Object 316

The Holder of Thought

In any city, in any country, go to the psychiatric ward of any major hospital you can get yourself to. It cannot be a standalone mental institution; it must be part of a larger hospital. Ask the receptionist if you can speak to the one who calls himself "The Holder of Thought". The worker's eyes will go out of focus. Now you must wait for her to return; it may take hours, days even, but whatever you do, do not wave your hand in front of the worker's face, that will only try her patience. You need not be completely still, but you must not rush her.

When she realizes you're still there, she will seem to jolt herself back to awareness and beckon to you with her finger. After a complex, convoluted walk, you will be in a part of the building that doesn't seem as though it should be there, yet is; this Holder is a master of illusion, and you are in for a puzzle, to say the least.

She will show you to a padded room with a plexiglass window, where a young boy in a straightjacket is thrashing around in a rage. If you dare to go inside, there is only one question that will calm him: "Do they think for themselves?"

He will freeze and when he looks at you, you will notice that he is not a young boy at all, but a shrunken, decrepit, and aged old man. His eyes will glow and everything will go black. Now you must experience his tortured thoughts as if they were your very own. You will be shown what each of the Objects represents, how they function, and that they all do, indeed, utilize the process of Thought, though it will be no way of thinking that you are familiar with.

If, by some miracle, you manage to adapt yourself to this new way of thinking, you will be in one of the elevators you took on your way to visit the Holder, clutching a large, sealed jar of pungent liquid, with the Object floating inside.

The brain is Object 316 of 2538. You'll leave it in the jar if you know what's good for you.