‘My Mouse’ an exercise in voice

This was my response to an assignment focusing on voice.  I was interested in using an ‘unreliable’ narrator to tell the story and chose a child as my central character.  My tutor said she didn’t normally go for this kind of thing but she thought it was OK.

My Mouse

I felt sad when my mouse died because I loved him very much.  He didn’t have another name.  I called him just Mouse.  Dad called him Mister Nuisance but Mouse was not a nuisance.  He was sweet.  He used to hide in my pocket and he let me hold him in my hand and he had dear little bright eyes and tiny little whiskers.  He was my mouse.

One day, Mum met me after school and she said, ‘I have something quite sad to tell you.’   I wondered what had happened.   Suppose we couldn’t go on holiday?   Had Granny died?   I didn’t say anything and I waited for Mum to tell me what it was.

Mum waited until we got as far as Number Twenty-Three.   I like going that way because the flowers in the garden squeeze through the holes in the fence and you can pick them.  I got three nice ones and then Mum said it was about Mouse.  I wondered if he had escaped again but Mum said it was not that and I was not to be too upset, but something really bad had happened.  Mouse had died.  I asked her if it was the cat from next-door but she said it wasn’t.   She did not really know what had happened, just that when she was going to clean his house he was lying all still and he was dead.  She told me that mice do not live very long.   But I did not understand as Mouse was not even as old as me.   I cried and Mum said we could give Mouse a proper funeral after tea.  But I didn’t feel very hungry.

Granny came round later on.  She brought a very, very big matchbox she said could be a coffin for Mouse and a cake with icing.  She said people always have a big tea after a funeral and we would need a good cake.  I didn’t understand why people have a party when someone has died and they are sad.  Gran said they are sad but they are pleased because people go to Heaven when they die, and now Mouse is going to Mouse Heaven.

Then Dad came home and we all went into the garden and Dad dug a little hole in the flower bed.  Mum put Mouse inside the big matchbox and I touched his lovely soft fur for the last time.   I said ‘Goodbye, Mouse’.  Then Mum put the matchbox in the hole in the earth and Gran said, “We bury this good and faithful Mouse with love.”   Then Mum got all sniffly with her hay-fever and Dad said we should sprinkle a little bit of earth in the hole before he filled it in.  So we did that and after we went inside I had two slices of Gran’s cake.

I asked Gran, “Do you think Mouse is in Heaven now?” and she said, “He’s been a very good mouse so I expect he’s there already.”   I said,  “Will you go to heaven when you die?” and Dad said that was enough about Heaven and Gran said, “I hope I do,” a bit quickly.   But she didn’t look cross, just a bit sad.

If Mouse had gone to Heaven he would not be under the flowerbed any more.  When I was going to bed I told Mum I would look tomorrow, just to make sure he’d gone.  She gave me a serious look and said she didn’t think that was a good idea but she didn’t say why.

At school next day I told my friends Mouse had died and he was in Heaven.   Somebody laughed and said there wasn’t any such place.  That upset me a lot.  Then Mrs Norris came and she said if I believed Mouse was in Heaven that’s where he was.

When I got home from school Mum was busy, so I went to the shed and found a trowel.   There were some new plants with little flowers on Mouse’s grave.  The earth was crumbly and soft so I dug around and I didn’t make too much mess but I couldn’t find the matchbox.  It had gone and Mouse had gone too.  I pushed the earth back and ran indoors to tell Mum.

“Mouse has gone to Heaven.  He’s really gone!” and Mum said, “That’s good.  Tea’s nearly ready, now pop along and wash your hands.”

But I still miss my mouse.

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