Daphne’s head was spinning. She had suggested drawing them out into the open, but she had not figured on the idea that he would drug and take them... take them...
She wasn’t exactly sure where she was, only that she could feel a cool breeze on her face, and her head was spinning - no, wait a minute, it wasn’t her head was spinning, it felt as if she was immobile and spinning at the same time...
She opened her eyes, to see the sky spinning slowly in front of her. She tried to move he r hands to stop it, but as she glanced to her side she could see she was secured with heavy leather straps to a white wooden board, and it was this that seemed to be moving. As the platform slowly turned, she looked to one side, and a short distance away she could see Velma, strapped to a similar board with a thick leather pad covering her mouth.
“Which would explain the taste of rubber in my own,” Daphne thought to herself as she tried moving her own lips, and feeling the bung that sat in her mouth with her tongue. Turning her head to the other side, she could see Penny staring back at her, and looking down her body she saw the head of Nadi at the far side, looking round as well.
“Welcome, ladies, welcome to my little party,” a weedy voice said, and Penny mumbled out “ubstrd” as The Hooded Claw passed by Daphne’s head.
“Whtduwntwffsss,” Nida said as she passed round in front of him, Velma tugging at the leather straps that held her legs firmly down.
“Well, I want the Star, but that can wait - my little patsy seems to have got himself arrested, but I will find it at leisure once you are out of the way - and my other little surprise takes care of the rest of the Dynamic Dodos at Pitstop Manor.”
“Frsrprsse?” Velma looked at the others, wondering what was going on, as a speck covered the dark sky, and then flew off.
“Where has he got to - I am getting impatient!”
Hassan banged on the table with his fists, while Race looked on.
“Patience, big man - he’ll be back soon enough,” he said quietly as Dee Dee, Brenda and Taffy talked outside.
“Yeah, give the squirt a break,” Clyde said as he sat with his feet on the table. “We have Peter locked up safely at the hoosegaw, and the Star is safe in our possession.”
“Who has it now?”
“Dee does - out...” Clyde stopped as he looked out on the now empty patio. Jumping up, he looked out to see two men carrying the three girls off, kicking and screaming, towards the lake.
“That’s the Claw’s goons,” he roared as he ran out after them. “You two wait for the flying man - I’ll take care of this.” Race and Hassan looked at each other, only to be diverted by Captain Caveman landing.
“Oogga Booga found them - follow me,” he said as he took off again. The two men looked at each other and then ran off, following the light that was shining from his club...
“What are you doing to us,” Brenda screamed as the three girls were lying on the ground. Dee Dee was wearing her more normal outfit as a Teen Angel - a tight red sweater, blue denim skirt and knee length red leather boots. Brenda and Taffy were also in their normal work outfits, but the concern of all three was the fact that they had their wrists tied behind their backs, and their bound ankles were now been secured to them by the two goons.
“None of your business,” the thickset man binding Dee Dee said, “Boss says bring you here, tie you up, gag you, and then leave you with a little present from him.”
“Oh goodie,” Brenda said, “I like presents, what is it?”
“This,” the other man said as he placed a candy striped box on the ground in front of all three of them, and lifted the lid to show them the bomb that was inside.
“Nice present,” Taffy said - and it was the last thing she said as a white bandana was pulled between her lips, the knot tied in the band filling her mouth. A blue and white striped one was used on Brenda, and a red one on Dee Dee.
“Bye bye,” they said as they walked off, only to find themselves hoisted into the air in a net that had been hidden under the leaves.
“Guess you were right about what they’d do DD,” Clyde said as he stepped out, “Given they left that van trap in the next clearing, and the boathouse is just down there.”
Dee Dee nodded and screamed “Tsabmmm” as she looked at the candy striped box.
“Something wrong Toots,” Clyde said as he walked over, and took a look inside. “Oh god, not the hat box bomb trick, I can’t believe how old that one is. ZIPPY!!!”
“Yeah Clyde, yeah Clyde,” a similarly statured man said as he ran forward.
“Take this and throw it in the lake,” Clyde said as he handed the bomb over.
“Sure thing, Clyde,” the new arrival said, and there was a rush of wind as he and the box disappeared, followed by a rather watery explosion.
“Now then,” Clyde said as he started to build a pile of sticks under the hanging net, “Why don’t we start a fire, and then we can have a nice warm chat about your boss, right?”
Taffy started laughing under her gag, as Dee Dee found a knife on the ground and grabbed it, moving it so that she could start to cut through her bonds...
“Let me explain what’s going to happen,” The Hooded Claw said as he watched the four trapped and gagged girls slowly rotating in front of him. “You are all strapped to a windmill, which even now is turning slowly, keeping you all in a state of motion as the cool wind rushes through your hair - well it would if I hadn’t strapped it down under your heads. But you, Miss Dinkley, you have no such problem, do you?”
“Tlduhsslnee,” Velma said as she looked at Penny.
“Icnsstht,” she mumbled in reply.
“Now pay attention,” the Claw continued, “as the speed of the windmill increases, you will become more and more dizzy, more and more disorientated, and you will experience a slight feeling of nausea. I urge you to fight it - the gag may make it an unpleasant experience.”
He looked at Nida, then slowed down and stopped the wheel. Unbuckling the gag, eh eased the bung out of her mouth and said “Why should I ungag you?”
“So that we can talk - and so that you can prolong the agony of our demise, as carefully planned as I am sure it is. After all, choking would be too simple a death, wouldn’t it?”
He stood for a moment, and then nodded, saying “I see there is a little of the fierce desert monarch still in you, your highness,” as he walked round and ungagged the other three.”
“Who are you,” Penny said as the leather pad was taken from her face, “I know Sylvester Sneakley had no family, so who are you and why do you hate me?”
“Oh I don’t hate you, Ms Pitstop - in fact, I hardly know you, but you paid my predecessor a great disservice. I merely wish to redress the balance in his way - talking of which...”
He stepped back and pressed a lever, allowing the wheel to speed up again.
“As the wheel rotates, it will pick up speed and momentum, and you may feel a passing nausea. As this happens, the wheel will be raised inot a vertical position, giving you a beter thrill ride than anything Disneyland or Six Flags can offer.
“When it reaches the critical speed, a release lever will be automatically depressed, and the wheel will set off, rolling at some velocity down the hill and towards the brick wall that resides there. If you are lucky, you will hit the wall - if not, the wood you are strapped to will sail over the side and plummet down the cliff face to the rocks below.”
“So, basically, your conventional death trap,” Velma said as her glasses fell off. “I said it before, and I’ll say it again - you’re a loony.”
“Now now, Velma,” Daphne said as she tutted. “This man is more than just a loony, he’s a grade A-1 fruitcake.”
“Do you think he’s up there with Old Man Johnson?”
Velma thought for a moment. “Hmmm - nah, but he is the same league as the Swamp Croc and his wife.”
“Oh yeah, good one - he really stank didn’t he?”
“Yeah - and what about the Phantom Diver?”
“Oh yeah - but he sank without trace. Unlike the Claw here, who I am sure will rise to the very top.”
“Oh,” he said with a smirk, “like the cream of the crop?”
“No - like the slag in the melting furnace.”
“ENOUGH!” the Claw screamed as he depressed the lever, and the windmill blades started to spin faster. “Enjoy your last fairground ride, ladies. I have to go and retrieve the Star now - have fun.”
The four women watched as the cloaked figure walked to the edge of the clearing, as they realised they were slowly being raised from a flat position into the air, the blades spinning in the air as Daphne felt the rush of blood while her head was down to the ground.
“Talk aboooout being taken foooooor a spiiiiiin,” Penny called out as the windmill seemed to increase in speed.
“I’m goonnnnaaaaa.....” Daphne called out, but any further talk seemed to be silenced as the Hooded Claw walked towards a waiting car, chuckling to himself as he removed the cloak, hat and jacket, and threw them into the open trunk.
“Got a light?”
The thin young man slowly turned, only to be lifted bodily off the ground by the man mountain called Hassan.
“Where is the princess?” he growled, is hot breath steaming up the glasses on the man’s face.
“Princess? What Princess? I was just taking a stroll in the woods, minding my own business...£
“Wearing the latest in purple fashion accessories,” Race said as he held the hat and cloak up. “Wise up, kid - your one chance is to tell us where the girls are.”
The two men ran in the direction of the screams, leaving the Claw to try crawling to his car.
“Oogga Booga going somewhere?”
He looked up at the small, very hairy man, and said “It’s just not my day,” as the club came down on his head.
“Your Highness!” Hassan and Race stopped as the windmill continued to pick up speed, the girls becoming a coloured blur as they whizzed past.
“How do you turn this thing off,” Race said as he ran to the back of the giant wheel. “It’s times like these I wish I had Benton with me.”
Hassan ran to the wheel and grabbed hold of one of the blades, groaning as he managed to stop it for a moment. The sweat built on his face as he saw Nida staring back at him, and heard the groaning of the mechanics as they tried to continue their death spin.
“I... I can’t....” Hassan groaned as the blade slipped from his grasp, throwing him to the side as it sped up again, and then broke loose, rolling down the slope towards the wall at the edge of the cliff.
“My god,” Race whispered as he ran to Hassan, helping him up as they stood, helpless watching the windmill as it careered down the hill and over the wall.
“We lost them...” Hassan said, his face white as he stared at the empty space. The colour soon returned, however, as the four women rose in the sky, still strapped to the blades as Captain Caveman lowered them to the ground in front of the two men.
“Thanks, Cavey,” Velma said as the straps were pulled off her, and she shakily stood up. Looking at her rescuer, she grabbed and hugged him in her arms, making him go red with embarrassment.
“Leave the little mook be, Miss Dinkley,” Race said as he helped Penny and Daphne to stand. “Next time you come up with a plan, Daphne, try to remember the first rule of these guys.”
“Yeah, I forgot - the bigger the trap, the more likely it is to go wrong,” she said as she rubbed her head. “It is over, though - you got him?”
“We got him,” Hassan said after he had put Princess Nida back down, “He is safely secured in the car he intended to escape in. He will not hurt you or the others again.”
“Good,” Nida said, but not in her soft usual voice. Daphne looked at her, and said “Dee Dee?”
Reaching up, the Eastern girl pulled off her mask to reveal the dark skinned security expert. “Sorry, Penny,” Dee Dee said with a smile, “Nida insisted we swapped places. The girl is a marvel with disguises and prosthetics.”
“But if you’re here,” Penny said, then where is Nida?”
“She took my place - why?” Dee Dee looked at the three men, as Race said “Well, we may have a slight problem then...”
“Say,” Velma said as she sniffed, “Can anyone else smell burning wood?” The others looked round, then walked quickly towards where they could see a column of smoke rising in the air.
“Oh hi guys,” Clyde said as he saw the party coming out of the woods, “We’re having a Weiner roast - and the Weiners are over there.” He pointed to the side of the clearing, where Brenda and Taffy were standing over the two goons, while Nida was wiping the last of the dark makeup from the skin of her face.
“Princess,” Hassan said as he walked over and knelt in front of her, “Forgive me for not protecting you...”
“There is nothing to forgive, old friend,” Nida said as she touched his head. “Come - let us return to the manor - it is time to celebrate and rest.”
“So he had no connection to the Pitstop family at all.”
“None at all,” Daphne said as she rested her head on Fred’s shoulder. “It was pure coincidence that the parcel ended up here.”
“But he was a loony,” Velma said as she watched Shaggy and Scooby clearing their fifth pizza. “He just decided to exact revenge for his predecessor.”
“What about Peter,” Fred said as he looked at the others.
“In prison - he told the whole story eventually. I guess he regrets what he did, but he felt he was always under Penny’s shadow.”
Shaggy watched as Velma stood up and went to the door. “Gng smwhr,” Scooby mumbled through a mouthful of pepperoni pizza.
“To see Penny - she’s asked me to be in her pit crew at Daytona.”
“I need to go too,” Daphne said as she stood up, and picked up her coat, “I’m meeting Nida and Dee Dee at the strip for pizza and girl chat.” The two girls waved as they left the room, leaving the other three staring at the door.
“So,” Shaggy said as he wiped his mouth, “What are we going to do?”
Before Fred could answer, the door opened and young Indian boy came in.
“Fred,” he said quietly, “I need your help - Jonny has gone missing...”
Our story comes to an end - but not before a few more surprises...
Just got through reading the whole thing. Really inventive, has everything you want in a mystery: nice backdrops, elegant costumes, unexpected surprises, a couple of red herrings (but no Red Herring, I see) and an exciting climax. Oh, and the "perils" were nice, too.
This was a great series sir. A really great tribute to the Hanna Barbara characters and some real inventive perils for them to face. Great job all round sir!