The boat in the darkness that swayed back and forth. The rusted chains of empty swings squeaked as they were pushed by the ominous wind. Window shutters opened and closed as a storm raged on. Creepy laughter at the top of an attic filled with junk. Lastly, a hand lit a match for the TV show to begin. This was how I ended my Saturday nights when I was a kid. I ate dinner and watched my favorite show, Are You Afraid of the Dark?, with my brother.
The television series revolved around a bunch of teenagers who called themselves “The Midnight Society.” Every week, at their secret spot in the woods, one member of the Society would tell a scary story to the group. The actual story was then displayed to the viewers. Each time one of the kids started their story by saying, “Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, I call this story...” and then the storyteller threw a handful of sugar from a leather pouch into the campfire, which heightened the flames and created a creepy white smoke. The storyteller would announce the title of the story and then begin.
I remember watching this in the corner of my yellow, floral couch with a colorful, checkered blanket that covered my lap. I would be entranced by the stories that the teenagers told on television of dragons, werewolves, cursed soup, gargoyles, leprechauns, and ghosts. It was like The Twilight Zone, but aimed at my age group and in color. There was no Rod Serling, but there were these storytellers that were kids.
Every night I would watch these scary stories and even get nightmares or stay up at night because of them. I loved their atmospheres though, which is why I couldn’t stop watching. It inspired me to write my own scary stories and to submit them to the Midnight Society. I wanted to be a part of the campfire and stay up at night to tell my stories of epic adventures and horrible horrors. So, I wrote.
I must admit that I did write some stupid things, but I still loved it. I loved the idea of one day joining the ranks of the other storytellers. I loved the idea of one day telling my story among them. I loved the idea so much that it carried onto my teenage years and until now. I still want to be a part of the group of people who love to tell stories, regardless of them being scary or not. I became a writer so I could tell those stories that I couldn’t tell when I was a kid.
Now, I look back on the show and watch it on the internet and I noticed the simplicity of it all. It still delivered all those eerie vibes and goosebumps after all these years. The memories I have of hiding underneath my blanket and watching that show with eyes of wonder and fear. I want to convey those same strong emotions to my readers today.
One of the teenagers would put out the fire after the story was finished. They would all leave and the smoke would still rise from the dead flames. The ashes flew into the air, only to be carried off into the wind. I would be there on my couch waiting for them to come back. I wanted to tell them my story still.
I’ve waited all this time and that little kid is still waiting. It’s been over ten years now, but I still have my stories. I guess that I just have a bigger audience now. I’m ready to tell my scary story to the Midnight Society of the World.
“Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society, I call this story…” I threw the sugar onto the flames of the campfire and let the night begin with my words.