The Demon in the Theatre

The Demon in the Theatre

A Story by SaltyParabolas

A janitor deals with the demon in the theater


William Hearting was not a particularly religious man, but this performance of Holst’s The Planets nearly had him believing in a higher power. He waited in the wings as he always did, humming the theme from Jupiter as the guests filed out, waiting for the theater to clear so he could begin his work. Being the janitor of a theater was not perhaps an ideal job for a man his age, with all the walking and bending over to collect trash left behind by careless patrons; but it was because of performances like this that he did his job with a smile on his face and rhythm in his broom. 

The last person finally exited the theater and William got to work. The silence would be unnerving if William were not used to it. The stillness of the empty theater was comforting, a breath of fresh air from the bustling streets of the city. He pulled out his broom and swished it back and forth to the beat of Mars, allowing himself to imagine how it had felt to listen to the orchestra filling the room with timpani and brass and strings, how the music swelled and ebbed, how the conductor stood keeping tempo, how his footsteps-

Wait. Footsteps?

People rarely got past the attendants to re-enter the theater, but it had happened before. William scanned the theater for signs of life, and saw none. He frowned. Maybe it was his imagination. 

He got back to sweeping, and stopped when he heard footsteps again. “Is there someone there?” he asked. The footsteps were getting closer, yet the theatre looked empty.

William held his broom up, backing up as the sound of the footsteps got even closer. “Who’s there?” he yelled. “Show yourself!” 

The footsteps stopped. William, breathing heavily, lowered the broom slightly.


“Aaaaah!” William yelled, tripping backwards and landing hard on his back. 

“I got you,” came a smug voice from the rafters. 

“Lucio, I am too old for you to be pulling stunts like that,” William said, wincing as he sat up, rubbing his back. 

Lucio swooped down and helped William to his feet, his cold touch making William shiver involuntarily. “Just checking to make sure your reflexes haven’t given out,” Lucio said with a laugh that could make plants wilt. 

William simply rolled his eyes. “You know what’ll give out if you keep that up is my heart,” William scolded. “Where have you been these past few months? It’s been pleasantly quiet.” 

“Ha ha. I was exorcised, took me awhile to come back.” 

William’s eyes widened. “Exorcisms are real?” he asked, unused to hearing about his friend’s activities outside of the theater.

“Unfortunately,” Lucio said shortly, his eyes briefly flashing red. He composed himself and grinned as he held out William’s fallen broom. 

William shook his head affectionately. “You know, that smile would scare the pants off a drill sergeant,” he said, snatching his broom back.

“Lucky for me you were a Colonel then,” Lucio responded, settling his wiry body into one of the theater chairs. “So tell me, how are the kids?” 

William’s face lit up as he pulled out his wallet, and he sat in the chair next to Lucio, ignoring the shiver that went down his spine as the demon leaned in close to see the pictures of William’s family.

© 2019 SaltyParabolas

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Added on July 20, 2019
Last Updated on July 31, 2019
Tags: short story, horror elements



Raleigh, NC

22, Queer, lover of short stories, science fiction and fantasy. more..