Saturday, April 6, 2019

Funeral Linen Weaving #AtoZChallenge


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: archive copy at the Wayback Machine (archived on 22 January 2019), Public Domain,

Funeral Linen Weaving
Genre: Murder Mystery
(393 words)

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.



  1. A tragic tale in which one sad event led to another. Genuinely moving Gail.

    My A-Z of Children's Stories

  2. Yes, Keith, this is one of those stories without a happy ending. Not that I started with that in mind, but it veered in that direction on its own. Sometimes the muse really does take charge.

  3. So much tragedy... tied together with the symbol of the linen. Well done.

    The Multicolored Diary

    1. Thank you. It is always interesting to watch a story unfold; this one took the tragic turn unexpectedly.

  4. Karma happens.
    Stephanie Finnell
    @randallbychance from
    Katy Trail Creations

  5. The title - Funeral Linen Weaving - caught my attention. You told a lot of short with very few words. Excellent! I enjoyed it.

    1. Definitely appreciate your comment, Trisha. Writing short stories seems so much easier than writing a novel . . . until you actually give it a try. The AtoZ Challenge has given me the opportunity to focus on short stories. After 26 stories, now I am hooked and eager to improve.

  6. It's funny that inanimate objects can hold on to emotions like that, isn't it?

    John @ The Sound Of One Hand Typing

    1. Certainly makes for a scary tale, John. I think the universe absorbs emotions and plants definitely thrive via osmosis, so who knows?

  7. Such a sad, sad tale but oh so well told!

    DB McNicol, author
    Microfiction: Flower


Aloha and thank you for visiting today! All comments are welcome.
For those who prefer to comment via email: