This woman that we knew had been in some kind of accident. The only thing that the doctors had been able to save was her brain, which, for some reason, they were keeping alive in this big concrete slab that was rooted to the ground in a dark corner of the local park. My wife and I went to see her. There were wet leaves scattered on the ground around the box and more leaves blowing in the air. We huddled in our coats as we approached the box, stealing nervous glances at it, not sure what to say. There was something inscribed on the front of it, but it was half-covered by the leaves, and we were too afraid to even touch the box and brush the leaves aside.
Still, we tried to talk to this woman, trapped somewhere inside the box. But other than the mechanical sounds of the internal apparatus keeping the brain alive, there was nothing. There was no sign that there was anything conscious in there. We had nothing but the doctor’s word that she was still a living, thinking, being. I tried to imagine it, existing as nothing but a brain in a box, completely cut off from the world, totally alone in a dark, damp, corner of the park. It made me sick to think about it.