"Like, wow Scoob, it sure was nice of Uncle Harry to invite us down to his cabin in time for hunting season," Shaggy exclaimed, while wolfing down the last of his hamburger from the diner that was a few miles away from his Uncle's cabin.
"Yeah, yeah," Scooby agreed.
The afternoon, that followed them to the diner, had turned into evening, and the country summer sky was bright with thousands of twinkling stars. Shaggy and Scooby were walking together along the open gravel road back to Uncle Harry's cabin, before it got too dark to see their way. They had taken a short cut through the forest that met with the road halfway down, and Shaggy wanted to take the same shortcut back; it would cut off a great deal of time on their walk back.
As the odd pair sauntered along Shaggy wondered what the rest of the gang was up to lately. Three years ago Mystery Inc had become obsolete, and so the gang had to split up and get separate jobs to keep themselves financially afloat.
Fred had gone off to work with the NYPD; it was a good fit for him, he had always been the law enforcement type. Now he had a position that enabled him to take his experience to its full extent. Shaggy had recieved a few e-mails on and off from him, talking about certain busts he had been excited about. He was now two years in, and was up for a promotion to detective; a role he would take very seriously, he promised.
Daphne, having prior experience as a television host, had gone back into show business once more. As her first attempts at finding real ghosts had proved more troublesome than good, she focused more on the entertainment scene. 'D! Talk Daily' was a national hit, and Daphne had made it that way with her fevered attempts to seek out and deliver all the dirt on the latest actors. She was very good at sniffing out the truth, and uncovering some deep dark secerts; a throwback to her old days with Mystery Inc.
Velma had kept her old bookstore from the last time the gang had gone on hiatus. She dusted off the shelves, and this time stayed away from the occult. She had announced recently that she had plans to attend Harvard; in pursuit of a degree in Zoology. Although, in her e-mails to Shaggy, she openly admitted she was more interested in the field of Cryptozoology. Her obvious curiousity in the supernatural was never bushwhacked. She would always live the life of a mystery hunter, and all the gang members knew it.
Shaggy was the most suprising of all in his achievements. A year after leaving Mystery INC, Shaggy took all the money he had and invested it in a small corner restaurant called Scooby's Snacks. The strange combinations of food were an instant hit amongst newage restaurant goers, and Scooby's Snacks took off like a rocket. There were already eighty-five locations open nationwide, with another hundred in production. Shaggy had sat as CEO, but finding the position daunting and strenuous he backed down and stayed on as a private investor. He had endless amounts of free time, and money. Both of which he spent openly with his best pal Scooby, as they took different adventures together around the country.
He would never change, he was the same old Shaggy; a coward at heart but a fierce and loyal friend to the end.
Scooby of course was the spokesdog for Scooby's Snacks, and had enjoyed a few years of pampering and recognition. He even would do the announcements on the commercials for Scooby's Snacks, and his vocal abilities were not taken as a surprise by anyone who viewed the ads. It was possible that, in the age of new computerized graphics, they simply thought it was a computer parlor trick.
They had both agreed to visit Shaggy's Uncle Harry, in the small town of Peatmoss, West Virginia. Neither was very interested in the hunting aspect, but the cuisine creations were widely talked about, made in the jamborees that went on during the season, and neither of the pair was going to miss out on any of the delicious creations.
An owl hooted in the forest, and Scooby whimpered.
"Don't worry Scoob," Shaggy said in a reassuring tone, "there's no ghosts in these old woods. Just a bunch of hungry owls."
He patted Scooby's head and the dog felt a little reassured, but he still looked around nervously.
The evening had gotten darker, and some clouds had slowly begun to roll in, blocking out the stars. The sun was now fully behind the trees; what little light remained was slowly disappearing, following its sunny companion.
They stopped as they came to the shortcut; an old beaten down trail used by hikers and hunters alike. It was quite dark, and neither of the two could see very far down its length.
Scooby whimpered again, his nerves getting the better of him.
There was no way he wanted to travel down this old lonely path, and Shaggy was starting to feel the same way.
Over the years Shaggy and Scooby had learned to deal with their fears in a more proactive way; coming to an educated explanation about certain things that would frighten them. Although, a lot of times, they both found themselves thinking back to the spooky cases they would have to investigate when they were younger. They were used to being together when out in the field; a position Freddy had put them in too many times. It had taken its toll though, turning them both into frightened bags of nerves at the first sign of trouble. Dealing with the problem had helped but put in this position, being alone, they were back to being the old frightened pair again.
Shaggy patted Scooby's head again, as if to reassure himself that there was, in fact, no ghosts haunting these dark, lonely woods.
An owl hooted again, closer this time, as if to announce its presence to anyone who dared enter the woods. There were new noises added to the symphony of the owl's hoot as well. Scuffling and scratching; a twig breaking. A gust of wind shuffled the leaves, making them shiver.
"Like, maybe we should just take the long way, huh Scoob?" Shaggy suggested.
"Uh huh, uh huh," Scooby agreed nodding his head, and then throwing a fearful look back into the woods.
It was then that something caught Scooby's nose, and as though caught on string, Scooby instantly began to sniff the ground. The smell was familiar to him, but also not one he had smelled in a very long time. He couldn't quite put his paw on it, but he remembered smelling it once before; maybe on a case.
Shaggy watched as Scooby slowly sniffed onwards, moving into the woods; his fears now forgotten as his canine sense took over. Shaggy stayed back and nervously clasped his hands, waiting for his canine friend to finish what he was doing so they could move on.
Scooby sniffed further into the woods, until he was barely visible to Shaggy. The scent suddenly stopped, and his nose was filled with nothing but the odours of the woods. He raised his head up with a jolt, and looked around. Suddenly realizing the position he had put himself in, he whimpered and then looked back towards where Shaggy was.
"Raggy?" Scooby called out.
There was no answer, and Scooby whimpered again sniffing the air to catch Shaggy's scent.
"Raggy, where are roo?" Scooby called out again.
In the distance Scooby heard a faint call back.
"Scooby doo...where are you?" But the voice was not Shaggy's. It was ghostly and haunting, and it was calling from the wrong direction; deeper in the woods. Scooby felt the air get colder, and the smell returned once more.
"Scooby doo, do you want a scooby snack?" the ghostly voice called out once more. It was closer this time; louder.
There was a sudden gust of wind that rocked the tree branches heavily, and one cracked off and fell onto Scooby's unsuspecting back.
"RIPE!" Scooby cried out, jumping into the air, "Raggy, relp!"
He didn't wait for a reply this time; he charged through the woods, back towards the direction he was sure he had come in. The wind continued to gust all around him, shaking the branches and tearing at the leaves.
"Scooby doo, come to me," the voice was calling, following him.
Scooby dared to look behind him, and found a ghostly green light hot on his tail; following him at the same speed he was running. Scooby couldn't tear his eyes away from the glow and he ran on blindly watching the glow follow him.
He broke through the tree line without realizing it and then ran into something hard, tripping over the mass and rolling in a tangle of legs.
"ZOINKS!" someone cried out, and Scooby and the object fell in a heap in the center of the road. Scooby shook his head and looked at the thing he had run into. A mess of mop top hair looked back at him. It was Shaggy, and Scooby happily licked his face.
"Scooby, scooby stop. I'm happy to see you too old buddy," Shaggy laughed, trying to push Scooby off of his body. "Where did you go Scoob? I lost sight of you, and you've been gone for ten minutes. I was calling your name."
Scooby instantly jumped to his paws and tried to explain what happened to Shaggy.
"Roasts! Roasts!" Scooby cried out and then tried to mime a ghostly figure with arms out reaching for Shaggy.
"Ghosts?" Shaggy asked, "Scooby, like there are no ghosts in these woods, I told you that."
Scooby looked back into the woods, searching for the ghostly glow. Not seeing it, he looked back at Shaggy and desperately tried to explain once more.
"Roasts, ralling ree!" Scooby said again, pointing to the woods. "A right, a right racing ree!"
"There were ghosts calling you and a light chasing you?" Shaggy asked, his interpretation of Scooby-speak impeccible.
"Uh huh, uh huh," Scooby agreed, pointing at the woods again.
Shaggy looked into the woods. They were as dark as they had been when he was calling Scooby. Even when he saw Scooby shooting out of them like a rocket, they had stayed dark. He figured Scooby's imagination was getting the best of him.
"Scooby I think that maybe you were just seeing things," Shaggy explained, "I agree those are, like, some spooky woods, but no one has ever reported seeing ghosts in there pal."
He waited for Scooby to say something, but the dog wasn't paying attention to Shaggy. His attention was now caught by a glow down the road from them. It was ghostly and faded, but it was getting brighter and brighter as it approached them.
"RIPES! Roast right!" Scooby cried out, and he put his muzzle to the ground covering his eyes with his paws.
Shaggy stared at the light that was coming closer and then he laughed.
"It's just a car Scoob," Shaggy laughed, and Scooby uncovered his eyes to examine the approaching lights. "You must have, like, seen the lights from that car in the woods when you were running back and thought they were ghosts."
A large mass began to shape behind the lights; it was indeed a car coming towards them slowly. Scooby was unsure of these lights being the one's he had seen in the woods. Besides those lights were behind him, not in front of him. It also didn't explain the voices calling him.
Before he could relay his concerns to Shaggy the car approached and came to a slow stop. Shaggy instantly recognized it as an old cop car from the siren lights attached to the roof. The car stopped and the driver door swung open. A large figure appeared in the shadows behind the headlights.
"Good evenin' boys," a voice called out, "what's a couple of yanks like you doin' out here in the middle of nowhere at this time?"
Shaggy walked fowards towards the officer.
"Hi there officer, we were just, like, at the diner up the road and we stayed a little late. We're heading to my Uncle Harry's cabin about two miles that way." Shaggy pointed down the road.
The officer came forward in front of the light. He was a big man with a bristled moustache and wide shoulders. He sported a trooper's hat and the rest of his brown outfit suggested the same. There was a wide smile on his face.
"Well you must be Shaggy and Scooby; your Uncle Harry is an old friend of mine. You boys can call me Duke," he offered. "Now, how about I give you boys a ride to your uncle's place. These woods are nice for huntin', but they ain't so attractive to be in at night."
Scooby whimpered at the thought of being alone on this empty highway a moment longer and bounded past the officer, through the drivers door and into the passenger's seat of the car. Shaggy laughed as well did Duke.
"Looks like your pal there takes a shinnin' to that idea, come on, I'll drop you at your Uncles door."
With that Shaggy hopped into the back seat, and sat comfortably behind the closed door, looking out at the creepy woods once more.
The officer took a moment to look around the area, before slowly making his way back into the drivers seat. He clicked himself in and slowly pulled away, leaving the darkness behind.
In the woods a ghostly glow began to shine once more, and then slowly it disappeared into the trees, until it was completely dark once more.