Velma stood in the hallway looking through the pass-through into the den. Shaggy and Scooby were in there playing a game of "Fetch the ball." Although Scooby looked a little indignant, Velma figured that he probably thought Shaggy needed the exercise and put up with the foolish game. Watching Shaggy, she wondered what it must be like to enjoy simple things at face value like he did. She found herself calculating how high the ball would bounce by factoring it's weight, the length of the drop, the type of surface it hit, and at what vector it was traveling. That was the problem! Why couldn't she just enjoy it for what it was, a game of fetch!
Science had been her life. Everything had to have a rational explanation. Like Project Blue Book*, each of the hundreds of adventures they had been on had to have a logical explanation and conclusion. Also, much like Project Blue Book, there were a few where the logical explanation sounded more phony than some of the villains they had unmasked. Still, the real answers probably were scientific as well, after all, she did not claim to know everything in science!
Her hand was resting on the pass-through. She knew that in the science of quantum mechanics, there was question as to why her hand would not travel through the wood of the pass-through, or even a solid wall! After all, Gamma particles travel miles into the earth's crust before hitting their first molecule. Things just have that much space in them. Somehow, the force that bonds the molecules together would interfere with the same forces in her hand and prevent that from happening! Spooky and almost supernatural, yet the basis of how science itself viewed the world. Yea, some things never made sense, but they were real.
Velma sighed.. Daphne could see things at face value and enjoy them. Why was it that she had to analyze them? Daphne would see a pretty flower where as she would try to figure out what colors were being absorbed and reflected to make it look the way it did.
Somewhere, someone would pick up their phone and dial it. The Dual Tone matrix would speed down the copper wires to their local Central Office. From their it would be digitally routed to a Central Office around Coolsville. A light beam would speed through a fiber optic cable until it came to an interface near their office. From there it would be converted to the now one hundred year old standard ring voltage of 105 volts at 30 cycles per second... The voltage would tickle across the copper wires until it entered their phone...
*RING !! *
"Velma, would you get that? Why are you laughing? Never mind,
I'll get it."
"Mysteries Inc, How can I help you? .... I see .... Uhhh ... Did you call the police? .... They laughed? ... Oh dear... Then what happened?.... Ohh ... Oh no... Hummm.... Actually, we are between cases.... 4pm tomorrow? ... I guess... Where... You'd better give me directions... Wow, that's far... ok... And then a right?....."
Velma had regained herself. She watched as Daphne wrote down information. She wondered if anyone had ever calculated how long a line a pencil could make before it ran out of graphite.
They had been driving for almost five hours and Velma had to admit she had never been to these parts. It was open farmland beyond the modern power grid. She couldn't place the last time she had seen a telephone pole. The road had turned from pavement, to bad pavement, to stone, and finally to dirt. She flipped her cell phone open and confirmed there was no longer a cell near them. Out here she would have to use her satellite phone. Daphne and Fred were discussing what Daphne had learned on the phone. Velma did not bother follow the conversation as experience had taught her that the stories always seamed to change once they were on site.
She listened to the hum of the tires and tried to calculate their speed by dividing out the tread pattern, size of the wheel, and frequency of the hum. This got boring.
Since Shaggy and Scooby were working on their fifth snack in as many hours, she figured she had nothing to loose by listening in for awhile.
"The girl had almost an combination Amish/Mid-western accent. Apparently, she inherited this big old house, from a distant relative but could not get anyone in the community to work on it because it was haunted. She wants to sell it and use the money in their community, but until it is fixed up, it's not worth a dime!"
Velma couldn't help but throw in her two cents. "Amish? .. And she was using a phone? ... How did she hear about us? ... It doesn't look like there are many televisions in these parts. Something already does not add up."
Fred brought some prospective back. "Daphne said she had an Amish accent, she may not have any affiliation with Amish culture. Didn't many Amish move to Ohio from Pennsylvania?"
"Actually Fred, as modern society moved in, they moved out. There are still some Amish in Lancaster, but they can be found in many mid-western states.", Velma added
Fred thought for a second. "You're right about televisions and telephones. Hard to understand how she found us from out here."
The road had now declined into two dirt ruts. The open farmlands were replaced by trees and hills. Soon the woods were too thick to make out where the road was going. Fred slowed down as it was harder to see. The bright sun had been replaced by mist and fog.
As Fred crossed the bridge, he cold hear the timbers snapping from the weight of the van. "There's the turn!"
Slowly, he turned down the path. Barely the width of the van and covered in weeds, vines, and broken branches, the path led up a hill into a small clearing where the trees were not as thick.
For a moment, Velma was alone in the van. She had an almost eerie feeling that this place somehow held the power of a massive change that would occur in her life. "Looks like an old house..", she said, partly to comfort her own nerves.
The five approached the house, walking with care across the rotted porch. As had happened many times before, Fred reached the door first and knocked. "Hello ??", he shouted. Nothing.... Slowly, he opened the door.... "I think we've been stood up!"
The inside of the house was in no better condition then the outside. "Fix it up? She should tear it down!", Daphne exclaimed while pulling a cobweb from her hair. "Something isn't right about this.", Velma added. "Like, lets all wait outside!", Shaggy chimed in. "Yeea, routride!"
"What's that?", Fred shouted... "It sounds like something breaking, lets get out of here!", Velma shouted over the now overwhelming sound, but it was too late!
A section of the upper staircase had broken and part of the balcony was now crashing down on them! Fred tripped out the front door with Scooby, Shaggy, and Velma on his back. A choking cloud of dust followed. Coughing, they pulled themselves together. Fred noticed first- "Where's Daphne???"
Fred headed back into the rubble screaming for her. "Over here!" came the voice he was searching for. Fred worked his way over to Daphne, who was coated from head to foot with dirt and dust. "I'm OK, except for all this yucky dirt and my leg. It's stuck."
Velma had returned with a flashlight. A large beam was trapping her leg. Fred was able to move it ok, but it uncovered a deep cut on her shin. Velma applied pressure but had some concerns. "Fred, this is a deep one. You'd better take her to a hospital just to be safe." Fred nodded. "I think that the nearest one was about two hours back. Boy, that's the first time we've had one of these old houses collapse on us!" Velma looked upwards to the broken beams above them. "If..... If that was a collapse.. Fred, we didn't disturb anything up there, this may have been a trap of some sort. Why don't you guys take Daphne back, and I'll poke around for a few hours. When she's all bandaged up you can come back and get me."
Fred thought Velma's request was odd, but she was a pretty good detective so he gave into her request. The four climbed into the van and headed off leaving Velma at the old house with a good stock of flashlight batteries. As the van drove out of sight, Velma sat down and questioned her own motives.
Something about the house or the area was drawing her to an appointment with fate. Nothing in her scientific knowledge base could explain why she was drawn here, but her feet started leading the way. Around the back of the house was a path. Velma decided to do a little exploring as she had at least 4 hours to kill. As she walked she thought about the collapse. It was a wonder that in all those years, none of those old places had came down on them. Obviously, the phone call was a ruse to bring them here. Could be an old villain getting even. But... That feeling...
Every so often Velma would scuff the dirt to mark the path in case her GPS stopped working and she had to find her way back. Her best guess is that she had walked about a mile... Ok, one mile, two thousand and thirty four feet. The path had led to a hill that led to an open field. It was no longer well defined and she repeatedly questioned herself as to why she was so drawn to following the path. It was about 5:30 and the sun was low in the sky. Overhead, clouds had started to build. In the distance she could see a farmhouse. No sign of electric, but it was lived in. As she crossed the first field, she realized how deceptive distances could be in a country setting. Her best guess was that the house was about three miles from where she started. This put her at the halfway point. She picked up her pace as she considered the field to be a waste of time. The clouds were getting darker.
Fred pulled up the drive to the Emergency entrance. As he led Daphne in, he glanced at his watch. It was 6:30 and he wondered how Velma was doing. He questioned himself on the wisdom of leaving her at the house. The hospital was a small place in a very rural setting. When Daphne entered, the loan doctor seemed surprised to see anyone! "Lets see what you have here... Oh! That's a bad one!" Daphne cringed. "Will it leave a scar?" The doctor shook his head. "No, we can probably use some butterfly bandages after we get things cleaned up. How did you get this?" Daphne and Fred took turns telling the story of the old house and the collapse.
Meanwhile, Shaggy and Scooby had discovered the Cheese-fry Emporium! It was renowned by the locals as a place that could handle anybody's appetite. The two were about to put that reputation to the test with one of the "All you can eat" deals advertised on the sign.
Fred thanked the doctor, and the two of them headed out to the van. "7:30! Gosh! It will be almost 10 by the time we get back to Velma! I should have never left her there!" Daphne shook her head, "We didn't think it was this far or would take this long. She's a pro! She'll be ok! Hey... What's all that noise ?"
The two looked up to see the owner of the Cheese-fry Emporium chasing after Scooby and Shaggy! "You're not real people!!! Real people can't eat that much!! You've ruined me!! There's nothing left for me to open tomorrow with! Go Away! I never want to see you two again!!"
Fred shook his head. "That's the third time this month!"
As Velma headed across the second field, she estimated that she was less then two thousand feet from the farmhouse. Thunder had started to rumble above here. The sun had all but set, and she could see the flickering light of a lantern in the house. She knew any second, the sky would open up and she would be drenched. Her fast trot paced itself to an all out run! Something was about to happen and it frightened her! She was about 700 feet from the house when it happened....
The hair on her arms began to rise. There seemed to be a slight blue glow around her. She figured it out too late, although in a second of wisdom, she went to the ground and then huddled herself as low as possible, keeping her feet as close together as possible. It happened. The last thing she saw was a blinding white light and a very loud click.. Darkness... deep into the abyss... Darkness ... nothingness....