"Look Out!", Daphne shouted! Freddy saw the oncoming headlights and pulled hard to the right as far as he could without hitting the guardrail. A huge truck blasted past them at a high rate of speed, coming within inches of hitting them! "Wow", Freddy said, "I wonder what was with that guy!"
As the van made it onto the island, the fog lifted somewhat, and the inn came into view. Shaggy began tapping Freddy on the shoulder. "Ah... Fred.... Like, where are the cars?" Freddy's face morphed into a puzzled grimace. "Humm, that is odd. A big parking lot and no cars!" As Freddy pulled the van up to the main lobby entrance. Shaggy and Scooby were in conference in the back of the van. They had come to some form of understanding and Shaggy stuck his head forward to make the announcement. "Scooby and I have decided that since it is inevitable that you will go up to the front counter and learn that the inn is haunted by great Ebenezer's ghost, or is being taken over by a group of undead zombies, we, Scooby and I, are going to bypass these festivities and head straight for the beach and catch a twilight swim in the warm evening water!" Velma rolled her eyes. "Ok you two, we'll check in while you guys go for your swim!"
As Freddy, Velma, and Daphne headed up to the main desk, the three could not escape the feeling that Shaggy and Scooby were right! The place was deserted! A lone clerk stood behind the desk to check them in. "Reservations for five under the name of Blake", Freddy said. The clerk opened up a large ledger book and moved his finger down the empty page until he came to the lone reservation. "Here you are", he said. Daphne was feeling a little embarrassed as well as a little angry. "OK Clerk guy, what's going on here? The place is empty!!" He smiled and looked up at her from the book. "I'm sorry, everyone has canceled due to the huge infestation of stinging jellyfish on the beach! It's still great tanning weather though! By the way, my name is Joe."
Velma looked at Freddy as he looked over to her. "Shaggy and Scooby!", they both yelled! The three made a mad dash for the door leading out to the beach, leaving their bags behind. Just as they hit the door, a painful pair of beach goers came through the door screaming in pain and covered in little spots that looked like jello. With a mighty SLAM, all five met!
Velma propped herself up against the wall and straightened her glasses. "Well, I guess you two figured it out, it's not Ebenezer's ghost that's keeping people away!" Shaggy and Scooby were busy picking the small jellyfish off of themselves, wincing as each one came off. "Like yea, we figured it out!"
Despite the lack of guests, the staff made their best effort to fix a big dinner. The last leg of their trip had been an eight hour drive and all five were very tired. Shortly after dinner the bellhop showed them to their rooms. They were on the second floor and had a clear view of the gulf. There was not much to see as the new moon left almost no light, but Daphne imagined that it must look fantastic when there was a moon out reflecting off the water for as far as the eye could see. The girls changed into their PJ's and climbed in the separate queen beds. Next door, Fred had picked out his bed, and Scooby was arguing with Shaggy (or the other way around) about who would get the bed and who would get the floor. Both ended up in the bed and before long all five were asleep..... or... at least four of them were.
Velma had drifted off but found herself awake. Her mind was working on something that did not make sense to her. The small jellyfish that had been on Shaggy and Scooby did not appear indigos to the area. They were also very small as if they were all very young. Velma knew that jellyfish were not her forte, so maybe there was nothing wrong, but still....
"What is it?", Daphne asked. Velma frowned. "I'm sorry I woke you. I was trying to be quiet." Daphne shrugged. "I don't think you woke me, I just kind of opened my eyes and saw you by the window. So, what do you think it is?" Velma frowned again. "I don't know. But, I think we can get a better view from the boathouse." Velma pointed over to the small building near the dock.
After a long winding trip through the halls and out to the dock, the girls had finally found a good vantage point to see what ever it was. By then, the green light had faded and it was almost invisible. "Do you hear something?", Daphne asked. Velma listened carefully. "It sounds like a dull thumping.... like a heartbeat." Both looked out over the water, but by now nothing was visible. "So much for the midnight insomnia walk, lets head back", Daphne said. Velma nodded her head in agreement ant the two started back. "Wait!", Velma said. The two stopped short. Velma reached down and picked up a clump of newspaper that was laying near the boathouse. "What's it say?", Daphne asked. Velma was looking it over and paused before speaking. "It's not what is says, too dark to read anything, but look how it's folded..." Velma held the paper out at arms length. It had a sharp right angle fold to it. "I think this is a clue. Lets check out the boathouse before we turn in.
The two walked into the boathouse. There was very little light to see anything by, but their eyes had somewhat adjusted to the darkness. The boathouse had slots for three boats, but all three slots were empty. There was a staircase up to an observation deck and two closets. In one was the usual collection of ropes and safety floats, but the other had an odd collection of large empty plastic jars. Velma took the top off one and sniffed it. "Just smells like seawater", she said as she screwed the lid back on and put it back in the closet. The girls looked at each other and both shrugged their shoulders. "Fog, green light, heartbeat noise, empty jugs, and a folded newspaper. Not much to go on", Velma said as the both headed back to their room. Velma stopped short as both heard a loud rumble. "Look!", Daphne exclaimed, "Another one of those big trucks like the one that almost clobbered us!" Velma's eyes followed Daphne's finger and she could see a large truck that had just started its engine. The truck had been backed up against a loading dock on the far side of the building. As it pulled away, Velma could read the writing on the side. "Marko Food Services... awful big truck to deliver to an almost empty restaurant.... And it sounds like the engine is straining to get it going." Daphne watched as the truck pulled away. "Maybe it was a duplicate delivery and they turned it away."
Despite the fact that they were the only five guests, the breakfast buffet was wonderful! Shaggy returned to the table with a two foot high stack of blueberry pancakes. Scooby's plate was no less impressive. "Like, this is really a COOL vacation! Ok, some jellyfish, but no ghosts, ghouls, or other creepy stuff!" Daphne and Velma shot a glance at each other. Neither had broken the news to the rest of the gang. Joe, the desk clerk, came over to the table. "Mind if I join you? It's been pretty dull around here." Fred glanced up at him. "Yea, why not!" Carrying a more modest plate, Joe pulled a chair up to the end of the table. Daphne looked over at him. "so... Joe... When did all these jellyfish show up? Must have been some time to chase off all the guests." Joe shook his head, "About three months ago, all of a sudden everyone was getting stung. They haven't let up since." Velma got that look on her face. The gang knew it well. It was the look she would get when something was so far off base that she had uncovered a lie. Normally, she would then confront the person and crush the truth out of them with her quick thinking, yet for once, Velma said nothing.
Outside of the sound of production line munching, all remained quiet. Finally, Velma spoke. "So Joe, ever see anything odd out in the water?" Shaggy and Scooby stopped mid munch. This was a terrible change of events! Velma was on to something and their peaceful vacation in paradise was about to end! Joe looked a little sick, and got real quiet. After a painfully long pause, he spoke. "Oh wow, you've seen it?" Scooby and Shaggy had resumed eating at a feverish pace, almost as if they were getting all they could down before the flavor of their vacation changed.
"The story I heard is that when the storms came through New Orleans, many of the voodoo priests were driven from the area and the evil spirits that were their minions were abandon and the talismans that held their power were washed out to sea, stranding a group of undead spirits." Shaggy and Scooby stopped dead in the tracks.... "OK, Vacation Over! Last one in the Mystery Machine is a rotten egg!" As they prepared to run, a familiar hand grabbed each of them by the collar. "Leaving so fast?", Velma said. Freddy looked puzzled. "Will someone bring me up to speed? Did something happen?"
Daphne and Velma spent the next few minutes relating what they had seen the night before, but left out the possible clues they had found. Joe nodded his head like he had heard the story before. Freddy gave out a low whistle, "So how long has this been going on?" Velma interrupted, "Probably three months, just like the jellyfish!" Joe was amazed, "Yea, three months, just like the jellyfish! how did you know?"
"I know that look!", Shaggy exclaimed, "Scooby and I are headed to the beach. If you guys want to play with the undead, go ahead, we'll be working on our tan!" Joe shook his head, "Wow, Dogs can get a tan?"
As breakfast wrapped up, Freddy, Daphne, and Velma took a walk over to the boathouse. Daphne brought Fred up to speed on some of the unspoken details. As Velma walked in the door, she paused for a second. "Jinkies! Three boats.. Now where did these come from?" Daphne looked around the boathouse, "Yea, it was empty last night. No boats." Velma climbed into the back of one and picked up something. "More newspaper with that odd fold. But why...."
As the three headed back to the main building, Daphne stopped short in her tracks and pointed to a large truck that was backed up to the restaurant. "Marko Food Services! Three huge trucks in less then twenty four hours?" Fred looked puzzled. "Huh?" Velma scratched her chin, "Three that we know of, maybe more. Remember that truck that almost ran us off the road? I bet that was a Marko truck. We saw one late last night, and now this one. Something doesn't add up. Lets get a closer look."
The three casually walked over to the truck. Fred could see that the back door was locked. Velma got down on the ground and looked under the truck. "The springs are almost bent over backward, this truck has a heavy load."
Velma sat at a computer in the lobby as Fred and Daphne watched over her shoulder. "Here's a local newspaper story about the jellyfish. Seems the infestation is confined to this island." Velma continued to scan articles looking for any information on Joe's story about the Voodoo Priests. Finally, with a slightly different search term, she found an article. "We are in the panhandle area, quite a bit east of where all this occurred, but there were a lot of low lying areas in a neighboring parish that were a hotbed of Voodoo culture, if you believe in that stuff. There's mention here about strange glows seen at sea, but only around the new moon of each month, when it is darkest. Oh.. look... Here is another article about this resort and the financial trouble it is in. But, it's dated from four months ago! Before the jellyfish and zombies! Hey.... " Velma's eyes scanned down the page. Fred leaned over. "What? What did you find?" Velma finished scanning the article. "Well, it sounds like they were going to close down about three months ago, yet here we are, the resort is still open! I wonder what changed...."
Freddy's eyes got big, then he smiled. "We still have those inflatable rafts in the Mystery Machine!" Velma was in tune with his thought. "And, we have those electric motors for them that are very quiet! I think we should take a trip tonight and get a closer look at the green glow!" Freddy stood up straight, just as Shaggy and Scooby came into the room. "Gang, Looks like we have a mystery to solve!"
As the five walked past the check in desk, Joe called them over. "I'd like you to meet my bosses Betty and Arnold Marko! I was just telling them about your strange sighting." Betty spoke first, "That's quite an interesting tale about what you think you saw, but the story is all hogwash. I never believed in that stuff." Arnold shook his head, "I don't know Betty, there is something strange going on around these parts." Velma could not contain herself. "Well this is a nice old place, I am sure glad you were able to stay open despite all the financial problems I read about!" Fred moved his foot over to gently step on Velma's toe. Betty and Arnold were smiling, again Betty took the lead, "You can't believe everything you read, we just had a small cash flow problem, but now with the food services end of the business, our profits are up!" Velma was about to speak, but she could feel the pressure on her toe increasing.
As the five headed upstairs, Velma turned to Fred. "Why did you stop me? They're hiding something! How can they be turning a profit by supplying their own resort, WHICH IS EMPTY!" Fred held his finger to his lips. "Shush... They're hiding something alright, but we don't know enough to confront them yet. Lets not tip our hand! We'll find out tonight when we make our boat trip."
The five quickly turned into three as Shaggy and Scooby stopped in their tracks. "Like no-way!! No spooky boat trip to investigate green glow undead zombies in the middle of the night! This is Vacation!" Velma stopped as well and turned to them. "You're going to go through a whole vacation without finding out what my new deluxe Scooby Snacks taste like?"
Shortly after dark, the two rubber rafts slipped into the water and headed away from shore. "Scob, old buddy and pal, what if the new snacks don't taste any better then the old ones?" "Runt Rahh..", he said, shaking his head, "Relma's roobi-racks rollways rar reat!"
As the rafts headed out into deeper water, Freddy could see a green fog about a thousand feet in front of them. "There it is", he whispered to Velma. All five watched with a little bit of fear as they closed in on the area of fog. Near the edge, Velma could see large bubbles coming to the surface. Each would release a puff of fog as it burst. They turned off the electric motors on both boats and used paddles to draw them near some of the bubbles. Velma carefully smelled the gas coming out of the bubbles. She smiled as if she had just discovered something. They could all see green lights moving from within the fog. "Look down there", Daphne said. All looked into the water where she was pointing. There were green points of light moving around under the water as well. Scooby leaned over the edge and a large bubble popped on his nose. His head started to reel back. "Oh no! He's going to sneeze!", Shaggy whispered. All looked in horror, knowing how loud his sneezes could be! With their hearts in their throats, all watched as he tried to suppress.... "AHHH-CHOOOO!" Too late! The strange green lights took notice and all began shining towards the rafts. "Uh oh..", Freddy said under his breath...
A horrifying large face began to form in the fog... "Who Dares disturb us??", it boomed, "If you are already dead, come join us! If you are living, then prepare to join us!!!"
On to Part Two