The Last Voice
Wish I could take the credit for this. I found the yellowing scroll in my fathers possessions when he died last year. He got it from his grandmother, who had been a housekeeper for some author. I've copied it out here, was not easy, the writing is worse than my grandkids, and it looks like something hairy landed heavily on the last few lines whilst the ink was still wet. There was a note with it, in a different hand, saying it had been found with the body of Ernest Godfrey Arbuthnot. Ever heard of him? Me neither, and a google search shows nothing.
I apologise if this seems a little rough. It is the first time I have written a voice in the first person. All the other voices I have laid to rest have been third person. If you have read my earlier works then you will understand. Also I am not helped by the age of this quill. Every letter seems to blotch, and the scratching will drive me to distraction before the night is out. I would sharpen it, but I have mislaid the small knife I use. I will question the house keeper in the morning, she does worry about me so, and is wont to take things from my desk.
Having just read what I have written above, I am rambling already. So to get to the point. If you are familiar with my work, you will know that I started writing when I was institutionalised, at the suggestion of Dr Lemmings. Through our sessions he learned that I had these voices in my head. I do not remember when I first became aware that other people do not have such voices. I do recall that our servants treated me with caution, but with no siblings to compare against, I was unaware that other children behaved differently. The lessons from the church my parents forced me to attend on the Sabbath, tended to speak of inner voices. So it was not until I was sent away to boarding school that I realised that the other boys my age were alone inside this cage we call a skull.
The years following my time at school were a story of a descent into madness. I was most fortunate that my parents were able to procure the services of the afore mentioned doctor. He was able to understand my affliction, and suggested a most efficacious remedy. I remember that I had written many letters and poetry before, all to my parents. But under Dr Lemmings tutelage I wrote a story. Not just any story, but I tried to isolate a single voice, and to put it's words down on paper. It was as if the voice existed in my head merely to put the story into the world. As my pen scratched it's weary way across the page, the voice became less urgent. Until with the final flourish of the feather, it went quiet. And with that mote dispatched, my head became that little bit clearer.
As the months went by, I dismissed more and more of the voices. The good doctor submitted my scribblings to a journal for publication, the small remuneration I received assisted with the payment for my treatment. Eventually I returned to a level of sanity that had once seemed a distant dream for my parents.
Although the voices are gone, I still need to make my way in life. So with this account of my adventures, I am placing this, the last voice, my own voice, to paper. In the morning I shall begin anew.
E G Arbuthnot