the footprints led to one of the upper rooms. The door was cracked open. Running over to it, they came into the room to notice the Ghost of John Ridmore jump out of the window. Eyes wide, Shaggy impulsively ran to the window. A chill shot right down he as he slowly turned.
”H..h…h…h….he’s gone. Like’ totally and utterly gone, gone. He flew away!”
Shaggy stuttered. Daphne joined him and looked, sure enough, there was no body at the bottom. But their wondering was cut short at the sound that they had missed when they came in. It sounded like someone struggling. Flashing the light, Velma found that at the end of her light was a tied up Edward senior. Fred rushed to his side as he untied the man and pulled the burlap bag from over his head. He removed the gag as the angry old man spat out a string of curses.
”Where is my son? What was the gunshot? You idiots quit gawking and find my son! I heard in him here.”
Came a very unfamiliar scream from the most unlikely source. Velma had screamed. As the flashlight she dropped clattered to the ground, it rolled to spotlight the blank dead face of Edward Junior. Daphne screamed as well and clung to the stock-still form of Shaggy. Scooby passed out at the sight and Fred was speechless, finding it had to breath all of a sudden. This was the first dead body they had ever encountered. Fred was thrown off balance as Edward Senior pushed off of him to tilt his wheel chair over so that he could start crawling over to son. His hand clutched at his heart as he dragged himself into the puddle of blood that surrounded Edward Junior. Dragging himself against the bloodstained wall, he cradled his son’s limp head into his lap.
”Oh god oh god oh god oh god…”
Velma said as she slumped down from a standing position to the ground. Fred got enough of his wits about him to try to approach the grief stricken Edward Senior. Edward senior saw him approaching and looked around desperately. Picking up the gun that had done the bloody deed, he whipped it up and flung blood all over the place as he pointed it at Fred.
”I don’t know if this had anything in it, but by God if is has and you get any closer I don’t have any reservations in shooting you. This is your fault. All of your fault!”
He gestured to them all, sending more blood splattering around the room. Fred backed up and headed slowly to the door.
”It’s all your fault! If you hadn’t waited and found my son… found my son in the first place. This wouldn’t have happened!”
The whole gang was slowly drawing themselves out of the room. Velma and Scooby more of less dragged out, but not able on their own will to comprehend anything. Daphne lifted Velma to her feet and guided her out of the room. They could still hear the now crazy old man shouting at them.
”I’m calling the cops! They will come and kick you all out! My…son… my dear junior…”
His voice broke into sobs as the gang, dazed and unbelieving went down the stairs to their rooms. As they were on their way, Bella and Anne passed by them. They asked the group what happened but none of them were able to find their voices. The whole gang made it as far as in front of their door before Velma broke down. Her legs didn’t support her as she went limp in Daphne’s arms. She was shaking, like Shaggy and Scooby usually did. This was a major thing happening. Not only was this there first corpse, but Velma, the usual level headed one of them all was loosing it. Daphne and Fred were able to carry her to the bed before Velma latched onto Daphne.
”Don’t…. Leave me…”
She said hoarsely. Her throat felt like it was being crushed by a vice. She couldn’t stop trembling and seeing his face… The blank face of Edward Junior. It seemed like hours what were only minutes before she was able to breath a bit more clearly. In that time Fred stayed by the bed with Daphne watching over Velma, while Shaggy had placed the fainted Scooby on the bed behind them.
”The… blood… It was all over the walls…”
Velma stuttered out. Daphne looked worried as she darted her vision from Fred to the shivering Velma clung around her waist. Daphne instinctually started petting the younger girls head in an act to try to calm her down. She didn’t know what else to do. Fred was trying to put his mind back together, to get himself thinking straight. As soon as his mind was making more sense, and he was able to think on a straight path, he realized that they still had things to figure out. But Velma spoke up again.
”I… I was 100% sure it was Edward Junior… I.. I have hardly ever been wrong…. Why couldn’t I have been right… This.. this isn’t happening. This can’t be real… This can’t be real…”
She was rocking back and forth, saying the last few words over and over again. Daphne looked up as she noticed Shaggy standing over them as they were sitting on the bed. He grabbed Velma’s hands and pulled her off of Daphne. Turning her around, he forcefully sat her down and made her look into his eyes.
”Like’ Velms! Get a grip! I’m the one who’s supposed to be scared. This… This isn’t like you.”
He shook her a bit, making her glasses slide down her nose. She quickly brought up her hands to catch her glasses before they fell. As she kept her hands on her glasses, covering most of her face, she noticed something. The shaking stopped as her mind fell back into place. Taking a deep breath, she brought down her hands away from her glasses. She twitched a second when she saw through her blood stained glasses some blood had also gotten on her hands and a bit was flecked here and there on all of them. The gang watched pensively to see what she was doing. Not sure quite exactly what was going on in her brain. She brought up her hand and stared at the blood smeared on it. Taking her fingers, she rubbed the palm of her hand, as if testing the feel of it. Taking off her glasses as well, she squinted at it.
”Velms? What’s going on in that head of yours? Are you back with us?”
Fred weary asked, not sure if she was still losing it or if she was back to normal. Though it was hard to be normal when they had just seen a murder scene. She didn’t answer yet; she just rubbed the blood on her hand off a bit on her sweater and found a clean bit of her sweater to clean the blood off of her glasses. Once she had her glasses back on, she looked at each of them, and the look on her face was determined. She looked up and down them for a bit before reaching out and getting a bit glob of blood off of Fred’s ascot. She rubbed it between her fingers and her face was getting the look of anger. Which was also something that they didn’t see often on the face of their youngest member.
”Velma… What’s going on?”
She looked over at them, clearly upset.
”We’ve been had.”
While Velma was telling the gang what was happening, Edward senior had already called the police and they were on their way. The sight of Edward senior covered in blood as he closed the door to the grizzly scene was enough to make Grandaunt Bella faint even before she knew that was going on. Anne was in shock at how much blood was on her Granduncle and he would not tell her what was going on. And the Mystery Inc was nowhere to be found. She tended to her fainted Grandaunt outside of the room as Edward came back to stare at the room. Anne turned her head as she watched the gang walk up the steps, Velma in the lead. She walked over to see if Bella was all right and she had a look on her face that Anne had never seen on her before.
”How dare you continue to be in my house? The Mystery is over, Mystery Inc. You killed my son. Aren’t you happy enough?”
Velma crossed in front of him as she reached for the door. Edward reached out and latched strongly onto her hand. He gripped her wrist very hard, to the point she was close to wincing from the pain.
”What do you think you are doing? Going to defile the body of my son while you continue your charade?”
Velma turned and looked at him coldly.
”If there is a corpse in there.”
She said rather flatly. Edward looked shocked.
”You saw it yourself! My son lying in a puddle of his own blood!”
”Yes Mystery Inc. I killed the boy and now I might be able to get rid of the annoying father, then maybe you will get the message that I am serious. Get out of my house!”
Came a voice from the speakers on the hallway walls. The Gang looked up at it as it spoke and when they looked back the Ghost of John Ridmore had a razor blade to the throat of Edward Senior. Velma’s look stayed unchanged.
”What… what are you doing? Save me! Save me you…urk!”
He didn’t have enough time to finish his sentence before the razor came across his throat running blood down the front of Edward’s shirt. Some blood poured from his mouth. Even with this Velma looked unfazed. Actually she was looking angrier. Anne couldn’t believe that her hero could be so cold, and the rest of the gang wasn’t doing anything to stop him.
”Are you done?”
Velma commented, crossing her arms staring at the ghost. For once he looked unsure. As the ghost turn to run, Fred was right there to land on him as the cops came up the stairs.
”Geez… What is going on here?”
The police officers, with guns in hand observed the grizzly scene. The dead Edward in the wheel chair, and the Mystery Inc group all covered in bits of blood. And Bella passed out on the floor was starting to come to as Anne looked up in disbelief at Velma and the rest of the gang.
”How… How could you…. I though… I believed in you…”
Anne stuttered out. Velma turned and looked at the girl, her expression softened.
”Let me explain.”
She told Anne as Fred dragged the protesting body of the ghost of John Ridmore. She walked over to the ghost and grabbed his face. Pulling at it, the wrinkles and skin pulled away with Velma’s hand. Beneath the mask was the face of the allegedly dead Edward Junior. Bella and Anne gasped as they had seen the blood and from how Edward senior had looked they thought the worst had happened.
”Using a mix of cotton and Laytex, Edward Junior was able to make a mask that made him look older. Looking naturally like the late John Ridmore, it wasn’t that hard to make him look the part.”
The Shaggy took over some of the explaining.
”Like’ At first we thought that Edward junior had been kidnapped, but as was found in the basement full of clothes and mannequins, and some discarded Velcro, we figured that Edward Junior had made a quick change from the mannequin to himself making himself wear the clothes and seem like he kidnapped himself.”
Daphne then picked it up where Shaggy had left off.
”Using the hidden passage way from the study to the kitchen, he was able to stow the fake body somewhere and then come out and chase Velma and Anne into the hiding room that John Ridmore had made.”
Velma picked up the explaining from there.
”We found that inside the hiding room was a collection of great movie memorabilia that taken to the right place, could sell for millions. Which must have been the reason the whole ghost thing was set up. While I was taking another hidden passageway to the living room, the ghost was chasing Shaggy and Scooby, while Fred and Daphne found the hidden passageway the ghost had used earlier. The ghost left and we all met back into the kitchen. What my hypothesis is, is that knowing that Fred and Daphne had been in the study, since Fred said he clearly noticed them, he must have doubled back and hopped back into the passageway leading to the kitchen. He must have over heard our plans and taken drastic action.”
Fred then switched off as one of the cops took Edward Junior from his grip.
”Knowing that we knew, they set up this whole ruse.”
Velma reached over and opened up the door and turned on the lights. The scene looked like a murder scene, but the body that supposedly had its head shot was missing, since he was standing right there.
”Edward thought he was clever. And it was a quite ingenious plan had it not been for one fact.”
”And that is?”
Asked one the cops there that had been hanging on their every word.
”Blood takes a while to coagulate.”
”Like’ blood get’s thicker when exposed to air.”
”Yes, after a while of being exposed, blood tends to thicken, but this blood was supposed to be too fresh to have had that happen already. That’s because it’s not real blood.”
Fred reached over and took some blood off of Edward senior to show the fake blood to the cops.
”It’s a mixture of corn syrup and red food coloring, with a bit of water to dilute it. Boiled till it became a thick, it is perfect for simulating blood as long as one isn’t close to it. This is usually used in theater and movies. We found a few special effects magazines and movie history books in the study, so it wasn’t probably very hard for them to find things to set this up.”
The cop looked in and saw how grizzly the room looked.
”But.. but… you don’t get it looking that realistic with just pouring blood about.”
Velma nodded. She pointed to the big splatter that looked like it was created from someone’s head being blow to bits.
”Anne found… Embarrassingly enough, a box of empty condoms. Though it’s original use for why it was created for is not what happened here. I looked up online and found that Condoms are used in the movie industry a lot for making squibs. A squid is a packet of blood that is specially placed on a limb to simulate and impact wound. With a small explosive charge, like something you could create from gunpowder like, say… from fireworks. You would be able to simulate a headshot easily if you know what you were doing.”
Bella spoke up, her voice shaking.
”But… But what about Edward?”
Her hand pointed to the limp figure in the wheelchair. Velma looked over at him.
”The razor was also a trick. It was dull and there is a tube attached to Edward juniors arm that provided the fake blood running down as if a throat was cut. If a real throat was sliced, it would have bleed a whole lot more. I think you are found out Mr. Ridmore.”
He still didn’t move. So Velma walked over and opened up his front jacket and pulled out a piece of paper. That made him move. He snapped up and grabbed Velma’s wrist, pulling her close. He pressed her into the bloody mess on the front of his shirt. He wasn’t paying any attention that Freddy was behind him and he grabbed and forced His hands off of Velma. Velma fell back, clutching the paper in hand. It was a bit blood stained but the inside should have been good. She coughed a bit as the police struggled to cuff the bloody Edward. Velma handed the note to Anne.
”Cough… I think that Edward had found the will in your grandfather’s case and found himself not on it. This is why he set all this up. If the will wasn’t found, then he could get the house by default. The Ghost of his brother was well set up. And we would not have figured he was behind it since he was in a wheel chair when the ghost could run around.”
”But how did you know Uncle Edward was in on it?”
”It was the foot prints here that clued me in.”
Velma pointed to the steps that a few of the cops were still standing on. She motioned the cop that was in mid step to stand still.
”Stop and look at your feet if you will officer.”
The cop looked down and didn’t notice anything different then how he always had stepped up steps. Only part of each foot on the steps at the edges as he was rushing up the stairs.
”I don’t see what your getting at?”
The cop mentioned look down. Velma pointed at the prints that the supposed ghost left. Unlike the cop’s footprints, the footprints left by the ghost were fully on the step.
”You don’t pay much attention to how you step do you? But someone who regularly goes up steps did not make those prints. How else would it explain that Edward Senior had gotten all the way up stairs? While junior planted the footsteps quietly outside our door while we slept, Senior Edward walked himself up the stairs making the prints. Junior must have taken up the wheelchair and helped his father get all set up as they put their plan in order. Knowing we would go cautiously, they had time to gag and bound each other and Edward senior set off the squib making the bang sound we all heard.”
The Shaggy spoke up.
”What about the ghost that jumped out the window and disappeared?”
Velma walked in the door and walked across to the place where Edward had made himself fall over. She searched as everyone watched and she was successful in her find. She held what looked like a garage door opener. With a press of the button, they heard a thumping and saw a hanging body outside the window. Bella was about to pass out again thinking someone was now hung outside the window when it stopped swinging and they could see it clearer. It looked like one of the mannequins that Shaggy had found.
”This was also used as the body double for Junior when he was ‘kidnapped’. Fred showed me one of the books and in it had a small piece of paper. It was marking the spot about wenches and mechanical pulleys. So you see officer, these two were trying to cheat their relatives out of this house and all that was inside of it.”
The two of them struggled in the arms of the cops as they were being taken away.
”I would have gotten away with it too if it wasn’t for you meddling kid and that stinking mutt!”
Scooby growled and took a swipe at Edward senior before Shaggy reined him in. Bella got up and walked over to Velma.
”Oh… I can’t thank you enough.”
Anne gasped as she ran up to her with the will in hand.
”Grandfather Ridmore left everything to you and my father! He even included me! No wonder Uncle Edward was hiding it, he’s not even on here.”
Bella scooped up Anne and then swung around laughing. The gang joined in, the tension broken from the whole ordeal. Anne ran over and gave the nearest Mystery Inc member a big hug, which turned out to be Scooby.
”Scooby Dooby Doo!”
Anne couldn’t stop waving as she watched the mystery machine fade from view. She would never forget the hero’s that saved her grandfathers collection, or the adventure that she had. It was one neither her nor the Gang would forget.
”Bye!!!! Bye bye!!!!”
Even as the van faded into the setting sun, she couldn’t be happier. Sitting in a case beside her as she waved was a brand new hubcap, and a picture. The picture was of her with the Gang. She couldn’t wait till she could place it where it belonged… In the house that Mystery Inc saved.