Date: October 29, 2014. Time: 0448. Location: Mulberry, KS.
Early morning. Having been on the road since before sun up the van makes its way down the eerily abandoned streets of Mulberry.
"It's too quiet."
"I haven't the slightest clue."
Signs of violence are everywhere. Cars pock marked with bullet holes. Windows smashed. Charred remains of the once living in the street. Yet somehow there is something different about this town then every other one they've driven through. There is an uneasy feeling that they are being watched. Shaggy scans the windows, careful not to move his head or eyes too much in case someone is watching. "Velma."
"The third window above the General Store." He doesn't need to say more. Velma carefully adjusts her glasses with one hand, the other stationed on the steering wheel of the big van. She moves her eyes up and catches the movement.
"Could be the wind."
"Yeah I thought the same thing. But then, second window above the Post Office."
Velma again carefully scans and sees it. A silhouette clearly visible, at least clearly visible to the trained eye. She turns her attention to the street in front of her. Nothing but open road straight out of town. "You know usually survivors build barricades. Secure the area. I don't see anything like that here."
"What makes you think they're survivors."
"Think about it Shaggy. If they were zombies they'd be attacking us. We're going slow enough."
"Yeah but maybe they're stuck inside."
"I don't think so."
"Cause of her." The woman is running down the street towards the van. In her arms she clutches a small bundle tightly to her chest. Her bare feet slap against the black asphalt, she ignores the broken glass and makes straight for the Mystery Machine. Straight for the driver's door. Shaggy has his weapon up as the woman slams her free hand repeatedly against the heavy grating welded over the grimy glass. "Help her. Please. Take her." Velma neither speeds up nor slows down. She looks back and forth from the woman to the road.
"I know. I know."
From the back of the van Scooby starts to let out a low growl. "It's okay Scoob. Relax. Shaggy and I got this."
"Please please take her. Save her." The woman pleads not for her life but for the bundle in her arms a small child. "Please. Take her before he does."
"I know Shaggy." She pushes down on the accelerator and the van begins to pick up speed. The woman runs behind them screaming.
"Help her. Please. You're killing her. Please help!" The woman chases after them to the end of Main Street. In the rearview mirror Velma sees several men come and drag her kicking and screaming back into a darkened building.
"I don't get it Shaggy. Nothing adds up. The woman. The baby. The men. The town. It just doesn't make sense."
"Maybe they're just crazies." His long hair falls in front of his eyes as he inhales deeply, sucking in the smoke of his last "special cigarette." He holds in the pot smoke. After a few seconds it escapes as he coughs.
"Do you really have to do that now?" The back of the van is filled with smoke as the two sit on the dingy mattress that covers the floor. They long ago tore out the rear seats in exchange for the mattress and boxes of supplies.
"It's my last one. And yeah after that trip through Mulberry I think I do need to do it now." His empty hand strokes the fur on the thick neck of his four legged friend. Scooby doesn't know what it is but he knows when his person starts coughing he's gonna start feeling funny and getting hungry. That means Scooby Snacks.
"Fine. It still doesn't make sense."
"Sure it does. That town creeped me the fuck out. Big time. It's enough we have to deal with the zombies but screaming women with babies, yeah I can't take that."
"That's not what I meant Shaggy. I didn't mean your smoking. I meant the town. Why weren't there barricades? Obviously there were people there. How're they keeping the zombies out? How are they alive? And who was gonna take the woman's baby?"
"I don't know the answers to any of that but I do know I want me a Scooby Snack." Scooby's ears perk up hearing his person's words. His head lifts eyes full of anticipation. "Toss me the box will ya V?"
"Sure." She reaches out for the green snack box and tosses it to Shaggy. He catches it one handed. Placing the roach in the lone ashtray he opens the box and reaches inside. He digs around and pulls out a single Scooby Snack. The big Great Dane sits up. Eyes fixed on the morsel in his human's hand. "Well Scoob looks like this is it. After this no more. Gone like the Dodo and the Twinkie. Never to be seen again." He looks at the cookie treat. "It's all yours Scoob. Enjoy it." He tosses the cookie. No sooner does it leave his hand then great brown jaws snatch it from the air.
"That was nice Shaggy."
"Well he deserves it. He's kept us safe this long. Would ya mind adding you know whats to the list. I know we won't find these but he deserves his treats."
"Sure thing Shag." Velma reaches into her shoulder bag and pulls out a small notebook. Turning to a dog eared page she scrawls a few things before closing the book and placing it back in her pack.
"So what do you want to do?"
"What do you mean Shaggy?"
"Oh c'mon. We've known each other long enough. I know you are fascinated by that town. I know you see a mystery to solve. I know that no matter how much I beg and plead you are going to want to go back there and figure it all out. So what do you want to do?"
"You're not even going to try and talk me out of it?"
"Look I just smoked my last nub. Gave Scooby the last Snack. I think if there were ever a day to die trying to solve some kooky caper it's today."
Velma looks at the man sitting before her. His long hair constantly falling into his eyes, how he sees anything and shoots so well is beyond her. His once lanky frame showing signs of hard work and strain. His clothes filthy. His gear impeccable. He's not the most handsome man but if she were straight...
"Okay Shaggy. Here's the plan."
Just after high noon the van rolls slowly back into town. They stop in the middle of the street, the Post Office on one side and Ma's Diner on the other. Velma puts it in park. "You ready Shag?"
"As ready as I'll ever be. Ready Scoob?" The dog's sharp exhale signaling he's ready. "Let's do this."
The two open the doors to the van and step out each side. Scooby follows Shaggy out the passenger door. They close the doors and make their way to the front of the van weapons at their sides. Eyes looking from window to window.
"You feel it don't you Shag?"
"Sure do. We're bein' watched."
The town is silent. Not the silence of the undead world, silence of the dead.
"LEAVE! THIS IS YOUR ONLY WARNING!" The voice reverberates and echos down the street. Neither Velma nor Shaggy openly reacts. The only visible reaction coming form the big dog. The hair down Scooby's back stands on end causing Shaggy to absentmindedly run his hand through it.
Velma looks at Shaggy who simply nods. She yells out, "We're not leaving. We've come to help the woman from this morning. She asked us to help her. We're here to do just that."
"YOU CAN'T HELP ANYONE." A different the voice booms down the street.
"Got it." The words barely above a whisper.
"Yeah?" Velma responds in kind.
"Yeah. Pharmacy. Two buildings down. First floor."
"You know it."
"Okay Shag." Velma straightens up and raises her voice, "We're not leaving without the woman who asked for help. You want us to leave you'll have to make us." Silence takes over the street. The feeling of being watched consumes the duo. Scooby shows signs of being ever more agitated by the exchange. "Relax Scoob." Shaggy's hand smoothes the dogs big head. Minutes tick away. No sound can be heard. Then all at once barefoot men and women come from the doorways and alleys between buildings. In seconds the once empty street is crowded with people. Scooby raises to his feet, stands in front of his people, lowers his head, and snarls. A long low sound escaping from between his glistening teeth. Shaggy and Velma stand back to back weapons at the ready as the people inch their way closer.
"I changed my mind. I don't wanna die today."
Categories: Guest Writers