About Albrecht, the Nightmare:
But Albrecht's and Lina's love is threatened when they leave Berlin for Lina's home village in rural North Germany. For it turns out that the village is suffused with an ancient magic, a warding spell specifically designed to keep nightmares out.
This is a short story of 5800 words or approx. 20 print pages.
Nonetheless, Albrecht followed Lina, when she and baby Finn moved back home, back to rural North Germany. And so he left behind the lights and the glitter and the parties of Berlin for the Wildeshauser Geest and a tiny village named Altenmarhorst.
Now Albrecht hadn’t actually been in rural North Germany since the Thirty Years War. And once he’d been back for barely half an hour, he remembered why.
The trouble started when Albrecht, Lina and Finn pulled into the yard of her parents’ farm in Lina’s old Volkswagen. Lina took Finn out of his car seat and carried him into the house while Albrecht — wearing his chicken-chested filmstar glamour — busied himself with the luggage and watched from a wary distance as Lina hugged and kissed her parents.
Once the parents had gone back inside, to make coffee or some such thing, Albrecht finally cautious stepped forward… only to come to an abrupt, crashing halt barely a step before the threshold of the farmhouse.
“Albrecht?” Lina asked, Finn peeping sleepily over her shoulder, “What’s wrong? — Oh, I forgot. I herewith formally and officially invite you into our house.”
She crooked her head. “Odd. I always thought that was just vampires.”
“It is,” Albrecht said through gritted teeth. He was still transfixed, unable to move even a single centimetre forward.
“Then what is it?” Lina wanted to know, “Why won’t you come in?”
“I can’t,” Albrecht replied, every word an effort.
“Why not? You don’t have to be afraid of my parents. They might bark, but they don’t bite.”
“I can’t,” Albrecht repeated.
“But why not?” Lina demanded, while Finn stuck his tongue out at Albrecht, “Look, if you didn’t want to come here, you just should’ve said something, cause I…”
“I am physically unable to enter the house.” Albrecht forced the words out of his mouth or rather that of the chicken-chested filmstar, while beads of sweat formed on his forehead or rather on that of the chicken-chested filmstar.
“But why? What’s the problem?”
Albrecht pointed upwards, unable to even look at the horrible thing that lurked up there.
“The roof?” Lina said. Finn popped his thumb into his mouth and started to suck. “You have a phobia of thatched roofs?”
“No.” Albrecht squeezed his eyes shut and pointed at the horrible thing on the roof, the thing that was taunting him. “I mean that… that thing.”
“You have issues with timbered houses?” Lina exclaimed, “Oh, if it’s about the lintel motto, ‘Dear Lord, beware us of demons and devils’ is not meant literally.”
Oh sure, anti-demon rhetoric was never meant literally for some reason. Just as all those “Foreigners, go home” graffiti were never meant literally either.
“No, it’s that.” Now Albrecht did open his eyes just long enough to point at the horrible, horrible thing on the roof.
“You have a problem with gables? But almost all houses have gables.”
“The horses,” Albrecht cried, forcing the hateful word over his forked tongue.
“You have a phobia of horses?” Lina exclaimed, “But when we took Finn to the petting zoo, you had zero problems with the ponies.”
“Horse heads,” Albrecht corrected, “The horse heads on your gable are an ancient magic spell to ward off nightmares like me. So I can’t enter your house. Not while those horse heads are there.”
“Oh,” Lina said. She looked up at the gable of her parents’ house and the two wooden boards carved into stylised horse heads, as if seeing them for the first time. “This is going to be a problem.”