Wool [Short Story]

This is a short story by Kristina Remus.

The following is based on a true story. Those are the words displayed before every horror movie, right? Every scene that’s supposed to give you goosebumps, because of its sheer realness. The woman crying on Forensic Files because her child has been missing for years. Well, it’s all bullshit. In real life, we don’t get a warning. There’s no PG-13 label, no viewer discretion advised. Horrors come without apologies, and they stay like peanut butter on the roof of your mouth.

This is horrible right? I’m staring down at my dead sister and all I can think about is peanut butter and how damn itchy this funeral dress is. No matter how hard I concentrate on her lifeless lips, all I can feel are the wool fibers slowly rubbing against my skin. Every stitch made by some god awful company who probably uses sweatshops in Asia.

No, this is wrong. I should be thinking about how I’ll never see her graduate high school or exchange vows at the alter. I don’t have much time to say goodbye – why am I wasting it on such silly thoughts of fabric? Maybe because it distracts me from the body in the room or the way her skin feels so cold. That’s not the way skin is suppose to feel, like fucking refrigerated meat. I wasn’t going to touch her in the first place, and maybe this was a “different” kind of funeral, but touching the body was encouraged. I can’t really decide if that’s sweet in a morbid sort of way, or morbid in a sweet sort of way. But regardless, I couldn’t help but grab her frozen hand when my mind played tricks on me and I thought I saw her eyelashes flutter.

That happened four times. Each time my heart broke just a little bit more because for a second, I had gotten my hopes up and I thought that maybe, just maybe, this was a bad April Fools joke. Then the voice in the back of my head kept reminding me over and over that it was October.

Maybe she was so cold because it was October. But don’t even get me started on the absolutely horrendous funeral home gown they put her in. Cream colored with little blue flowers all over it, the pattern is the wallpaper that now surrounds my mind. And the more I looked at it the more I appreciated my itchy dress. The mystery of that gown was staring at me in the face as I was staring at the emotionless face of my seventeen year old sister. I had to know if it was itchy for her or not. The tag read fifteen percent linen, thirty percent polyester, fifty five percent wool. Go figure.

Kristina Remus is a freshman at Hamline University who enjoys writing, camping, and good coffee. She has been writing since she learned the alphabet, and she hopes to one day take her career to the next level by being a published novelist.

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