When writers are looking for story ideas, it is often suggested they “write what they know.” I think there is a lot of value to this advice, but it’s also kind of limiting. Sometimes I don’t know anything about a character or a setting or a topic, and it’s my curiosity that drives me to learn more.
So I’d like to preface the introduction to my newest short story by saying that I have no hands-on experience with grave robbing.
I became interested in grave robbing (I mean, as much as one can be interested in grave robbing without going to jail) about a year ago when I listened to a podcast about the Doctors’ Riot.
In the late 1700s, medical colleges needed cadavers for educational dissection, but there were no legal means for obtaining them. This led to some unorthodox dealings in the acquiring of bodies, and brought New York to a fever pitch in 1788.
I started digging around (pun intended) and I wondered about a character who could make a living (pun intended again) by stealing dead bodies.
I invite you to head over to the Valparaiso Fiction Review to read my short story “The Resurrectionist.” Here is an excerpt:
Carob Mott kept watch on the almshouse across Hudson Street. He’d been waiting for the better part of two days for the signal. Sometimes he’d pace, but mainly he sat on a neighboring stoop, not daring to take his eyes off the second-story window for longer than a passing carriage.
His son knew he often forgot to eat when he pursued a lead, so the boy brought food and drink from the tavern a few blocks away and relieved Carob when he could no longer keep his eyes open. For the most part though, Carob was on his own.
As the sky turned violet, a second candle was placed on the sill. Carob calmly strode across the street and lifted the latch on the gate leading to the rear of the house.
As if to prove that history is never really over, two crypts were discovered in Manhattan’s Washington Square Park recently. The bodies that Carob Mott had planned to dig up are still there…
Thanks for reading!