Hello Darkness my old friend, I’ve come to talk with you again…
They used to speak to me all the time. Every day, I’d hear them, whispering and wailing at me. ‘Theodore… Theodore… You can do it Theodore. Go on. Just do it.’ From when I woke up to when I went to sleep and sometimes even then… In the darkness and the dreams.
It all started when I was 18. A foot of lead pipe to the temple can really screw you up. I mean, that’s what they say happened, that I was mugged. All I remember is someone in black coming up to me, then I woke up in hospital with 28 stitches circling my skull. I was also missing my wallet and my phone, so I suppose it makes some logical sense that I was mugged. They were kind enough to leave me the £2.13 in change that I had in my pocket. Of course it’s not enough to get me the bus fare home, but it was a kind thought.
Anyway, I got a little off track. So, I’m lying in hospital, I’ve been in a coma for four days, you know the picture. I thought that I’d been hearing my family’s voices throughout, but when I woke up I was told that they’d been trapped by the ash cloud. That’s when I figured that I’d just been hallucinating all along. They also tell me that I was calling a name.
I’ve never met anyone called Erin in my life. So it was odd to say the least.
That’s how it started. My name, repeated again and again like a child saying Dada. There were three voices, all of them distinct. John, Maxwell, Phillipa. We’d have conversations. Phillipa liked to talk about cars. Her favourite was a classic Aston Martin, a proper James Bond car. Maxwell was a scientist. He used to help me with the maths at work. John was just a natterer. He always claimed to have an allotment, which is a really odd pastime for a voice in your head. Hard to imagine a disembodied voice pottering around, tending the carrots and all that.
I figured it was fine for a while. That it would either go away or somebody would understand. The doctors listened at first, then as things progressed they started referring me to some psychiatrists and and then therapists then more doctors… It just went on and on. There were the drugs, then the therapy, then the therapy with drugs, it all just kept building, constantly. Then, on the thirteenth of June 2015, I was called into Doctor Santos’ office.
‘Hello Theodore.’ She smiled at me, bright white teeth paid for on a therapist’s salary. She was pretty, I mean, for an older lady. She had ginger hair, just with slight tinges of grey at the roots. She wore glasses, but they just made her more attractive. ‘There’s a new drug available that we’d like to try you on.’
‘Don’t do it Theo!’ The Voices said in unison.
‘As you know, so far none of our methods have worked. However, this new drug has shown some promising results in similar patients. With your permission, I’d like to start you on a course of Arumin this afternoon.’
I smiled, nervously. I could hear the voices clamouring, screaming at me not to. Begging me. Begging for their lives.
‘I’d like that.’
So we did. I was given two 400mg doses of Arumin at three o’clock. By four, I finally heard it. No Philippa, No Maxwell. No John and his carrots. Nothing at all.
The blessed sound of silence.
‘Hello Theodore. Sorry for leaving you so long.’
The Idiot in Tin Foil