The Midnight Man (warning, it’s a long read)

“The Midnight Game is an old pagan ritual used mainly as punishment for those who have broken the laws of the pagan religion in question. While it is mainly used as a scare tactic to not disobey the gods, there is still a very real chance of death to those who play the Midnight Game and there is an even higher chance of permanent mental scarring. It is highly recommended that you DO NOT PLAY THE MIDNIGHT GAME.”

For those few thrill seekers searching for a rush or for those delving into obscure occult rituals, these are the simple instructions on how to play. Do so at your own risk.”


  • 1 candle
  • 1 lighter or book of matches
  • 1 piece of paper
  • 1 writing implement
  • 1 knife
  • 1 wooden door, closed
  • Salt


The Invitation to the game:

  1. Begin prior to midnight.
  2. Write your full name – first, middle, and last – on the piece of paper. Cut your finger with the knife and squeeze until a drop of blood appears. Dot the blood on the paper and allow it to soak in.
  3. Turn off every light in your home.
  4. Place the paper with your name and blood on it in front of the closed wooden door. Light the candle using the matches or lighter and place it on top of the paper. If you are using a taper, make sure it is placed in a candle holder .
  5. Knock on the door 22 times. The final knock must occur precisely when the clock chimes 12am. Open the door; then blow out the candle and close the door.
  6. Relight your candle immediately.

How to play:

  1. Keeping your candle in hand and your salt and matches or lighter close by, begin to move about your home.
  2. Should your candle go out, you must relight it within the next ten seconds. If you are successful, continuing moving about your home. Do not stop moving until 3:33am.
  3. If you are unsuccessful in relighting the candle, immediately surround yourself with a circle of salt. Remain inside the circle until 3:33am.

The Ending:

  1. At 3:33am, it is safe to stop moving or to step outside your circle of salt. You may also turn on the lights. The game is over.

Additional Notes:

The Midnight Game may be played with more than one player. In this instance, all players are principals; as such, each player must perform the Invitation individually.

The Invitation welcomes an entity known as the Midnight Man inside your home. The goal of the game is to avoid meeting the Midnight Man in the dark. Continually moving about your home will make it more difficult for him to find you; should you stop moving at any point, he will catch you. Accounts differ as to what befalls players caught by the Midnight Man. Some claim he will induce a hallucinations of your worst fear until the end of the game; others claim he will dismember you. Both outcomes are to be avoided at all cost.

Possible clues that the Midnight Man is near include:

  • Sudden drops in temperature.
  • The sound of a soft whisper with no discernible source.
  • The appearance of a humanoid figure within the darkness.
  • The candle going out.

Should you experience any of the first three occurrences, leave the area immediately. Should you experience the fourth occurrence, following the previously given instructions, re: relighting the candle within the next ten seconds, will keep the Midnight Man temporarily at bay. Should you fail to perform this action correctly, the circle of salt will do the same.

Do not fail to do either. There are no known methods to abort the game.

At 3:33am, the Midnight Man will leave your home. After he has left, you may safely end the game.

Do NOT turn on any lights during the game.

Do NOT use a flashlight during the game.

Do NOT go to sleep during the game.

Do NOT use a lighter instead of a candle during the game.

Do NOT use a person’s blood other than your own during the game.

Do NOT attempt to leave your home during the game.

Do NOT attempt to provoke the Midnight Man during the game.

And most importantly: Do NOT assume that the Midnight Man has left your home for good at the conclusion of the game.

Chapter 1.

The three of us sprawled out on a fleece, maroon blanket in the middle of Megan’s living room floor. We were watching a horror movie to kill some time. The appointed hour was rapidly approaching. The heavy, greasy pizza we ate earlier churned inside of my stomach, threatening to make a reappearance. I tried to convince myself that it was only a silly game, an urban legend, a stupid thing young teenage kids do to make themselves feel like there’s more to this world than what there really is. There is nothing in this house that could actually harm us. There will be nothing in this house that wants to harm us. The apprehension and fear that tingled up and down my spine was nothing more than a byproduct of my own over worked imagination. “You are being foolish,” I told myself. “There is no Midnight Man.”

“Hey guys,” Amber said breaking the silence between us. Megan practically jumped up from her spot, startled by the interruption from our private worries. “So, I was thinking,” Amber continued. “We should use the breaker box to cut off the power completely during the game. That way no one will be tempted to cheat,” she said throwing me an ugly look. I have no shame in saying that I really wasn’t fond of Amber. If it wasn’t for the fact that she’s Megan cousin neither of us would ever talk to each other.

“That’s a good idea,” Megan said in a voice that was softer than normal. “The fuse box is out in the garage. We can use the candles to help us see our way back inside.” From the thin light of the television screen it looked as though Megan’s eyes were closed. Her face was expressionless. Could my best (and only) friend possibly be as nervous as I was? Could she be having second thoughts? I know that I was.

We turned our attention back to the movie, watching in silence as the young heroine ran from the masked killer. I didn’t realize that I had been holding my breath until Amber started talking again.

“So” (Geez, does Amber start every sentence with so?) “I just want to go over everything one more time.” Amber, as usual, was always over prepared and planning everything out ahead of time. No wonder why she was a straight A student while I was struggling to get C’s. She refused to even wing this stupid game we were about to play. She cleared her throat. “We’ve got 3 pieces of paper, 3 candles, 3 packs of matches, 3 containers of salt, a pen, and a knife. It’s all out on the kitchen table. That’s all we are going to need, right?”

“Uh huh” Megan said, making a clicking noise with her tongue. “I’ve got a watch on too. You guys have pockets to hold stuff in? I think that’d make it easier to carry everything while we are stumbling around in the dark.”

“Yes,” Amber and I said in unison. Even though the lights were dim, I could see her rolling her eyes at me. Amber O’Connor was a serious jerk. I don’t care how many friends she has, I really don’t like her. I’m fairly certain the affection was mutual. 

“I covered all most of the windows with blankets right after my parents left to go to my grandparent’s house. Didn’t want to let any of the outside light in,” Megan explained as she rose up from her spot on the blanket. 

Megan and Amber’s moms were sisters. They had to go out of state for the weekend to help their parents move into an assisted living facility. They didn’t bring the girls along for the trip, but Amber was staying at Megan’s house for the whole weekend. Originally, Megan and I had been planning to play the game by ourselves, but we decided to bring Amber into the fold since this was the first opportunity we got to give it a try. I was actually surprised when Megan told me that Amber had agreed to go along with it.

Megan walked out of the living room, but returned quickly with her hands full of the “gear” we needed. She placed 3 sheets of paper on to the mahogany coffee coffee table along with a pen and a sharp little paring knife. “Want to get started?” she asked. My eyes locked onto the knife. I didn’t need to hear the instructions again to know what was coming.

“Here,” she said as she handed Amber and my a sheet of paper. “You’ve got to write your full name. Oh and I set the alarm on my watch for 3:33 am. It’ll go off when the game is over.” If Megan was even remotely nervous or having second thoughts, her actions said otherwise. I inhaled a deep breath to steady myself. Clearly my friend had every intention of going through with this. If I wussed out, I’d lose Megan as a friend. I’d be the most unpopular kid at school (which isn’t too far from how it is now). I spread the paper out on the hard, smooth surface of the coffee table. Taking the pen from Megan, I wrote in large, neat letters:

                               KAYLA MARIE STUART

on to the paper.  I held out my hand to Megan and she placed the knife in my Palm and then cupped my fingers over it. I picked it up and then carefully sliced the blade through the skin on my left ring finger, being sure to apply enough pressure to make it bleed. I watched the red droplets collect and pool together on my finger tip and then I stamped my blood over my printed name on the paper. It didn’t take long for the blood to soak all the way through. I set the knife down on the table and folded the paper until it was a small rectangle with my name and blood hidden inside.

“Sick,” Megan gasped. She put her hand on my shoulder as she knelt down beside me. As she copied the same steps, Amber and I watched wordlessly. After her paper was neatly folded and she was sucking on her finger tip, she handed the pen to Amber. “You’re up,” she said with a smirk.

I wondered if Little Miss Perfect was really going to go through with this. Would she cut herself for the sake of the ritual. Maybe Amber didn’t think it was such a big deal after all because she did it, wrote her full name and signed it with blood. Our invitations for a morbid game of hide and seek with the demon called The Midnight Man were complete.

Chapter 2.

After the first set of preparations had been completed, Megan checked her watch and informed us of the time. “It’s 11:20 and at the risk of sounding like my mom, now would be a good time to use the bathroom. Don’t want to be stuck on the john and have your candle blow out,” she giggled. Amber rolled her eyes, but set her paper on the table, and trudged off down the hallway towards the first floor bathroom.

As soon as Amber was out of ear shot, Megan turned towards me and grabbed my hands. “I know this whole thing was my idea and I know it’s just a stupid game like Bloody Mary, but I’ve got a really weird feeling about this,” she confessed to me.

“Aw, don’t let it get to you,” I comforted her by squeezing her hands lightly. “That’s what it is supposed to make these kinds of things fun. You know, spook factor and all that. Other wise it’d just be dumb.” I didn’t want Megan to know that in truth, I was a little creeped out. Maybe I should have just been honest, but I couldn’t. The last thing I wanted was for Amber O’Connor to find out that I was a coward. I thought about my little white lie as I turned away from Megan and headed down the hall towards the bathroom. I stood outside the door listening to the sound of running water in the sink. Amber some how managed to turn the faucet off and forcefully swing the door open at pretty much the same time. I don’t think she was expecting me to be standing there because she practically jumped out of shoes.

“For crying out loud Kayla,” she shouted. “You startled me,”. She placed her hand over her chest like her heart was about to pop out of her rib cage.

“Sorry, didn’t mean to,” I mumbled.

“All yours,” she said gesturing towards the bathroom. I slid inside, sat down on the toilet, relieved myself quickly. I walked back towards the kitchen and joined Amber and Megan. The girls were standing over the table gawking at the 3 brand new white taper candles and 3 containers of salt. Megan had already opened up the seals and pulled out the tiny metal spouts.

Great. I’m going to be wandering around Megan’s gigantic farmhouse by candle light with a bulky open container of salt. The mental image of it all made me chuckle to myself. “I don’t think that salt is going to fit in my pants pockets,” I said with a smirk. “Why not just use a shaker?”

“I read online about some other people who played and they mentioned that the shakers don’t pour fast enough,” Megan bit her lip.

“It’s fine,” I said closing the spout. With sweaty hands, I shoved the canister sideways into the front pocket of my hoodie. It made my sweat shirt bugle forward. It was cumbersome, but for the next 4 hours or so, I’d make due. I grabbed the small box of strike on matches and jammed them into the back pocket of my jeans. “Megan, what time is it?” I asked.

“11:30,” she replied after consulting her chrome Fossil watch. “Why do I feel like the next thirty minutes are going to take forever!” She sighed as picked up her own pack of matches and slid them into her pants pocket.

“Might as well eat since we’re going to be up extra late tonight.” Leave it to Amber to think of food at a time like this. Does nothing phase her? She swung open the refrigerator  door and “Oowed “. She gripped over the fridge door at us. “You’ve got cupcakes in here!”

“What?” Megan asked, not quite paying attention. Whatever she was thinking about wasn’t what’s inside the fridge. “Oh yeah… cupcakes. My mom made those for us.”

“Oh hells yeah!” I gleefully exclaimed while dashing over to the fridge and hip checking Amber aside. We reached into the fridge simultaneously and grabbed ourselves a frosted treat. My mouth watered at the sight of the sugary orange frosting and chocolate sprinkles. I peeled the wrapper off of the bottom and shoved the entire cupcake into my mouth. Traces of frosting lined the edges of my lips and I could feel a dab of it on my chin. My eyes met Amber’s. She was shaking her head at me while taking delicate, little bites out of her own cupcake.

“I’m sorry,” I said still trying to swallow what was left of the delicious mush in my mouth. “I have a hardcore addiction to frosting.” I watched as Megan turned towards Amber and they both broke out in hysterical laughter. I felt relief seeing Megan acting like her usual carefree self. If I could keep up with the comedy during this game than surely we can get through this without acting like a clutch of scared hens.

Megan reached up on the counter and tore off a paper toll from the roll. “Wipe your face piggy,” she said as she handed it to me. “You’ve got frosting everywhere.” Her shoulders still shook as she laughed quietly to herself as she got a cupcake from the refrigerator for herself.

I felt my cheeks flush and I couldn’t help but grin as I wiped the sticky frosting off of my skin. “Sooo… can I have another?”

“Sure,” Megan answered with a wide smile that reached her eyes.

It was 11:49 by the time we finished eating and fooling around. All 3 of us walked together through the mud room and into the garage. Single file, with Megan in the lead we squeezed through the wall and her mom’s car. She opened the breaker box while Amber shined a flash light over her shoulder. The house cast into darkness when Megan switched all the breakers off. By the pale light from the flash light we inched our way back into the main house. As we neared the kitchen table we each picked up a candle.

“Go get the papers off of the coffee table,” Megan instructed me. “We need those to start the game.”  Amber held the flash light high in the air to illuminate a path for me. I tip toed into the living room  and snatched up the three folded pieces of paper with our names and our blood on them.

“No turning back now,” I thought to myself. I felt a chill run through me, making the hair on my arms raise up. Amber and Megan stood in the hallway  threshold waiting for me. “Who’s going to knock?” I asked with a gulp. I really hoped they didn’t nominate me.

I turn my head to look at Amber. She seemed to be the most skeptical out of the three of us. I thought she’d have no problem to be the person who knocked. She didn’t move or make a sound. She stood as still as a statue, looking down at her feet, avoiding our eyes.

“I will,” Megan said with a matter of a fact tone. She set off walking down the hall towards the very last door, a guest bedroom. I rushed to stay by her side. I wondered if she could hear my heart pounding in the chest. “It’s 11:58 now,” she announced. “The last knock needs to happen exactly at midnight.” As Amber made her way next to us, Megan grabbed the flash light out of her hand and flipped it off. I heard a small thump as she dropped it to the floor. In the darkness of the hallway, I heard her open the door. I crouched forward feeling my way through the blackness. I deposited the papers on the floor just inside the guestroom and crept back to my friends. Megan closed the door. For a moment the three of us just stood there listening to our breath as we tried to steady our nerves.

A loud and aggressive knock rang through house, shattering the silence. Megan would need to knock a total of 22 times to signal the game. Knock… Knock… Knock… it went on and on. I wondered if my heart was going to burst when Megan pounded on the door for the last time. I could hear her watch beeping, signaling to us that it was midnight. We were right on time.

“Midnight Man we invite you to play with us. Try to find us. Unleash your horror upon us. We will not be defeated.” Megan cackled.

I was shocked by what Megan had said. No where in any of our research about this game did any of the instructions mention any type of speech to be given to the so-called Midnight Man. It didn’t matter. What was done was done and there wasn’t any time right now to think about it. 

I reached into my back pocket and grabbed the match box. My hands trembled as I fumbled with the match, sliding it across the side of the box. Immediately it sparked and made a small flame. I stuck the candle wick into the tiny flame. As it caught I blew out my match.


Stay tuned as this story unfolds

3 thoughts on “The Midnight Man (warning, it’s a long read)”

  1. Whoa, this story is really good! I’m soo hyped (totally didn’t try this by the way XD). Can you give me a little teaser on the next part? (puppy dog eyes)

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