The Horror Zine
Severed Head
Jeff Strand

The July Special Guest is Jeff Strand

You can visit Jeff at:

Jeff Strand


by Jeff Strand

"Who did this?" asked Ms. Tyrone, picking up the severed head by the hair. Some drops of blood spattered on her desk as she looked around the classroom.

None of us responded. I noticed Joey trying to stifle a giggle.

"I know you all think these pranks are oh-sooooo-funny, but they're not, and I expect them to stop immediately," Ms. Tyrone informed us in a very stern voice. She held the head up in front of her to examine it more closely. "Who is this? Can anybody identify her?"

Melissa, who sat in the front row, raised her hand.

"Yes, Melissa?"

"It's Daphne Ridge."

"From Mr. Pendleton's class?"

Melissa nodded.

"So one of you decapitated an honors student. Well, class, we're going to sit here until the guilty party confesses. No recess, no lunch, just sitting here with your heads down until I find out who's responsible."

The entire class groaned.

"And if anybody says a word except to fess up, they'll find themselves staying after class. I'm not kidding around." She set Daphne's head back down on her desk. "This is completely unacceptable."

Ms. Tyrone did indeed make us sit there through lunch and afternoon recess, but at two-thirty she made us take our spelling test. She couldn't keep the entire class after school, I guess, so when the dismissal bell rang we all got to leave.

I caught up with Joey in the hallway, as he quickly walked toward the exit. "Jerk," I said, punching him on the arm.


"Why'd you leave the head on Ms. Tyrone's desk?"

"It was funny."

"You're gonna get me in trouble."

"Then you shouldn't be killing people."

"The next time I do, I'm not gonna show you. You know I'll never get that head back, right? You're always doing stuff like this to me."

"You've still got her torso."

"The torso's no fun. First Michael steals her legs, then Adrienne steals her best arm, then Michael's dog steals her other arm, and then you get her head taken away. It's not fair."

"Wahhh wahhh."

I wanted to hit Joey again, but Principal Smith was standing right by the main doors, so I didn't. We walked out of the building and Joey ran over to his bus.

Stupid Joey. He was always doing these pranks. One time, I was going to try out cannibalism, and I cooked an arm on my dad's grill. I would've gotten in so much trouble if he caught me, but I did it anyway, and I grilled it absolutely perfect on my first try. I invited Joey over, and do you know what he did? He put sugar in the salt shaker, just to be funny. The arm tasted terrible.

Another time, I was going to wear human skin as a mask, and when I had the flesh tanned exactly the way I wanted, he drew a great big mustache on it, with permanent ink. I had to just throw the face away.

I don't know why I was even friends with him. I guess part of the reason is that when you have an uncontrollable desire to kill, a lot of the other kids are mean to you. Joey drove me crazy sometimes, but he never judged me, and he never tattled.

I was pretty mad about Daphne's head, but I had too much homework that evening to go out and claim another victim. I thought about setting the alarm for an hour early so I could get one before school, but that never worked. I always kept hitting the snooze button until it was time to get up for real.

When Joey and I walked into the classroom the next morning, there was another severed head on Ms. Tyrone's desk. "Aw, man," I said.

I knew who did it. Oscar was sitting at his desk, trying not to giggle. I couldn't stand him, because he was a copycat killer. He could never come up with any cool ideas of his own. If I killed somebody with a corkscrew, Oscar would do the same thing the next day. He wouldn't even change the profile of the victim. I didn't recognize the head, but knowing Oscar, she was an honors student.

"I'm going to tell Ms. Tyrone that it was you," I told him.

"You'd better not."

"I am."

"Yeah, right."

"I mean it."

Oscar looked at me carefully, and then his lip began to tremble. "Please don't," he said. Yeah, Oscar wasn't just a copycat, he was a crybaby. I hated him.

Of course, I didn't tell on him, even when Ms. Tyrone made us sit with our heads down most of the morning. She was really mad this time, but there's a code of honor: even if somebody is a whiny little copycat baby like Oscar, you don't tell on him.

After school, I went down to the bus station and killed a vagrant with a pitchfork. (I don't even know why the pitchfork was in the garage. It wasn't like we ever scooped hay with it.) He was light from malnutrition, so I got him into my wheelbarrow and pushed him home along the railroad tracks where not many people could see me.

"What are you gonna do with him?" Joey asked as I lay the vagrant's body out in my backyard.


"What about something to raise Satan?"

I shook my head. "Satan sucks."

"You could cover him with snakes?"

"Why would I do that?"

"It'd be cool."

"No, it wouldn't."

"Then what are you gonna do?"

I shrugged. "Maybe I'll beat him with a hammer and see how much I can flatten him. If I took a piece of gold, I could flatten it out until it filled this whole yard."

"For real?"


"Let's do that!"

So we did. A corpse doesn't flatten out like gold, though. Some of the organs flattened out okay, I guess, but by the time we gave up the vagrant was "scattered" but not really "flattened."

"That was lame," said Joey.


Joey picked up a red chunk and threw it at me, just barely missing.

"Stop it," I said.

He grabbed a whole handful of muck and let it fly. Most of it missed, but not all of it.

"I said stop it!"

"Food fight!" he shouted, scooping up as much of the vagrant as he could. Laughing like a complete loser, he ran toward me. I think he was going to dump it all on my head, and I raised the hammer to defend myself, but then Joey slipped on a coil of intestine and hit the ground.

He let out a whimper. "I can't feel my legs."

"That's what you get," I told him.

"No, I mean it. I think I broke my back."

"Too bad for you."

"Call an ambulance."

I figured I had two options. I could call an ambulance, or I could beat him to death with the hammer. I weighed the pros and cons, and then I beat him to death with the hammer.

I got in so much trouble. My mom came home and yelled, and then Dad yelled, and then Joey's mom and dad yelled, and...well, let's just say that the rest of the day was pretty bad for me.

Then I discovered girls, which were way better than killing people. Seriously. When Monica's brother held me down on the ground next to the swingset so that she could kiss me, I barely tried to break free.

And that's the story of my first kiss. 

Jeff Strand is the three-time Stoker-nominated author of PRESSURE, DWELLER, WOLF HUNT, FANGBOY, and a bunch of others. He’s writing this bio without knowing how the third nomination turned out, but this bio won’t appear at The Horror Zine until the 2011 awards have been announced, so he’s going to avoid making any arrogant comments like “Oh, yeah, this is MY year for sure, baby! All hail the Stoker king!” that could make him look kinda stupid. Visiting his website at is mandatory for all who read this.

Wolf Hunt


The Sinister Mr. Corpse

See all of Jeff Strand's books HERE.










































Wolf Hunt Fangboy The Sinister Mr. Corpse