The 26 eclectic-genre short stories for my #AtoZChallenge are excerpts from travelogue notes by
fictional character Gahlen, who first appears in SHARDS OF MEMORY – Oral History in a Heartbeat.
Each A-to-Z daily post is a stand-alone tale - partly true, partly fiction.
By Image: http://collections.lacma.org/sites/default/files/remote_images/piction/ma-31735509-O3.jpgGallery: http://collections.lacma.org/node/225648 archive copy at the Wayback Machine (archived on 22 January 2019), Public Domain, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=27319929
Funeral Linen Weaving
Genre: Murder Mystery
Joshua often wove funeral handkerchiefs. The linens collected tears shed for the deceased. Dried petals of funeral bouquets were then wrapped inside as a keepsake.
For a particular funeral, Joshua received an order of ten such linen squares. While the order was not unusual, thoughts of the deceased sent shudders through Joshua’s body.
Seven years earlier, neighbors had announced the birth of their son, Hasya, named for the joy he brought into their lives. Shortly after Hasya’s seventh birthday, a cry went up in the village. The boy had disappeared from the public playground. Frantic, his mother alerted authorities. People searched the entire area but the boy was not located. Several heartbreaking weeks later, the child’s body was discovered deep in the woods.
For that funeral, Joshua received a special request of one hundred handkerchiefs. But the order of ten linen squares led to his uncharacteristic state of mind.
After the funeral of Hasya, the village remained vigilant until the kidnapper was apprehended. A woman living near the playground had taken the boy. She had suffered her share of past sorrows, her greatest an inability to become pregnant. After her husband deserted her, she hid from society.
The woman locked Hasya in a back shed. The child refused food, languished, and died. Panicked, she dragged the body far into the woods.
While awaiting trial, she was repeatedly abused by prison guards and found herself with child. The judge took this into consideration but upheld the life imprisonment sentence. Once incarcerated, the woman refused food, as had her young captive. She and the baby died during childbirth.
Joshua spent the day weaving funeral linen. He resented each turn of the loom. Into the ten handkerchiefs flowed bitter feelings for this woman who had stolen Hasya’s life.
Few people attended her wake. Four of the ten linens Joshua unleashed such venom upon were distributed. Three were discarded on the mortuary lawn. Only one captured sorrowful tears. Several dried rose petals were wrapped inside of that handkerchief.
The cloth lay in a dresser drawer for years, an unsuspecting culprit. The man who had once been married to the murderess experienced ongoing bad luck. Finally, in a drunken stupor, he fell during a rain storm and drowned in an inch of water.
No one claimed the body or requested that Joshua weave funeral linens for the man.