Monday, June 6, 2011

The Requiem at St. Stephen's

The Christmas Eve of 1363 was a cold and stormy night.

Reverend Graf Albrecht von Hohenberg sat in his warm and comfortable room. It was almost midnight and the candles still gave the man enough light to read the chronicles of Saint Stephen's church.

His mind was fully captured; he didn't even hear the noises of the storm.

There was one striking sentence. He read it again and again. "Those who are seen wearing a burial gown in the church, on Christmas Eve, will die within the next year."

The old man shook his head. He couldn't believe what he'd read, "Incredible. This must have been written by someone with too much imagination."

At that moment he heard the sound of the church's organ and the singing of a chorus.

He stood and went to the window. There was light in the church.

"Strange," he thought, "a mass at such a time?"

But he wanted to know what was going on, so he put on his coat and walked though the alleys of graves. On his way he prayed to God, "Whatever I see there, I won't be afraid. I know you are with me."

The brave man opened the door and walked into the church. He was very surprised to see the nave full of people; and he knew them. Everyone wore a burial gown.

He looked towards the altar wondering who was celebrating the mass. The priest there turned around to bless the praying people.
A cold shiver ran over his back - he saw himself.

In that moment the clock stroke one and the old priest found himself in an empty and dark church.

He hurried back to his warm room and wrote down what he had just experienced. Then he created a list with all of the names of the people he had seen there, not forgetting to put his own name at the end.

A year went by. It was Christmas again - but this time it wasn't a merry one.

An epidemic plague had afflicted Vienna and every single person on the priest's list, himself included, had passed away.

Copyright © 2011 Ingrid Prohaska

Special thanks to JRD Skinner and the Flash Pulp Crew for putting the legend on their FlashCast 016 - The Requiem at St. Stephen's !

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