Young Writers Aren’t Afraid of the Dark

Spooky Tree, photograph by Madison Moore, Woodstock Union High School.

Spooky Tree, photograph by Madison Moore, Woodstock Union High School.

Young Writers Project is an independent nonprofit that engages students to write, helps them improve and connects them with audiences through the Newspaper Series (and and the Schools Project ( Support: YWP is supported by this newspaper and foundations, businesses and individuals who recognize the power and value of writing. To donate to YWP, go to

YWP News

Every year, YWP publishes an anthology of the year’s best student writing and photos.

On Nov. 9, it will toast the publication of Anthology 5 with a day of celebration and free writing workshops at the Vermont College of Fine Arts in Montpelier. Special keynote speaker is author M.T. Anderson, winner of the National Book Award for Young People’s Literature. Register today at

Prompt: Spooky

Deep in the forest

under silver dew

we lie here waiting

for walkers like you.

We’ll sing you the song

as long as you like;

we’ll sing you to sleep

on this dark, dark night.

You’ll stumble into

our lovely clearing

and as you stand up,

what’s that you’re hearing?

We’re singing a song

to lull you to rest.

Please don’t be frightened;

we’re doing our best.

Here in our clearing,

in our forest deep,

come and stay with us;

together we’ll sleep.

But when a walker

comes strolling along,

we’ll wake up again

and sing them a song.

We’re walkers like you

who were sung to sleep.

So come and join us

in our rest so deep ...

Read the complete poem and story at

A dark night,

the wind blows,

the trees moan and creak

and lash against the windows.

Lightning cuts through the sky,

illuminating just for a second

your closet door.

’Tis open.

Not how you left it,


You sleep in the attic, an old room;

the floor creaks and moans

like a great weight is slithering across it.

It is dark.

But when you look,

you see eyes in the darkness,

never blinking, ever glowing.


What was that?

A ghoul? A ghost? A monster?

It draws closer; it creaks louder; it looms over your bed

and is gone.

You seem to hear a

drip … drip … drip …

What could it be?

Is it a leaky faucet?

Or … a monster, salivating at the thought of a nice, juicy kid?

You wonder what will happen.

Will it crunch your bones? Suck your blood?

Or kill you first and drag you off to its secret lair?

You hear thumps, ominous detonations coming across the room.

This cannot be dark imagination.

How you hope it is.

You think back,

huddled beneath your covers

about how you begged for this room,

separate, away from your pestilential brother.

You pleaded and cried and did your chores

and eventually your mom caved in.

Could she have resisted? Could you have backed off?

Could this have been avoided?

Drip ... Drool hits your shoulder.

Is this the end?

You hunch under your covers and hope it is not,

but there is a beast next to you,

and he is drooling down your shoulder.

Later you wake up and sigh.

It is morning.

You remember that terrible night;

the storm was raging,

the shadows were creeping

and you gave yourself up for lost.

But you should not have,

for after a long, terrible while you realized

that the storm was just a storm,

the monster just imagined,

and all the infinitesimal noises were just your house.

The shadows were shadows —