Issue #88

Fall 2023

At the Midnight Museum

by Nikolaj Volgushev

A house made of crows

Tonight at the Midnight Museum, the main exhibit is a house made of crows. Visitors can enter through the front door or backdoor or climb in through the windows and explore the six rooms. There is also a seventh room, which is hidden. Visitors are encouraged to look for it. The interior of the house made of crows is more comfortable than one might expect, despite the claws. After several hours of careful search, you find the secret passage (inside one of the crow's beaks) to the hidden room. Inside is a bed made of ill omens, yet when you lie down and close your eyes, it feels just like feathery clouds.

Museum policy

This is a reminder that photographs are strictly prohibited at the Midnight Museum. You may not take pictures of the exhibits. Keep in mind that for select pieces this includes mental pictures. Before leaving, you must dispose of any impressions or memories you may have formed in exhibit halls M through Q. You can use one of the rooms of selective oblivion, located by each of the three museum exits. Don't hesitate to ask the ever-friendly museum staff for assistance, and don't be unnerved by the methods they may or may not employ.

Seasonal passes

The Midnight Museum now offers seasonal passes. There is a discount for students, pensioners, and dreams. To apply, you must provide a photograph of yourself and a short essay on a nocturnal topic of your choice. It's very important that all parts of your face are visible in the photograph. For parts invisible, you must fill out a special exemption form. Make sure to fill out a form for each invisible part. For example, if you have an invisible nose and an invisible eye you must fill out two separate forms. The only exception is your ears. If both your ears are invisible, a single form suffices. You can pay for the seasonal pass online, at your nearest library, or by disposing of an item you hold dear in whatever way you see fit.

Museum shop

During your visit to the Midnight Museum, don't forget to stop by the museum shop. There, you will find all your current and past possessions, neatly arranged by price. Take your time to browse the aisles and chat with Ernie, the shop's clerk since times immemorial. He has taken much effort to catalogue and price each and every item you have ever owned. He may even tell you a story or two about yourself you have never heard before. The endless hours at the shop have made Ernie talkative and eager for company. Any item you leave behind will be lost forever, so choose wisely what you purchase. We recommend that you buy the ancient gramophone that has been in your family for generations. You will find a small paper price tag attached to the winding handle with purple twine. At $19.99, the family heirloom is a true bargain indeed.


One of the ever-friendly museum staff emerges from a secret trapdoor and hands you a pamphlet. It appears to be a map of the Midnight Museum. You start unfolding it, but find that it's bigger than expected. Soon you are surrounded by yards and yards of glossy paper. The paper walls form several narrow tunnels, along which you manage to crawl. On the walls, there are notes, unmistakably in your own handwriting, that give clues as to how to exit the map. One of the ever-friendly museum staff emerges from a secret trapdoor and hands you a pamphlet. It appears to be a map of a map of the Midnight Museum. You search your pockets for a pencil or pen, before venturing forth.

Author Bio


Nikolaj Volgushev's fiction has appeared in The Cafe Irreal, Hoot, Cleaver Magazine, Cease, Cows, and other journals. He currently lives in Goettingen, Germany, where he writes, programs, and does other things along those lines. His short story "Pete and the Elephant" appeared in Issue 55 of The Cafe Irreal, and his fiction has also appeared in Issues 72, 74, 77, and 82.