The Gierach of Prussia
A bright, sunny day. Only a few clouds in the sky. 17 year-old Julia “Julchen” Beilschmidt pulled the cloak further over her face. She hated coming outside, especially on days like this. Others would bask in the sunlight, but unfortunately, Julia's pale skin would burn in the sun. Her light, pinkish-blue eyes would hurt after a long time as well.
Not to mention, the other villagers just loved to claim that she was a witch, a demon, a vampire. Julchen's white hair made it worse. No young lady would have white hair. To be quite honest, it hurt Julia. However, she was very determined not to let it show. Confidence was one thing the girl had, even if it sometimes was a bad thing.
Julchen froze, hearing her name be called. Immediately, without even caring if she got yelled at, the white haired girl ran home.
She hadn't ever taken them seriously. They were just stories, fairy tales. Silly (albeit scary) legends meant to scare children into behaving and meant to scare people into not sinning.
But then again, this tale had nothing to do with sinning.
“Großmutter!” Julia yelled running into her house. Her grandmother walked out of the kitchen, with Monika, Julia's younger sister, in tow.
Julia's grandmother, Louise sighed. “What is it this time, Julchen?”
Panting from running so fast, Julia said, “The...” She took a deep breath. “There's a uh.... There's a …... Scheiße! ... What's it called again?”
“Schwester! Language!” Monika snapped. She then added in a kinder tone, “What's the matter?”
Julia looked at Louise. “Do you remember how you tell Monika and I those old tales about vampyres and faeries and stuff?” Louise nodded, remembering how they would ask time and time again to hear them. Julchen continued on, “And one of the vampyres you mentioned was called a, uh, a Gleinacht?”
“Gierach.” Monika corrected. She sat down next to her grandmother and across from Julia.
“Oh, Julchen, don't tell me that you heard your name called by one.” Louise said worriedly. The Gierach of Prussia was a vampyre that would climb to the top of a house, steeple, or a bell tower and then call the name of its victim. The victim would then die within a few hours or days. The victim is the only one who hears their name being called. Other people in the village hear a nightbird's call. The Gierach, a revenant essential vampyre, would feed on the despair of its victim.
Julia nodded, “But I did.” She said sadly.
Monika put her head down. Did this mean Julia would really die? She used to have nightmares where this happened to someone dear to her, Monika never imagined it would actually happen. Wasn't there some way to distract it and save Julia?
Then it clicked. Monika remembered. Her head snapped back up. “We need to find its grave!”
“Its grave? What good will that do?... Oh.. Oooh.” Julia said remembering. One very good way to distract the Gierach was to scatter poppy seeds all over its grave. The vampyre will feel compelled to count every last poppy seed, even if it takes him all night. Leaving a stocking, a woven mat, or a fishing net atop the Gierach's grave will work as well. The Gierach will not be able to go hunting until it has unraveled every single thread.
“I do believe we have some poppy seeds in the kitchen, a large bucket full actually. And we have spare mats and fishing nets in the attic.” Louise said. She stood up. “I shall go get the poppy seeds.”
Monika and Julia nodded. Monika got up from her seat on one of the chairs, “Come on, Julchen. We can get the nets and the mats.” Julia nodded and went with her sister to go find the required objects.
“Hey, why is it that you remember more about the Gierach than I do?” Julia questioned.
Monika glanced at her older sister. “Probably because since I'm only 15, I was listening to the legends longer.” Julia made a face. “Oh don't act like you didn't fall asleep!”
Pouting, Julia put her hands up. “In my defense, I've never been able to sleep well at night. I was tired!”
“Whatever, sister.” Monika responded, rolling her eyes. She smiled. Julchen was just so silly sometimes.
The two girls got the mats and nets and went downstairs. Louise was waiting there, holding the bucket of poppy seeds. She dipped her head. “Hallo.”
“Hallo.” Monika and Julchen replied.
Julia opened the door. “Alright, let's go find a vampyre.”
The walk to the cemetery was filled with silence, but they all made it. Looking at all the graves, Julchen looked at her grandmother and Monika. “So, uh, how do we find the Gierach's grave?”
Louise looked back at her granddaughters. “Find the grave that smells the worse and looks disturbed.”
Julchen and Monika looked at each other, then shrugged. Yes, this would be extremely hard, but if it would save Julia, it was worth it.
After a while of searching, they finally found the grave of the Gierach. It was older and more towards the woods. Julia had never so happy in her life. Monika took a deep breath. “We need to spread the seeds and mats and nets.” And they did. The grave was a mess.
“Well, you should be safe now.” Louise said. She hugged Julia, who very happily returned it. Monika joined in on the hug fest.
As the trio left, Julchen looked back at the grave. An owl sat atop the tombstone, staring at her. Julchen shuddered and turned around. It couldn't hurt her anymore anyways.