X-- This day when it had light mother called me a retch. You retch she said. I saw in her eyes the anger. I wonder what it is a retch.
With those opening lines to his first published short story "Born of Man and Woman" in 1950, Richard Matheson was let loose upon the world. Many of his short stories became famous "Twilight Zone" episodes or appeared in Playboy, the Magazine of Science Fiction and Fantasy, and various mystery/crime magazines. Just the other night I read for the first time "Prey," his 1969 short that became the legendary episode "Amelia" in Dan Curtis's Trilogy of Terror TV movie (1975). The story was splendid: perfectly conceived and then executed with stark believability and conviction. I can't imagine there's a horror fan out there without at least some passing knowledge of that horrific Zuni fetish doll!
These four different Shock collections gather those tales, and though long out-of-print they seem to be fairly widely available online in various editions: the original Dell publications from the early and mid-1960s, as well as the Berkley reprints from the late 1970s (cover art by Murray Tinkelman).