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Authors: Kate Howard

Big-Top Scooby

BOOK: Big-Top Scooby
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H
idden under a cloak of darkness, a shadowy figure crept through a jewelry store. Nearby, a security guard slept soundly, unaware that a thief had sneaked past the locked front doors as he dozed and dreamed.

Without a word, the figure reached forward and lifted the top off a glass case. His hand stretched inside to touch the glowing ruby necklace that had been locked safely inside until just moments before. The intruder carefully lifted the necklace out of the case, and then slipped toward the door.

Suddenly, the store's alarms screamed. The guard was jolted awake. He fell out of his chair
and then scrambled to his feet just in time to see the dark figure on his video monitor. He rushed into the store, ready to bust the burglar.

But when the guard saw the shadowy figure up close, he wished he was still dreaming. Because it was no ordinary thief stealing that ruby….

The guard tried to scream, but he couldn't. “No …” he cried, wishing the monster standing in front of him would disappear. “No …” the guard whimpered again as the shadowy creature crept closer.

At last, the guard gathered the strength to flee. He shrieked as he dropped his flashlight and ran, ran, ran — straight into a support column. He was knocked out cold.

The shadowy figure stepped forward, reaching out one clawed hand to grab him. It was not the guard's lucky day.

But just in the nick of time, police sirens blared outside the store. The figure decided the wimpy security guard wasn't worth it. He left the guard curled in a heap and crashed out the store's
side door. He raced down the street and disappeared around a corner just as several police cars roared up to the front door.

“Freeze!” shouted a police office, jumping out of his car. Like the security guard, he was
sure
that he was about to become a hero. But the thief just looked back and snarled, its horrible face scarier than anything the officer had ever seen.

Another officer leaped out of his car. Both officers gaped in shock, too stunned to fire their weapons. The figure darted away, still clutching the ruby necklace.

“Was that your mom?” the second police officer asked, glancing at his partner.

“Dude, shut up!” the first police officer said. He was still confused about what it was they had just seen.

The policemen looked at each other, and then ran after the thief. As they rounded a corner, both men were knocked to the ground. The thief had jumped out of the shadows!

After it leaped over the officers, the shadowy figure darted away again. It was just about to
round a corner when one police officer shot at it.

“Did I hit it?” the officer asked, stunned. “I think I hit it.”

But the thief didn't even slow down. It kept running as though it were unstoppable.

The other officer stood up, not even bothering to take out his gun. “I don't think it matters much, unless you've got silver bullets in that thing.” He paused for a minute, thinking about the creature they'd just seen. “Also, you're right. It did kind of look like my mom.”

As the officers stood helplessly outside the store, the shadowy figure dashed toward safety. It ran through the streets and finally stopped at the top of a rocky cliff overlooking a circus tent.

The full moon shone down on the figure that clutched at the ruby necklace. Its sinister yellow eyes shone in the moonlight. The figure tipped back its head and howled.

A
whole week in Atlantic City!” Daphne said, bouncing happily in the front seat of the Mystery Machine. “This is gonna be the best vacation since Pismo Beach!”

“Like, didn't we get attacked by a demon clam in Pismo Beach?” Shaggy asked.

Daphne shrugged. “Okay, since Santa Fe, then.”

“Isn't that where we were chased by those radioactive cactus monsters?” Shaggy said.

“Since … Washington, DC?” Daphne suggested weakly.

“Washington, Washington.” Shaggy tried to think back to their trip to Washington, DC, but
all he could think about was how hungry he was. “What happened in Washington, DC?”

“Rincoln Remorial,” Scooby-Doo said.

“Oh, yeah,” Shaggy said happily. “The Lincoln Memorial came to life and tried to stomp on Scooby.” He glanced over at his best buddy.

Scooby had zipped on a fake beard and set a stovepipe hat over his ears. He made a spooky face and reached toward Shaggy, his arms out like a zombie. “Ror score rand
RAARRGH
!”

Shaggy jumped. “Zoinks!”

“Calm down, guys,” Velma grumbled. She hated when Shaggy and Scooby got wild in the back of the van, especially when she had to sit next to them. “This is Atlantic City! The fun capital of the world! It's nothing but fun, fun, fun. Beaches and shows and —”

“Aaahhh!”
Shaggy screamed. Startled, Scooby jumped into Shaggy's arms and quivered. Shaggy pointed out the window. “Look! Wûlfsmöóon!”

Fred, Daphne, Velma, and Scooby all looked out the window to see what Shaggy was so excited about. A huge picture of Wulfric Von Rydingsvard
shone down at them from a billboard on the side of the road.

“My favorite band!” Shaggy cried happily as Scooby scooted off his lap. “Like, gang, we have to see them while we're here! Their lead singer, Wulfric, is so awesome! He does that one song that goes —”

Scooby covered his ears as Shaggy shrieked and shouted.

“You think that's cool, check
this
out!” Fred cried above the sounds of Shaggy's hollering. “Look! A circus!”

“Ooooh …” Shaggy said sarcastically. “The Brancusi Circus. Like, yay.”

“I love the circus!” Fred reminded them. “You know how I took that Circus Arts class last summer.”

“We know….” Daphne, Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby all said together. They'd heard about Fred's circus camp a few too many times.

“I think I really could have mastered the trapeze if I hadn't broken all those bones. The trick,” he explained, “is not to fall.”

Shaggy rolled his eyes. “That's great, Fred,
but, like, not everyone loves the —”

“We gotta see it tonight!” Fred cried.

Velma shook her head. “Really, I think we'd rather —”

“My treat!” Fred hollered.

“Maybe some other —” Daphne tried.

“I insist!” Fred sighed happily. He was really excited about this.

“But we don't —” Shaggy whined.

“I'm glad that's settled,” Fred said, steering the car down the road toward the Brancusi Circus tent. “You guys are gonna love it.”

Slumping down in his seat, Shaggy said, “Hooray. The circus.”

By the time Fred pulled the Mystery Machine up to the circus, the sky had grown dim. The parking lot was mostly empty. As they walked up to the ticket booth, Shaggy noticed a huge sign that said: B
RANCUSI
C
IRCUS
P
RESENTS
: C
ELESTIA
. The name of the show, Celestia, didn't make him any more excited than he already wasn't.

“Well, look at that, they don't open until tomorrow night,” Shaggy said. “Let's go!”

Fred stopped him as Shaggy turned to head back to the van. “Hang on. I want to see if there's anyone here.”

“Wait, no! Like, they're closed!” Shaggy gestured toward the dark ticket booth. “I am
not
going into a dark circus!”

Fred ignored him and made his way toward the circus grounds. “The gate's open,” he said cheerfully. “Let's just have a little look around.”

Daphne and Velma followed Fred inside the fence, but Shaggy and Scooby weren't going anywhere. Until they realized they were alone, and then they trailed along behind the others.

“Okay,” Shaggy said reluctantly. “But I am not
staying
in a dark circus!” He looked around as they walked into the circus grounds. “Look at this place! Even the
stuffed animals
are scary!”

Shaggy and Scooby peeked around at the circus stuff, noticing smaller tents, trailers, and containers for circus equipment. They strolled through the small circus town nervously. “Come on, guys,” Shaggy whined. “On the creepy scale, this ranks higher than a graveyard!”

“Ran old graveyard!” Scooby agreed.

“Higher than an old graveyard
in a swamp
. On fire!”

But Fred didn't seem the least bit alarmed. “Hello?” he called out hopefully. “Anybody here?”

Shaggy and Scooby were so busy trying to keep an eye on everything at once that they began to wander off. “Guys …” Shaggy whispered, not realizing that everyone except Scooby had gone off in a different direction. “I have a really bad feeling about —”

Suddenly, Shaggy turned and came face-to-face with a horrifying clown.
“Ahhhh!”

“Rahhhhh!”
Scooby echoed.

After a few seconds, Shaggy and Scooby realized it was nothing but an old circus banner. They both sighed, relaxing a little. But their sighs turned to screams when they turned to look for the others and, instead, found themselves staring at a huge, scary
something
.

“Ahhhhh!”
Shaggy cried again. “Like,
run
, Scoob!”

“Rahhhhh!”
Scooby howled.

S
haggy and Scooby didn't get far before they crashed into Fred, Daphne, and Velma. All five fell to the ground in a giant heap.

“Oof!”
Fred cried, startled. He looked up just in time to see the same tall, silhouetted figure that had scared Shaggy.
“Aahhh!”
he shrieked.

Daphne and Velma joined in the screaming. Scooby and Shaggy were still howling with fear.

The figure stepped into the light. The gang stopped screaming when they realized it wasn't anything spooky, but actually a very tall young man. His nose was hooked, like an eagle's, and he had long hair. “What are you doing here?” the man barked in an eastern European accent.

“I'm sorry,” Fred said. He adjusted his ascot and stood up, embarrassed “The gate was open, and we just thought …”

The man looked concerned. “Open? But I'm sure I locked —” He broke off, his words interrupted by the sound of a wolf howling somewhere nearby. “He is here!” the man said nervously, gesturing for Fred and the gang to follow him. “Come. I'm Marius. We should stick together.”

“But what…?” Velma began.

“Come!” Marius hurried silently among the tents, trailers, and cargo containers. It was obvious he knew exactly where he was going. “He will not elude me this time,” Marius muttered quietly as they walked.

“Who?” Daphne whispered.

“The werewolf!” Marius whispered back.

Shaggy and Scooby gulped loudly. “The werewolf!”

“Yes,” Marius said, still speaking softly. Shaggy and Scooby hoped he wasn't speaking quietly because the werewolf was close enough to hear them. “I think he is this way.” Marius pointed
in the direction they were walking.

Shaggy and Scooby both immediately started walking backward. Within seconds, they had broken out into an all-out run. “Like, let's get outta here, Scoob!” Shaggy cried.

“Rokay!” Scooby agreed, matching Shaggy's pace. They ran this way and that. Soon they were far from the others. They hoped that meant they were also far away from the werewolf!

“Look, Scoob,” Shaggy said. He pointed to some cages. “What are —?” Shaggy peered between the bars of the cage. Suddenly, a creature leaped toward them. Shaggy shrieked and jumped back.

The creature looked at Shaggy, then it jumped and shrieked, too. It reminded Shaggy of … Shaggy. “Heh, it's a baboon,” Shaggy said, grinning when he realized the creature was copying him. Shaggy struck a thoughtful pose, and the baboon mimicked him again.

Scooby giggled. He made a silly monkey face at the baboon, and laughed when the baboon made the face right back at him. He tried a few
other faces, chuckling as the baboon copied him.

“Let me try!” Shaggy cried after a while. He teased the baboon with a bunch of silly faces, and then tried out a scary monster face. The baboon shrieked and hid in the corner of his cage.

“Sorry, baboon-dude!” Shaggy said kindly. “Didn't mean to scare … you…?” Shaggy suddenly had the feeling that someone was standing behind them. He turned around slowly.

Sure enough, a figure that looked a lot like Marius was right there. Shaggy relaxed. “Oh, it's just you again!”

But then the shadowy figure stepped into the light. It wasn't Marius this time … It was a hairy, yellow-eyed werewolf!

Shaggy and Scooby zoomed away from the cages, running for their lives. They swerved and scrambled through the empty circus. When they saw Velma and the others, they ducked and cowered behind them, pointing and gasping.

“Werewolf!” Shaggy screamed.

Everyone turned to look in the direction Shaggy and Scooby had come from.

“There's nothing there,” Daphne said.

Fred nodded. “Yeah, guys, there's nothing —” He turned back to Shaggy and Scooby just in time to see the werewolf creeping up behind Shaggy.

“Nothing?” Shaggy said. “That's a relief!” He noticed the look on Fred's face. “Like, it's right behind me, isn't it?”

The creature snarled, showing its vicious claws.

Fred, Daphne, and Marius hurried off in one direction as Velma, Shaggy, and Scooby raced away in the other.

A few minutes later, Shaggy slowed to a walk. “Like, I think we lost him.”

“I think we lost everyone, Shaggy,” Velma observed.

“All I know is I don't wanna see anything big and hairy,” Shaggy said. He looked around, noticing a sign advertising a bearded lady. “Except maybe that.” He grinned.

“This place sure is empty,” Velma said. “Let's see if we can find that werewolf.”

“Find it?” Shaggy said nervously. “I want to run away from it like a terrified schoolgirl!”

“Reah,” Scooby agreed.

“Then let's find it so you know which way to run,” Velma suggested. She stopped, bending over to examine something on the ground.

Shaggy looked at her like she was crazy. Then he walked on, saying, “That kinda makes sense.” He looked around at signs and statues as they passed through the narrow passageways in the circus. “You know, Scoob, I think it went away.”

“Ruh-uh!” Scooby said. “Rook!” The werewolf's shadow stretched toward them. It was back!

Scooby and Shaggy both turned and raced away. It wasn't until they'd put some serious distance between themselves and the wolf that they realized Velma was no longer with them.

“Velma!” Shaggy called. But the only answer was the call of a wolf, howling hungrily nearby.

A few moments later, Shaggy and Scooby found Marius, Daphne, and Fred. “Velma! She —”

“Quiet!” Marius said with a sneer. He was standing face-to-face with the werewolf! Marius
held out a bunch of garlic. “Back!”

The werewolf took another step closer. Daphne leaned close to Marius and whispered, “That's vampires. Garlic — that scares away vampires.”

“Are you sure?” Marius asked nervously.

As if in answer to his question, the werewolf reached forward and smacked the garlic from Marius's hand. Then it roared in his face.

“Pretty sure!” Daphne cried.

The werewolf lunged close again, prepared to attack. Just as Shaggy began to wonder how he would taste in werewolf stew, a brilliant light flashed on. Startled, the werewolf recoiled and fled across the tops of trailers.

Just as quickly as they'd gone on, the lights went off again. “I thought a little light might help,” Velma said, emerging from behind a breaker box.

“Thank you,” Marius said gratefully. “I didn't introduce myself properly before. I'm Marius Brancusi, the owner of this circus. How can I repay you?”

“Why don't you tell us what's going on here?” Velma said.

BOOK: Big-Top Scooby
9.15Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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