Coeursville was founded north of Boston as a reserved community made up chiefly for wealthy residents after the Revolutionary War. The Blake family was one those families along with the Kingstons and the Weatherbys and a small gathering of others who created vast mansions atop the hills looking down upon the bay. However, over several hundred years, the wealthy and the affluent had to swallow their egotism and acknowledge the less than fortunate. A post office was erected in 1801 and then a City Hall, and the area became a town before the Civil War. From a population of a hundred and twelve, the town was now populated in the millions. Many of the descendants of the town followers were still around, and among them no one was more recognized than Daphne Blake, a beautiful red haired young lady with a life devoted to her friends. She and her long time beau and life partner, Fred Jones, the blonde son of middle income parents, had lived their lives since their early teenage lives as amateur detectives, a status well-known in town by even the local police. When most kids were studying, engaging in extra-curricular activities or just breaking the law, Daphne and Fred joined by Velma Dinkley, Norville Rogers and his large Great Dane were solving riddles or challenging themselves with local mysteries. Almost every agreed it started with the suit of armor in the driver's seat of a truck several years ago, but others thought it all started much earlier with something else. It had started with solving local mysteries, but the four of them and their giant dog had actually become local celebrities by busting rumored ghost stories and legends. Daphne had become a reporter out of college with Fred as her cameraman, but now with Velma and Norville, known affectionately as Shaggy by his friends, they were sort of freelance reporters bordering on amateur detectives.
The notoriety had escalated to something else. Television had inspired a cartoon based on them with creative plots and later more cartoonishly events from their real lives. Their hometown was always respelled as the fictional Coolsville, their personal traits were often exaggerated and the plots extremely ridiculous. Velma had never lived the cartoon. She felt it took away credibility from her and the others as exposers of local myth and urban legend. The rights they earned from the memorabilia based on the cartoons more than paid for their living and traveling expenses; no more running out of gas on lonely dark roads or flat tires on isolated country lanes. She was analytical and intellectual, everything else was arbitrary, but then that was the way it always had been. Her father was a professor, her mother a teacher and her siblings something else she was trying to decipher. If her mind wasn't working to solve a conundrum or eternal question, there wasn't anything else to think about.
Shaggy's main predilection in life was living his existence to its fullest and that meant sampling and eating every type of cuisine in the world. There was nothing he had ever refused, but he loved pizzas, hamburgers and hot dogs the most with every sort of gastronomic nightmare combination as possible. There was nothing he wouldn't eat covered with chocolate, but sometimes, he even found himself having to fight for food with his own dog, Scooby Doo, a great big lovable Great Dane with large brown eyes and an appetite to match Shaggy's own. Scooby was Shaggy's best friend and at times the dog was almost human by reacting to the same fears and frustrations. sometimes, Scooby uttered noises that were almost human and sometimes sounded like words, but only Shaggy could understand him.
"Guys, I think its time Scooby got out and said hello to a tree." Shaggy realized his buddy was getting restless by the way he maneuvered up and down the back of the Mystery Machine, the psychedelic colored van that carried them on adventures.
"Just a second, Shaggy," Fred turned down off of Main Street on to Weatherby Road and then into the entryway of Old Coeursville High School at the corner of the two roads. The two story structure of their old school looked down upon them. Daphne felt nostalgic for the place, and Velma recalled much enjoyed times in the school library. She almost wished she could live them all over again. Shaggy instead felt a feeling of apprehension. The dirty tan structure had been closed down a year ago in favor of the updated new school three blocks away. Dark windows seemed to be looking at him and the unkempt yard reflected on feelings of haunted houses he was still trying to forget. Fred parked the Mystery Machine by a blue Nissan Tempo, and Daphne emerged second after Velma from their van and just ahead of Scooby racing into the high grass near the forgotten flagpole. Stepping on to the cracked parking lot, Shaggy looked up with fear to the old school and looked from empty window to empty window.
The gang looked up near the side entrance to Jessica Danvers, their old schoolmate. Blonde, pretty and attractive in her tight blue t-shirt and old faded blue jeans, the Jessica Simpson look-alike hugged Daphne and Velma and gave Fred a platonic kiss to the cheek. Shaggy was watching Scooby sniffing through the grass as the blonde beauty and former cheerleader turned her head up to them.
"Jessica," Fred spoke first as their undisputed leader. "Why did you want to meet us here at our old school? I thought you had a job for us."
"I do..." Jessica confessed in the shadow of the upstairs library windows. "I need you guys to find my brother. I'm really worried about him. Nick's missed a week of work at the Institute and I don't know where he is. I think he's somewhere inside the old school."
"Inside?" Daphne looked up to old classrooms and the boarded entrance. "Why here? I thought the city had sold the old school."
"They did." Jessica walked up to the entrance with her feet scuffing the sidewalk. "To Nick..."
"To Nick?" Daphne wondered why would anyone want to buy their old school.
"I heard he wanted to convert it to a rooming house." Velma added analytically. "Did he have an accident in the restoration?'
"I don't know," Jessica paced back and forth before the entrance. "And I'm too scared to go in myself. Yesterday," She leaned in and lowered her voice. "I was outside the old gym and I heard..."
"Don't say ghosts." Shaggy told her.
"Okay, I heard spooks..." Daphne's old friend rolled her eyes.
"That's worse!" Shaggy shrieked as Scooby reacted about to pass out at his feet and leaned to him for strength.
"But something is making noises... " Jessica continued. "Whistling noises and loud booming crashes like an elephant walking around upstairs. I've heard whispering voices from the gym..."
"Well, there has to be a likely explanation." Fred replied. "I'll tell you what we'll do. We'll go in and look around a bit and then come out and tell you what we found."
"Yes," Shaggy turned brave. "They will go in and look around, and I will stay here and keep you company."
"We're all going in, Shaggy." Fred insisted.
"I was afraid of that." Shaggy looked to Scooby and rolled his eyes. Daphne gave Jessica a brief assuring hug and then joined the others in pulling open the left side of the boarded entrance. The front entrance looked clean and restored to how it once looked. Old trophy cases inside the doors were empty of old school awards and sports trophies to forgotten coaches, but they weren't completely gone, just moved to the new school. With thoughts of old teachers, forgotten friends, school events with old friends and even teenage hazing practices and titles in mind, Fred stopped and paused outside the old office. His hand grasped the aluminum handle and pulled it to him halfway expecting Mrs. Bursby and Mrs. Callis, the lady office workers, still at their posts with Principal Cantrell in back sipping coffee. Instead, Fred's eyes gazed upon the cleared room and looked upon a living room set in front of a dusty TV. The front counter and desks were gone. What had once been an office was now a person's home. Daphne peeked into the office at left and saw a small study with a solitary computer and smirked at the inspired novelty. Velma moved through the back hallway to the rear entrance of the office. Principal Cantrell's old office was a man's bedroom with posters of bikini clad women and old movie posters. The vice principal's office was an unfinished bedroom with scattered boxes of a person still in transition of moving into the former school and turning it into an apartment house. As she turned back to the outer office, she passed the teacher's break room, now a kitchen and dining area with Shaggy and Scooby emptying the two door refrigerator.
"You found the food?" She replied.
"If Scooby and I are going to be chased by ghosts, " Shaggy pointed out with one finger sticking straight up. "We are going to need our energy." He dropped a bucket of chicken take out as Scooby pulled slices of pizza out one by one from pizza boxes on the bottom shelf. Velma looked to Scooby seemingly nodding his head in agreement and turned away to rejoin Fred and Daphne.
"The old guidance offices across the hall looks like an arcade." Daphne announced. "He's got a pool table, foosball table, video games, an upright video game and a Nintendo system."
"Velmster, this way." Fred looked in and got their attention. Turning left at the end of the front hall and bottom of the front staircase, he passed the outside of the old bookstore and headed toward the classrooms encircling the hallway around the school gym. The gym was at the center of the school with an upstairs balcony and surrounded by forty classrooms at its circumference and in a north wing and a south wing. At the first of four entrances to the gym, Fred stopped and pointed to a computer station wired into the doors.
"What do you make of that?" He asked Velma to excise her knowledge to scrutinize their first clue into the first overt change to the location.
"It looks like Nick has wired a computer lock into the gym doors to keep them closed." Velma realized and looked up to Shaggy and Scooby catching up with them carrying sandwiches. "I wonder why he would do that."
"To keep the ghosts locked in, mystery solved, let's go." Shaggy started to turn to leave, but Daphne was holding him back.
"Simple electromagnetic lock, but I'm sure I can open it." Velma picked up the keyboard and started typing keys to decipher the program.
"I know Nick hated gym class," Daphne turned her weight to her other leg. "But a security lock on the gym? Are the other entrances like this."
"I checked," Fred answered. "He's got it blocked off. Whatever is there, he wanted this to be the only entrance in or out." There was a pop, the sound of a bolt sliding to the side and then the groan of doors creaking open to the inside. Velma placed the keyboard aside, slid her eyeglasses up her nose and strolled it first ahead of her friends. Memories rushed to her as she revisited the gym. The humiliation of being picked last for girl's basketball came rushing back as Daphne recalled pep rallies and school dances. Fred looked with pride to the basketball goals while Shaggy looked up to the track on the upstairs balcony around the gym. Scooby was strolling forward sniffing the faded gym floor as the mental ghosts of the gang's youth rushed forward to once again inspire nostalgia for old memories.
"Look," Shaggy pointed upstairs. "I don't see any light from the upstairs entrances. They must be sealed too."
"Nick!" Fred called out. His voice bounced back from the steel girders holding up the round dome ceiling of the gym. No one appeared or sat up from the upstairs rows of bleachers. Desiring a drink of water, Fred turned to the side of the entrance for the water fountain, and instead found solid wall in its place.
"I could have sworn there were water fountains in the gym." Fred looked round. "And look, the symbol of the Cougars is missing. Nick must have covered it up."
"It hasn't been covered." Velma leant down to the floor. "I can still see the floor panels. It's just ceased to exist as if..." There was a loud thud from behind her as if the doors had slammed shut, but looking back, she could still see hem open. Scooby had jumped into Shaggy's arms at the noise. Daphne scratched him behind the ears to calm him down and remind him he wasn't alone.
"I need some chemicals from the Mystery Machine." Velma stood up straight. "I want to know how Nick removed the school symbol from the floor."
"And I'm printing a copy of the school plans." Fred led the way back to the front entrance out of the gym. "I know there were water fountains in the gym. God knows what else he changed."
"Guys..." Daphne stood outside the doors to the main office. "Look..." They all stopped and looked back. Nick's furniture and living room set was missing and the school counters, desks and chairs were back as they had always been. It looked practically the same as it had always been, but had it? How did it revert back within a few minutes?
"Okay, " Fred tried to think. "This is starting to get creepy."
"Let's get the gear from the Mystery Machine..." Velma forced herself to turn to the front doors. Pushing them open, she was hit by a blast of bright light from the sky and a light breeze blowing across the school grounds. When they had arrived, it was just a little cloudy, but now the sun was out and the clouds were blowing away. She turned the the direction of the Mystery Machine and looked to the empty spot where it once sat.
"Jessica's gone." Daphne realized. "The Mystery Machine is gone."
"She stole the Mystery Machine!" Fred didn't know how stupid he sounded.
"How could she?" Shaggy observed. "She had her car here too!"
"Maybe she had someone with..." Velma started with an theory and stopped. "Look!" She pointed across the field to the main road. It was always busy, and consistently congested with traffic, but now it was a parking lot of abandoned cars strewn around. One truck was on its side, and a sedan rested on its side. On the other side, the shopping store was deserted. The usual sounds of town and people were missing. Coeursville sounded empty and devoid of life. They had only been inside the school for roughly fifteen minutes. What had happened to the town while they were inside?
"Where's all the people?" Shaggy asked.