Chapter 1: PROLOGUE: Ghostly Reflection
Sally McKnight looked upon Ben Ravencroft's house and shuddered. As her dad pulled their vehicle into the dead author's driveway, she couldn't help but remember all the hell that he had put her and her friends through when Mystery Inc. had came to Oakhaven with the popular horror writer, unaware (as they all had been) that he would turn out to be a mad, power-hungry warlock who wanted to be just like his villainous relative, who was a witch and also deceased.
"You don't have to go in, Sally," Mr. McKnight assured her.
Sally smiled at her father. He was old, and had very little grey hair on his head. His face, however, was still firm and caring, reminding her who was still boss even though she was a teenaged lead singer in an all-girls Gothic rock band.
"I'm going in, Daddy." Sally planted her hands on her hips. "Old Ben might've been a horror writer but he wasn't that scary."
Mr. McKnight chuckled. "You always were as hard-headed as your mother," he remarked before following her inside the house, which was dark, cold, and empty, just like its owner had been.
"Looks like the mayor cleaned everything out," Mr. McKnight noted as he and his daughter strolled about the house, seeing no sign of the typewriter or the posters that had littered the walls of the author's liar at the time he had still been alive. It was all bare.
"Oh yeah, he said that he was putting all that stuff in a new museum." Sally actually felt sorry for herself. The last time that the mayor had come up with a money scheme it had nearly destroyed the entire town. To makes matters worse, her father had played a part in the scheme and she didn't know what she would do if she was involved in another destructive incident like that again.
"See anything you want?" Mr. McKnight asked. Sally swallowed.
"The bathroom," she gasped, and sprinted off, leaving her father to stand in Ben's studio alone.
Standing in the bathroom, Sally peered into the only mirror that still remained in the house and studied her self in it. Instead of having the usual, gothic-white face staring back at her in the glass, Sally was now seeing the expression of a lost, confused girl who had dark, brown hair and was only looking for a place to live.
"I wonder if this is it," she mused, looking around the place and not really seeing her self living here at all. It brought back too many sore memories of the time that she had been forced to battle Ben and his sister, Sarah Ravencroft, and was required to reawaken the Wicca powers that been hidden within her ever since her mother had died…
"That's over now." She blew a strand of dark hair out of her face and beginning to turn away from her reflection when she felt a cold breath trailing down her neck. A smooth, seductive voice emitted from the mirror.
"Hello, Sally, we meet again!"
Sally screamed. That was Ben's voice! His ghost was still here, haunting his own house.
Afraid to turn around, Sally tore out of the bathroom, Ben's evil laughter following her all the way out the door as she ran.
Chapter 2: ONE: Bad House
Seattle, Washington, summer 2007…
In the back seat of the Mystery Machine, Velma Dinkley leaned back and sighed. To the right of her, Shaggy Rogers sat with his Great Dane, Scooby-Doo, in his lap. The two were playing I Spy and their voices were so loud and their competition so furious that Velma couldn't concentrate on her book, which was an Agatha Christie thriller.
"Like, I see something shiny, Scoob," Shaggy claimed. Velma couldn't help but smile as she watched Scooby's reaction.
"Whiney? Where?" The dog wondered, turning about his large, misshapen head as Shaggy frantically tugged at his bluish-green collar.
"Like, it's all around you, man!" Shaggy cried.
Velma silently agreed with the tall, dangly, hobo-like hippie. Everywhere you looked in Seattle you could see the sun's rays reflecting down upon the cities buildings, which were numerous, creating a bright, powerful glow. Velma had never seen anything so shiny in her life.
"Right blinds, Rhaggy!" Scooby whined. He plopped in the seat beside Velma, who knew instantly that the dog was talking about the light blinding him and began to scratch the small, brown head that lay in between two short, floppy ears.
"Its okay, Scooby," Velma assured the big loveable dog, who stared at her with droopy, puppy eyes. "Shaggy was just playing."
From the front driver's seat Freddie Jones ordered sharply, "Shaggy, get your head back in here before something snaps it off!"
Shaggy yelped. "Yikes! Like, what's wrong with Fred, Velma?" he said, flopping back down in the seat in the same fashion that Scooby had. He kept on staring at Velma over Scooby's head until she answered him.
"Fred's just tired, Shaggy. He's been driving all night."
In the passenger's seat, Daphne cooed, "Oh, poor Freddie," causing Velma to glare at the back of the girl's head, which was full of bountiful, red hair.
"Hush, everyone. Where here!" Fred announced. He pulled the van onto Spring Street, which was located in central Seattle, where the old Rose Red mansion had once stood.
Or so they had learned before driving here. According to local newspapers and gossip, the once, monstrous mansion of the Rimbauers had been demolished after a group of twelve people (nine of which had been either psychics or paranormal investigators) had ventured into the house and came out three days later with only five survivors.
Years later after all this was supposed to have happened, a new family had had a new house built on the same ground on which Rose Red had been constructed and moved inside it despite the place's gruesome history.
Of course, not long after the new people had moved in, strange things began to happen around the neighborhood again, and Velma and her friends all agreed that they should be investigated.
However, as Fred pulled the Mystery Machine into the house's driveway, Velma began to have second thoughts. As she looked upon the house, which was big but nowhere near as monstrous as Rose Red had been, she started to wonder how this house could possibly be haunted. After all, it was painted in bright colors like yellow, green, and white, making the place seem a bit too cheerful. In fact, Velma felt like getting out of the van and dancing.
"What's so funny, Velma?" Daphne asked as she slid smoothly out of the van. Fred followed after her as did Shaggy and Scooby, who were tiptoeing alongside each other and clutching at their selves for protection as they slowly approached the house. The last one to get out of the van, Velma quickly pushed her glasses back up her nose. They kept on falling off.
"Oh nothing," she said as she followed her friends onto the house's porch, which was painted a light yellow. Believing her, Fred stood before the front door, knocking on it, and they all stood there for a few minutes without anyone answering.
"Like, check out that creepy house, Scoob," Shaggy said as they waited. Scooby whimpered.
"Oh, relax, guys." Velma stared at the house with an amused glint in her eyes. "There's nothing to be afraid of – "
Just then, a voice came from the other side of the door.
"Whoever's out there, you better not be reporters! If you are, I'll have my sister kick you out!" It was a girl's voice. Suddenly, Fred seemed surer of himself.
"Sorry for intruding, ma'am, but were not reporters!" he promised, straightening the collar of his blue-stripped shirt. "We're just a bunch of meddling kids who only wish to solve your ghost problem!"
Daphne glared at him. "I thought you hated being called that?!" she hissed. Fred gave her a lop-sided smile.
"I had to convince her, didn't I?" He spoke just when the door slowly opened to reveal a well-dressed girl in a pink, long-sleeve shirt and blue jeans. She also wore her hair short, like Velma's.
The girl let out a high-pitched squeal. "Oh, I know who you are!" she cried, joyfully, grabbing Fred by one of his masculine arms and steering him into the house. "My sister watches you all the time. Do come in!"
Seeing no problem with it, Velma and her friends followed the ecstatic girl inside, which was painted just as brightly as its exterior.
"So, what's your name?" Fred inquired as the girl led them first through the living room, then the dinning room, and at last to the kitchen, where a younger girl was sitting at the table eating her lunch.
"My name is Rachael but just call me Sissy," Rachel introduced herself, and the girl at the table looked up from her plate. When she did, Fred felt his heart stop, not knowing why but sensing that there was something unusual about this girl, something that made her special. "My sister does," Rachel went on, not noticing Fred's terrified reaction to her unusual sibling, "and her name is Annie. Annie, you should already know who these people are!"
With a shy smile, Annie rose from her seat, took one look at all of them, and ran. Fred assumed that she had probably fled to her room.
"Oh, don't worry, she just autistic," Rachael explained, sighing. "She's been like this ever since she was born but nobody knows why. I still love her though, and very much so."
"Well, that's sweet," Daphne said. Velma rolled her eyes toward the ceiling. She wouldn't mind being back in Coolsville right now.
Alone in her room, Annie stared dully at the TV set and willed the very few memories she still had left of her friends, (the ones who had perished in the 'Bad House') to materialize at the foot of her bed. They did, after a fashion, and when their spirits were visible she greeted Nick Hardway, Vic Stravinsky, and the infamous Joyce Reardon gladly into her prescience.
The sad thing was, however, they were all dead and there were very little conversations to be had with ghosts, especially with one as obsessed with Rose Red as Professor Reardon had been.
The tall, beautiful woman with bouncy, silver curls (they had once been gold but being a ghost had altered Reardon's color greatly) was staring at Annie with a twisted smile on her transparent face.
"Hello, Annie," the deceased woman said, and Annie kept her eyes on her, finding it hard to do otherwise. "You still got lots of work to do, my precious candle. Oh yes, lot's of work."
"Don't listen to her, Annie!" Nick advised. Annie slowly turned her gaze to the handsome, British man, smiling a little. She missed him the most.
"Yes, listen to Nick!" Vic agreed. Annie turned her gaze on the older, bespectacled man with thinning grey hair. "It'll be the best thing to do!"
They all talked slowly, as slowly as Annie did when she struggled to cry out, "Go…away! Back… to Bad…Place!"
Startled, the spirits all shared a confused expression and vanished, creating a gust of wind so strong that it blew Annie's door open so that it slammed against its frame, alarming the rest of the gang, who were still having a discussion at the dinner table.
"So, you don't really have a ghost problem?" Fred pressed Rachel, who shook her head and smiled.
"No, it's just Annie's memories that we've been seeing around here." She smiled broadly. "That's one of the many amazing things that my sister does…you know, bringing memories of her dead friends to life…"
The Mystery Inc. gang all looked at each other.
"Jenkies! I didn't know that people could do that, let alone a little girl!" Velma exclaimed. Rachel nodded.
"She sure can." She rose from her seat. Looking around at all of them she suggested, "Hey, if you're not busy, why don't you stay for dinner? Some of my friends are coming over tonight…you know, the last remaining survivors of the Rose Red massacre? Why don't you stay to meet them?"
Suddenly thrilled at the idea, Velma said, "Sure, why not. I'll be great!"
"Like, no way man!" Shaggy shook his head firmly. "Scooby and I are getting out of here as soon as we can, right Scoob?"
Tongue bouncing as it rolled out of his mouth, Scooby nodded frantically in agreement. Velma sighed.
"How about for a box of Scooby Snacks?" she bribed them. Scooby began to drool. Shaggy firmly shook his head again.
"No way, Velma." He didn't meet her eye. "Like, if I had a box of Scooby Snacks I would rather eat them at home, not in this creepy place, no sir!"
"All right, then." Velma brought forth two boxes of Scooby Snacks from out of nowhere. "Scooby can have two boxes of Scooby Snacks if he stays, right, Scooby?"
Nodding in agreement, Scooby leaped at Velma and began to lick her face. Shaggy glared at his Snack-craving friend.
"Like, okay, Scoob, you win," he surrendered, reaching for one of the boxes that Velma was holding. Smiling, Velma handed a box to each of her friends, who quickly began to gorge on them.
"Now they won't be hungry for dinner," Rachel said, regretfully. Daphne shot her an amused smile.
"I wouldn't bet on that if I were you, Rachel," she said.
Rachel was about to say something in reply when, from across the hallway that adjoined Annie's room with the kitchen, they all heard Annie's door slam open and close violently. Fearing for the girl's life, Rachel and the gang ran to her aid.
Annie was perfectly fine. Rachel, however, couldn't get the girl to tell her what had happened and eventually stopped pestering her sister to go fix supper. None of the dinner guests had arrived yet, and Mystery Inc. soon found that they were to baby sit the twenty-one year old autistic girl by themselves.
This turned out to be not so bad, however. Annie was a good sport after all, and gave them no trouble. She actually played a game of dominoes with Shaggy and Scooby while they waited on the food, which didn't take long to heat up and it was finished before the guests arrived, which was around seven-thirty.
Whenever they were all sitting at the table, the visitors introduced themselves.
"Hi, I'm Steven Rimbauer and I was the last owner of Rose Red." He held his hand out for all the members of Mystery Inc. to shake. As Daphne held her hand out to Steven's, she studied his face and blushed when she realized that he was very handsome. Certainly he would almost be as handsome as Freddie if he wore his hair longer but…Feeling her cheeks turn hot, Daphne let go of Steven's hand and allowed the others to clasp it. When they had all done so, the only woman who was with the two men to have come spoke up.
"Hello, I'm Kathy Kramer," she introduced herself, and let go of her purse (she had been clutching it tightly ever since they had arrived) long enough to shake their hands in return. She was old, and very mousy, with short grey hair. Daphne, however, somehow sensed that she was probably one of the kindest people in the world.
"And I'm Emery Waterman. What's up?" the other man said, not offering his hand to them but waving it at them instead. Amused, Daphne and her friends all waved back, not noticing until the man had put his hand down that it was missing three fingers.
"Like, how did that happened, mister?" Shaggy asked the bulky, blond-headed, bespectacled man, who laughed as Shaggy kept on staring at the empty stumps on his mauled hand.
"What this?" Emery asked, taunting Shaggy by waving the two-fingered hand in Shaggy's face, which contoured in revulsion as Emery kept on terrorizing him.
"Do you want to loose a couple of more fingers, Emers?" Steven threatened, and Emery glared at the use of his hated nickname.
"All right guys, lets all get along!" Kathy pleaded, softly.
The phone rang.
"I'll get that," Fred volunteered. He rose from his chair. When he reached the phone, which was located in the dining room that was connected to the kitchen, where it rested on the wall, he picked it up and answered, "Hello, this is Fred Jones of Mystery Inc and how may I help you?"
"Oh thank god, Fred!" the familiar voice of a girl gasped on the other line, and Fred's eyes widened.
"Thorn? Is that you? How have you been lately?" he asked, loudly, enticing the rest of the gang to come running up to him. The gang was excited. It had been awhile since they had last seen Thorn.
"Not good," the singer replied, sighing. "You see, dad and I were trying to find a place for me to live and…for some reason we went to Ben Ravencroft's house…you remember him, of course, and well, we were in his house and I heard his ghost! I didn't see it but I heard it talking and it was Ben. I know that without a doubt!"
"Whoa, slow down." Fred switched the phone into another hand as the one that had been holding it grew tired. "Don't panic. We're on our way."
Thorn sighed with relief. "I knew I could count on you." She hung up. Screwing his face up in deep thought, Fred returned the phone to its place on the wall and stared at everyone else.
"Well, what's wrong?" Velma asked.
Fred told her, "It looks as if Sally needs our help." He explained Sally's situation to the gang. When he had finished, the gang was all set leave.
"So, you're all leaving?" Rachel asked, disappointed. Fred put a friendly hand on her shoulder.
"We would love to stay," he assured her as she hanged her head, "but we've got to help a friend. I'm sure your food is the best."
"Wait and I'll give you some to go." Rachel ran into the kitchen. Seconds later she returned to them, holding a large bowl of spaghetti in her hands.
Licking his chops, Fred gladly took it. "Thank you so much." He headed for the door before adding, cheerfully, "So long, everyone!"
Shaking her head, Daphne told Rachel and her friends good bye as Velma and Shaggy did before rushing out the door, Scooby loping after them.
Chapter 3: TWO: The Lost Brother
Sighing with relief as she hung up the phone, Sally turned to Dusk and Luna and smiled at her fellow band members. "They're coming!" she crowed, joyfully, and her friends whooped in unison.
"All right! Its time for some serious ghost-busting now," Dusk said. Sally nodded at her drummer, who wore her blond hair into two short pigtails.
"Wicked cool," Luna said. She high-fived Sally and Dusk both before running her fingers through her red, curly hair, which was all balled up and cut short on the top of her head.
"What's wrong, Luna?" Sally asked the keyboard player. Luna sighed.
"We forgot to tell them were to meet us," she reminded them. Sally swore.
"You're right." She headed for the restaurant's entrance. Its owner, who had once been a victim to Scooby and Shaggy's wild appetites, was hiding in the backroom and didn't come back out until they had left. He had been wise.
"Like, I thought that we saw the last of this place, Scoob." Shaggy quaked as, after several days and many rest and pit stops later, Fred drove the Mystery Machine into the town of Oakhaven.
"Oh Shaggy, it's not such a bad place." Daphne stared at the colonial scenery that was flowing past them as Fred drove the Machine further into town. "It was beautiful here in the fall. All the leaves…"
"Oh yeah, and the food!" Shaggy remembered at once, and Scooby nodded in agreement with his owner. "Like, how could we forget the food?! Especially those pies…ummm…"
As Shaggy trailed off into his imaginary land of food, Velma peered out her window and advised Fred to stop the van. She had just caught sight of Thorn and her friends, who were walking along the side of the rode that they were driving on.
"Hey girls!" Fred greeted the rock band, rolling down his window and honking the horn at them. Startled, the ladies turned to look at them, every one of them bearing their fake vampire fangs into toothy smiles
"Hey Fred," Sally greeted the Mystery Inc. leader, who gulped as she thrusted her head inside the van. "Whoa, nice wheels!"
"Yeah, they are," Velma agreed. Sally brought her head back out of the van, throwing her hair out of her face.
"Anyway, about the ghost thing." Sally dropped her voice into a low whisper. "I think that we should meet somewhere and discuss it. How about in that shed that I have in the woods? Remember, it's the one that you found me in the last time when you spied on me and accused me of being a witch?"
"That was Fred's idea." Daphne avoided looking at Fred as he turned to glare at her.
"She's right, Fred! You always were quick to judge people," Velma scolded him. Fred turned his gaze back on the Hex Girls, fuming.
"Everyone's against me except you," he growled. Sally smiled.
"That's what we're here for," she said.
Fred waved the girls goodbye, driving the van onward to the woods, which surrounded just about every inch of the town.
"Remember where it was?" Fred asked Daphne, and she nodded.
"Right through there." She pointed in between a copse of trees that had appeared before them after they had driven for awhile.
"Right," Fred agreed. He carefully maneuvered the van through the group of thin, grabby trees until they were within sight of Thorn's shed.
"There it is," Velma said, needlessly. She hopped out of the van as Fred drove it to a complete stop.
"Like, I wish we were home, Scoob," Shaggy groaned as he and Scooby hauled them selves out of the van.
"Right, Whaggy," Scooby agreed. Daphne shook her head as she slid out of the van, Fred following close behind her as she began to walk toward the shed.
Despite it being broad daylight out, the forest was so thick and vast that everything was pitch black around them, and Fred had only taken a few steps when he decided to return to the van for some flashlights. As soon as they were each holding one, they resumed walking and were soon entering the shed.
"How about some light, Velma?" Fred whispered. Velma fumbled her hand along the wall of the shed until her stubby fingers found a light switch.
"Eureka!" she cried, joyfully. Fred shook his head, ginning at the triumphant look on his friend's face.
"Now all we can do is wait," he said, and so they did.
Sally arrived not too long afterwards, bringing Dusk and Luna along with her.
"Like, got any food in here, Sally?" Shaggy wanted to know. Sally instantly pointed toward a small refrigerator at the back of the room. In a blinding flash Scooby and Shaggy had reached it, opened it, and were digging through its contents. Sally shook her head, slightly amused.
"Those guys have strong stomachs," she said. Luna and Dusk nodded in agreement. Clearing her throat, Sally turned her gaze back on Mystery Inc. and started to tell them everything that had happened while she and her dad had rummaged about Ben Ravencroft's old house. After she had finished, Fred began to rub his chin thoughtfully.
"Ah, it's probably a fake," he said. Sally, along with her friends, shouted in protest.
"No it wasn't!"
"Yeah, Thorn wouldn't lie, right Dusk?"
"Right, Sister Luna!"
"Whoa, girls, slow down!" Daphne waved her hands about and glaring daggers at Fred, who was keeping a safe distance from her. "Freddie's always like that, don't pay attention to him!"
"Exactly," Velma concurred. Fred began to pout.
"Fine then," he grumbled, starting to motion them out the door. "Go on and chase your fake ghost and see if I care. Just go on!"
"Oh, someone's grumpy!" Daphne purred. She waltzed over to Fred's side. Caught off guard, Fred began to shutter as she ran her fingers down his broad chest.
"Hey, not fair! That's cheating, Daph!" he griped, but only half-heartedly. He soon surrendered to Daphne's charms and, before anyone could do anything about it, the two had begun to grope at each other's clothes and faces in an unsettling love scene.
"Like, get a room you two!" Shaggy sent everyone head over hills laughing. At last Shaggy had found something that would distract him from food!
After Shaggy and Scooby had eaten everything in the shed, everyone decided that it was time to head back to town. It was getting late and Sally and the band had a gig to play the following night. The Hex Girls needed to get as much rest as they could.
Fred also suggested that his gang do the same so…Velma decided that it would be the perfect idea to spend the night in Ben Ravencroft's house.
"But Velma, I'm sure that the mayor is the only one who has that key," Fred said, sounding certain. "Remember what Thorn said? He took everything out of that house –whoa!"
"Watch your driving, Freddie," Daphne said as, with his eyes half off the road, Fred nearly dove off the side of it. If it hadn't been for Daphne, they would've been lying in a ditch somewhere with the Mystery Machine on top of their crushed bodies.
"Whew, thanks, Daphne," Fred said, breathlessly, making sure that his gaze was focused firmly on the road. "That was a close one!"
"So were does that mayor live, anyway?" Shaggy questioned. Velma shrugged.
"We'll just have to look around town," she said, and they did just that. For half an hour Fred drove the Machine aimlessly through Oakhaven, keeping an eye out for the mayor. When they finally did find the man, they had been driving by the old oak tree in town under which Sarah Ravancroft was supposed to have practiced her 'healing spells' and saw the short, chunky mayor with grey, curly hair sitting beneath the tree., doing nothing in particular.
"Like, what's he doing?" Shaggy wondered out loud as Fred drove the Machine up to the tree. Jumping at the sound of the van's roaring engine, the mayor shot bolt upright from the tree and looked around. When his droopy eyes rested on the Mystery Machine, he cried out in surprise and began to clap his hands together.
"Wonder what he's so happy about?" Daphne asked as they all stepped out of the van.
Fred shrugged. "He probably thinks that we can bring him in some dough," he said, just as the mayor came waddling up to them.
"Hey kids! It's good seeing Mystery Inc. back in Oakhaven again?" he greeted them, shaking each of their hands violently. "So, what can I do for you?"
Fred cleared his throat. "Well, we were hoping that you could…um…" he paused a moment, for effect, and continued, "…lend us the key to Mr. Ravencroft's house? Please?"
The mayor's eyes widened. "You sure you want to do that, my boy?" he asked, fearfully, and Fred firmly nodded. "Very well, then. I guess there's no reason why I should keep this from you. I did, after all, let Sally have it before you."
"We know," Velma said, grimly, and they all nodded. The mayor was bearing a puzzling look on his face as, after he had given them the key, they drove off, leaving him to go over in his mind what they could possibly be doing.
"Like, Velma, this is the worse idea that you have ever had!" Shaggy said, trembling as, later that night, he followed his friends into Ben Ravencroft's house.
"Um, did anyone remember to bring sleeping bags or blankets?" Daphne asked, looking around the place and seeing that all the floors were bare and wooden. There was no way that she would be sleeping on something that hard and dusty.
"Daphne's right, we could use some sleeping bags," Fred agreed. He turned to look at Scooby and Shaggy. "Why don't you two go back to the van and get us some? There's a box of Scooby Snacks in it for you."
For once Shaggy and Scooby didn't protest. Surprisingly, they walked out of the house without complaint.
"Sometimes I don't know what they would do without us, Scoob," Shaggy said in a low, voice which the others could barely hear over Scooby's chuckling.
"Reah, me too!" the dog said as he and his owner strolled out of the house. Shaking her head at their retreating backs, Velma sighed but couldn't help but smile.
"What's up with those to?" she asked. All of her friends shrugged.
"Who knows," Daphne said, beginning to walk away from them. "I just want to find that ghost. Come on, Freddie. Velma, would you like to go with us?"
Velma shook her head. "Nah, I'll stay here and wait for Scooby and Shaggy," she said, still smiling. "It'll be pure chaos if those two come back and can't find us."
Fred nodded. "Come on, Daph, let's go check out that ghost." He grabbed his partner by the arm. She gladly accepted his offer.
"She said that she saw him in here," Fred said as he led Daphne to the bathroom. Looking at her, he noticed that she was shivering.
"What's wrong, Daphne?" he asked. Daphne could barely shake her head.
"Oh…nothing…" she managed to choke out, trembling from head to toe. "It's just really cold in here!"
"You know, now that you mention it," Fred said, taking a deep breath and watching it form as a small mist before him, "it is kind of chilly in here. Look, you could even see by breath there – whoa!"
As Fred cried out, the mirror that was on the wall before them suddenly turned bright, bright enough to blind both of them. Shutting their eyes, the two friends didn't open them until the light had faded away, revealing a terrifying, ghostly figure.
"Ben!" Daphne cried. Fred instantly took hold of her, pressing her protectively to his shivering body. Ben Ravencroft was, indeed, standing before them, looking the same as he did in life with his long, black hair remaining into a ponytail and a dark beard on his chin to match it. However, there was something else about this spectral Ben that made Fred feel as if he was talking to a different person, something that had nothing to do with death but…
Not knowing what he was trying to prove, Fred said, "What do you want, Ben? Why did you frighten Sally like that?"
"I didn't mean to frighten her!" He threw his hands up in the air in frustration. "It just the fact that I'm dead! People are easily frightened by ghosts, even if they claim to be fascinated by them…so why are you here?"
Fred growled, "We want to know why your back. We thought we finished you!"
Ben shook his head. "Oh no," He said, grinning evilly. "I don't give up that easily! No, I came back to settle a score with my brother."
Daphne groaned. "You have a brother?" she dared to ask. Ben nodded.
He replied, "Sadly, yes. He's a bit younger than me but I haven't seen him in years. He was supposed to have moved away from here but I don't know where he is – "
"We'll find him," Fred interrupted him. Ben stared at him in shock. "We'll find him and you'll go back to where you belonged to in the first place, Mister!"
Ben chuckled. "That was a bit too easy," he said, scratching his beard. "I didn't even tell you what I wanted to get him for."
"So why do you want to get him?" Daphne asked. She nearly jumped out of her skin when Ben suddenly vanished.
"I think that that is all were going to get out of him," Fred said. Daphne nodded, still hoping for more.
"So, how did it go?" Velma asked Fred and Daphne as they returned from the bathroom, and together they told their friend all that had happened.
"Jenkies, what are we going to do now?" Velma cried when her friends had finished telling their story.
Fred shook his head. "I have no idea."
Scooby and Shaggy came shuffling into the house, carrying bundles of sleeping bags for each of them.
"Like, these things are heavy!" Shaggy complained, dropping his load onto the floor as Scooby did.
"Thanks, guys!" Velma bent down to sort the sleeping bags out. "Fred, give them what you promised."
"Okay, here you go guys!" Fred tossed Scooby and Shaggy a box of Scooby Snacks. Chortling in glee, the two began to pass each other handfuls of the Snacks as they took them out of the box, going to the back of the living room to pig out on them.
"At least those two are happy," Daphne said, gloomily. Fred put an arm around her shoulder. Before long, they were all snuggling up against each other in the sleeping bags, trying to provide as much comfort to their friends as possible
Chapter 4: THREE: The Search
Upon waking up that morning, Velma told everyone that it would be a good idea to go to the mayor after they ate breakfast to see if he had found any papers on Ben's brother. Everyone agreed and, as soon as their stomachs were full, they left Ben's house and loaded everything into the Mystery Van, (including them selves) driving away from the house not knowing if they would ever see it again.
Fred wasn't complaining. The last thing that he wanted to do was go back inside that house and Daphne agreed. As they drove through town, Daphne told him how she had felt about seeing Ben repapering and she hadn't liked it.
"Hey, there's the mayor!" Shaggy cried, suddenly, and Fred drove the van to a stop. They had found the mayor in pretty much the same way that they had found the Hex Girls: walking beside the street. Oakheaven was, indeed, a small place despite its vast history. You could just about run into anybody that you knew here with out any trouble. It was a small world.
So Fred was thinking as he rolled down his window and shouted, "Hey Mayor, we need to talk to you!"
The mayor halted in his tracks. "Oh hi, kids! What a surprise!" He walked up to the parked van. "So, how did your night go?"
Fred grimaced. "It was all right," he said, and Daphne nudged him in the shoulder. "So, uh, can we talk?"
The mayor nodded. "Oh certainly!" He patted the hood of the van nervously. "We can talk about whatever you like. Let's take it to that bench, over there, shall we?"
"Sure thing, Mayor," Fred promised. He saluted the town's leader as he drove the van a bit closer to the bench that the man had indicated. It was not too far up alongside the road and it was shaded by numerous bushes.
"Remember this place, Scoob?" Shaggy snickered as he and Scooby got out of the van and took a seat on the bench beside their friends. "This is where we fooled the mayor!"
"Reah, I remember!" Scooby giggled, recalling the last nightly adventure that he and Shaggy had undertaken in this town. At the time, they had been spying on the mayor to see if he were a prime suspect in the witch's ghost mystery. Turned out he had been!
"So, what I can I do for you kids?" the mayor asked as he caught up with them sometime later, and Fred and Daphne took turns telling him everything, starting with Thorn's phone call and stopping at their ghostly encounter with Ben Ravencroft.
"Well, that's quite a tale!" The mayor rubbed his bulbous chin. "But…you're wondering if I had any papers on Ben's brother?"
Daphne nodded. "Yeah, we have to find out why Ben wants to fight him!"
The mayor whistled."Sibling rivalry is always a nasty business," He began to dig through his pants pockets. "But…I did find this paper in the house that talks about another sibling in the family…don't know why I kept it but here you go!"
Taking the papers that the mayor had found for them, Fred tore into them and quickly scanned over them.
"Whoa, this is some heavy stuff." He motioned every one to gather around him to read the important information. What their eyes saw told them that Ben's lost brother was named James Ravencroft and that, growing up, the two had fought half the time and, when they had grown older, separated, one of them to go pursue a writing career and the other…well, at one time he had wrote dark fairy tales with his brother Ben but Ben, being more ambitious, wanted to try going for something more far-out while his brother…got to live and grow old by himself and was now living in an old folks home.
"We can't tell Ben that!" Daphne gasped.
Fred handed the papers back over to the mayor. "No, but we can call this guy and see if we can't bring him over here," He rose from the bench. He thanked the mayor for his time before he ordered, "Come on, let's go!"
With that, the gang leaped from the bench and started up the van, leaving the mayor once again to puzzle over what they were up to.
The Old Ones' Sanctuary, somewhere in Virginia…
The phone rang. Unable to get out of his wheelchair, James Ravencroft remained in his seat and allowed his maid to answer it.
Her voice said, "Hello? Yes, this is Mr. Ravencroft's room. How may I help you? Oh, his brother wishes to see him? Why can't he come here? Oh, I see never mind. Yes, I'll tell him right away! Bye-bye!"
Knowing what that phone call had meant, James twisted his snow-white beard, muttered a spell under his breath and vanished, wondering why he hadn't done so years ago but now knowing why: He hadn't had a reason to but now…he knew his brother was alive, and that was a good enough reason.
When his maid turned around to talk to him seconds later, she got a nasty surprise.
After they had called the old folks' home, the Mystery Inc. gang drove back to Ben's house, all of them trying to figure out what to tell Ben.
"We'll just tell him that we couldn't get a hold of him," Fred suggested, driving the van under the looming shadows of Ben's house once more.
"What about that part about him being in the old folks' home?" Daphne asked as they all got out of the machine. Fred shrugged.
"We'll work something out," he said.
Together the four friends and their dog walked into the dead man's house for the final time, not knowing what awaited them inside.
Chapter 5: FIVE: Rocking Back Home
Later that night, after they had attended a town meeting to discuss with the mayor what had happened, the Mystery Inc. gang drove the Machine to the Hex Girls' concert, which was already in full sway.
"Whoa, they got a good crowd tonight!" Daphne exclaimed as they all found themselves a place to sit on the wooden benches that were lined up in several rows around the stage, which was fully lighted as Thorn and her girls put on the most mystifying rock show that the gang had ever seen since they had first met the band.
"Yeah, it looks like Scooby and Shaggy are having a blast!" Velma watched Scooby and Shaggy dance down the middle isle that separated them from several more rows of benches.
"Those two sure know how to party." Fred put an arm around Daphne's shoulders, which were swaying from side to side with the rhythm of the music. He smiled as she snuggled up against him. This was how it should always be between them.
Toward the end of the show, Thorn felt so exhilarated by the pounding of the music in her ears and the shear power of the lyrics to her songs that she decided to end the show with a bang. With a triumphant cry, she swung her guitar over her head and brought it back down in one, slow arc, creating magical explosions and mystical smoke as the show came to a close.
When the smoke enshrouded Thorn and her friends from the crowd, which erupted into roaring cheers and whistles, she led them to the back of the stage.
"Good show, girls!" She held her hand up as Dusk and Luna slapped it. "I think we blew them all away!"
"Yeah, it was awesome!" a new voice said.
Thorn and the others turned around to see Mystery Inc. entering the stage.
"Hey guys, what's happening?" Thorn was beaming from ear to ear. Fred smiled back at her.
"We solved the mystery, as you know," he said, for Thorn had been at the town meeting with them, "but we were just coming to say good-bye."
Thorn's face fell. "Oh really?" she asked.
The gang nodded solemnly as one. After being silent for a moment Thorn asked, "So where are you heading?"
"Back home to Coolsville," Fred said. Daphne nodded along with Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby, who were all looking forward to get back home.
"Oh well." Thorn said, perking up a little. "At least we still got to see each other again!"
"Yeah." Fred hugged her lightly so as not to offend Daphne. "It was great seeing you girls again."
"Yeah, so long!" the rest of the gang said in chorus. Scooby chuckled.
"Scooby-Dooby-Doo!" he cried, and followed his friends off stage. It was good to finally be going back home.
Chapter 6: EPILOGUE: Home At Last
Months later, after making up her mind many days prior, Sally finally moved into Ben Ravencroft's house. It wasn't such a bad place once you got used to it, and the sense of unnatural fear that had hung about the house when Ben's ghost had still been present was now gone.
"I could get used to this," Sally said, and went to the kitchen to eat breakfast with her dad.
Lover's Lane. To Fred it had always seemed like the most mysterious spot in Coolsville but yet, as he and Daphne sat in the Machine with their arms locked around each other, it seemed even more mysterious. Maybe it was the full moon that hung above their heads or something but, as he and Daphne stared at the cliff ahead of them and the twinkling town that lay below it, he wondered…
He knew however, that it was Daphne that was making him feel this way. It was Daphne and the feelings that he had for her. Seizing up his courage, he struggled to tell her.
"Um…Daphne…there's something that I got to say…" he stuttered, and trailed off when she blinked those gorgeous eyes up at him, casing him to blush.
"You don't have to say anything, Freddie," Daphne whispered. She brought her face up closer to his. Their noses were touching. They were close enough now to…
Then it happened. Daphne's lips made contact with his, and soon Fred was helplessly under her spell.
A little above the spot were Daphne and Fred were making out in the car, Scooby, Shaggy, and Velma sat under a corpse of trees, together, in the surrounding woodland. It was a beautiful night out. The moon was full, the stars were plenty, and there was something mysterious in the air.
A perfect night for a case, Velma thought, but forced herself to stray away from such thoughts. They were home now, for a short amount of time, and it just didn't feel right to overwork her brain right now, especially when Scooby and Shaggy were talking at the top of their lungs. They were trying to find and name all the constellations.
Velma decided to go join them.
Searching the stars with Scooby is a blast, Shaggy thought as he and his dog struggled to pinpoint all the pictures that were said to be in the night sky. The only constellation that they could really recognize, however, was the Big Dipper. The rest were a little bit hard to find.
Fortunately, Velma came to help them. She found them all. Sirius, Pegasus, the North Star…you named it, and Velma could find any burning ball of gas that was known in existence.
Shaggy admired her for it. There was another person he admired as well: Ben. Shaggy wished that he had had half the courage that that man had possessed. He was gone now, but Shaggy suspected that he was up there among the stars, watching them.
Scooby seemed to think so, too.