Caleb Christopher Adams resides in Milwaukee, Wisconsin and goes to school at UWM for the art of film. After studying psychology in Green Bay in his first year of college, he realized he has a passion for storytelling, and has many to share. Naturally, he moved to Milwaukee where he could write, film, and easily root for the Milwaukee Bucks.

Caleb is a new author, “Demands of a Wicked Mind” is his first published work, but he continues to write on a daily basis and is expecting some more work very soon.

Caleb is the son of two loving parents, David and Marcia Adams, as well as an older brother to his best friend Collin, and a younger brother to his biggest inspiration, Marisa. He could not keep writing and living his dream without the support of his friends Dylan, Noah, Ian, Jack Greta, and Mayya. He also wants to thank Lily, Giorgia, and The Horror Zine for helping him through this whole process.


by Caleb Christopher Adams
(for Giorgia Cavestro)


“Not early enough!” she cried when the telephone on her nightstand table began to ring. She glanced at her full-length mirror that leaned against the wall. Her white nightgown was black in the shadows.

She took the phone, raised it to the left of her head, and deepened her voice. “Yes, Hagger.”

The rotary phone seemed to suspend in midair and in her mind, the rest of the world paused while she waited for whoever was on the other end of the corkscrew wire to say something. She was listening hard, like the phone was too quiet for her.

She was alone in her room, and the stale, unmoving air was still. Her brow was furrowed when she nodded eight times, forgetting that the person on the other end could not see her.

She hesitated, but didn’t want her trepidation to show in her voice. “Yes, yes, I’ll be there,” she said and gently replaced the phone back in its cradle.


The budding glow of daybreak illuminated the cold space of the room. The rays that penetrated the sun-catcher hanging over the east window created drops of color on the white walls.

Through the arched door frame patrolled, again, the Lady Madra. As she glided above the white tiled floor, she contemplated whether she should buy a new phone, a more reliable phone, and keep up with the world around her, but rejected the idea because of the upcoming millennial. She was afraid of many things, and Y2K was one of them.

She took off her nightgown. Instead, she threw on an obnoxious green blouse. It was silken and reflected the light. The buttons were far too big to be real, and there was a pocket on the left breast too small to hold anything.

She sat on the north-most chair at a tiny table looking out the south window, breathing in the fumes of the heater. Two minutes passed before she decided to leave the house. It was not a decision that she took lightly.

While she was gone, the room remained empty, and there was not one call, no strangers filling the gap, and an overabundance of colorful drops from the crystal sun-catcher. But even these disappeared ahead of Madra’s reappearance because the sun was going down.

When Madra entered her bedroom, the stars were responsible for the small amount of light in the room. Her face was red and swollen. Her blouse draped across her right forearm and she carried a Mason jar with a yellow-hued liquid inside. She wore a thick, torturous sweater to cover her raisin skin. The heat and musk in the isolated room forced her to open the west window with a crank on the sill. She placed the jar next to it, and lay down on her bed, waiting for sunrise.

She couldn’t sleep. She tossed and turned until the sun rose anew, its beams casting a dreamy painting on the blank surfaces of her room. A battle of noises drifted to her ears from the open window, and she knew they came from somewhere afar.

From outside the window, an esoteric chirping bird brought the sky to life. Eight times, the bird chirped, and then suddenly it landed atop the exposed ledge of her window, and knocked the Mason jar to the ground with a great crash.

She jumped out of bed at the sound, only to step on a substantial bit of glass with her right foot. This cut a mass from her flesh, staining the tiles the moment she crossed the floor.

“Damn!” The clouds shifted in front of the dawn sunrise, and the many colors of the sun-catcher dissolved soon after. Sunlight gleamed off the shards and substance of the jar, the yellow elixir clashing with magenta but not mixing, like they were going to war.

A brain—or rather, half a brain—rested on the floor of the room, and an odor so toxic that when Madra came back, her foot wrapped in red-stained white bandage, she doubled over and heaved twice, just making it to the garbage can in time.

She plugged her nose, and produced an unblemished jar seemingly from nowhere. She filled it with water, and carefully dropped the brain in it, and shut the silver lid. She locked the window.

For the first time since the phone rang, Madra went to her kitchen and sat at the tiny table, devouring stale bread and a tall goblet of red sherry. She held a stack of photographs two inches thick, each distantly portraying the same young man with a curly orange mop. The photographs caught him lying on a tattered bed, his eyes partially closed or otherwise bloodshot, and others quite the contrary; pupils dilated.

A couple of the photos exhibited a cigarette halfway out of his teeth. In none of the photos did the young man look at the camera. In fact, essentially every picture was concentrated on a distracted, off-centered gaze.

One by one, she chose a photo from the top of the pile, tore it into two halves, and used the candle to burn them; all the while muttering to herself about her son Benjamin. She poured the photographs’ ashes into the wine and cried a little when she continued to sip from the bottle of wine that now contained the burned images of Benjamin.

The drink quickly consumed her mind. Madra smothered the candle with a nearby silver cap, and left the room through the golden door frame.

By the time Madra returned to her bedroom, the sludge on the rug from the broken Mason jar was dark. On the windowsill, she could barely make out the crescent shape of the half-brain floating in the new Mason jar.

“Well, what’s left of the brain is now floating in tap water instead of the elixir. I wonder how this should be handled now,” she whispered to herself.

Madra reached for the telephone that sat silently in its cradle, and pushed it again to her left ear, dialing quickly and with ease a complex series of digits. She stood, listening to every tone and staring sideways at the brain.

“Yes, Hagger.”  Pause. “Ummm...we need to talk about the brain. An, um, unfortunate accident required me to replace the jar with a new…oh yes, I can wait.”

Eight minutes ticked by.

Finally Hagger came back on the line. Madra continued where she left off. “I replaced the broken jar with a new one filled with water from the tap. I’m wondering what to do now.”

She paused to listen. “Ah, yes. Well...” Pause. “No, only water.” Pause. “Ah, yes, well...that will be just fine then, thank you. I want Benjamin back...at any price. Good day.”

She hung the phone up and strode to the jar. She opened the window and the breeze whistled through the torn screen as Madra’s footfalls—causing the loose floorboards to screech like the fallen fowl—echoed around the room.

She had found out what she needed to know.

Madra took the jar in her left hand, pried the lid free with her right, and drained the polluted tap water into the drain while making sure the brain didn’t fall out into the sink. Then, after refilling it with fresh water and splashing some of the blood from her foot in as well, she arranged it on the same sill, and watched to see if it would come to life or stay just the same.

The scent from the brain was pungent because she didn’t replace the jar lid. It smelled sour and rotten like the carcass of a molding crow. Her nose shriveled with each breath.

“I hope this works.”


Over the next few days, Madra repeated the act of ridding the jar of the murky slop and replenishing it each morning with fresh tap water and a dash of her own blood.

She was disappointed because each morning, the liquid surrounding the brain refused to illuminate. Something overnight was convincing the jar to stay in dimness. The brain was decaying; decomposing progressively as the sun-catcher tossed around dying color...until one morning.

She woke up and her heart nearly stopped at what she saw. The tap water in the jar was glowing a bright red.

A long-haired, strange man was standing on her bedroom rug, glaring at her with sulking, damp eyes. The sun shined, but the shadow of a bird on the clothesline running by the east window blocked the sun-catcher and broke the color.

Somehow, Madra found her voice. “Can you return my son, Benjamin?”

“For a price,” the man said.

“A price?”

“Yes.” This voice was lethal.

“Then tell me now.”

“Yes. Listen to my every sentence. You will carry out these demands absolutely and without fail. This is my price.”

He gave her instructions.

Madra grasped her chin with her right hand. “I want my son in return.” Gray fog spilled in through the open window.

“In return, Miss, you shall see your son.”

She was afraid again, but this time not for herself. “Well, yes, then. Please explain how you came to know Benjamin and how you will bring him back?”

Madra peered expectantly around the room and out the window. The breeze proceeded to sneak through the screen and the color of the Mason jar dropped. It returned for a brief moment, and then the bright red color seeped out of the jar and crept up the walls of her bedroom.

“I am the brain, Miss, that has been placed in this vessel of your own nurturance. I am here because of you,” the strange man with long hair said.

“You know my son and I want him back!”

“You shall. Now, change my water once more and place me on the south sill where the sun shines more strongly. There my thoughts may settle, and the water, accordingly, will be changed to the color silver. Once you have completed your tasks, you will have your son back and my brain will disappear from your window.”

With that, the man vanished.

Madra willingly performed these tasks, but after she situated the jar on the window, the brain seemed to go dormant because the man didn’t reappear. She entered and exited through the door frame throughout the day to satisfy her wonder, but there were no new demands.

The water failed to change to silver as promised. Instead, the water was a cloudy gray like the mist that swept in.

The moon came inevitably again and at this time the brain awakened, and Madra saw a split in the round of the lump, countering the flat, sliced edge. The ends of the hole attracted and repelled each other as if they were human lips. The lips moved up and down, as though trying to speak.

And then it spoke through the open jar lid.

The voice was deep, most definitely masculine; warm, pure and consistent as if scripted. And it was familiar.

“Benjamin!” Madra cried.

She meandered to the south window to confront his voice. The window smelled rotten with the
decomposing brain’s scent of decay.

“Are you ready for me?” Benjamin’s voice asked.


She was forced to rid the home of everything she formerly cherished. This included the white tiles of the floor. It took Madra two days to remove the twenty tiles from the rough floor before being mandated to paint the four walls burgundy.

She burned the rotary phone to follow the demands of the brain. The jar’s glass shreds were the only original pieces that lasted, still spread upon her bedroom rug. The room was barren of anything holy and she spent her time serving the jar on her southernmost window.

Spiders were nestling in the crevices of the room. She left them undisturbed. Their webs hung and floated in the breeze from the constantly-opened window.

On the eighth day, she clutched the jar in both hands, cradling it. Accepting the chill, left through the doorway which was framed in gold paint to go out in the weather. The tempest, pushing the ice horizontal, roared, but she could hear the voice over the noise of the weather.

The long-haired man reappeared in the shadows. “Yes, this spot. Dig, Miss, in the snow. Just below the window.”

“With what, I wonder?” Madra asked

“Your hands, Miss. Use your hands.”

Her hands lost their feeling as she dug. She briefly wondered if she would get frostbite and lose her fingers, but ultimately, the quest to bring back her son was worth any price. Including the ones she knew she had to do.

And then she found it.

“Once it was an animal. Probably a bird,” Madra observed.

The long-haired man’s voice said, “It is a vulture that I called far from the scorching desert it called home, I summoned it to fly through the dangerous storms of the north. This bird achieved the goal I set it to achieve. Like the vulture, Miss, I would not customarily reside here in these conditions but now, under the most unfortunate circumstances, I must. You see, I am supposed to survive like this bird, living off the land, but instead I was circumstantially stuck in your house so I was forced to make it my own. I don’t belong here but you, Miss, forced my hands. So now pick me up in your hands.”

The brain was expanding and contracting in her hands like it was breathing. With each exhale it oozed a brown excretion from the many folds of its brain like a drooling dog.

“Take this bird inside your bedroom, and you shall shortly have what you wish for.”

She picked up the frozen carcass and carried it in one hand, the brain in the other hand. She placed it on the bedroom floor, now bare of tiles.

And then suddenly, a new form appeared in the place of the man with long hair.

“Well, here I am.” The figure had curly orange hair.

She rose to embrace Benjamin.

“Don’t touch me,” he told her. “You brought me back. I didn’t want to come back. I wasn’t murdered. It wasn’t an accident. You punished an innocent man and stole his brain, because I had died at my own hands. I don’t want to be back.”

“You killed yourself? You chose to leave me?” Madra imagined herself spitting on him, her own son. How could he be so selfish? “But I brought you back now. Brand new and better!”

“My choice was not about you. It was about my pain. Can you try to see this for once? You knew I was ill, but you refused to accept that my illness could not be changed. I begged you and begged you to love me for who I was, to respect my choices. But you wouldn’t. It was my decision to let go, to move on, and you should have respected that. Instead, you became a murderer of an innocent man’s peace. A man you were so convinced had killed me.”

“I don’t believe you!” Madra cried. “Anything can be cured! There are drugs for pain.”

“I wanted to be free. You stopped me from joining the souls in Heaven.”

“There is no Heaven or Hell!” she cried.

“Where do you think that man you summoned from the brain came from? Where do you think I came from?”

“I don’t believe you!”

“You will find out for yourself soon enough. You wished me back. There’s an old saying: Be careful what you wish for.”


The spring came and the house stayed empty. Nobody came in and so nobody walked out. The windows stayed closed and the room slept. The hole in the ground where the vulture had been extracted stayed there, the deep black one. People walking by the hole instinctively avoided it without even knowing why. But they seemed to be aware of a dark mood hovering over it. Maybe it was for the best. Maybe it was meant to be left alone.

A bird, a small blue one, perched itself onto the window of the bedroom in the vacant house. It sang a song fit for an angel on the wing. It was lovely to behold. It stayed for a while.

There was peace and serenity in this little bird. There was anger and horror in the bedroom beyond the windowsill where the bird perched. And they were meant to be opposites. They loved each other.