The Turtle Boy
Schools out and it’s summer that means ample time for kids to wonder where they should not. In this story some kids wander through mysterious territory near woods and a lake, they befriend an even more mysterious boy who has the strangest features. The story is of fathers, sons and buddies. This story has a theme of redemption. Kealan can really write a dark tale well, this is the first of his I have read he leaves you with a creepy and mysterious presence.
“The Turtle Boy had said: You don’t know who did it. When you do, remember what you saw and let it change you.”Interview with Kealan Patrick Burke,
The writer of The Turtle Boy a Bram stoker award winner brings to you this tale. This story is dark, not of the paranormal kind but that of the darkness of the heart and the evil that men do.
His story is a taut visceral story of a woman’s survival, her pain endured and her pain of being the soul left behind from the fallen ones. Nightmares are to haunt her salvation and she is in need of succor, need of embrace and love. There is a need for Revenge, Vengeance and Retribution to take effect against the brutality and evil that has past and to come.
The evil and the darkness is administered upon the unfortunate via a family, the Merrill clan, a Kin, all this pain takes place in Elkwood, Alabama.
They call themselves the last of the old clan in service of God Almighty’s work. They are one of the most brutal families to rise up in a story they have a religious objective a mission to cleanse the world of the corrupted ones and to top it all off those that have fallen their flesh is to be devoured.
There is to be some grace there are a few characters to rise in this story to exact vengeance and retribution, one still haunted by his service in the Iraq battlegrounds.
Upon reading this story my mind shoots back to equally brutal stories of survival and the macabre, writers the likes of Daniel Woodrell and the novel Winters Bone, a motley crew of an evil family reminiscent to that of Endurance of J.A Konrath. Jack Ketchum springs to mind and his story The Woman, On The Gathering Storm by Jason McIntyre and Donald Ray Pollock with Devil all the time.
If you have read either of these and liked them this is just as a taut visceral read and well done story highly recommend. His prose is smooth and disturbing. This is a multi layered story of human endeavour. He really grabs you’re attention and instills a promise of more darkness and wonderful storytelling to come.
This excerpt gives you an idea of the dark characters Kealan has created here.
Interview with Kealan Patrick Burke,
“A farmer shoots the crows and sprays the bugs to protect his crop, don’t he? Momma had once told him. Shoots wild dogs and foxes and them sonofab****in’ coyotes to keep ’em from eatin’ his chickens’n killin’ his herd, don’t he? Well, that’s what we do. We’re a rare breed, all of us, and what’s outside there in the world would love nothin better to destroy us because of what we believe in, because of our closeness to the Almighty God
To kill us outta jealousy because they ain’t never gettin’ so close to Him. They’re the predators, Luke. They’re the skulkin’ dogs creeping’ up on us, trying’ to snatch you from my bosom, from God’s grace, like they did with your poor ……, filling’ her head with sick thoughts and vile dreams, corrupting’ her till she was so diseased she went crazy and had to be put to sleep. Don’t let them do that to you, boy. Let your Papa show you how to protect yourself, and your kin.”
“We’re the last of the old clans, boy. We stay together. We hunt and we kill Men of the World. We devour their flesh so they cannot devour us. We hold them off and resist their attempts to convert us to sinful ways. We protect each other in the name of God Almighty, and punish those who trespass, destroy those who would destroy us. We are the beloved, Luke, and once the light has been shown to those who are not of the faith, they must embrace it or be destroyed.”
Peekers Screenplay by Rick Hautala, short story by Kealan Patrick Burke.
Interview with Kealan Patrick Burke,
Award-winning short film. Screenplay by Rick Hautala. Based on the short story by Kealan Patrick Burke.