Are You There?

📅 Published on December 25, 2020

“Are You There?”

Written by Ryan Peacock
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available


Rating: 9.50/10. From 6 votes.
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Jonah Harvester was the golden-haired, angel-faced picture of innocence that every parent envisions their little boy as. He had a cherub’s wry smile and a natural charisma to him that was impossible to deny. You just couldn’t say no to that face, and no one really ever did.

Simply put, Jonah was a spoiled brat. His parents never learned how to deny their Perfect Angel any luxury, no matter how trivial. The only people who ever said No to him quickly learned that you literally couldn’t say no, or else you’d face one of his screaming tantrums, and God help you then.

I never really liked Jonah. But he was still technically my friend. In hindsight, I think a part of me had hoped he’d mature as we got older but he never did. By the time we were around 10, Jonah was no less of a brat. The biggest difference was that he knew it and reveled in it.

With a new kid brother on the way, my family needed a bigger house. The move was pretty standard, the new house was old but nice. Ultimately, I think Jonah was even more psyched for it than I was. The notion of getting to run around and play in the countless unexplored rooms of that large old house was irresistible to him and he acted like it was all a gift for him.

The day we moved in, Jonah came knocking on my door, wearing the same cocky smirk you’d see on a DreamWorks movie poster.

“Hey! Are you guys moved in yet?” he asked. The truck was still out front and my parents were still unloading it.

“Jonah!” My Dad approached behind him, cheerful as ever, and Jonah fed off of that, tipping him his always charming smile.

“Hey, Mr. Hart! Can Gary come and play?”

Of course, he couldn’t say no. Maybe I should’ve been thankful for that. It spared me the hassle of having to help with the move for a few hours, and Jonah got to explore just like he wanted. He ran from room to room, trying to think up new games until he got bored, which he inevitably did. I won’t pretend I didn’t enjoy myself. I did. I had fun, and when the day was done, I still enjoyed myself!

The house was just as big as Jonah envisioned. He stood at the top of the winding grand staircase and looked out over the front hall.

“Jeez, lookit…” he said under his breath. “This place is so big! It’s like it’s from a movie or something!”

He looked at the ornate chandelier that hung a short distance from the top of the stairs.

“D’you think I could hang from it?” he asked with a grin. “I’ll bet if I jumped I could grab it!”

“Maybe?” I asked. “I don’t think you should, though. What if you fall?”

“I won’t fall!” he assured me, already committed to doing it. I saw him start trying to climb the railing and I grabbed him by the shoulders to stop him.

“Don’t!” I warned. “You’ll get hurt!”

Jonah shot me a bitter glare.

“Don’t stop me, or I’ll hit you,” he said, before trying to climb it again.

“Jonah!” my Dad’s voice interrupted him. “Careful up there! Don’t fall and break your arm!”

“I won’t,” he said, offering his usual angelic grin. “I just wanted to see if I could hang from the chandelier.”

The utter stupidity of that statement baffled my poor Father, and it left a look on his face I won’t soon forget.

“Don’t try it,” was all he managed to say, still a little stupefied. “You’ll break your neck! Look, you two should go and play outside.”

For a moment, I was afraid that this would kickstart one of Jonah’s famous tantrums. I could see him weighing the pros and cons, but in the end, he chose not to. What he did instead was go outside with me for all of ten minutes, then go back inside to be a hooligan. Pretty par for the course. But at least he let the chandelier issue go.

At the end of the day, when all was said and done, Jonah went home and I went to sleep in my new bedroom. I was tired out from the day, and I honestly did need the rest. Unfortunately for me, it was one of those nights where my head hit the pillow and my mind was suddenly wide awake.

I lay in bed, wishing I could get out and play my Gameboy. But it was a weekend, and moving hadn’t exempted me from School. My parents had a pretty strict ‘no Game Boy in bed’ rule and I was too young to ever imagine breaking it.

I’m sure I managed to doze a little bit. I’m pretty sure I got some sleep. I had to have.

I remember being surprised when I caught a floral scent and heard footsteps in my bedroom. I shifted a little before opening my eyes, half expecting to see my parents there.

What I saw instead was a pale figure of a woman. She looked like no one I’d ever seen before. She wore a long pale dress and her hair hung loosely around her shoulders. In one hand she held a candle and the look on her face was one of concern.

“Are you there?” she asked, looking around. I didn’t answer. I didn’t know if I could. I just sat and stared silently at that figure of a woman as she stood in the darkness of my room.

“Are you there?” she called again. It was at this time that I caught the accent in her voice. Irish. She sounded young and afraid. I opened my mouth to speak but… well, I just couldn’t manage it.

Her candle flickered and went out, and with it, she vanished into the darkness. I fumbled around to turn on my lamp but when I did, all I found was an empty room. No Irish Woman. Just me.

“No way! You mean like a ghost?” Jonah asked with wide eyes when I told him at school the next day. “Get real, there’s no such things as ghosts.”

“I know what I saw,” I said. “She was right there, in my bedroom! She disappeared when I turned on the light.”

He chuckled and pushed me lightly.

“You’re a liar,” he said, and quickly decided to move on to something else.

I should’ve known he wouldn’t believe me, so I didn’t tell anyone else. Jonah seemed to forget about it pretty quickly and decided to focus on going to the teacher to have a screaming tantrum about some other boys not including him in their game of tag, out of the fear that he’d have a screaming tantrum if they caught him and made him ‘It’ when he didn’t want to be “It”.

As the day went on, the Ghost Woman quickly fell into the back of my mind. I wondered if maybe it had been a dream.

That night, when I was sent to bed, I figured it wasn’t going to happen again, and so I slept peacefully.

Still, she came.

I woke up hearing her footsteps again and watching as she crossed the foot of my bed, illuminated by her candle.

“Are you there?” she asked, voice desperate and nervous. I watched her in silence. I turned on the light before she could ask again, and this time she didn’t disappear.

“Are you there?” she asked again. In the light, I could see her clearly. There was no ethereal glow to her. No sign that she was anything but a normal human. Her candle flickered and went out, and she seemed to flicker with the flame. In the blink of an eye, she was gone all over again.

I had to tell Jonah.

At recess, as we walked out onto the playground, I debated if I really should or not. Of course, I cracked in the end.

“I saw the ghost again,” I said as we stepped outside, and Jonah looked over at me, eyebrow quirked.

“Seriously?” he asked. His tone suggested he didn’t believe me.

“Yes, seriously!” I said. “I think she comes every night.”

“Ooh, at 3 AM, right?” he teased. “Seriously, I’m not going to fall for it!”

“I’ll show you!” I said. “I’ll bet if you stayed over tonight, you’d see her too!”

That seemed to pique his interest. Jonah stared at me for a few moments before deciding he had nothing to lose.

“Alright,” he said softly. “Maybe I will then. I’ll talk to my Mom and see you tonight!”

He might as well have just said yes. We both knew she’d never refuse him. Sure enough, she didn’t.

That night, Jonah and I shared a bed. He sat there in his Spiderman pajamas, as alert as ever. I was getting tired from the day, but I had something to prove.

For hours we sat there, whispering to each other and reading scary stories. I could tell from his ever flippant demeanor that Jonah was still convinced that all of this was a lie.

Then we heard the footsteps.

The color drained from his face. We sat there in silence, listening as the footsteps drew closer. Then we saw the Woman emerge through my bedroom door. She moved her arms like she was opening it, but the door remained shut. The candle in her hand flickered gently and cast its orange glow through the room.

“Are you there?” The same words she’d always spoken. She walked across the foot of my bed, looking around just as she had on the other two nights.

“Are you there?” she asked again.

Jonah watched her in amazement, but his amazement was not silent.

“I’m here!” he said, and I tried to force him down onto the bed and clamp my hand over his mouth. He fought me off easily enough.

The Ghost was staring right at us now, a soft smile on her face.

“Good…” she said. “I’m so glad you made it. Is it done?”

“Yes,” Jonah said, and this time I didn’t stop him. This was different from what I’d seen before.

The Ghost let out a sigh of relief.

“Finally…” She took a step forward, phasing through my bed. “I’ve missed you so much…”

She reached out towards Jonah’s face, her fingers lightly caressing his rosy skin. She opened her mouth to say something else when her head suddenly jerked to the side.

“Did’ja hear that?” Her voice was low now, worried. She pulled away.

“No, no, no… If they know, they’ll never let us be together…” she said softly and for a moment there was silence.

“Yes…” she finally said. “You’re right… There’s no other way. It has to be done…”

She looked towards Jonah and I once more. I thought I saw fear in her eyes. There was a moment of hesitation before she headed for the door again.

Jonah got out of bed, following her to see what she’d do next.

We watched as she made her way down the hall and towards the stairs. She stood at the banister, looking down into the front hall.

“Bastards…” she said softly, and looked back towards us. “They’ll not come between us… Together now. Come.”

She held out a hand, but neither of us moved. We didn’t need to. She climbed over the railing, balancing herself on the edge of the floor.

“Come on!” she beckoned. “Just one step… and we’ll be beyond them forever…”

Jonah took a step forward towards her, and I was too afraid to stop him. He reached out a hand towards the Woman, but before he could touch her, she fell backwards.

She didn’t scream. She just vanished.

I let out a startled cry and ran past Jonah to stare down onto the landing. I’d hoped there would be nothing there, but I was wrong.

The Ghost of the Woman lay on the ground below, broken and dead. Jonah appeared beside me, staring down at her corpse in horror before just like before, she slowly faded away.

We couldn’t look away. Now we could only stare at where she’d been.

“Oh, my God…” Jonah said softly, clearly shaken. “T-that was real…”

“I know,” was the only reply I had.

We didn’t sleep that night.

At school the next day, Jonah couldn’t stop talking to me about it. I didn’t really want him to. This was huge! He had every right to be excited about it.

“We need to find out who she was!” he said. “I mean… what if she was rich or something? Maybe there’s a treasure! Or we could find a way to prove it! We’ve got proof of ghosts now, right?”

I’ll never forget the raw elation in his voice.

“I gotta stay over again!” he said. “I’ve gotta see it again!”

“I dunno… I mean, that might not be a good idea…” I said a little nervously. “What if she remembers us or something? What if she thinks we killed her?”

“She killed herself,” Jonah argued. “Come on, let me stay over!”

His tone implied a tantrum if I didn’t say yes.

“We can see if she does anything else,” he added, ever hopeful. I sighed.

“Alright. Yeah. Why not…”

“Yes!” Jonah grinned from ear to ear. “This is gonna be so cool!”

That night played out almost the same as the one before. Jonah and I stayed up reading scary stories. But this time, his excitement was palpable. He was eager for the arrival of our Ghost. He had a camera to document proof. He was ready for action!

As for me, I didn’t know what to expect.

When we heard the footsteps, Jonah and I got quiet. Our Ghost approached slowly like she always did.

The footsteps drew closer and closer. Finally we saw her at the door, going through the motions of opening it and walking towards the bed, looking around.

“Are you there?” she asked.

Jonah grinned.

“Yes,” he replied, and the Ghost looked at him. Her eyes were cold and lifeless.

“You lied,” she said.

Jonah’s smile faded and from the Ghost came one of the most horrific shrieks I’d ever heard in my life. She lunged for him, hands outstretched. In my panic, I scrambled off the bed and left Jonah to his fate. The Ghost overcame him and forced him down onto the bed.

I must’ve been screaming because I could hear my parents rushing down the hall to see what the matter was. They came in to find Jonah on the bed, his body jerking and convulsing violently. My Dad tried helplessly to restrain him, while my Mother called 911.

I saw no trace of the Ghost. She’d vanished in the commotion.

The Hospital would later say that Jonah had suffered an epileptic seizure. He was out of school for the rest of the week.

I didn’t tell the Doctors or his Parents about the Ghost. With no proof, I knew they’d never believe it. I was afraid to sleep in my room that night, and so I was allowed to sleep on the couch. Not that I really did sleep.

No, I stayed up and listened for footsteps. I crept upstairs to watch my bedroom to see if the Ghost would return. But she didn’t. In fact, I never saw her again.

As the weekend came around, most of our things were unpacked. My room was starting to look more like what I wanted it to look like. It wasn’t perfect, but it was passable.

It was Saturday and I was lazing around the house, enjoying the morning run of cartoons when I heard a knock on the window behind me.

I looked back to see Jonah’s smiling face. I wasn’t sure if he’d seen me. He didn’t seem to have noticed me yet. I almost got up to answer the door when I heard his voice.

“Gary?” he called. “Are you there?”

The blood in my veins turned ice cold.

Jonah had never had an Irish Accent before.

Rating: 9.50/10. From 6 votes.
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🎧 Available Audio Adaptations: None Available

Written by Ryan Peacock
Edited by Craig Groshek
Thumbnail Art by Craig Groshek
Narrated by N/A

🔔 More stories from author: Ryan Peacock

Publisher's Notes: N/A

Author's Notes: N/A

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Copyright Statement: Unless explicitly stated, all stories published on are the property of (and under copyright to) their respective authors, and may not be narrated or performed, adapted to film, television or audio mediums, republished in a print or electronic book, reposted on any other website, blog, or online platform, or otherwise monetized without the express written consent of its author(s).

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