The ramifications of grave robbery
*This is not legal advice...
I’ve learned, and continue to be reminded, that boredom is a tool of sorts. It’s a kind of mental breathing space where our thoughts can wander. Our minds are constantly trying to put things in order. If we intentionally put ourselves into a place of boredom, I believe that process continues; only the mind is forced to bring its own material, and creativity ensues. Or maybe we finally figure out the answer to that nagging problem? Maybe we can define a question we didn’t even realize was out there?
Boredom is a scarce resource.
You know the drill.
I’m going to take a detour from our main characters and focus on some of the lesser ones, namely the townies and the Sheriff.
They go hand in hand. The locals hate the Thurmans, protesting at their funerals, harassing them in town. They even go as far as digging up their dead if they can get away with it. To be fair, they might have some justification for their feelings. The Thurmans aren’t exactly squeaky clean. It’s easy to imagine a member of the Thurman family ripping someone off, or some shady business deal going down that left a town member empty handed. I don’t spell any of this out in the book. Instead, it’s left to the imagination. The personal stories of the townsfolk aren’t told in detail. I’ve left them mostly faceless and nameless by design.
On the other side of things is Sheriff Carroll. He’s not a bad guy, but he can be a little “hands off”. His kid gets away with too much. He seems content to allow things to remain as they’ve always been - until it personally impacts him. He gets a call late one night alerting him that a body has been found. It’s not until he arrives at the crime scene that he learns it’s his own son.
My intent was to use these as a way to explore society and law. Even though the locals might have some good reason to hold a grudge against those who wronged them, they take it too far. They literally dig up the dead, refusing to let the past go by. In this section of society, sins are never forgiven. There is no redemption offered. There is only disdain for the sinner, which is passed on from generation to generation. Children echo their parent’s disdain and carry it forward. And on and on it goes. It’s not all society though. It’s the fanatics among them that cause all the disturbance.
The Sheriff is meant to be a sort of “legalistic law”. He’s content to look the other way in regards to his son, but when he’s personally impacted it becomes and obsession, more vendetta than justice. When his own son falls victim, the gloves come off. He’s determined to find someone to hold accountable, and he’s willing to go beyond the boundary lines to do so.
These are deep topics, and there was a lot left to explore. But I left it unexplored in this book because I didn’t see how it drove the story forward in the writing process. It seemed too sharp a turn, too drastic a detour from our main characters. And to modify a quote I heard from my musician days, “The
song story is king”.
Everything should serve to drive the story forward.