Two hours had passed since the incident in the cemetery. After enduring an intense series of questions by detectives and the town sheriff, the freaky links team were allowed to leave, but on the condition that they remain available for further questioning. The sheriff investigating the case, seemed to really detest poor Derek. Despite being injured, Derek was singled out and persistently grilled about his being in the cemetery, as well as the nature of his website. But finally, the sheriff let Derek and his friends go. He even gave them directions to a nearby hotel, as well as a 24 hour diner.
After checking into the hotel, the four friends drove over to the diner, where they all sat, lost in thought. But the long silence was eventually broken, when a heavy-set waitress, brought out Jason's double bacon cheeseburger, and a large plate overflowing with French fries. Derek, Chloe, and Lan exchanged looks while Jason grinned, unfolding his napkin.
"Yea" smiled Jason, "now that's what I'm talking about". Lan cringed.
"Uuuh, I can't believe you're actually going to eat all of that" she said, shaking her head in disbelief.
"I can't believe that sheriff called us the Scooby-Doo gang" muttered Chloe, as she sipped her cappuccino. Derek smiled, tiredly. "What?" she asked.
"Well, if you think about it" smiled Derek, "we kind of are the Scooby-Doo gang. I mean, think about it! I'm 'Fred'…you're 'Daphne', Lan…she's 'Velma'. And Jason, of course, is our resident 'Shaggy'."
Jason looks up from his Double Bacon Cheese burger, before taking a bite.
"Wo wo wo!" objects Jason, "Where do you get off, being 'Fred'? I'm the handsome one on this team, so "I" outta be Fred…!"
He returns his attention to the gigantic sandwich in his hands.
"I am nothing like Shaggy" Jason mutters, as he takes an enormous bite from his burger, chomping down on it like a python, swallowing its prey.
Derek, Lan, and Chloe exchanged looks, until they could no longer repress the urge to laugh. Jason looked up from his food, studying them until he realized why they were laughing so hard. He narrowed his eyes, glaring at Derek.
"Oh yea?" snapped Jason, "Fine! But if I'm Shaggy, then you're Scooby-Doo!"
"Rrruhh - Rrohh!" replied Derek, and the four friends shared a hearty laugh.
"Hey wait, I have a complaint" interrupted Chloe, "isn't Daphne the one, who always gets kidnapped?" Chloe cocks an eyebrow, "sorry, but I am way tougher than Daphne…"
"Yea, and I am waaay hotter than Velma" adds Lan, folding her arms.
"Oh I ain't denying that, sunshine" responds Derek with a smile. He stretched out his good leg and gently rubbed it against Lan's leg underneath the table, causing her to smile.
"You are definitely hotter and smarter than Velma" Derek grinned, as the four friends shared a warm, comfortable silence.
Eventually the silence was broken when Lan cleared her throat.
"So…what's our next move, Scooby?" asked Lan, "I mean…are we going to pursue this story, or let it go?"
Derek shrugged. "Oh we're definitely pursuing it. Why shouldn't we?" he smiled.
"I haven't backed down from a story yet, so why start now? Just because I have a broken leg?"
His boyish smile grew even wider, as he continued.
"It's going to take a lot more than that to keep me out of the field. And besides Lan, you and Chloe managed to keep our evidence from falling into police custody."
"I'm surprised" spoke Jason, "the way that sheriff was giving you the third degree. For a while there, I thought we would have to give up our tape and that rotting hunk of meat, just to avoid jail time."
Jason wolfed down some of his fries. "Man that sheriff did not like you, 'D'…"
"I'm not sure why" spoke Derek with a shrug, "he seemed to know an awful lot about us and the website…"
"Excuse me. Derek Barnes…?"
Derek and his friends looked up and noticed, for the first time, a young couple standing by their table. The couple appeared to be in their late teens, most likely college students, dressed in casual clothes. The guy had red hair and freckles; he stepped forward, while his girlfriend, a brunette, hugged her book bag tightly against her chest, swaying back and forth.
"My name's Preston Weller, this is my girlfriend, Leslie Peters…and first, let me begin by saying that Leslie and I are huge fans of your website!"
Derek and co. smile trying to match Preston's enthusiasm, but Preston's smile quickly fades as his expression turns more serious.
"Also" Preston continued, "I want to apologize for my dad. He was the one grilling you guys earlier".
"Dude" spoke Jason, "Your dad's the sheriff?"
"Yes" Preston nods apologetically, "he's a good guy and a good sheriff. It's just that he can be a little gruff sometimes. Also, him and his department are under a lot of pressure, trying to catch whoever desecrated those graves…"
"Wait a minute" spoke Chloe, "You mean there have been other graves?"
"Yep" answered Preston, "five grave desecrations this month, in two different cemeteries. Three of them, occurred in the one you guys were investigating."
"No kidding…" spoke Derek. "…does your father have any leads?"
"None" answered Preston, "But Leslie and I already know what's behind it all, but my dad won't listen to us."
"And what do you think's behind the desecration?" asked Derek, playing dumb.
"Why, the little ghoul boy" answered Leslie, the one you videotaped out in the cemetery."
Derek and co. exchanged confused looks, wondering how Preston and Leslie knew about their videotape.
"Leslie and I were staking out the cemetery when you guys showed up. We saw the little ghoul boy, and we saw you with the videotape. You know…the one you didn't turn in as evidence to the police?"
Jason narrowed his eyes. "What are you guys, getting at?"
"We want to help you guys. And we can help you. By helping you navigate around town, and by giving you access to the best research database in town: our university library."
Derek and co. were silent.
"Come on guys, what do you say" Preston insisted, "Leslie and I are dead serious about this! We want to learn from you guys…Okay, think of it as an internship in Freakosity! You'll be training us to seek the truth behind the strange and unusual…to view the world with an open mind…what do you say guys?"
Derek looked at his friends, and then he met Preston's gaze.
"Alright. You want an internship? You got one!" grinned Derek. "How soon can we access the library?"
Preston and Leslie exchanged happy excited looks.
"The library opens at 9a.m." answered Leslie. "I'll also introduce you to my Human Physiology professor. He's got a background in medicine, and he can answer any questions you may have, regarding forensics.."
Derek smiled. "Well alright then…welcome aboard guys…your training begins at 9a.m."