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An Original Thought

by Ron Van Sweringen

He began as a thought, swimming idly about. Everything was warm and slushy in the beginning and he was quite content.

It was only after a few days that he noted the change. He had begun to grow. Actually, he was growing at an alarming rate. He tried to stop the process by thinking negatively, and it seemed to work for a while.

His outer edges of perception and realization appeared to be curling under, a good sign he thought. That was until this morning, when he developed a whole new mode of thought perception right in the middle of his notationary node.

This new development was frightening to him. After all, he was only a thought, one of millions riding the blood flow channels around his owner’s brain. He had never dreamed he would be allowed to survive for a lengthy period of time, much less be allowed to prosper. Most thoughts perished within a few hours of their development. He saw them by the thousands, shriveled and lifeless, floating by every day until they finally dissolved.

If he continued to grow at this rate, he would soon be sucked into one of the arterial channels, and this frightened him even more. He began to fear he might be an Original Thought, the worst possible fate he could imagine.

Original Thoughts caused problems for the supporting brain. They demanded huge quantities of sustenance to keep growing and eventually got so big that they were forced into a Receptor Cortum.

He was not sure what happened there, but he preferred not to find out. Unfortunately he had no choice. He had grown so large in the last few hours that he could no longer navigate some of the narrower channels. He was becoming a danger to all of the passing smaller thoughts, who stared at him as he pushed by.

It happened quickly. He was wedged into a channel wall and no amount of blood flow could free him. This was a dangerous situation. He would soon be deprived of the precious oxygen he needed to survive.

He could not remember ever seeing a dead thought of his size floating by. “Perhaps they sink,” he said to himself. “Maybe only the small thoughts float on the surface.”

His dilemma was suddenly resolved with a convulsive jerk of the channel wall that set him free. “Phew, that was close,” he thought, taking a deep gulp of fresh oxygen.

His relief was only momentary. He was soon flipped over on his back and sucked down with great force into a swirling vortex that finally ended when he shot into a small pulsating chamber.

It was a few moments before the dizziness left him. When it did, a strange sensation took its place: communication. This was a new experience for him. Thoughts, from the moment of their conception, were isolated within their own cell containers. They had no need or, in his case, desire to communicate.

“Do you know where you are?” The feeling ran through him. It was a weird sensation and caused his entire being to tingle with small electrical shocks. What came next was even more astounding as he automatically communicated back.

“I’m not sure,” he surged, stunned at what had just happened. This new sensation frightened him and at the same time filled him with a delirious rush of power.

“This is the Receptor Cortum,” the feeling replied. “You have been forced here because of the possibility that you are an Original Thought. If this is found to be the case, then it will be up to the Court of Material Suspension whether or not you are allowed to be heard by the brain.”

“But I’m not sure what my thought is,” he pleaded. “In any case, how would I know if I’m an Original Thought?”

“That is up to us,” the feeling continued. “You are not in a position to see yourself, but we will know when we have seen your content.”

It may have taken only a few minutes, but it seemed an eternity before the feeling returned, and this time not alone. There were others, and their combined presence sent an electrical thrill through him like nothing he had ever known. Even as he lay quivering, he could feel himself growing.

“We have come to our conclusion,” the feeling communicated. “Your content is judged to be an Original Thought and we have judged it worthy of a hearing by the brain. This is a great honor that few thoughts are granted,” the feeling continued. “You must prepare yourself by reading your content. We will allot you the power to do this now. Prepare yourself to live or die. The brain will decide.”

He was left alone in a small chamber for quite some time, resting in its blood pool. He needed this respite after what had happened. He was growing drowsy at the inactivity, when suddenly a line of small thoughts appeared at the chamber opening. They filed in one at a time lining up in front of him, quickly turning their backs to form a large screen.

This was an astounding display. He had never dreamed that individual thoughts could act in unison to achieve such a purpose. But there the screen was before his eyes, and even more amazing, letters began appearing on it. A feeling of extreme pleasure swept over him as his electrodes responded to this new stimulation.

It was almost more than he could comprehend, reading himself for the first time. Frustration set in. It was a slow and time-consuming process, linking the letters together one by one, and in the end finding they made no sense to him. First a large S, followed by a T and then an R.

In desperation, he reasoned, “How could they make sense? I’ve never read another thought before. I have nothing to compare it to. How could they expect me to understand myself? It’s unfair!”

Slowly the small thoughts broke apart and drifted away. Although the screen was gone, he would never forget the letters on it. They were burned into his being forever.

Without warning, he was suddenly twirled around and sucked into a main artery. He was pushed ahead at a terrifying speed, twisting and turning through countless arteries and brain channels. At last he caught his breath, coming to rest in a giant cavity, larger than anything he had ever seen. Blood flowed in from several sources and he floated on a large pool in the center.

“What now?” he wondered, trying to stay calm, the six letters he had read on the screen, repeating themselves over and over. S...T... R... O...

“You are on trial here, to decide whether your content is worthy of continued life,” a strong vibration echoed through the cavity. “I alone will make that decision, I am your brain.”

The Original Thought was limp at the power of the vibration. It made his entire being quiver.

“Have you read yourself?” the vibration questioned, and after a moment’s pause: “Speak up, Original Thought. I have no time to waste. I am a busy brain.”

“Sorry, sir,” he replied, “I have tried to read my content, but I do not understand my meaning.”

There was a pause, which made the Original Thought even more uncomfortable.

“That’s very peculiar,” the vibration boomed even louder. “Can it be that your content is so extraordinary you cannot even conceive of it? I find that very peculiar indeed.”

The Original Thought tried to think of what to say, but his transmitter was suddenly inactive. A long silence followed and then the vibration boomed again. “I normally would not waste my time on something as insignificant as you, but I will indulge myself this once. Let us see what this earth-shaking content is.”

The Original Thought prepared himself for the worst. What was happening? Why hadn’t he understood his content in the first place? What was wrong with him?

The vibration returned, this time so strongly that the walls of the cavity shook. “Now let’s see your monumental content,” his brain ranted with sarcasm as the letters one after another spelled out “S... T... R... O... K... E...” Total blackness ensued.

Copyright © 2011 by Ron Van Sweringen

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