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From the pen of Susan R. Murphy, comes a collection of short stories, comprising thrills, chills, tales of the macabre that reflect influences ranging from American Gothic horror, ancient Greek mythology, UFO abductions, Halloween scares and campfire tales.
The characters who feature in these tales are beings cursed by fate. Life and death holds no distinction for them. Escape, or eternal rest eludes them. They wander the world, crossing continents and even galaxies, in search of sport, prey and sometimes sanctuary. For the immortals, there can be no respite and no final resting place: they are prisoners of this world, a world that they cannot leave. Some become hunters, others find themselves among the hunted. They alone have the strength to witness, to endure and to casually inflict tragic and inhuman suffering.
The Immortals is Susan's first published book, although she has been writing for many years. The series of short stories presented in this volume, she sat down to write one day in 1993. However, as the title of the volume suggests, they have a quality that transcends time. She has taken ideas from her life and the different places that she has lived, also influenced by stories related to her by family, friends and relatives.
Susan was born in Columbus, Ohio. The only memory of that place, she says, is "the cold, the snow, red licorice and white castle hamburgers." With her father serving in the US Navy, her family moved around a lot, until the age of twelve, when they eventually settled in San Diego. She continues to reside in California, in a desert community but many of the places that she lived in during her formative years are recalled in The Immortals.
The Haunted Railroad Tracks derives from her time in Charlestown, South Carolina while The House on Fairwood Avenue (an old Victorian style home with the glass doorknobs) refers to an early childhood home in Ohio. Other stories, such as The Butcher of Moore Mansion, are based on actual events, including murder mysteries and haunted house horrors that she heard about when she was growing up. She also has an enduring fascination with mythology, particularly that of the ancients, as reflected in Euryale the Gorgon and The Lost Princess of Atlantis.
Susan's stories testify to an abiding interest in horror, the supernatural and 'things that go bump in the night'. As she recalls, "The first movie I saw was called Straight-Jacket," memorable for scenes of heads rolling down the staircase. "From then on, I was hooked on anything horror." As a child, she played with her Barbie and Ken dolls, as most kids of that age would "but I played Vampires with mine."
Susan’s purpose in writing this volume, she says, "is to reach out to those who are interested in not quite normal everyday routine things. To scare the daylights out of the reader and probably give you all nightmares, or to just get you thinking that there may be something else out there not quite human."
In that, she has most certainly succeeded.