Welcome to the August edition of First Monday Free Fiction. To recap, inspired by Kristine Kathryn Rusch who posts a free short story every week on her blog, I’ll post a free story on every first Monday of the month. It will remain free to read on this blog for one month, then I’ll take it down and post another story.
This month’s free story Albrecht, the Nightmare is a humorous contemporary fantasy tale about a nightmare demon named Albrecht, his human girlfriend Lina and the unexpected difficulties caused by an ancient warding spell.
This is one of the comparatively few stories I’ve ever written that is not just set in Germany, namely in Altenmarhorst near Twistringen some twenty-five kilometres from where I live, but that also draws on local folklore. Cause the farmhouses with the crossed horsehead gable are real and nigh ubiquitous. Albrecht’s friend Lambert Sprengepiel, hero of the Thirty Years War turned hellhound, was a real person as well, though most likely he did not really turn into a hellhound. The city of Vechta has a statue dedicated to him, in hellhound form. Though Councillor Müller-Wölenkamp is entirely fictional.
So enjoy the misadventures of
Albrecht, the Nightmare
All in all, the great supernatural coming out of 2020 was a much bigger success than anybody could have anticipated.
After the initial announcement in Germany’s biggest tabloid, there were extensive debates everywhere. For maybe two months every single political talk show in the country discussed a variation of the subject “Do supernatural beings have a place in our society?” Though the TV producers had stopped inviting actual supernatural beings to these talk shows after a massive debacle when Günther Jauch was seen interviewing empty air for ten minutes, because vampires couldn’t be caught on camera. Jauch himself later insisted that it was the best interview he’d ever done, but since no one had seen or heard anything, there was unfortunately no way of proving that assertion.
The Federal German Parliament got into the act as well and came to the conclusion that as long as they had a German passport, supernatural beings were indeed German citizens, a decision later confirmed by the Supreme Court. Of course, it wasn’t as if parliament had any choice in the matter, considering that several members of parliament were revealed to be supernatural beings themselves, including a former secretary of finance, who — it turned out — had been a werewolf all along.
Once the official status of supernaturals had been confirmed by the Federal German Parliament, supernaturals began outing themselves in countries all over the world, much to the embarrassment of those pundits and politicians who had insisted that “that sort of thing” was unthinkable in their own countries.
Of course, there also was opposition, as might have been expected. In Dresden, a group calling themselves PEADO — Patriotic Europeans Against the Demonisation of the Occident — held a few marches and candlelight vigils. They eventually stopped, when the patriotic Europeans got bored of standing around in the cold every Monday night. Not to mention that several of the brave and patriotic Europeans became rather nervous when vampires and werewolves started hanging out at the edges of their marches, staring hungrily at the protesters.
A few hate crimes against supernaturals were registered as well. There was a wave of stake attacks against vampires, all unsuccessful, because regular humans are simply to slow to do much harm to a vampire. And in Hoyerswerda — where else? — a skinhead tried to stab a werewolf with a silver fork and was promptly eaten for his trouble. The resulting trial was a media sensation, but eventually the judge came to the conclusion that eating skinheads was indeed self-defence, provided the skinheads attacked first.
But in general, the country quickly adjusted to the presence of its new supernatural citizens. Within weeks of the announcement, humans and supernaturals alike were partying in the secret underground vampire clubs of Berlin and only a handful of people got bitten, all voluntarily. Restaurants began offering fresh blood and raw meat on their menus and added warning labels for garlic. Grocery stores soon followed suit. Someone started a petition to remove roadside crosses, since they were upsetting vampires.
In March 2021, a vampire family moved into the soap opera Lindenstraße, played by human actors alas, because technology still hadn’t found a way around the problem of capturing vampires on any kind of recording media. In 2023, a zombified ex-celebrity accidentally infected all the contestants of I’m a celebrity — Get me out of here!, causing a zombie hunt in the jungle and promptly giving the fading show its highest ratings ever. At the 2024 Olympics, a selkie won an unprecedented number of gold medals in the swimming competitions.
All in all, it was a good time to be a supernatural. Unless you were Albrecht.
This story was available for free on this blog for one month only, but you can still read it in Albrecht, the Nightmare. And if you click on the First Monday Free Fiction tag, you can read this month’s free story.
Check back next month, when there will be a new story available.