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By Lieut. John Pease

The story "Horror's Head" was inspired from Walter Duranty's Moscow Letter, New York Sunday Times, June 24, 1928

Moscow Doctors Keep Severed Heed Alive Four Hours

(by special wire to the Times)

MOSCOW, June 24.--That a decapitated head can live, that its eyes can blink and its throat swallow four hours after being severed from the body, savors of "black magic," but that experiment was a successfully carried out in the Moscow Brain Institute this week.

The subject was a dog, but Professor Chichulin, who accomplished, the miracle, declares it equally possible with a man.

Before a young American physiologist, Dr. Horsley Gantt of Baltimore, they proceeded with the experiment, which is of great interest to humanity for three reasons:

First, it permits a careful, detailed study oi the processes of death throughout the body.

Second, it allows a study of the brain as an individual organ isolated from the rest oi the body.

Third, through a blood-pumping machine, it points the way toward a hitherto impossible operative treatment oi heart disease, which claims the greatest number of victims among elderly people.

Saved from death by Dr. Nicholas Grodski, noted
Soviet surgeon, Ivan Petrov achieved a miracle of
surgery. But the head of Comrade Peshlrin went mad

The Soviet Tribunal

HIS steel-slender hands tied behind his back, but his black-moustached fine-featured head held high, Ivan Petrov defiantly faced the three Judges from Leningrad, who sat behind the long red-cloth-covered table on the low platform at the end of the hall. On the wall beyond them hung two enormous bunting-draped portraits of Lenin and Stalin, flanking a red flag, bearing the hammer and sickle.

The Judge on Petrov's left was squat and repulsive, with keen beady eyes in an otherwise bland face. His hands, spread out upon the table, were short and pudgy. From pictures which Petrov had seen in copies of Izvestia and Pravda, he recognized this man as Dr. Nicholas Grodski, noted Soviet surgeon, reported to have built up his reputation on the work of his less political-minded associates and subordinates.

There had been rumors of strange experiments, some of them of an unmentionable nature, Petrov knew, and his presence here on the Judges' bench indicated his political power.

The Judge in the center, whom Petrov had been told was Commissar Bucholtz, was young, debonnaire, and handsome in a sort of heavy fashion, with wavy brown hair and flashing eyes. His large though carefully groomed hands constantly toyed with a crude rubber-stamp bearing a skull-and-cross-bones.

The third member of the tribunal was a nondescript individual with a heavy black beard, named Peshkin.

Commissar Bucholtz snapped, "Ivan Alexandrovitch Petrov, you are charged with being a friend of the Supervisor of this village, now under sentence of death for treason."

At the mention of the prisoner's name a crafty expression crept over Grodski's bland features. The prisoner's clear gray eyes fixed without fear upon the handsome face of his accuser.

"Tovarish Commissar," he replied in level tones, "The Supervisor was merely a patient in my hospital. I am loyal to Russia. I do not concern myself with politics."

"Petrov," snapped the Commissar, "there is no Russia! What once was Russia is now the Soviet Union. And it is the duty of every Russian to concern himself with politics—on the proper side, of course."

He leered, and turned to the bearded Peshkin on person standing before us is obviously I no working man. Shall we apply the stamp to his papers?"

Peshkin nodded, and a yellow fanged grin showed through his black beard.

"Just a moment, Comrade Commissar," interposed Dr. Grodski, laying a pudgy hand on the arm of his superior. Then to the accused, "You are the son of Alexander Petrov, are you not?"

"Is that a crime?" Ivan ?ashed.

Grodski shrugged his ponderous shoulders, and his fat features broke into a fatuous grin, although his little pig eyes remained keen. "Your father was surgeon to the Tsar. Later he was one of those followers of Denikin to be captured and executed, if I remember rightly. But perhaps you inherit your father's ability, without inheriting his—ah—unfortunate political prejudices. Are you the young Petrov, whose researches in brain-surgery have recently appeared in print?"

The prisoner nodded.

"We are wasting time!" again interposed Commissar Bucholtz, pounding his death's head rubber-stamp upon its ink pad, and then holding it poised expectantly over the warrant on the desk.

"I vote for death," rumbled Peshkin through his thick black beard.

But once again Grodski laid his pudgy paw upon Bucholtz's arm. "Parole him to my custody, my good Comrade Commissar," he wheedled. "I can use him."

"Very well, Doctor," snapped the Commissar, shoving the file of papers over to Grodski with a grimace of irritation. "Release the prisoner. Next case!"

And so Ivan Petrov was permitted to visit his home and hospital under guard, to pack up such of his belongings as had not been stolen during his brief incarceration. Then, when the blood-purge of the little village had been accomplished, he traveled back to Leningrad with the three Judges.

He did not ride with them, however, in their first-class railway carriage, but with the squad of common soldiers who served as their bodyguard, which however he accepted with an amused tolerance, tinged with relief. For, after all, he was not only alive (which was quite something in itself in this topsy-turvy world) but also was headed for interesting scientific work under the great, though repulsive, Grodski.

When the train reached Leningrad, Dr. Grodski bade a warm farewell to the dapper Bucholtz and the blackbearded Peshkin, picked up Petrov from among the soldiers, and waddled over to a cab. He directed the driver to take the two of them to an address on the outskirts of the city.

"Well, my dear Petrov." He smiled ingratiatingly, as the cab bounced over the cobblestones. "You doubtless would like to know why I spared your life. I always had a great regard for your—ah—late father. I do not share the general proletarian prejudice that brains are essentially antisocial."

"After all," Petrov interposed, "did not even the great Lenin himself say: 'Without science there cannot be communism'?"

"Excellent! Excellent!" Grodski replied, beaming. "I must remember that quotation. I shall report you as relying upon the wisdom of our dead teacher. It will go well with your record. 'Without science there cannot be communism.' Um!-Ever hear of Professor Chichulin of Moscow?"

"The brain specialist? The man who made a dog's head live for four hours, completely severed from its body?"

"Exactly. But Chichulin did not go far enough. He lacked both the technique of the old tsarist intelligentsia, and the verve and enthusiasm of youth. He tried to persuade a young American surgeon named Horsley Gantt to stay and work with him, but Dr. Gantt refused and returned to America. I too lack what Chichulin lacked, but now, I have you to supply that double want. Do you see?"

"I see!" Petrov's keen gray eyes shone. "Given equipment and co-operation, I believe that I can duplicate all that Chichulin has accomplished, if that is what you desire."

Grodski's fat face clouded slightly, and there was veiled menace in his level tone as he interposed, "We can accomplish, my young friend. We can accomplish."

"Oh, I beg your pardon, Sir," Petrov replied, genuinely embarrassed. "I am afraid I let my enthusiasm get the better of me. I shall be glad to work under you, Sir."

Grodski's fat face beamed, but his little black pig-eyes still remained inscrutably narrowed.

The cab stopped in front of a rather pretentious brownstone front. As the two passengers got out, Grodski indicated the dwelling with a wave of one pudgy paw, saying with a tinge of pride, "Comrade Stalin permits me to live here. You see, he too appreciates genius. What was it that Lenin said? Oh, yes. 'Without science there cannot be communism.' I must remember that."

He flashed a card of identification at the cab-driver, led the way up the flight of brownstone steps on the front of the building, and rang the doorbell. After a considerable wait the door creaked open. On the threshold stood a radiantly beautiful girl with blue eyes and golden hair. Petrov gasped, and his gray eyes crinkled with appreciation.

"My daughter, Katerina," Grodski explained. "Katya, this is young Dr. Ivan Alexandrovitch Petrov, who will stay with us for a while. He is to be my laboratory assistant."

The girl ran her clear blue eyes appraisingly over the slim virile figure of their guest. Smiling, she curtsied and stepped aside. Grodski and Petrov entered.

Petrov did not see Katerina Grodski again that afternoon, for her father was too eager that work should start at once on the great experiment. Accordingly, as soon as the two men had stored their belongings, they set out together for the Clinic.

Here they first read and abstracted all the accounts which the library contained of the work of Professor Chichulin.1

1: The work of Professor Chichulin in preserving a dog's head in a living state was accomplished by using a pump and a special re-aerator of his own design to circulate and condition the blood stream. This pump was attached to the principal veins and arteries of the neck. The capillaries were sealed off with paraffin. For over four hours he succeeded in keeping the severed head alive in a humid atmosphere.

The animal, according to all evidence, did not know that it was dead, for it was able to open and close its eyes, and to bite and swallow food--futilely, of course, as the food fell out of the back of_its throat. Also it even pricked up its ears whenever its name was called.-Ed.

"Listen to Chichulin's statement of objects," said Grodski. Then he read aloud: "'One, to permit a detailed recording of the processes of death, much slowed-up for this purpose, by my experiment; two, to allow a study of the brain as an individual organ, isolated from the rest of the body; and three, to investigate the possibilities of artificial circulation of the blood, perhaps eventually applicable to human beings, especially those with weak hearts!' What absurd, what inadequate objects! I shall go further." Grodski rubbed his fat hands together. "I shall keep a dog's head alive indefinitely, perhaps even beyond its normal life-span."

Petrov, seated across the reading-room table from his patron, leaned low and reverently crossed himself beneath the table.

Fortunately Grodski did not notice. He continued, "Well, my young friend, what do we need for my experiment?"

"A complete set of scalpels, forceps, clamps, and so forth. Mine were all stolen, while I was in jail. For our blood-pump, I believe that I can make over a small vacuum-pump—there should be one available somewhere in the Clinic. And how about a trained nurse?"

"My daughter Katerina has often assisted me in operations."

"Excellent!" What a charming assistant the golden-haired girl would make! "Where are your laboratories?"

"Here in the Lenin Clinic. But do you not think it would be better to transfer them to my home? Otherwise certain of my jealous colleagues at the Clinic might steal my ideas, perhaps even get ahead of me. There is a large vacant room at home which we can use. It has running water."

"Even more excellent!" This would insure Katerina working with them.

A Broken Promise

SO an experimental biological laboratory was set up in the brownstone dwelling which housed the Grodskis. Stray dogs were easily obtained for a few kopecks each from the equally stray children who roamed the metropolis. Katerina proved a willing and able assistant. Dr. Grodski himself, in spite of his fleshy flabbiness, possessed a surprising degree of facility in those pudgy hands of his.

But the ideas and the technique all came from Ivan Petrov, though the young man always took pains to put the words into his patron's mouth, and to give him the credit for everything. This he did, not only from a sense of loyalty, but also because he was genuinely glad to contribute whatever he could to the political advancement of the father of the charming Katerina.

The girl and the young scientist worked together with perfect teamwork, and when off duty spent much of the time together. They attended such meager diversions as Leningrad afforded: strolling along the banks of the Neva, visiting the historical sites, including the Hermitage (former palace of the Tsars) and its famous paintings, attending lectures and educational movies. But mostly they just sat together and chatted in the evenings.

Dr. Grodski at first tried to rush the laboratory work with a feverish eagerness quite out of keeping with the slugglishness of his gross obesity; but his protege insisted that they must "make haste slowly"; and Grodski, pleased with Katerina's growing influence over the young man, let matters take their course.

It was some time before they progressed even as far as the reported progress of Professor Chichulin. Their chief difficulty lay in the dilemma introduced by their attempts to reaerate the blood of the dog. Without plenty of fresh oxygen for the red corpuscles to soak up and transmit to the living cells of the head, those cells would quickly wilt and perish. With plenty of oxygen, the corpuscles would coagulate, clot, and clog the blood-stream. Then, too, there was the problem of feeding the blood.

Both problems Ivan Petrov solved simultaneously by means of permitting a thoroughly oxygenated serum to ooze into the blood-stream by osmosis through a thin parchment diaphragm. This invention enabled them to beat Chichulin's record by two weeks' life for the severed head.

"The next step is immortality," cried Grodski, beaming. "I have it all figured out, but let's see if either of you young-folks can guess my plan."

"I am sure, father, dear, that I cannot," said Katerina, glancing at Petrov with a slight nod.

Petrov took and patted her hand. Then smiled happily, and turned to her father. "I have learned, Sir, to follow your mental processes so well, that I can guess. When you sever the next head, you plan to cut extra long flaps of skin, and then sew them across the base of the skull and let them heal there. This will solve the problem of the gradual creeping decay which we have encountered at that point.

"Our other difficulty has been due to the inevitable and normal death of the blood corpuscles. In a living animal, these are steadily replaced by new corpuscles bred in the marrow of the long bones. It is your plan to duplicate this breeding in test-tubes. Am I not right, Sir?"

Katerina flashed Petrov an admiring glance from her blue eyes, and gave his hand a squeeze, as her father, his round face glowing, replied, "My young friend, you have guessed my ideas exactly."

So the three of, them put these plans into effect. After a few false starts, the plans worked to perfection.

Dr. Grodski was jubilant. "Oh, you just wait until that Professor Chichulin hears of this! He will be green with envy!" Then sobering, and a crafty expression taking form on his loose lips, he continued, "But not yet. Not quite yet. We must prove our complete control of this problem, before we disclose our secret to anyone."

That evening over the samovar and cigarettes, when Grodski's usually sallow features were glowing with triumph, Petrov considered the occasion ripe for an announcement. Sending Katerina from the room on some pretended errand, he turned to her father and said, "Dr. Grodski, I believe that I have demonstrated to you my loyalty to Russ—to the Soviet Union, and my ability as an assistant to yourself. May I have permission to pay court to your daughter?"

Grodski leered and, leaning over, patted Petrov's arm with one fat hand. Petrov tried not to wince or grimace.

"My dear young friend," said Grodski, "this is not Tsarist Russia. Children belong to the State, not to their parents. The place to ask is at the Registry, not here. Katya and you are both free citizens, comrades of the Republic."

"I know, I know. And I meant no disloyalty to the State by asking. But I should like your approval, nevertheless."

"You have it, my boy, and gladly. We have been workers together in a great cause. This shall bind us three together with bonds of steel. Come, Katjuscha!" He clapped his flabby hands together. "Bring us vodka!"

The girl entered the room, her face glowing. "I was listening just outside the door," she announced, sweeping over to the couch on which Petrov was seated, and snuggling down beside him. Petrov slid one arm around her slim waist. "

"Well," said Grodski, lumbering to his feet with a prodigious sigh; "I guess it's up to Papa to fetch the vodka."

Just then here came a peremptory banging on the front door. Without waiting for an answer, the door crashed open, and a squad of gray-clad soldiers barged in, headed by the suave and handsome Commissar, from whom Grodski had saved Petrov that day of the blood-purge. Katerina and her lover stumbled to their feet.

Drawing himself up with as much dignity as his fat form permitted Dr. Grodski inquired, "What is the meaning of this intrusion, Comrade Bucholtz?"

"Complaints from some of your colleagues at the Clinic, Comrade Grodski. They charge that you are carrying on secret experiments here in your house. Anything secret is of course under suspicion. We must search the house."

"My experiments are for the glory of Stalin. My colleagues at the Clinic are jealous and nosey. They are trying to use you as a means to find out what I am doing, in the hope of getting ahead of me. So please to keep the soldiers out of my laboratory. Katerina and I and my young assistant will be glad to show to you personally, Comrade, what we are doing."

Bucholtz turned and scowled at Ivan Petrov. Then for the first his eyes took in the provocatively founded figure of Katerina Grodski. He drew himself up to his full height, threw back his shoulders, and smirked ingratiatingly. Katerina, coyly hanging her head, smiled up cornerwise at him. Petrov, noting this by-play, clenched his fists, but managed to control his temper.

The Commissar bowed stiffly from the hips in true aristocratic manner, and then offered his elbow to the girl. "Lead on, Comrade Grodski. My men will remain behind—to guard the exits."

Dr. Grodski, trembling like a bowl of jelly, led the way to the laboratory. The dashing Commissar followed, with Katerina hanging on his arm: she smiling and dimpling and flashing her sapphire eyes; he patting the little hand that nestled in his elbow. Petrov, fuming and chafing, brought up the rear.

In the laboratory, on one of the tables, held in a cushioned frame, stood the head of the latest victim. Two branched pipes, the ends of their branches inserted at the base of the head, extended to a rhythmically pulsing pump, from which two other pipes ran to a complicated tank with thermometers, thermostatically controlled heaters, air fan, and other gadgets. Bucholtz stared with bewildered interest.

"Now, Comrade," said Grodski, "note what happens. Watch the dog's head." He whistled sharply, and the bodiless head pricked up its ears alertly. "Now I shall feed him." He went to a small ice-chest and took out a plate of meat; the dog fixed its eyes intently on the plate, then ran its pink little tongue out between its front teeth, curled it up and slid it back hungrily along one side of the upper lip. Grodski held up a piece of the meat between thumb and fore?nger; the head seemed to be straining to reach it. He placed the meat in the dog's now opened mouth; the =dog snapped it up and gulped it down, the meat falling through the gullet-hole at the base of the dog's skull onto the table with a plop!

"Marvelous!" breathed Commissar Bucholtz, his eyes staring. "How long has the little beast been dead?"

"Over a month now," Grodski answered, swelling with pride. "And there is no reason why it should not live forever!"

"Man-made immortality! Stalin will thrill when he learns of this!"

"Patience, friend, patience. Give me time to make everything perfect, and then you shall have the honor of being the one to carry the news to our great leader."

"And in the meantime I shall come here frequently to watch your progress." The handsome Commissar smirked at the girl standing beside him.

She smiled up at him. Ivan Petrov stiffened. The Commissar reached out one large though carefully manicured hand, and stroked the girl's arm. Then slid his hand across her back, clasped her further shoulder, and drew her to him.

"None of that!" cried Petrov, leaping forward. "She is affianced to me!"

Commissar Bucholtz released the girl, fell back a pace, and whipped his revolver from his holster. Petrov halted abruptly.

A sneer gradually curled the lips of the sinisterly handsome officer. His eyes narrowed ominously. "So!" he hissed. "You young bourgeois, you! You aristocrat, you! I ought never to have spared your life, that day you came before the tribunal."

Petrov flashed a glance at Katerina to see how she was taking this; her head was tilted high with scorn. He turned to Dr. Grodski; but the doctor was wringing his fat hands, and staring ingratiatingly at the Commissar. No help in either of these quarters.

Indignant, he exclaimed, "Have you no gratitude, Dr. Grodski, for all the aid that I have given you in your great experiment? Explain to Comrade Commissar that you have promised your daughter to me."

Grodski pulled himself together and turned scornfully on his assistant. "You are out of your mind! Katerina is promised to no one. My great experiment is all my own; you have been merely my technician."

Petrov clenched his fists. Repudiated! But what could he do about it! His body slumped, and he passed a tired hand across his eyes. The whole world reeled.

Prisoner of the Gay Pay Oo

BUCHOLTZ'S revolver prodded him to the door. Outside the guard seized him. "To the Gay Pay Oo with him! A political prisoner. Treason against the proletariat."

Petrov was dragged struggling out of the building. On the threshold he wrenched free for a moment and looked back; Katerina was in the arms of the Commissar, happy and willing.

Petrov then went meekly and without resistance the rest of the way over the cobblestones to the Gay Pay Oo Headquarters, and down into its basement. A hundred or more tattered, dirty, hopeless-faced individuals were being prodded along a corridor by a score of guards.

Into this group of prisoners Petrov was thrust, " and they were all then herded into a small windowless room in which they fitted so closely that they could not move about.

"What is this place?" Petrov asked.

"It is the sweat-chamber," explained a huge muscular individual nearby.

"Oh!" screamed a frail old man, slumping to the floor.

"Get up, you fool! " rasped the burly man, yanking him to his feet. "You won't live half an hour down there."

The door was slammed shut, bolts could be heard clanking into place on the outside, and then steam began to ooze in through small gratings in the walls close to the floor. The heat increased. One man attempted to peel off his blouse.

"Stop shoving!" shouted another near him.

The first man shoved all the more violently—fought for space in which to shed his clothes. Others followed his example. The room became a bedlam.

Above the din, Petrov shouted, "Stop a minute! Comrades! Listen to reason!"

"Quiet, you cattle," roared the burly man, "or by Saints Peter and Paul I'll bash every head within reach."

A momentary lull ensued, during which Petrov was able to make himself heard. "Our one chance of survival," he cried, "is to refrain from fighting each other, and to get our clothes off with some system. Now let's all crowd as close as possible to this wall on the right, and then let those by the left wall undress first. And so on, in successive rows. Come on."

His orders were carried out with a fair degree of precision, and soon the whole group stood stripped to the skin.

But still the heat increased. Sweat poured down their glistening bodies. The stench became almost unbearable. The men began to shift uneasily, wild-eyed, wincing when they touched each other.

Finally one man started screaming. Another took it up. And another.

Petrov shouted, "Cuff them down. If any man screams or starts to run amuck, cuff him down."

The screaming stopped.

The door opened. A cooling draft swept in. The caged prisoners surged in unison toward the opening.

"Back!" cried the guards. "Back!" With the butts of their muskets they felled several of those nearest them; but those. behind kept on struggling forward, forcing the others before them.

"Back, you fools!" shouted Petrov, he and his burly friend stemmed the tide. The milling stopped.

"Is Ivan Petrov there?" asked one of the guards. "


"Come out. You're to be questioned."

"Hard luck, brother," whispered his burly friend, warmly grasping his hand.

"Carry on!" Petrov called back, as he elbowed his way to the door.

The door clanged shut behind him. Petrov, still naked, was led along the corridor, up a winding flight of stone stairs, and into an office. Behind a red-draped desk hung the inevitable huge portraits of Lenin and Stalin, and the hammer and sickle flag. At the desk sat a stern-faced official with long drooping moustaches. Beside him stood Dr. Grodski—oily and gross as usual.

Petrov swept his former patron with one long narrow-eyed glance of scorn. Then drew himself erect, squared his athletic shoulders, and faced the inquisitor at the desk. Then suddenly realized his own nakedness, and flushed. A momentary grin showed through the official's mask of sternness.

Grodski rubbed his short-fingered hands together. "My dear young friend," he intoned, with a carrion-sweet voice, "once more I have prevailed upon Comrade Bucholtz to spare your life. You are again paroled into my custody, so that we may complete our epoch-making experiment."

Petrov eyed him coldly. "I thought that the great Grodski needed no help."

Grodski's eyes flashed him a frantic message to be quiet, but Petrov was unimpressed. "I prefer to return to the sweat-room," he retorted with level incisiveness.

"What!" roared the official, half rising from his seat behind the table, his and moustaches bristling.

"Now. Now. My dear Inspector," Grodski soothed. "After what the poor young man has just been through, you know—" He tapped his head significantly. The official nodded.

Grodski continued, "Get him a blouse and some pants and boots, and send him to my house under guard. Comrade Bucholtz's orders." He turned and waddled from the room.

"I still think that I'd prefer the sweat-chamber," Petrov shouted after him.

Later, clad in a dirty and ill-fitting outfit, doubtless shed by some other prisoner now deceased, Petrov was escorted back across the cobblestones to the brownstone front which housed the Grodskis.

Katerina was waiting for him on the threshold, her big blue eyes brimming with concern. "Oh, my Ivan," she purred, fingering his sleeve. "I was so fearful for you."

Petrov stiffened. "You lie! You love Bucholtz."

"Oh, Ivan, Ivan," she pled, placing her hands on his broad shoulders, "how can you misunderstand me so? One has to be careful these days. I concealed my feelings, dissembled, to save the lives of those I love. But you were so rash! Your rashness made things so much harder for me. I love only you, Ivan. Cannot you believe me?" She drew close and pressed her soft well-rounded form against him.

He stiffened, tried to push her away; but her nearness overwhelmed him. "Of course I believe you," he exclaimed, flinging his arms around her waist and shoulders, and covering her flushed upturned face with passionate kisses. How unfairly had he misunderstood his friends the Grodskis! How difficult had he made it for them to protect him! He hung his head with remorse.

Yet suspicion did not wholly die. For Dr. Grodski's first demand was that his returned assistant teach him the entire technique of the dog's head experiment, so that he could perform it alone. Why should Grodski wish to try to perform the experiment alone, except to learn whether or not he could now dispense with the assistance of Ivan Petrov? Petrov said as much, not very tactfully.

Grodski's face was pained. "My dear young friend, you wrong me. But I do not blame you, after what you have had to endure. All that I can say is that, if you cannot trust the father of your affianced bride, you still have no other choice than to comply with my wishes. Go through with it then, and see whether or not your suspicions have been justified."

"I could still return to the sweat-chamber of the Gay Pay Oo."

Grodski's pig eyes narrowed. "Far better to trust us," he snapped.

Petrov shrugged his broad shoulders. "Very well then. I shall proceed as though I trusted you; but I shall keep my eyes open."

Katerina was very sweet and close to him that day, and he taught Grodski everything that he knew, until the doctor was able to duplicate the dog's head experiment alone and without any prompting. The dapper Bucholtz came to watch the operation, and—surprisingly—made no further advances to Katerina.

"For he now understands that I belong to you" she explained to Petrov, when the Commissar was gone. "He's really not a bad sort, when one gets to know him."

"But I don't want you to get to know him! " Petrov stormed.

Katerina pouted and held up her lips to be kissed. In the warm embrace which followed, Petrov almost forgot his fears.

Dr. Grodski was bursting. with pride at having mastered the technique of the dog's head experiment. "Oh, that Chichulin, he will be green with envy!" he exulted, his flabby face suffused. "And, my young friend, you now see how you have wronged me by suspecting me. For now that I am to go on to greater heights, I shall need you all the more."

A Horrible Experiment

"WHAT are these greater heights?" Petrov asked, perplexed. For the first time since their association together, he did not succeed in thinking a step ahead of his patron. "Dr. Grodski, you are able, alone, and unaided, to render a dog's head immortal. Why not show this to Comrade Stalin now? To what greater heights can you possibly aspire?"

"I shall render man immortal," the fat doctor boasted. "Then I, Nicholas Grodski, shall be greater than God. Stalin will love me for that!"

Petrov mentally crossed himself. "But where can you get a man's head for this experiment?" he objected. "It must be a living man, you know; a corpse will not do."

"Our friend the Commissar has arranged all that for me. He is sending me a prisoner from the Gay Pay Ooan old acquaintance of yours." Grodski chuckled, his fat belly shook.

Petrov stiffened in horror. Perform the experiment on a living being!

He hoped that this victim was not the burly brute who had backed him up so nobly in stilling the panic in the sweat-chamber. But no, it turned out to be black-bearded Judge Peshkin who had voted for Petrov's death that day, back in his home town on the Volga, when Commissar Bucholtz had spared his life at Dr. Grodski's request.

Nothing had been said to Peshkin about their plans for him. Accompanied by Bucholtz, and led by the two common soldiers, he entered the Grodski laboratory. The dogs' heads on the tables had all been carefully screened, lest the soldiers see. Katerina was not present.

"A sudden surge of pity flooded Petrov, and he recoiled from the thought of performing this ghastly experiment on a fellow human-being. But, after all, this Peshkin had shown no pity for him—this Peshkin typified all that Petrov hated and despised in present-day Russia. And, too, he had no choice. Grimly nerving himself Petrov clapped an ether-sponge to the nose of the struggling man.

Gradually Peshkin's struggles ceased. His breathing became stertorous. At a command from Grodski, the guards laid the unconscious form on an operating-table, and withdrew. Katherina was called in. White-lipped and wide-eyed, she took charge of the patient ;' as the two scientists donned white robes, gauze masks, and rubber gloves.

An ether-and-oxygen tank was wheeled up, and the rubber cone on the end of its hose was affixed to the victim's nose. His neck was shaved and anticepticized.

"Let me perform the operation," Grodski ordered.

Petrov, his qualms returning, heaved a sigh of thanks at being relieved of the responsibility.

With a precision inconsistent with his flabby body and pudgy fingers, Dr. Grodski deftly made the incision. His daughter handed him instruments as needed. Ivan Petrov watched, intent for any mismove. But there was none—his patron had mastered the technique.

Bloodlessly the severed head was lifted away. In a split second the tubes were inserted in the veins and arteries of the stub of its neck. The ether-cone was removed from its nose. Blood was drained from the now-lifeless body into the reservoir of the reaerator. The pump was started. The skin-flaps were sewed together. The velvet and steel collar was fitted in place, and the head was mounted on its stand. Grodski stepped back, panting and trembling, and surveyed his handiwork.

As the oxygenated blood coursed through the brain of the bearded head, its eyes opened, at first rolling and showing only the whites, then gradually becoming normal and staring in perplexity around the room.

"He lives!" Grodski exulted. "He lives!"

The eyes turned and fixed themselves on him with a puzzled expression, and the lips seemed to be framing a question.

"Comrade Peshkin," Grodski addressed the bearded head, "I have made you immortal. Your severed head will live forever."

"Yes, Peshkin," Petrov added, with a bitter edge to his tone, "you would have condemned me to death a few months ago. Remember? But you now have eternal life. See, there lies your dead body on the operating-table, but your head—the part of you which is really you—lives on."

The eyes in the bearded face turned and fixed themselves on the headless body, then went suddenly blank. The muscles of the face contorted. The jaw dropped. The lips seemed to be forming a scream, although no sound came. Petrov stepped over and studied tho features intently for a few moments, then turned to Grodski with shoulders slumped dejectedly. "The shock has been too much for Comrade Peshkin. He has gone stark, staring mad. Our great experiment is a failure."

Grodski slumped dejectedly, and did not question the "our".

In the days which followed, the bearded head lived on, but never recovered its sanity. Grodski, completely humbled, consulted freely with his young assistant——even seemed to hang on him for advice. They finally decided to ask Commissar Bucholtz for another prisoner from the Gay Pay Oo. This time they planned to explain the situation slowly in advance to the victim, so that his mind might not become unhinged.

Also Petrov devised a speech-apparatus. A reservoir of compressed air was to be attached to the larynx by a rubber tube, the air to be admitted in gusts by a valve actuated by an electric contact placed inside the mouth between cheek and teeth. Grodski and his assistant practiced with this contact, and found that it could be easily controlled at will by merely tensing one certain cheek-muscle.

The new prisoner, a stolid young peasant, was brought to live with them. First they practiced him in the use of the speech-apparatus, until he had fully mastered it. Petrov became so engrossed with his work that he only dimly sensed the growing aloofness and abstraction of his Katerina.

Meanwhile Grodski tactfully and gradually broached to the peasant the facts as to his impending fate. It took some time to get the idea across, but when it finally permeated the dull brain of the young peasant, he too, as the bearded head of Peshkin had done, rolled his eyes and contorted his features. His screams of utter fright were quite audible.

Then he went berserk! With superhuman strength he broke away from them, crashed through the heavy locked door of the house, and rushed blindly down the front steps into the streets.

Grodski, drawing a pistol from the folds of his blouse, calmly felled the ?eeing man with one shot from the doorway. For the rest of the day he brooded sullenly alone, while Petrov sat with one arm around Katerina, and wondered what the next move should be.

A New Victim

THE next morning Dr. Grodski announced with determination, "We must try again. I have arranged with Comrade Bucholtz for a new prisoner."

Later in the day, everything tell-tale in the laboratory being first carefully screened, the Commissar arrived with a squad of soldiers, and was ushered in.

But no prisoner stood among them.

Petrov stared at the group in surprise. "Which one—?" he began.

"Seize him!" Bucholtz commanded, an evil light of triumph in his brown eyes.

For a single petrified instant Petrov stood rooted to the spot, then horror swept into his face in a white wave. With a single swift leap, he whirled his back against the wall and stood at bay, confronting the treacherous Grodski, who stood leering at him.

"Seize him," repeated Bucholtz again, with narrowing eyes.

The soldiers leaped forward. Petrov lashed out a fist that caught the first flush on the point of the jaw. He went down with a groan, and a second uniformed man closed in. In his hand was a gun, held by the muzzle. He lifted it high as he leaped.

"Don't! " screamed Grodski. "Don't hit him in the head!"

The soldier faltered in his stride, and Petrov snatched the gun from his hand with a swift motion. But before he could bring it to bear, several more men leaped upon him, and bore him to the floor. Petrov was crushed beneath the weight of the entire squad of soldiers now. Blindly he shoved the gun into the mass and pulled the trigger. There was a muffled explosion, a hoarse scream. One man rolled from the heap and lay doubled up, his hands upon his abdomen, rapidly staining with blood.

Then Petrov felt the weapon torn from his fingers, and found himself tightly clutched by arms and legs.

"Stand him up," commanded Bucholtz harshly.

Still struggling, Petrov was yanked to his feet, to face his captors.

"And now, my dear Ivan," said the Commissar. "It is you who will be the next subject for the great experiment. And see to it that you do not lose your head!" He guffawed lustily.

Petrov's eyes turned frantically toward Dr. Grodski, to see the doctor already advancing toward him with an ether-sponge in one hand. He glanced at Katerina, his Katerina; but her golden head was held high, her blue eyes narrowed, and there was a thin sneer on her full red lips.

The sponge was clapped to Petrov's face. With a shuddering gasp, he drew in the pungent fumes. He wrenched at the hands which held him. He tried to scream, but only a bubbling groan came through the cold wet sponge. Then he felt his knees give way, and he seemed to fall backwards down to a bottomless pit to the crescendo of beating drums.

He awoke drowsily, with a feeling of floating unreality. He tried to move, but his whole body felt numb—out of control. Everything was blurred before his eyes. But gradually, with a supreme effort of will, Petrov compelled his eyes to focus.

In front of him were grouped Dr. Grodski, Katerina, and Commissar Bucholtz, all staring at him anxiously. The Commissar's arm was around the slim waist of the girl, holding her possessively. Maddening sight! Petrov strove to rise to his feet—but some sort of paralysis held him.

"Get away from that girl, you cur!" he shouted—but no sound came, although his lips formed the words.

Then he remembered.

He felt a small lumpy object inside of his right cheek. Pressing this against his teeth with the muscles of the cheek, he managed a stertorous groan. Then carefully forming the words, Petrov repeated audibly although strangely distorted, "Get away from that girl, you cur!"

Bucholtz started angrily forward, and his free hand reached toward his holster. Then stopped with a maddening grin. "'Cur is hardly the word for me, Comrade Petrov; for it is not my head that is serving as that of a dog."

Dr. Grodski's fleshy face was beaming. "Comrade Commissar, Katinka, do you realize! My great experiment is a success! Ivan's head lives! His mind is clear!"

Petrov stared at Bucholtz and Katerina, then at Grodski. Then beyond them where a shrouded and headless corpse lay on an operating table.

A sudden ghastly realization flooded his brain. His vision fogged. The whole room reeled about him.

Then a recollection of the insanity of the bearded Peshkin stayed the crumbling of his mind. Intense hatred, for the grinning Bucholtz and the oily Grodski brought him back to normal.

"To think that I taught you this!" he groaned.

"Oh, my dear young friend," Grodski pled, "do not feel too harshly toward me. It was a noble sacrifice for a noble cause. And eventually you will thank me for it, for you shall live forever. Thousands shall journey to see you. Your head will become more famous even than the body of Lenin."

"Dr. Grodski," breathed Bucholtz, "I salute you. You are the greatest scientist of all the Soviet Union. I have waited long for this moment. May I go now and bring Josef Stalin?"

Grodski nodded ecstatically. Bucholtz gathered Katerina into his arms and implanted a kiss on her full red lips—then strode from the laboratory.

Watching them, Petrov set his jaw in agony, and a blast of air through his aesophagus blew his mouth open with a gurgling groan.

Katerina hurried over to him, with tears in her big blue eyes. "Oh, Ivan," she pled, "I still love you. Please, please believe it. We did this for you. Commissar Bucholtz was determined to kill you. But I saved you, even at the cost of submitting to his unwelcome embraces!"

"And what about the cost to me?" bitterly asked Petrov.

"You are—were—a Christian, Ivan. Does not the Bible say: 'All that a man hath will he give for his life'?"

"Yes," Petrov agreed, "but do you know who it was that said that in the Bible?—Satan."

Unrebuffed she replied, "Ivan, I shall take care of you always. Long after the Commissar has forgotten me, I shall take care of you."

"And meanwhile you will have your little day of triumph as the Commissar's plaything. He at least has arms and a body to satisfy you."

"Oh, Ivan," she sobbed, pressing her warm red lips against his.

In the ecstasy of that kiss, Ivan Petrov momentarily forgot his bitterness.

A Demonstration for Stalin

WHILE waiting for Dictator Stalin to find time to come to the laboratory of the Grodskis, the fat doctor trained the head for the part it was to play in the demonstration. Petrov learned to control the blasts of air, so that his speech became almost normal.

At first, he could not sleep, and the long night watches became periods of almost unbearable introspection and gloom. But finally, at his own suggestion, a way was found to induce sleep by changing the carbon-dioxide content of the blood stream and by slowing down the pump. He took a keen interest in his own welfare, and supervised the administration of the necessary hormones.

Katerina was very sweet and attentive to him. To his surprise he found that although he could not hold her in his arm and press his body against hers, as he longed to do, nevertheless this longing grew less and less intense. His love for her, now centered in the innermost consciousness of his brain, rather than in his body, became deeper and more real. But gradually it dawned on him that, due to his having no body to respond to the call of hers, she was slipping away from him.

As this realization I grew, there grew with it a deep-seated hatred for the virile young body of Commissar, Bucholtz, and a bitterness against Dr. Grodski for having condemned him to this bodiless fate.

Finally the great day of the visit of the Dictator arrived. Joseph Stalin strode in, wrapped in his belted overcoat, peaked military cap on head. Grodski was fluttery and perspiring; Katerina, alert; and even the debonnair Bucholtz was tense and fidgety. The bodyguards of the Dictator filed in and took up grim positions along one wall.

"Comrade Bucholtz," Stalin was saying as they entered, "if this is one of your tricks, it will go hard with you and with your fat friend. You know how I despise practical jokes."

"Observe the living head, Comrade Stalin," Bucholtz replied, waving one carefully groomed hand toward the table.

Petrov closed his eyes and made his face absolutely expressionless. Thus it had been planned between them, in order that the later demonstration of 'life might be all the more impressive by contrast.

Stalin strode over to the table. "Um," he grumbled. "Looks to me like nothing but a wax model."

"But so does the head of Lenin's body," Grodski objected, "and yet Lenin's head—"

"What!" Stalin exclaimed, his eyes flashing. "Do you imply that Lenin's head—?"

"Oh, no!"

Stalin glowered at the cringing Grodski, and then turned his attention back to the waxlike head of Ivan Petrov. "Well! Hasten. Make this mask perform. And if this is a fake to which you have brought me the busy Josef Stalin here to see, it will mean the Gay Pay Oo for both you and Comrade Bucholtz."

"Yes, Comrade Stalin." Shaking like a bowl of jelly, Dr. Grodski approached the table and commanded, "Open your eyes, Ivan."

Slowly one eye of the head began to open. It saw the glance of love and admiration which Katerina was bestowing upon Commissar Bucholtz. Slowly the eye closed again. The muscles of the head's jaw tightened imperceptibly.

"Do you hear me, Ivan? Open your eyes," Grodski cried. But the head showed no sign of having heard.

"Speak to me, Ivan!" Grodski shrieked. "Don't you realize what you are doing?"

Stalin beckoned to his bodyguard. They advanced. "Seize these two imposters," he commanded.

Grodski fell to his knees and groveled before the Dictator, wringing his fat hands. Bucholtz whipped his revolver from its holster and leveled it at Petrov's head. But Katerina flung herself protectively in front of the head, as the guardsmen seized and disarmed the Commissar.

"Drag them away," growled Stalin.

Katerina turned to the head, and spoke softly in one ear, "Ivan, Ivan, hear me? Speak! Speak, and save the life of my father. Your own life too is at stake. Speak, and I will stay by you and care for you always."

Slowly the head's cool gray eyes opened and stared fixedly into the girl's face. Then a sneer of contempt curled Petrov's handsome mouth.

"Katerina," he said, "I hate your father—and your lover—and you."

But the girl had risen and turned away. "Comrade Stalin," she was shouting, "Look! The head lives. Its eyes are open. It speaks."

Stalin glanced back. But the head's eyes were closed, and its expressionless features were waxlike as before.

"Take them away," Stalin rasped, stalking out through the door.

The head's eyes opened again, and a triumphant smile played around the corners of its mouth as it saw the soldiers dragging Grodski and Bucholtz after the departing Stalin.

Katerina, with a cry of rage like that of a thwarted animal, ripped the rubber tubes from the veins and arteries of the head's stub neck.

Thus died Ivan Petrov, smiling.