Disclaimer: I don't own the Scooby Doo franchise.


He heavily staggered into his bedroom, accompanied only by the echoes of his steps. Like a stone, he fell onto his bed, not even bothering to undress, merely slipping off his shoes using only his feet.

Man, if only someone knew how he tired was.

Just like that, he lay on his back for some time, the comfort and tenderness of the pillow and sheets beneath good substitutes to everything else at this moment. He rolled to his side, now enjoying the soft sensation of the pillow's fabric against his cheek. He snuggled into it as he released a short yawn.

He closed his eyes, but strangely, dream did not carry him off into its realm even though he had spent the entire day on the road. Instead, glimpses from their—his, Scooby's and Scrappy's— last adventure began to replay before his eyes almost like a videocassette.

Shaggy Rogers had gone through and seen a lot for a person at the dusk of his twenties, but he had to conclude—and that was a scary realization—that as time flew forward so did everything grow weirder, and he feared this tendency would continue. Nothing really stays the same under the sun, nor under the moon for that matter. The ninety-nineties were already not far on the horizon, but even they would eventually give way to the almost mystical Twenty-First century with its own share of kookiness…but he was getting carried away! He thought about these awkward changes on a micro-scale, on a specific and recent example.

Each aspect of this adventure was loony in its own right.

An evil twin impersonating the sheriff? No comments, but that still left some questions to be answered.

Hillbillies? The old-fashioned ones, those walking barefoot, carrying boomsticks and banjos? While he was not a professor of anthropology, he had been certain that was an anachronism. Looks like it had been a mistake on his part. His bad.

However, one of these features would have smashed all other competitors in any contest: ghost-chasing ghosts. That was undoubtedly a first, and compared to it even the fact that the trio acted like some Three Stooges wanna-bees seemed trivial.

Ghost-chasing ghosts or ghostly ghostchasers—whatever you call this innovative form of business, it was…it was…he struggled to find a word…it was just wrong.

He remembered a time when such a service was unheard of.

Why did it have to be ghosts? He hated ghosts!

Now lying on his bed within the walls of his house, he nostalgically remembered a time when all the undead he had come across always turned out being crooks and loonies in masks.

He closed his eyes and finally blanked out.

Then noises started reaching his ears. The first sound felt like a melody, a twisted and dry melody…like that of a rattle. Then, but not interrupting the first tune, came the clanking of something heavy and metallic. Roars of something big and beastly started coming from an unknown direction. And finally a cry joined the already contrasting choir of sounds, a cry harsh and accented: Creeper.

For a moment the hellish quartet materialized before him: a witchdoctor in a long ceremonial red robe, the insidious rattle clutched in hand, with his face hidden beneath a carved Polynesian mask; a figure clad in black knightly armor from head to toes; a half-man half-wolf hybrid; and a hunchback ghoul with seemingly decayed skin.

"Zoinks!" with a startled shout Shaggy bolted up.

Breathing heavily, he looked around the room. Yet only furniture and weak moonlight that was coming from the window turned into the only things his gaze caught.

I take that back, there's nothing nostalgic in those guys in masks, he changed his earlier conclusion.

The young man stood up and put his shoes on: a midnight snack was a solution to any problem, be it stress, insomnia, or a bad fright.He hoped that at least something was left in the fridge, for he had not had time to go grocery shopping. If luck was on his side, then Scooby had not raided it yet.

He managed to make only one step before the moonlight played tricks with his tired eyes. Shaggy thought he saw another illusion. Surrounded by the radiance of the night sky's pale lantern, a pair of blue-green eyes looked back at him, binding his gaze to them. He could not resist sinking in the sparkling orbs. Yet, it was not just eyes that he saw. Those red locks, long and healthy, gave him an urge to bring his hand forward and play with them with his fingers. The facial features seemed perfect to him—they had for many years.

But the beautiful image in his mind faded away.

"Daphne," Shaggy whispered in awe, both saddened and delighted.

The young man noticed his eyes watering and in a moment he already underwent the unmistakable feel of tears on his cheeks.

He clenched his hand in a fist, nails sinking into the soft skin of his palm until it started stinging.

He turned to the window only to see the neighborhood resting in the night's dark embrace. That was exactly what he was supposed to be doing at such a late hour, but…

The familiar image kept flashing in his mind, now by his own wish. He saw her in her late teens wearing that familiar short dress, a green scarf neatly wrapped around her neck, and a headband crowning her like no tiara could. The earlier incarnation was then replaced by her in her mid-twenties with a different dress code but still as…he could find an infinity of words to describe her.


But no matter how hard it was to get used to it, one fact had to be admitted…all of this was the past. And this fact hurt much more than any whip. He felt strong blows and stabs to his soul and mind being cast from every side whenever he acknowledged it.

Daphne, the name kept repeating like an incantation.

He missed a phase in his earlier narration. After the guys-in-masks period came the time when he had to encounter real ghosts, the highest hierarchy for that matter, the most dangerous of them all. Yet that was also a golden time for him at least in one aspect. But the acid of the present day still proved to be stronger.

He had donated his uncle Bouregard's treasure to charity, a worthy cause. He did not need it. But he would have given it away even more gladly if he had had the chance to again be together with his flaming-haired Muse…