Are You Afraid of the Dark Wiki
The Tale of the Unfinished Painting
Season 4 , Episode 12
Air date January 14, 1995
Written by Lucy Falcone
Directed by David Winning
Episode guide
The Tale of the Closet Keepers
The Tale of Train Magic

The Tale of the Unfinished Painting is the twelfth episode of the Fourth season of Are You Afraid of the Dark?, as well as the fifty-first episode in total.


Midnight Society Cast[]

Story Cast[]

Special Guest Star[]


The night, begins with Frank, Sam and Kiki working together on the campfire. Gary is about to walk into the circle when Tucker whispers to him from the bushes at the side. Gary asks him what the matter is. Tucker tells him that he still hasn't come with a new story yet, and he currently has no ideas at all. Gary understands that at the time being, he just as a little bit of block. But soon enough, something will inspire him.

Unfortunately, Tucker is up for his turn to tell a story in just two minutes. Gary understands and gives him another week, because he knew he was having trouble during the past week. Betty Ann, walks up to them and asks them "They're having fun" as if to say "get over here already you're holding us all up". She leads them both into the circle. As they come in, Kiki asks who is up tonight. Sam says Tucker right? nervous Tucker says "yeah right.." Frank tells him in a nasty tone that it better be good.

Gary tells Tucker that he knows it is unusual, but if he would mind him going tonight instead. Because he's got an inspiration and he'd really like to tell the story tonight. Tucker seeming very relieved says to him "Really?", but to not annoy everyone else he tells them "I mean hey when inspiration hits you gotta go with it". Gary asks them all if it's okay with them. They all says it's okay, so Gary sits down on the storyteller's chair.

Gary tells them, that you never know when inspiration is going to come. Because you can't touch it, you can't see it and you can't buy, it is something mystical. It opens people up to new possibilities, but what if you could control someone's inspiration? It would be like touching their mind. Think of how fun it could be? Also think of how dangerous it could be... if used for evil.

Gary, throws in the campfire dust to make the fire more intense while he submits his story for approval for The Midnight Society. He calls his story "The Tale of the Unfinished Painting", and begins.


Gary tells the story. The story is about a young girl named Cody. Cody is a young and inspiring artist, but at the time being, she was having a bit of difficulty. She wasn't finding any inspiration on what to do. She tells her brother Lucas, that she's never going to get her drawing right. So that if you really want to move someone with your artwork, you have to see more than what is there. And become part of the art. Or it's pretty much just lines on paper. He gives her comforting support, telling her that she is the most talented person he knows.

A little later, Cody is sitting on another bench in a public park. Then suddenly, a little girl walks up to the bench she is sitting on and says hello. Cody is pleased to see her and offers to draw her portrait. But when she turns around again; the little girl is gone. Cody can see that she dropped her hat on the ground. She sees the little girl running off, and follows her all the way to a building called "The Hunter Gallery". When Cody enters the building, she looks all around. There she sees the walls are full of beautiful paintings all signed by a Mrs. Briar.

She asks an older woman, if she has seen a little girl come inside. She explains that she wants to return the hat that the girl dropped. The older woman tells her she hasn't seen a little girl come inside, but she'll hold onto it, in case she comes in. Cody compliments the older woman about how she loves the beautiful paintings. The older woman is very pleased, and thanks her. She tells her that she is Mrs. Briar, and that all of the paintings are hers. Cody tells her that she thinks she is amazing, and wishes that she had talent like hers. She informs her that she too is trying to become an artist. Also of how she is struggling for inspiration at the time being. Cody once again compliments Mrs. Briar on her paintings, saying they're wonderful. Also that it seems that there is almost something mystical about them.

Mrs. Briar leads her to another room. On the way, she notices another young girl around her age working on a painting. The next room she takes her to is filled with many unfinished paintings. Mrs. Briar says the unfinished paintings aren't hers. But they came to her from many sources. Cody looks at them feeling a little bad, because they were abandoned and not finished. Mrs. Briar tells her that sometimes the artist's vision can end, before it's complete. So she keeps them as a reminder, that art is a struggle. She lets Cody take her time looking at the unfinished paintings. Possibly one of them might inspire her.

In another nearby room, the other teenage girl is doing a wonderful job finishing a painting. Mrs. Briar is addressing her as Jenna and seems a little mad. She asks her why she is using a different brush. Jenna says because the brush she gave her was too thick. So she needed a smaller one with a fine tip. Mrs. Briar takes it away. With a little cold and rude tone, she insists to always use the same brush. She reminds her that inspiration comes from the artist, not from tools.

Cody comes across an unfinished ballet dance painting. She closes her eyes and imagines the scene in her head. Then she reaches out her hand. Suddenly, a hand reaches for hers. When she opens her eyes, she is in now at a ballet dance. There she is gracefully dancing with a male partner having a wonderful time. Mrs. Briar soon wakes her up from her dream. She tells Mrs. Briar that she really likes the unfinished painting, and she thinks it is so sad it never got finished. Mrs. Briar offers to let her finish the painting, as a way to get over her artist block. Cody is thrilled at the offer saying that she would love to. Then she agrees to begin finishing it the next day. Cody leaves for day thanking her saying that she won't regret it. As she leaves, Mrs. Briar smiles sinisterly saying that she is sure she will not.

Mrs. Briar walks over to a long tall cabinet. It is filled with many paintbrushes. The she chooses a paintbrush to give to Cody. Holding it in both of her hands, she closes her eyes and focuses on it. She is either enchanting or imbuing it with a curse. On the top shelf of the inside of the cabinet, there is a small shrunken head. Mrs. Briar talks to the shrunken head. She tells it that another lamb has wandered their way. This is as if to say, we have a new victim and she cackles.

Cody begins early the next morning, and Mrs. Briar gives her the only brush she want her to use. She tells her that inspiration comes from the artist and not from tools. She gives Cody the paintbrush and some paint. Cody now gets busy finishing the painting. A little later, Cody goes over to the cabinet to find another paintbrush. When she opens it, she is a bit startled to see the shrunken head. Then she just shakes it off, and laughs thinking nothing of it. When sorting through them all, she touches one. Then sees a vision of a platinum blonde teenage girl screaming. When she lets go of the paintbrush; the vision is over. She is now nervous and scared as she closes the cabinet up.

Sometime later, a blurry garden forest is seen. There a pretty platinum blonde teenager is seen in a royal blue cloak. Cody calls out to her saying hello, and the girl turns around and faces her. Cody recognizes her from her vision from before. The girl with serious concern, warns her not to finish the painting. Also, to destroy it before it's too late! Cody wakes up to find she fell asleep on a park bench. When her brother Lucas comes by, Cody is nervous now. So she tells him that she thinks that she should stop finishing the painting. Because it's someone else's work, and it just feels wrong. Lucas thinks that since she's had trouble coming up with ideas lately, that perhaps she should continue it.

Jenna has finished the painting she's been working on. It is a painting of three girls from three different backgrounds. Mrs. Briar thinks it is magnificent. So now, all it needs now is her signature. Jenna doesn't think she should, because it wasn't really her painting in the first place. Mrs. Briar tells her that since she gave the painting life, that she deserves to sign it. Mrs. Briar smiles an evil smile as Jenna signs her name on it.

Later when Cody returns to the gallery, she sees the painting that Jenna was working on hanging up on the wall. However, the painting looks a lot different now. The girl in the middle now resembles a blonde girl who looks like Jenna. Also, Mrs. Briar's signature is on it. This freaks Cody out. So she asks Mrs. Briar about whether or not it was the same painting Jenna was working on. Mrs. Briar tells her no it is not. And that Jenna won't be coming back, claiming she phoned her to tell her so.

Cody has now also finished the painting she's been working on. It is beautiful! It is about a brunette dancer in a ballet dance recital. Nearby, she finds the bag that Jenna forgot. Then she goes over to the new painting on the wall of the three girls. She really takes into consideration, about how much the girl in the middle that looks just like Jenna. On the opposite side of the room, she finds a painting on the wall of a garden forest. The precise one that has the platinum blonde teenage girl in a royal blue cloak. She realizes that the painting was just like her vision. The very warnings, she had recently been given in her dreams lately.

She goes back to the cabinet and examines the brushes again. When she touches them all, she briefly gets visions of various people screaming and crying for help. Mrs. Briar sees Cody's paintbrush on a nearby table. So she suspects she might be snooping around. Then in another room, Cody phones home and speaks to her brother. She asks him to come and get her because something really weird and suspicious is happening. She explains that people at the art gallery like Jenna are suddenly disappearing.

Then after Mrs. Briar finds her, she lies about her snooping.  Her excuse is that she was just looking around for paint thinner. Then she tells her that she finished the painting. When Mrs. Briar sees it she is most impressed, telling a talent like hers is a rare gift. Now all the painting needs is her signature. Cody doesn't want to because she says that she wouldn't feel right signing her name to someone else's artwork. Mrs. Briar tells her that it is her artwork now. Since she created the soul to the painting. So she should be proud and sign it. Cody signs it and then begins to feel really dizzy, she says she needs to leave now. When hearing this, Mrs. Briar begins cackling and laughing as Cody gets dizzier and dizzier. Then she vanishes into the painting. The painting is now altered. The brunette girl on it, has been changed to a blonde girl. The girl looks very much like Cody. Also, Mrs. Briar's signature is now on it.

Once again, Cody enters the world of the ballet painting. She is now dancing non stop with a partner. Lucas comes inside the gallery calling for Cody. Mrs. Briar tells him the art gallery is closed. She also lies to him saying that there is no one here named Cody. Also that she's never met anyone named Cody. She tells him to wait a moment, (possibly feeling that both Cody and her brother suspected too much) she takes away the painting Cody is trapped in. Then she throws it into a dumpster in the back outside. Now she torches it!

The world inside the painting begins burning and smoking, and Cody is coughing like crazy. Lucas goes all the way to the back where the painting is burning. When he gets there, instead of finding Mrs. Briar, he finds the little girl from earlier. The little girl tries to distract him. She attempts to bring him back inside the gallery to meet a certain "someone". Then Cody breaks free from her dance partner. She realizes that she still has her paintbrush in her hand. It is possible that Mrs. Briar was in such a hurry, she forgot to take it back from her. When she breaks it in half over her knee, she is instantly freed from the painting, and brought back to reality.

She storms into Mrs. Briar's cabinet and collects all the paintbrushes, realizing what they do. The shrunken head opens its eyes and speaks to her. Possibly since she escaped, it can sense that she is strong. The Shrunken head asks her to become a hunter for him. Just like the kind that Mrs. Briar is, so she can live forever. Then it begins to sinisterly laugh. Cody screams and runs away. Outside, the little girl is still trying to lure Lucas to go inside with her and meet the certain "someone", claiming she'll like him. What she possibly means, is that she'll bring him straight to the shrunken head. Then it will trap him right away.

Cody runs out to Lucas with all the brushes. She tells him the brushes trap people into the paintings. So they need to destroy them right away. Suddenly, Mrs. Briar reappears and looks pure diabolically furious now. She tells her she is very dangerous, and that they have entered onto very unsafe ground. She demands the brushes back. Cody tells her to forget it and tells she is done. Hearing this, Mrs. Briar laughs, saying she has hunted souls for centuries. And will be hunting them for centuries to come. So she CANNOT stop her! Cody says maybe not, but her victims can. Then she quickly throws all of the paintbrushes into the nearby garbage. The same one that is still burning the painting.

When this happens, there is a little explosion. Then a vision of the shrunken head's face appears in the fire. It burns away screaming. Since there is a possibility that all of the paintbrushes were linked to it. When burnt, it drained and destroyed all its powers. Then Mrs. Briar's face appears in the fire and quickly burns away too. Screaming as she is losing her life and powers, then she disappears forever. Jenna is instantly freed again. Then Jenna asks who Mrs. Briar really was. Cody says that she thinks that they'll never really know for sure. Since all of the souls were freed, and all the paintbrushes were burnt. Now every painting in the gallery, has a blank white space where the faces used to be.


As the story is ending, Gary tells the viewers that Cody's artist block soon vanished. Because she was able to draw inspiration from all the spirits she freed from their living nightmare. Then he ends the story. Tucker tells him nice job and everyone else compliments his great story. Kiki asks him if he's going next week. Tucker feeling inspired says absolutely. Gary declares their meeting closed and puts out the fire and everyone heads for home. Tucker tells Gary he owes him one, Gary tells him it's no problem and asks him if he'll be okay for the next week. Tucker says he thinks so, he just needs to look around for some inspiration. He asks him what inspired him of this story. Gary says it was him, hearing this Tucker doesn't believe it at first. Gary tells Tucker he is serious because Tucker was having trouble being creative. So he just saw a story there. Hearing this, it really makes Tucker happy and he smiles. Then Gary tells Tucker that at least he's good for something and then pats him on the back of his shirt and they walk off home together.

  • One of two episodes where a Midnight Society member had taken over another's night to tell a story (Gary took over for Tucker since he couldn't think of one).
  • Since Jenna is the only one who visibly shows up when the rest of the paintbrushes are destroyed, the episode seemingly leaves it ambigous as to whether this means the other painters who got trapped recovered their bodies offscreen or simply passed on with their souls finally freed.
  • Although it was said Tucker was to tell the story the next week, he didn't tell the story in the next episode because Kiki did. Possibly Tucker told a story in a meeting that took place off screen.
  • Jewel Staite who portrayed Cody previously appeared in the season three episode "The Tale of Watcher's Woods" as Kelly.
  • Amanda Gay, who portrayed Jenna later reappeared again in the series. She reappeared in the series revivals episode "The Tale of Many Faces" as Girl #87/Lizzie.