“OK, take a left here, it should be straight ahead,” directed Jessie. Fred took the turn and pulled into the driveway for a bit before pulling over and parking.
“Alright, we’ll go on foot from here, and keep quiet.” The others nodded in unison as they followed Fred towards the old fort, single file. Fred didn’t turn his flashlight on until they got into the fort, the moon was out, white light illuminating most of the surrounding area.
“Like man, this is perfect for spiders, dark and creepy.”
Daphne ran a hand through her hair quickly, “Don’t remind me.”
“Gang, it’s time to split up. There’s a lot of ground to cover, the basement, this floor, the second floor, and the yard. Who wants to take what?”
“Like, Scoob and I will take the yard,” Shaggy immediately stated.
Velma rolled her eyes, “Of course, I’ll go in the basement. Hadji, you wanna come with me?”
“Jessie and I will take the second floor.”
“OK, that leaves me and Jonny with this floor. Work as quickly and as quietly as you can, and be careful.”
“Right,” came the unanimous reply. But before they could begin their search, a bright light snapped on, showcasing the group.
“Hey, what are you kids doing here?” a gravelly voice came from behind the light.
“Ripe!” shouted Scoob as he jumped into Shaggy’s arms.
“Oh, sorry sir, we didn’t know there was anybody watching the grounds. We were just showing our friends a few haunted places around Maine while they’re here,” Jessie quickly explained. The light lowered, letting the teens get a glance at the thoughtful look on the guard’s face.
He sighed, “Well, alright, as long as you don’t take anything with you or attempt any kind of foolishness, got it?” The teens agreed with relief. “Oh, and if you come across that spider nerd, Peter Parker or whatever his name is, tell him his time is almost up, midnight is going to be here soon.”
“Uh, sure, we’ll let him know,” replied Fred, glancing at his friends.
“Thanks, you kids have a nice night, let me know if you see any ghosts!” stated the guard as he walked off into the shadows.
“Like, he’ll be sure to know if I see anything!” exclaimed Shaggy.
“OK, gang, let’s get going. We’re running out of time too.” The others mutely nodded before taking off in their separate directions, Bandit trailing Fred and Jonny.
Velma and Hadji didn’t have to t go far before finding something of great interest.
“Jinkies! This look like it’s in secret code! But why do I get the feeling I’ve seen this somewhere before?” exclaimed Velma as she picked it up off the floor, just in the doorway of one of the tunnels. Hadji looked over her shoulder at the page of lines and circles.
“Why could it not be in Morse code?”
“Probably because we’re dealing with a spy, they come up with all sorts of codes so that not just anyone can figure it out.”
“Shall we look for more clues?” Hadji asked as he shone his flashlight down the hall.
Velma stuffed the paper into her pocket, “Yes, Dr. Quest and Race might have also left a clue.”
“Right,” replied Hadji. The two continued down the stairs, their flashlights beaming down every nook and cranny in the hopes of finding another clue.
“Whoa, I am so sorry about that. I didn’t know anyone else was here!” exclaimed the brunette as he helped Daphne and Jessie off the ground.
“Oh that’s alright, we didn’t know anyone else was here either!”
“Are you that Peter Parker the guard was telling us about?”
An eyebrow raised above his glasses before bursting out laughing, “Is that all he remembers? He said he needed my full name, so I gave it to him, Francis Peter Parker. Though, you girls can call me Frank, if you’d like.” His twinkling brown eyes gave them a playful wink. The girls grinned back at him.
“It’s nice to meet you, Frank. I’m Daphne, and this is Jessie. The guard did say your time was almost up, it’s getting close to midnight,” stated Daphne as they shook hands.
Frank glanced at his watch, “Really? Golly, time does fly. Especially when you’re watching slow spiders.”
“So, you’re an arachnologist?” asked Jessie as the two girls followed Frank a ways further down the hall. He stooped down to pick up some equipment.
“So to speak, I’m technically still in-training. This is my first project by myself.”
“Oh,? What kind of spiders were you watching?”
“The regular kind since this is my first time. I have to have some kind of practice in before I start handling any of the poisonous ones.”
“Jeepers! You have to handle the poisonous ones too?” exclaimed Daphne.
Frank nodded, “Of course, we’re the ones who are called in to find them so we can find cures for the poison.”
“Well, that’s really brave of you,” stated Jessie, crossing her arms.
Frank grinned, “Eh, not really, we’re just spider-fanatics, that’s all.”
“And I bet Spider-man is your favorite superhero, right?” Jessie glanced at Daphne and the two started chuckling. Frank joined in.
“Yeah, I guess, I’m kinda named after him anyway. Are you heading back?”
“What do you mean?”
Frank pointed down a nearby stairwell, “That goes back to the front.”
“What? We’ve already come all the way around?” Jessie and Daphne shared a surprised look.
“Yeah, that’s why I came up here. Spiders prefer higher places, and there’s less going on up here than on the main levels. That’s where the majority of the ghosts are seen.” Frank led the way down the stairs, Daphne and Jessie following after pausing for a bit to glance back behind them, making sure they hadn’t missed anything. At the bottom of the stairs, Velma and Hadji were waiting.
“Hadji, Velma! How long have you been there?”
Velma shrugged, “Long enough to catch most of what you were talking about.”
“I think we should find Jonny and Fred and help them, I think they have more to look through.”
“If they’re on the main, floor, yeah, there’s a lot. The Captain’s quarters are especially nice this time of year,” grinned Frank.
Daphne crossed her arms, “What’s that supposed to mean?”
Frank shrugged, “The Captain’s ghost is usually seen this time of year, that’s all.”
“Oh, right, well, thanks for the tip, and good luck with the spiders,” said Daphne before the four took off.
“Thanks!” Frank waved as the group left. As soon as they were out of earshot, Daphne asked her friends a question.
“What do you think guys? Is he an arachnologist, or our prime suspect?”
Velma pondered it, “I don’t think he’s a real arachnologist, he would have talked more about the spiders if they were really his passion. As for why he’s really here, I have a hunch we’ll be finding out soon enough.”