Horror Writers Association

Halloween Haunts: Beheading Delight by Rosemary Thorne


I love to time-travel to be beheaded: I use the thin veils that Halloween procures for the living and the dead to go through the portals after pronouncing the right words and spells.

For a good decapitation, my favorite destination is London 17th century. I used to go to Paris 18th century just because it has a better reputation, madame Guillotine and all. Still, after a couple of decades of being chopped off in continental Europe, I began to look for a different experience. I don’t know: the French became too passionate for my taste. I look forward to a wholesome, thoughtful, personal experience. Of course, you can find plenty of executioners around Revolution Square, but they are dirty, drunk, and loud. It was not worth the expense. Even for such an accommodating night like Halloween, finding the right spot to open the Gates of Time is tough; passwords and conjurations change yearly: I pay a guy with a funny beard to calculate the place according to the stars. It’s an expensive trip, and I want to feel special at the end of the tunnel. Alice-in-Wonderland like: Off with my head!

I actually dress for the occasion, you see? I know an excellent seamstress who makes the most exquisite vintage garments. Last year I wore an elegant velvet gown with an added hidden pocket to carry the leather bag with the gold coins. Gold coins or nuggets are better than jewelry; you can have them made in your local jewelry store, no sweat, no questions asked. It doesn’t matter if they are not 17th-century real currency: the axeman’s teeth know the taste of pure gold, and thus he will make sure that the blade is sharp and the cut is clean.

Once I am in the Tower, I can’t wait for my turn to go up the scaffold. I carefully lay my head on the trunk, sensing how the brute balances the axe over his back to measure the strike. Folks all around entertain themselves by throwing potato skins and mud and spitting the most contemptuous insults. A paid servant comes up to shave the back of my neck. That first contact of my skin with the preparing edge of steel fills my being with a thrill alike uncorking champagne. Soon afterward, the heavy thud makes my body tremble. A blast of pomegranate seeds expands behind my eyes and ears, flooding first my being from top to bottom and then emptying it, leaving me with nothing. At long last, peace. The ether welcomes me and sweetly embraces my exhausted soul, year after year, constantly overwhelmed by the accident of thought and the constant production of words that must make sense. Or else.

Or else.

I just love it. It beats the best shrink in NYC. Of course, eventually another head replaces the old one, and the ceremony must be repeated again. Each year. For Halloween. People usually go trick or treat. I get a head-cut.


Rosemary Thorne (she/her) is a bilingual Spanish writer, horror researcher, and translator living in Madrid, Spain. Born in 1968, too early to be understood in her country, she is currently writing horror in English. Her first novel, El Pacto de las 12 uvas, was published in December 2021. She also translated Edward Lee’s The Bighead into Spanish for Dimensiones Ocultas Press. An active member of the HWA since 2019, her goal is to populate the English market with her dreadful monsters.

Find out more at linktr.ee/Rosemary_thorne and Twitter at @rosemarythorne_.

2 comments on “Halloween Haunts: Beheading Delight by Rosemary Thorne

Get a few quick bites from the HWA
(delivered straight to your inbox):

Receive regular updates on our members' new releases, event announcements so you can meet your current and future Horror idols, and much more, just for Horror fans.

(Non-members are especially tasty welcome!)

Close Box

Social media & sharing icons powered by UltimatelySocial