A foundation for trouble (Tales of Riverdale fan-fiction)

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hobbyfan

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Preamble: We'll get back to "Now we are seniors again" another time with book 3, but that won't be until later this year. Our next story features Sabrina and a tale of on-the-job espionage. All characters are copyright Archie Comics, except for those created for this story.

Chapter 1:

Ever since her freshman season at Riverdale High, Sabrina Spellman has volunteered time to appear as the Easter Bunny for the Riverdale Boys & Girls Club. Designing the skin-tight costume herself, along with a life-like rubber mask, the young sorceress has even found time to do the same in Boston while at Northeastern.

On the day before Easter, Sabrina was back home in Riverdale, and reported to the Boys & Girls Club around 7 am. Club Director Gus McDonald greeted Sabrina warmly, but glanced toward the window and the rain outside.

"The Easter egg hunt is supposed to start at 9 at Goldwater Park,", he said, "but with the rain, it'll be pushed back until later this morning or after lunch. You're welcome to stay as long as you can get into costume before the kids get here."

"Oh, I will.", Sabrina replied. "Don't worry about me."

The rain finally tapered off around 11, and the children, outfitted with raincoats in case of another downpour, got into the park at 11:30. Sabrina managed a sly smile beneath her mask as the kids came to her for photos between 12:15 and 1:00.

Around 1:30, Sabrina's boyfriend, Harvey Kinkle, pulled into the parking lot at the Boys & Girls Club. By then, Sabrina had changed clothes, and was ready to head home in her own car.

"I'm surprised to see you here.", she said. "Thought you and your father were in Nashua."

"We were.", Harvey replied, in reference to an after-school construction job he'd been on with his father in New Hampshire the last two days. "But Dad got a call from one of the local workers this morning. Someone sabotaged the foundation we laid. Said it was nearly dissolved completely."

"Dissolved?", Sabrina repeated. "That sounds like someone used acid or some kind of chemical agent similar to it. Show me where it is, honey."

The couple stopped at the Spellman mansion so Sabrina could drop off her car, enabling her to ride with Harvey back to Nashua. They arrived shortly before 3 pm. The construction site was empty, as all the tools had been stolen, too.

"Nobody's around, honey.", Harvey said. "If you want to do this as Mystyk...."

"Way ahead of you, babe."

Harvey glanced up, and found that Sabrina had indeed morphed into her masked alter-ego, and now she was communicating telepathically, advising him to do the same.

"I hate to do this, Harv, but it's better if we don't talk. That way, fewer people will make the connection.", she said mentally.

"Got it, babe.", came the reply. "I've also found something."

What he found was an empty jug that had contained hydrochloric acid the night before. Mystyk scanned the damaged girders. Harvey, wearing gloves, placed the jug in a plastic bag that laid nearby.

"I was right.", Mystyk said mentally. "They did use the acid on all the girders. If they used the entire jug on one girder, that could easily be replaced."

"So whomever did this is looking to fry the budget we set aside for this project by making us buy more equipment.", Harvey replied, noting that the tools were missing. "Seems as though local competition got a wee bit jealous."

"Check the shed, honey. I think you'll find your missing tools there."

And Harvey did. Whipping out his cell phone, he called his father to tell him what happened. He also found two more jugs of the acid, and, after his father arrived around 4 pm, he turned the acid over to the police. By then, Mystyk had morphed back to Sabrina.

"We did get a report of some suspicious characters lurking around the construction site around 3 am this morning.", Nashua PD desk Sgt. Dennis Crandall said, as Henry Kinkle handed him a copy of the contract Kinkle Konstruction had signed with the land owner, one Morris Phillips, who was putting an office building on the site. The Kinkles had outbid two local firms for the job.

"The local firms are outraged that a Massachusetts company won the contract.", Crandall continued. "Could be anybody with an axe to grind."

Meanwhile, back at the construction site, Ben Rieger and his son, Dexter, came to the site, and promptly went to a now-empty shed.

"Dad! The acid's gone!", Dexter cried.

"We were supposed to finish the job tonight.", Ben replied. "The Association won't like this at all."

"So what do we do?"

"Seems Kinkle sent his boy here to inspect the damage. Probably got lucky and found the acid because someone forgot to lock the shed this morning."

"Sorry, dad."
=============================================
Two small towns headed on a collision course over a mere construction contract? We're just getting started......
 

hobbyfan

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Chapter 2:

Chandler Morton was the president of the Nashua Homeowners Association. In name only, because in truth, there was no association, and there hadn't been one in 20 years. Morton, in reality, was fronting a protection racket, designed to force prospective land owners to pay unnecessary fees on their own property, and that's not including mortgages that could be collected by the Nashua Savings & Loan. Morton's brother, Elliott, was on the board of directors at the bank, unaware of his younger brother's latest scheme.

Around 6:15, the Riegers paid a call on Chandler, reporting that the acid had been "stolen", and the tools they'd hidden had been moved out.

"Is anyone on site now?", Morton asked.

"No.", Ben replied. "The site was empty when we got there two hours ago."

"Can't let those outsiders back in on Monday.", Morton snapped. "I'll figure something out."
=================================
Later that night, Mystyk returned to the construction site, this time accompanied by Pureheart the Powerful and Captain Hero, along with some sheriff's deputies, who found more acid stashed in an abandoned pickup truck some forty yards from the shed.

"There's a receipt in this bag!", Deputy Colin Hale called out.

It was a credit card receipt. Mystyk was able to discern the signature as belonging to......

"Ben Rieger. Does he own a construction company here in town?", Pureheart asked.

"Yes, he does.", Hale replied. "Father & son operation. Seems they were plenty ticked when the contract was given to an outside firm. Angry enough that they would try something like this again."

"Again?", Mystyk asked.

"Yep. Two years ago, a nice young couple bought some land about twenty miles from here. They came from New York, looking to start a better life, and hired some college friends to do the building. Two of those kids were fished out of the river two weeks in. The couple sold the property, and the story is, the bank turned it over to the homeowners' association, which hasn't done a thing with it since."

On Easter Sunday, the Riegers erected a fence around the site to ensure Henry & Harvey and their crew couldn't return. However, that same night, Mystyk returned, and took the fence down, aided by Captain Hero & Pureheart.

"It's clear Rieger wants the contract, as if it was promised to him.", Pureheart said.

"Problem is, Mr. Phillips never met with Rieger.", Mystyk replied, remembering the meeting Henry had with Phillips. "The Kinkles gave Phillips the best offer, and he took it on the spot."

"Remember what Deputy Hale told us about that other property?", Captain Hero put in. "Anyone want to bet that there's a connection with the bank?"

"I'd say yes.", Mystyk said.
===================================
The next day, construction resumed. Around 12 noon, Sabrina, accompanied this time by Betty Cooper, visited the Nashua Savings & Loan. Deputy Hale came with them, to ensure the girls didn't get into any trouble. Hale went in to meet with Elliott Morton.

"There's a couple of detectives from Boston here.", he said. "They've got some questions about the homeowners' association."

"Send them in, deputy.", Morton replied. "Why would they come all the way here?"

"One of them is connected to the Kinkle company."

It didn't take long for the girls to discover that the homeowners' association didn't really exist.

"My brother is up to no good again.", Elliott said of Chandler. "He scammed the Whites out of their property two years ago by having his thugs kill a couple of their workers, but the sheriff couldn't find any evidence."

"What became of the Whites' property?", Betty asked.

"We still own the property.", Elliott replied. "Haven't been able to find a taker for it in two years. Seems to me Chandler wants it for his operations, just like he wants the property Morris Phillips purchased. That boy can't do anything on the up & up. It's always some sort of scam with him."

"And what of the Whites?"

"They eventually settled in the Adirondacks. Word spread about how they got screwed, and we lost a lot of potential customers. Lost some active ones, too. Chandler thinks he can cover his tracks, but he always screws up."

"Word is, he already has.", Sabrina said as she & Betty left.
======================================
Just as Harvey & Henry were ready to head home, around 5:30, they were confronted by a trio of masked men.

"Into that shed, there, boys.", one said. "No one gets hurt."

Abruptly, Mystyk appeared, and disarmed the thugs with a psi-bolt. Taking advantage of the distraction, Harvey clocked the smallest of the three thugs with a right hook. Deputy Hale arrived on the scene just in the nick of time. Dexter Rieger was unmasked while unconscious.

"Oh, I knew something like this would happen.", Hale said. "Got word from the city police that there was something here."

"These guys have been spoiling for a fight ever since my son & I came here.", Henry said.

Dexter and his two cohorts were taken to jail, but if Ben was hoping to bail his son out, he had another thing coming.

"No bail, Mr. Rieger, and that's final.", Sgt. Crandall said. "That site straddles the line between the city and county borders. That's why Hale made the arrest."

"What about that masked vixen, what does she call herself? Mystyk?", Ben asked. "She's been seen around the property for three days now. Is she like, a guardian or something?"

"She's operating within the law.", Crandall replied. "Which is more than I can say for you and Chandler Morton and his mob."

"You can't prove a thing, sergeant.", Rieger said defiantly. "We want those outsiders gone!"

"They have a signed contract, a legal document. Mr. Phillips will be in town in a couple of days, and if you and your thugs go after him, you'll join your boy in lock-up."
=================================
Back in Chestnut Hill, Harvey showed his appreciation for Sabrina's help as Mystyk by treating his lady to dinner.

"The funny thing is,", he said, "Mr. Phillips wanted to build an office building, so it's not residential property, but commercial."

"Still, honey, it seems that phony homeowners' association wants the property for something, but what?"

"I heard that they just want the property and control the land in that area, force everyone to come to them. It's not good business, I know, but...."

"Hold that thought, babe."

Sabrina's attention was diverted by a news bulletin. Hale had been found dead in front of his home, shortly after he had gone off-duty for the night. Two bullets through the heart from a rifle.

"Now, they're playing for keeps.", Sabrina said.
==========================================
Even the most elaborate protection rackets were busted back in the day, and this will, too.......
 

hobbyfan

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Chapter 3:

The next night, Betty, as the Black Hood, checked out the construction site. What was so important that the Riegers and Chandler Morton wanted the property for themselves? Mystyk & Pureheart provided air cover as the Hood began searching the area around the lot. She spotted a mound of dirt, about four feet high, about 30 yards to the right of the building site.

"Mystyk, can you clear the dirt mound? I think there's something underneath.", she said mentally.

The masked sorceress simply grinned under her hood, and fired a psi-bolt that removed the dirt, revealing a hidden trapdoor built into the lot. Pureheart pulled open the door, which led to an underground tunnel.

"I remember reading about how there was supposed to be a subway leading from here to Boston.", he said. "That project was never completed, and that was 50 years ago."

"And that's not all.", the Hood replied. "I think I found what the Riegers are after."

Shortly, the trio ascended up to the surface, carrying bags of money that had laid buried under the dirt for several years.

"There's more than a million dollars here.", Mystyk said. "Likely from a bank robbery, or a series of them."

"Odds are that's what Chandler Morton wants the property for, so he can claim he found the money, assuming the statute of limitations ran out on the robberies.", Hood said. "The police will love this."
=============================================
Police Captain Andrew Granger arrived at work the next morning to find the money waiting for him at headquarters. Told it was delivered anonymously, he sent officers to the site. The Kinkles had been informed of what had happened, and Harvey helpfully led the officers to the trapdoor.

"We counted more than a million dollars had been recovered.", Officer Peter D'Angelo said. "You wouldn't happen to know about who found the money."

"No, sir, I don't. Just hearsay.", Harvey replied.

"I will check our files. We've probably got a few cold cases that just got solved."

Meanwhile, Dexter Rieger had finally been released from jail, but Ben had a problem waiting for him.

"What do you mean we can't go back to the site, Dad? We don't want those outsiders staying there to finish the project.", he said.

"Seems Mystyk and her fellow vigilantes found the money we've been searching for.", Ben replied. "Now, it's in the hands of the police. If we go snooping around again, they'll be waiting for us to send both of us to jail."

"Then, what do we do?"

"We wait until they finish the job. Just wait."
========================================
A steady rain sent the workers home early that afternoon. With the forecast calling for more rain over the next two days, that put the work behind schedule.

"Harv, I think it's time we let our 'secret weapon' finish this job. Can you see if Sabrina is available tonight?", Henry asked.

"I'm way ahead of you, dad.", came the reply. "Sabrina said she'll be here later, but would prefer no witnesses. She's happier if she's alone, concentrating on the job at hand."

That, of course, meant that Sabrina would be there as Mystyk. Aided by Captain Hero & Pureheart, the sorceress, knowing that the Kinkles were approaching a deadline issued by Morris Phillips, had committed the blueprints to memory, and directed traffic, despite the rain. Moving at super speed, Captain Hero & Pureheart had assembled all but the top floor in the space of four hours. As the rain grew heavier, the three heroes headed home, leaving behind a temporary barrier at the top of the building, to divert the rain to the ground.
=======================================
Two days later, at the Northeastern library, Betty was doing research on the stolen money, and discovered that the loot came not only from a bank robbery in Nashua, but two in Boston, two in Connecticut, and two in Maine, all in the space of a month back in 1966. The robbers had been caught, but the trapdoor they used to hide the loot had been buried under dirt for most of the last fifty-plus years.

The ringleader of the gang, Gus Powell, had served his sentence, but had passed away three years ago. His second in command, it turned out, was............

"Julius Morton, the father of Elliott & Chandler Morton.", Betty told Sabrina later that night. "The elder Morton is currently in a nursing home in Framingham, suffering from Alzheimer's. He went straight after leaving prison, began working for the city until he was forced into retirement about 10 years ago. "

"So that's why Chandler was so interested in the property.", Sabrina said. "He thinks he's entitled to the money."

"We ran into this kind of case with Erwin McDermott a few years back.", Betty replied. "Remember that?"

"Sure do. The Nashua PD has not revealed that the money's been recovered, and they're still trying to find Deputy Hale's killer."

Betty started to respond, but received a text message from Elliott's secretary, Lucy Bailey. Elliott hadn't reported for work that day, and she was afraid something happened to him.

A short time later, the amateur sleuths, following a lead, found Elliott Morton, dead, in his vandalized home.

"Don't leave any fingerprints.", Sabrina warned mentally. "We don't want the police to think we had anything to do with this."

"I hear you, partner.", Betty replied. "I don't need to touch anything to know he had his neck broken."
=========================================
An autopsy the next day revealed that Elliott Morton not only suffered a broken neck, but he, too, had been shot in the heart, same as Deputy Hale. Chandler had identified his brother's body, feigning concern for his estranged sibling, but now was seeking the money in order to claim it for himself.

"You were going to cut us out, weren't you, Chan?"

Morton turned, and found Ben Rieger pointing a rifle at him.
=====================================
They say there's no honor among thieves. Our final chapter will test that theory.
 
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hobbyfan

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Chapter 4:

"Have you lost your mind, Ben?", Chandler asked. "I promised you & Dex we were splitting it three ways. Unfortunately, the police have the money, and we're SOL."

Ben lowered his rifle.

"After Dex went to jail, I started thinking you'd weasel out of the deal. We can get the money back from the cops, though.", he said.

"And how do you propose to do that?"

"You'll see. Dex was in a drama group at school a ways back......."
==================================
Unfortunately, drama class was too far back for Dexter to remember how to carry off this latest scam. Posing as an elderly woman who'd been scammed herself, Dexter entered the police station, and told a tale of woe to the desk sergeant that was so outlandish, it couldn't be true. Sgt. Connor Landis led the disguised Dexter to what he thought was an interview room. Minutes later, however, the lights mysteriously went out.

"W-w-w-w-who's there?" Dex cried, his voice reverting to normal out of fear.

"Did you really think the police would fall for one of the oldest tricks in the book?", asked a voice.

"We-we-well, yes.", Dexter stammered.

"In some cases, those old tricks never work."

The lights came up, and Dexter was surrounded by four elderly women, who quickly battered him with purses and canes. Thing was, it was all an illusion, cast by Mystyk, who stood beside Sgt. Landis.

"He'll hand up his father, as well as Chandler Morton.", she promised.

And hand them up, he did. Upon learning the money had already been sent back to the bank, and redistributed, Chandler went to the bank, bent on making a substantial withdraw. However, the police were waiting for him the second he arrived.

Later that night, Ben drove back to the construction site, armed with enough explosives to level two miles on either side of the site. Abruptly, the dynamite rose out of the back of Ben's truck, and went skyward. Ben looked at his rear view mirror.

"Mystyk! Again!", he cried. "Will that witch ever leave us alone?"

As Ben continued, he found the Black Hood, standing in the middle of the road, revolvers in each hand. The bullets issued from the guns, knocking out Ben's headlights. Ben stopped the car, then lunged at the Hood. A quick scrum ensued, ending with the Hood knocking Ben out with a left hook. The police sirens were the Hood's cue to leave, and Mystyk soon followed.
===================================
Three days later, Morris Phillips finally arrived in town, and was in Nashua to inspect the completed building. He was stunned by how quickly the project came together, unaware of the Kinkles' "secret weapon", namely, Mystyk. He presented Henry Kinkle with a check for.......

"$100,000.", Harvey boasted later. "Dad's never gotten that big a payday, outside of taxes, in years."

"Kinda makes going undercover worth it, doesn't it, honey?", Sabrina asked.

"It does, babe. It also means pay raises for the staff, myself included."

"And Ben Rieger never realized who was under the Black Hood, either.", Betty added. She loaned Harvey the mask, and he went with a simple leather jacket, jeans, & Timberland boots for his costume, modeled after Greg Hettinger's look.

"It was better this way, Betty.", Harvey admitted. "I never said a word."

"But who was doing that Shadow routine at the police station?", Archie asked.

"That was also me.", Harvey said sheepishly. "'Bree carried a tape of my voice inside her cloak. She wanted me to be in on the action for a change."

"The Shadow.", Sabrina said. "I was trying to remember where Harv got the inspiration for that stunt, anyway."

"Dad's got a whole collection of old radio dramas on CD.", Archie said. "I was bored the other night, and played one. With your powers, 'Bree, you could make Mystyk into a modern-day Shadow."

"You're right, Archie. Maybe it isn't enough just being a sorceress anymore."

"Remind me to loan you a couple of those CD's, Sabrina."

"I will, Arch. Someday."
==================================
The end.
 

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