Mired In Memories
by Barney Brazil
you dared enter the swamp
in spite of my warning signs!" the purple-clad witch snapped.
"You shouldn't believe everything you read!" said Daphne, her hands on her hips in a gesture as defiant as her tone. Not only would she show the witch who could or couldn't be bossed around, but perhaps impress Fred, whom she hoped to make her boyfriend.
The witch's eyes turned to slits. "No, my pretty? I think you meddlers must be taught a lesson in witchcraft. Smoke of evil
Daphne's eyes bugged out as she was enveloped in a cloud of grey smoke. When the cloud had dissipated, she was gone.
"Daphne!" Fred called out in shock.
The witch laughed out loud, before duplicating the same feat as the pretty redhead.
gone forever in a puff of smoke!" Shaggy wailed as Scooby began to weep.
But of course, she hadn't disappeared. Instead, she fell down a trapdoor, then slide down a chute. Too stunned to say much, she rode it down to the bottom, where she bumped into a hulking form dressed in brown and green. Bald, light green skin, red eyes
.it was the witch's zombie, raised from the grave
In her dreams, it was the same as it was on that scary October night. She opened her mouth to scream, but no sound came out. By the time she had recovered from the shock, his massive paw clamped over her lips, while his other arm had her in a bear hug. She twisted and kicked, to no avail. She was a prisoner of the zombie. In a few moments, the witch had joined them, sporting a light blue cloth, which became her gag. Her only consolation was that it was a clean cloth that would cover her lower face. She could be pretty particular about that.
As her eyes popped, open, she shivered, remembering that scary episode that she labeled "Which Witch is Which?" in her diary. It was her first time being kidnapped. Ever since that time, she struggled with mystery solving. Every villain seemed prepared to abduct her. Velma endlessly teased her, claiming she practically came with her own ransom note. Shaggy and Scooby-Doo lobbied for someone else to carry the Scooby snacks, in case she "went missing" again. And Fred kept trying to keep her from harm, or any action, for that matter. While she appreciated the attention from the blond, she didn't just join Mystery Inc for a "man-hunt"
she wanted the manhunt as well!
When they heard that the tiny town of Gordon , Georgia was witnessing a return of the notorious witch and zombie, Daphne jumped at the chance. Finally, this was a chance to redeem herself. She'd not only steal the credit back from Velma and the others, but banish those ghosts that had haunted her self-confidence for the past two years.
But there was no sign of any witch and zombie. Velma went into her usual tirade about how "there's no such thing as a ghost!" Fred thought the villagers were playing a hoax on them, just to get attention. And Shaggy and Scooby-Doo simply seemed relieved. But not Daphne. She wanted to find the two culprits
and get some closure.
Glancing over, she saw that an envelope had been pushed under her door. Probably the bill, she moved as she slunk out of bed, heading toward the door to confirm her suspicions. Yet she was shocked to see that it contained a simple index card instead of a receipt. The contents stated a pair of words: "Swamp's End."
So that was it, she muttered to herself, one hand clutching the note, the other pinching at her pink nightgown. It would either be one of two outcomes. One involved a villager with information about how to catch the two villains. The second consisted of those bad guys waiting to lure her into a trap.
Just like the last time. After falling down the trapdoor, she careened down a slide until she smacked into big green and gruesome. She had opened her mouth to scream, but no sound came out. By the time she found her voice after having the breath knocked out of her by the collision, he had clamped a hand over her mouth with one hand, pinning her other arm painfully behind her back. Such a predicament would not last long, she observed as the evil witch (who had zipped down her own trapdoor) was closing in on her, carrying a pair of ropes and a light blue handkerchief. Her suspicions were confirmed as the purple-clad witch bound her wrists behind her back, lashing them to her body in a most uncomfortable position. Then she saw what the cloth was for, as the witch pulled it tightly over her mouth, knotting it behind her locks of red hair. She was now gagged, just like so many of the girl detectives she had read about in stories. Unable to cry out for help, she was hoisted off her feet by the zombie, who began carrying her down a dark path in the swamp
Quick as a superheroine, she changed her traditional clothes (purple dress, pink tights, lilac pumps, lime green scarf) and prepared for a night out in the swamp. Sure the odds were likely that an ambush was in store, but she'd be ready for them this time, she smirked, as she stuffed the taser into her purse. Anybody attempting to grab her would indeed be in for a "shock," she giggled, as she quietly unlocked the door, crept down the motel hallway, and headed for the door.
Normally, she would have told the gang about her discovery, and they would have headed off in force. But things were different. She had to solve this particular crime herself, to banish those demons
or at least witches and zombies. People would think of her as "the great detective Daphne" instead of "danger-prone Daphne," as her "boyfriend" Fred so frequently referred to her as. Plus, she was ready for anyone who would try and stop her.
The previous episode was so clear in her mind that it took her no time to navigate her way through the town of Gordon , around the square, over the railroad tracks, and past the trading post. Her destination would only be a mile away: a shack on the edge of the creepy swamp.
Once inside, she noticed that little had been disturbed since that night. But, of course, that was to be expected. After all, Zeb and Zeke were still in jail. But though there was some occasional places of dust here and there, it was the absence of things that caught her attention. Where were the cobwebs? Where were the bugs, rats and other creatures? Someone had been here more recently since the witch and zombie had been sentenced to jail for the bank robbery job. But who was it? Maybe an ex-gang member came back to look for the money, not realizing what had happened? Could it be the town was trying to keep the legend alive to attract tourists? Or perhaps everyone was just imagining things?
That's when she saw the envelope on one of the pillows. It looked remarkably like the one pushed under her door back at the Motel 5. Likewise, the contents were simple
another pair of words that simply said "Witch's Lair."
Clearly whoever was leaving these behind really knew that story. She would be following in the gang's footsteps from those past years. But maybe someone knew what was going on a little too well. Outside on the dock was a boat tethered to part of the structure. A pole was inside, for moving through the thick swamp. It was just like last time
As the zombie dragged her down the path, she saw the old derelict riverboat. In its old days, it was probably the gem of the area. Labeled "The River Queen," it had clearly fallen into disrepair. She did not like the prospect of being held in such a creepy place that hadn't been clean in ages, and voiced her opinion. Of course, the gag stifled her words, making her mumble somewhat.
"Don't like it, dearie?" the witch cackled. "Well, my pretty, you'll be spending a lot of time here with us. And if your friends know what's good for them, they'll leave us alone until we find what we're looking for. Or else, they'll never see you again, my sweet."
Daphne gave a hot reply about how Fred and the others would track her down, but all she could do was give a series of angry "mmmphs." The zombie joined the witch in laughing as they brought her inside. Soon, another pair of ropes lashed her to a chair. Meanwhile, she noticed the room also contained a winch, power tools, and a saw.
"Nosy gals like you shouldn't be looking around, if they know what's good for them," the witch added, bringing a sheet over. This will keep you from figuring out what's going on." As they draped it over her, the witch continued. "And we've got a special lock on the door
no one will find it, or you for that matter! Even if they get lucky, they'll see you under the sheet, think you're a ghost, and run away. So you should plan on being our hostage for awhile!" As the door slammed, Daphne fought back the urge to cry. They were right
her chances of getting away didn't look good
But now, things had changed, she gritted her teeth. As she spotted the witch's house high in the tree, she thought it would be time for a little payback. She only hoped she would get the chance to let the two know exactly how badly they misjudged her before she could flip the switch.
Yet the house was deserted, looking similar to the way it was when she fell through a trapdoor. Even the rug was there, waiting to drop the unwary down the shaft. Upon the mantle, Daphne could see the voodoo dolls of the five still there. Of greater importance was the envelope behind them. As she picked it up, she noticed something had changed. Fred, Velma, Shaggy and Scooby still had pins sticking out of their arms, chests and legs. But Daphne's doll was free of pins. Instead, small strips of cloth bound her arms and legs. Another shred was bound over her mouth. "Oh yeah, someone's playing games with me," she muttered quietly. The envelope was confirmation of that. "Riverboat" was all it said. The rematch showdown was set.
Following in the footsteps of that adventure, she dutifully slid down the trapdoor. There was no zombie waiting for her, luckily. But she would have been prepared for him anyway, as she clutched the taser in her right hand. But the moon light guided her toward the riverboat and her date with destiny.
"Call her again Freddie," Velma begged.
"Daphne, oh Daphne!" Fred yelled.
It was a rescue party! Daphne's hopes lifted as she heard the two outside her door. She screamed into the gag for all she was worth, but those moans didn't even register on the other side. Frantically, she squirmed around in the chair. She didn't get loose, but did manage to knock over one of the power tools near her chair.
"Did you hear that?" Fred asked. "It sounded like it was coming from behind this bulkhead."
"I'll bet there's a secret entrance," Velma declared. "It's always the lantern in the movies."
Attagirl, Daphne thought, wishing her friend the best as she grunted in frustration. "Whoops!" Evidently the lantern snapped and Velma crashed with a thump on the deck. Wrong one, Daphne mused slightly. But then, a bar of soap flew through the air, hit an oil can, which bumped an axe (as Fred told her later) leading the door to creak open.
I never saw it done that way in a movie," Fred observed.
"It must have been in a soap opera," Velma noted, clutching the bar that indirectly solved the puzzled.
Daphne called to them as best she could, but thanks to the gag, sounded like mournful whimpers.
"What's that?" Fred gasped.
"Yikes!" Velma screeched. "A ghost,"
Daphne continued to whine pitifully into the handkerchief, hoping they would figure it out, instead of flee as the witch had foretold. It was her last chance.
"Wait a minute
that mmph mmph sounds like Daphne," Velma thought aloud, repressing her initial fears.
Fred pulled off the sheet, hoping the bespectacled gal was right. "It is Daphne!" Velma proclaimed, proud that her analysis was correct.
"Mmph, mmph mmph!" Daphne retorted. All of this reunion was nice, but if she couldn't get untied and ungagged before the witch and zombie came back, she'd be their captive for life.
"Boy, am I glad to see you!" she beamed as Fred pulled the handkerchief from her lips.
"Let me guess
it was big and creepy who brought you here," Velma speculated.
"None other," Daphne shot back, sarcastically, as Fred undid the knots at her wrists and ankles."
"And look what else we found here," Fred began as Daphne got to her fit, rubbing the circulation into those wrists. "A winch, power tools, and a cutting saw."
"What would a witch want with a winch in a swamp?" Daphne queried, a second before the witch returned
Rather than march aboard, the redhead slipped aboard, slinking from room to room, without any success. A thought occurred to her. There was another pair of suspects, who knew more than perhaps anyone besides the witch and zombie what exactly happened. It was Fred and Velma. And she knew where they'd hide out, she frowned as she stalked toward the door with the secret entrance. Daphne bit her lip in anger as she stuffed the taser back into her purse. Well, I'll prepare to give them such a surprise that they'll regret their little practical joke, she muttered as she stormed up the steps, heading toward the ax on the wall, ready to give it a turn and blow their little caper.
She suddenly pushed open the door, expecting to see the two dressed up as the witch and zombie, shocked by her entrance. But there was nothing in the gloom that she could see. It was all just a wild goose
Without warning, her arms were yanked behind her back. With a panic, she realized that she couldn't reach her purse, and therefore her weapon. Coming around from behind the doorway was, incredibly, a witch in a black hat with a blue face and purple robe. She clenched a light blue cloth in front of her face, and moved it toward Daphne's mouth. The redhead had just enough time to bleat "Nooo!!!" before it covered her face. The rest of her cries for help were subsequently muffled, as the witch tied the ends behind her head.
Then, as her assailant held her arms behind her back, the witch produced several coils of rope, which were used to tie her hands and elbows. Once this had been completed, she spun around to confront her other attacker. As expected, it was a green skinned zombie, with a darker green shirt and brown pants. It was like reliving a nightmare.
The hulking man shoved her down onto a pile of clothes, grabbed another hank of rope, and proceeded to bind her legs together at the ankles. "Now no rough stuff," the witch commanded. "We need her in good shape for the ransom payments."
Now being held hostage was nothing new, but this time, it was a woman's voice who spoke for the witch, instead of a man pretending to be one. So that eliminated Zeb and Zeke, if they had miraculously slipped away from prison. And it didn't sound like Velma playing a joke. So who could it be?
While the redhead thought it over, the zombie produced a camera, and snapped several photos of the helpless victim. Rather than give her any satisfaction, she glared angrily at her captors.
"Trying to guess who we are?" the witch said in a syrupy Southern accent. "You'll never figure it out, dearie, at least not until we're long gone from here, with you in tow unless you behave."
All Daphne could do was mumble unintelligibly into her gag and hope that the pile of clothes that broke her fall were relatively clean. Not likely on this ship, she groaned inwardly.
The zombie ogled her eagerly with his beady red eyes. "Now none of that
you need to take the ransom note back to her friends, while I watch over this bound beauty."
The zombie grunted his disapproval, then
taking one last leer, snatched the note from the witch and stormed out the door.
The witch looked back at her captive, then strode over to a desk to write something on a piece of paper. Daphne wiggled around, trying to generate some friction to loosen her bonds. That was unsuccessful, but she scratched herself in the process. Hey, that gave her an idea. She frantically began rubbing the ropes as fast as she could.
The process took longer than expected, especially because she had to stop from time to time whenever the witch glanced over. And that was becoming more frequent as time went on, either because the villain was getting nervous, or because it was hard to fake a look of innocence each time.
Just as she almost succeeded in cutting through a rope at her wrist, the witch pushed back her chair and said "Hey..you're trying to get loose!" Quickly she darted over to try and stop Daphne. But all of those cheerleading practices did pay off. The redhead swung her bound legs around, sending the witch slamming headfirst into the leftover winch, knocking her out cold.
Just another minute, Daphne beamed triumphantly as she tried to have the last few threads give way by rubbing them frantically on that nail again. But it was too late, she noticed, as a shadow crossed her form. It was the zombie. Rather than look angry at her escape plan, a smile crossed his face.
Oh no you don't! Daphne's words may have been suppressed, but she wouldn't go down without a fight. Hopping over toward her purse on the table, she just got to the edge as he reached her. In his attempts to tackle her, the purse went flying. She rolled out of his grasp as he hit the floor hard. Catching a lucky break, her bound hands grasped the taser which had slid from the purse. The zombie, who hadn't seen it in the gloom, moved in to pin her. Pressing the button, she squealed in delight as her attacker caught the brunt of the electrical attack. He wiggled around for a moment, then went limp. That gave her enough time to hop back to her nail, snap the last few threads on the ropes holding her wrists, and untie the ropes immobilizing her legs. Only then could she pull the gag off, and let out a cry of joy.
"Good job catching these two," the Sheriff noted as he viewed the bound forms of the witch and zombie, lying on their sides, bound by the same ropes that once held the redhead. The zombie sputtered a series of coarse epithets, while the witch's replies were garbled, since the light blue cloth had been stuffed into her mouth.
"But who are they?" Daphne asked, idly swinging about the taser she had grasped while waiting for the local law enforcement to arrive after her cell phone call.
"That's Zane Perkins," the sheriff said of the zombie. "And I'll bet that witch you trussed up is Zoe. They're cousins of Zeb and Zeke." He confirmed this by ripping off the mask, revealing a younger brunette about Daphne's age, whose eyes blazed with fury.
"Looks like the two were trying to play the roles of witch and zombie to lure you back here in a kidnapping plot," Velma said, having just received the details from a sheriff's deputy.
"Good thing you were prepared for them," Shaggy observed, eyeing her taser.
guess we can't call her 'Danger-Prone' anymore," mused Fred, warily noting the weapon in her hand.
to villains maybe," Daphne beamed with a new-found confidence. "Next villain that tries to abduct me is going to be in for a surprise!"
Velma nodded. She was happy that her friend had banished those fears that had haunted her since their first encounter with the witch and zombie. She just hoped her redheaded partner didn't get overconfident. It sounded as though luck played as much a role as anything. It wouldn't be the last time someone would try and kidnap her, the brainy girl thought.