Four months to the day he first encountered the boy at Walmart, the last of Phil Pendleton’s teeth fell out. …
At first glance, Phil Pendelton and his son Adam are just an ordinary father and son, no different from any other. They take walks in the park together, visit county fairs, museums, and zoos, and eat together overlooking the lake. Some might say the father is a little too accommodating given the lack of discipline when the child loses his temper in public. Some might say he spoils his son by allowing him to eat candy whenever he wants and set his own bedtimes. Some might say that such leniency is starting to take its toll on the father, given how his health has declined.
What no one knows is that Phil is a prisoner, and that up until a few weeks ago and a chance encounter at a grocery store, he had never seen the child before in his life.
Sour Candy is a chilling novella from the Bram Stoker Award-winning author of The Turtle Boy and Kin.
from Cemetery Dance…
Sour Candy by Kealan Patrick Burke
Published by Author (November 2015)
67 pages; $2.99 e-book
Reviewed by Blu Gilliand
We’ve all been there: standing in the aisle of a store, trying to hurry up and get the stuff on your list so you can get done and get out. There’s a hundred other places you’d rather be, and you’re already annoyed because it was hard to find a parking place and you can barely get down the aisle because there’s so many people there, many of whom apparently came for the sole purpose of standing in your way and chit-chatting with the neighbor or friend they happened to run into.
And then, the screaming starts.
Some loudmouth kid is braying because they didn’t get cookies or a toy, and their parent is just standing there, either trying to negotiate with the little terror, or, worse, trying to ignore it. And you stand there and think, that right there is a demon from Hell.
Well, you could be right.
Kealan Patrick Burke, inspired by a similar scene that he himself witnessed in a Walmart (the epicenter, it seems, for such scenes), uses that scenario as the jump-off point for a twisted exercise in psychological suspense, a novella called Sour Candy. Phil Pendleton is spending his Saturday morning in a Walmart candy aisle, choosing chocolate for he and his girlfriend, Lori, to enjoy later that day, when a piercing scream startles him and several shoppers around him. Further down the aisle stands the screamer, a young boy, and his harried-looking mother. Phil, who lost a marriage over his unwillingness to have kids, finds relief in the fact that the boy isn’t his, but it’s a relief tinged with a deep sorrow for the woman, who seems to have more weighing on her than just a bad-tempered child. He even speaks to them in an attempt to diffuse the situation, and accepts a piece of sour candy from the kid.
It’s a move he will come to regret. That simple act sends his life spiraling out of control, with the young child at the center of a hurricane that sweeps away the life he’d built and the hopes he held for the future. That act also sets off a chain of events that rip away the veil of reality as Phil once knew it, introducing him to dark and sinister corners he never before knew existed.
In Sour Candy, Burke employs his finely-honed skills to unsettle readers at their core. By introducing the unfathomable into the everyday, he hits all of us right where we live. Phil Pendleton was simply doing what we’ve all done before – making a quick run to the store. That, coupled with one kind gesture, was enough to ruin him. If the idea that we could all be so close to an abyss doesn’t scare you, then I don’t know what would.
from Horror After Dark…
About the Author
Born and raised in a small harbor town in the south of Ireland, Kealan Patrick Burke knew from a very early age that he was going to be a horror writer. The combination of an ancient locale, a horror-loving mother, and a family full of storytellers, made it inevitable that he would end up telling stories for a living. Since those formative years, he has written five novels, over a hundred short stories, six collections, and edited four acclaimed anthologies. In 2004, he was honored with the Bram Stoker Award for his novella The Turtle Boy.
Kealan has worked as a waiter, a drama teacher, a mapmaker, a security guard, an assembly-line worker at Apple Computers, a salesman (for a day), a bartender, landscape gardener, vocalist in a rock band, curriculum content editor, fiction editor at Gothic.net, and, most recently, a fraud investigator.
When not writing, Kealan designs book covers through his company Elderlemon Design.
A number of his books have been optioned for film.
Visit his Website, here…
Link to Buy
Get your copy of Sour Candy, here, for only $2.99 (If you’re a Kindle Unlimited member—I am and I love it; it’s $9.99 a month—you can read Sour Cabdy for free right now)…