Fred and Velma sat quietly. Each had tried 100 times over to figure out what to do next. They had played the tape many times, writing down what was different each time as well as what stayed the same. In each tape, Shaggy is seen eating. This Velma equated to a universal constant, such as the speed of light. Scooby was always seen walking across the room, but this too was nothing unusual. Velma was usually at her work bench, but sometimes was the one coming down the stairs. Fred was often in one of the chairs, but also was sometimes seen coming down the stairs. Even Shaggy was seen on the stairs once or twice, eating of course. Sadness was always in the air.
"Oh my gosh! It's 1:30 am!", Freddy notes, "We've been at this so long that time got away from us!"
Velma rubbed her forehead. "OK, I give up. Maybe this will make more sense in the morning. We had better head up before they send a search party for us."
The two head up the stairs and enter the main living room. Scooby and Shaggy are asleep on the sofa. Something is wrong. Daphne's new cloths are still laying about the room. "Where's Daphne?", Fred yells out.
Velma has worked her way over to the window. "Freddy, I don't like the looks of this. Her car is not in the driveway!"
By this time, the snoring duet wakes up. "Huh? Like what are you guys doing?", Shaggy says from his partial sleep-like state. "Daphne is missing!", Velma exclaims. "She would never leave cloths unfolded! Something is wrong."
"Ouch!", Daphne yelled to herself as the car hit another bump. Yelling to herself was the best she could do with duct tape on her mouth. Many thoughts were going through her head in a jumbled fashion.
"How could I let myself get kidnapped?! I know many defensive arts, this should not have happened! I was caught off guard, the lights went out! I think I broke a nail.... I am NOT a damsel in distress! I am just a woman who is taped up and riding in a car trunk.... Ok, that would qualify as distress, but I am not a damsel! I think my head is resting against the car jack, I bet it's greasy. I saw this guy's face which is not good. And he locked me in his trunk which is also not too good.... I think my one heel is missing and these pumps cost me over $300! Why is this jerk hitting every pothole? Ouch! He must want money, or worse. This trunk smells. Where is my purse? This duct tape is not going to be good for my complexion. My cell phone is ringing! I can't reach it. Well, they'll leave a message. If I live to hear it! This is not good!"
"No, she's not answering her cell phone." Velma puts the phone down. "I can't believe the police will not help us out until she is missing for 24 hours."
Freddy was looking out the window at the vacant space in the driveway. "We know she went to the mall, I'm getting the van, we need to make up for lost time."
The Mystery Machine screeches out of the driveway with the four remaining members. Shaggy and Scooby were trying to get up to speed on the events.
"So, like Velma, you built a crystal ball? And you could see the future? Wow.... Like what are Scooby and I doing in the future?"
"Eating", Velma replied.
"Well, that's cool I guess. So, like what were we eating?"
"Guys, we have to focus all our thoughts on what may have just happened. My crystal ball, as you called it, only tells us that something may have happened to Daphne, we have very little information to go on."
"I knew I should have gone with her!", Freddy yelled as he pounded the steering wheel with his hand."
"You didn't know. We didn't know how far away this was. You can't waste energy beating yourself up. We have a job to do, a mystery to solve, and it will require each of us to think and think hard."
The van flew down the final road, turning onto the mall parking lot. In the distance, Fred could see what he didn't want to see. Daphne's red convertible sitting abandon. they pulled up to it and Fred brought the van to a halt. All jump out of the van. Velma tries the door on Daphne's car. "Still locked, she didn't get back to the car."
Scooby was sniffing along the curb and stopped dead in his tracks.. "Rafne's Rags! Rafne's Rags!"
Fred ran over to Scooby. Sure enough, Daphne's shopping bags were laying on the lot. A short distance away was her purse. "Someone grabbed her! Velma, call the police, they have to be interested now!"
Daylight was breaking by the time they had all been interviewed by the police. They had taken her things, and were in the process dusting her car for fingerprints. Carefully, the subject of Velma's Crystal Ball, as Shaggy called it, had been left out of any conversation with the police. Freddy knew the police would try their best but that any chance of saving Daphne was in their own hands, not the police. All were totally exhausted, and with nothing more to do, headed home in the van. A somber but unproductive conversation took place in the van. By the time they got home, the depression was universal. Shaggy and Scooby followed Velma down into the basement to see what Velma's contraption looked like. Fred paused to stair at the empty driveway again. Velma sat at her workbench, her head in her hands. Scooby sat in the far corner, overcome with sadness. Shaggy stood speechless. As Freddy descended the stairs, Shaggy pulled a half eaten hoagie from his pocket and began to finish it off. Scooby walked across the room to check out what Shaggy was eating.
"So, what do we do now?" Freddy asked. The question was not directed at anyone. It was more like he was thinking out loud.
Velma flipped on her view-port and was powering it up. Fred came over to watch, followed by Scooby and Shaggy. The lights dimmed, and all focused on the screen..... "Nothing!", Fred said. Indeed, there was nothing on the screen. Velma increased the power and entered a few more commands on the keyboard.
"I'm not sure what is wrong", she said, "But I am now running this thing past my design limits for it." Fred looked baffled. "It worked before! Can you turn it up some more?" Velma cringed and then typed in another command. The wurring got much louder.... B O O M! The room was full of sparks and flames. Freddy grabbed a fire extinguisher, as Velma quickly disconnected the power feeds. In a few moments everything was under control. Velma's invention however, was a total loss. All of them knew it. Coughing and choking, they all ascended the steps out of the basement.
In an apologetic tone, Velma said the obvious, "I guess we have to figure this out the old fashion way. Oh, well, at least I saved the tapes."
It had been hours since the car stopped and Daphne could see sunlight peaking through the distorted gap where the trunk lid fit to the car. She pushed herself closer to the gap, but a sharp piece of metal stuck in her back. The car had been through a rough life, and the distorted metal was from a previous rear end collision. Quietly, she worked her way around until the sharp metal was near her hands, and she tried to rub her duct taped wrists against the sharp metal. At first, it did not work, but she kept on trying and soon she could feel the bindings getting looser. Every few minutes she would stop and listen. "He must not be in the car. I must be at his home, or some other place he feels safe. Why did he leave me in the trunk? What does he want with me? From what little I saw, he didn't look like anyone we had helped capture."
The duct tape finally gave way and her hands were free. She quickly freed her ankles and painfully ripped the tape from her lips. "This glue is going to wreck my complexion!" Working her way around, she looked out of the crack. It was a run down house in a part of town she was not familiar with.
Daphne reached into her pocket for her cell phone. She flipped it open but it did not light up. She held is closer to the gap in the trunk so she could see it better in the light. There was a crack in the case and she realized that it must have gotten crushed somewhere along the line. "As Fred would say, time for plan B!"
She remembered hitting her head on a car jack. "Where there is a jack, there is a jack handle." She felt around and found the jack. No handle. She lifted the carpet at the corner and exposed a pocket in the wheel well. There was a cheep vinyl case in there and she pulled it out and opened it up. "Tire iron! Cool!" Daphne wedged it into the lock assembly and after a little work popped it open. She held the lid of the trunk from swinging wide open and spied out the larger crack. "What a dump! I got kidnapped by a guy who lives here... A house, an old pickup truck, and eeeew! An outhouse!"
There was no sign of her captor, so Daphne opened the trunk and got out. She was happy to find that her shoes had survived, and even happier to be out of the smelly trunk. She heard a door slam and turned to see a short fat man running toward her with a baseball bat in his hands. "I got kidnapped by THAT??" Daphne was shocked that this man had been able to kidnap her! She reasoned that the surprise factor must have been really working against her! Well, she was not surprised now! Disgusted maybe, but not surprised! As he ran toward her, she took the offense and ran towards him. She delivered a flying kick-punch to his ribs, and the man wend down like a sack of concrete. The bat flew from his hands, but he managed to grab her leg. Daphne responded with a swift kick to the jaw, and then pressed her heel into his ribs, right where she had hit before. The man shrieked in pain. Daphne spied keys hanging halfway out of the man's pocked and reached down and grabbed them. Without loosing a second, she leaped off and headed for the car. Jumping in, she slammed the door closed and started trying keys in the ignition. The man regained himself and retrieved his baseball bat. The third key worked! As the car started, she saw him running up from the side. She gunned the gas, just as he swung the bat. The driver's side window shattered and sprayed Daphne with pebble-glass. For a second, it spooked her, and she did not realize the car was in reverse until she plowed into the man's pickup truck! Throwing it in drive, she gunned it again and flew past him as he swung the bat. It was a total miss, and Daphne yelled out the window "Strike Three! You Idiot!" as she flew across the lawn and onto the road.
About a mile down the road, Daphne realized just how hard her heart was pounding! This had been a close call, who was this guy? She looked on the seat beside her and saw some papers on a clipboard. Daphne tried to look through them as she drove. One paper looked like it had information about her. Another had information about her father and his bank accounts. Daphne had no idea what road she was on but figured if she drove far enough she would intersect with a road she knew. She almost missed the flashing lights behind her. Recognizing a local police car, she pulled over.
The officer approached the car shaking his head. "Lady, what do you think you are doing??" The car was a wreck. What was left of the trunk was hanging open. The window was smashed out, The tail lights were missing, and various fluids were leaking out. Daphne smiled at him.
Velma, Freddy, Shaggy and Scooby sat in the living room in morbid silence. "I failed everyone, I'm sorry.", Velma said. Freddy shook his head. "No you didn't. Everything you have done was done with the best motivations." The room fell into silence again, broken only by the knock on the door. Shaggy looked over to the window. "Cops are here, maybe they know something." Freddy walked over to the door with sadness in his step. As he opened the door his heart filled with joy!
"DAPHNE!", he shouted!
Everyone ran to the door. There was Daphne, her cloths were a mess, she was covered in dirt, but to Fred, no one looked better in the universe! He embraced her so tightly, she had to tell him to calm down before he broke one of her ribs!
Officer Brown filled in the details. "It was a straight cash grab, this guy was after your dad's money. The papers in the car document everything, including the grave he intended to burry you in. We have him in custody now, and he will be going away for a long time!"
Fred and Velma looked at each other. After the police left, Velma began explaining what they had known, seen, and done. Daphne was very curious about seeing the tapes, so Velma put the tape in the VCR and began playing the scenes for Daphne, as well as Shaggy and Scooby who had not seen them.
"Like Zoinks! That happened this morning!", Shaggy yelled. Velma paused the tape, rewound it and played the scene again. Shaggy was eating a hoagie, Scooby walked over to him to see what he was eating, Velma was at the workbench, and Fred came down the stairs.
"Jinkies, you're right! That's why it stopped working. It was fixed on a moment of time, and once that moment passed, it could no longer be seen. I guess the experiment was a total failure. I thought I had something special here, and I guess I don't."
Daphne laughed, "That's right! You ALL have to stop treating me as a damsel in distress. I can take care of myself, but it is still nice to know how much each and everyone of you care about me!"
With a light laugh, she pinched Fred. "Especially you!"