The Little People Inside Marcia's Head

Contributor: Jeff Suwak

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Several dozen little people lived inside Marcia’s head. At night while Marcia slept they crawled out of her ears to talk to me. Their appearance was initially disturbing, but I came to enjoy their company.
Marcia was an angry and abusive person. She often mocked me and said I was stupid, lazy, and pathetic. So it was that I laughed when the little people told me they had been poisoning Marcia for years–not enough to kill her, but just enough to make her feel sick and rundown.
One night the little people invited me to meet their queen. They gave me a thimble full of elixir that turned me into a little person, and I followed them into the dark complex of caves inside Marcia’s head.
The queen lived in a chamber in the heart of the caves. Inside the chamber was a well, and at the bottom of the well lived a little girl. All day long the queen shouted insults at the girl in the well. That was how she poisoned Marcia, for the girl at the well bottom was actually a little version of Marcia. Anything that the little version of Marcia felt, the big version felt, as well.
The queen launched derisions into the well. “Quit crying,” she hissed. “Fat, ugly, stupid girl.” She sneered in malicious joy as the little girl sobbed in the darkness.
The queen wanted me to poison Marcia’s body, just as she and the little people were poisoning Marcia’s mind. “Together we could make Marcia soooo sick,” the queen crooned with laughter. She promised me that the little people would visit me every night if I poisoned Marcia, and I would never be lonely again.
I went for a walk in the caves to think. I did not want to poison Marcia or anybody else, but the little people were my only friends, and I did not want to lose their companionship.
Running water echoed from the depths of the caves. I followed the sound until I reached a chamber in which a waterfall cascaded down a rocky wall. A movie played on the waterfall like a liquid television screen. The characters in the movie were all the little people from Marcia’s head. I realized as I watched that the movie was Marcia’s memories, and the characters were all the people that had mistreated her in her life. The queen was in the movie more than anyone else. The queen was Marcia’s mother.
Suddenly understanding that Marcia was so mean and abusive because of the little people poisoning her mind, I ran back to the queen’s chamber in rage. The little people tried to stop me, but I fought through them with ease. It turned out that they only appeared to be strong, and were actually quite weak.
I threw the queen outside the chamber and swore to kill her if she returned. I told the little Marcia at the bottom of the well that the queen was a liar. “You are beautiful,” I said. The little girl stopped crying. In time, she climbed out of the well into the chamber.
The queen ran in shrieking and clawed at little Marcia’s eyes. The little girl, realizing how powerful she was now that she was finally free of her prison, grabbed the queen by the neck and tossed her down into the well. The little people, awed by the girl’s strength, bowed in sublimation.
Marcia ordered the little people to dig a tunnel out of the caves into the sunlight above. She declared herself the new queen and vowed that her rule would be brighter than her predecessor’s. She thanked me, we embraced, and I left her to her new life.
I never returned to Marcia’s head after that night, but I still see the little girl that climbed out of the well every day. I see her every time that Marcia laughs, and every time that Marcia is kind to someone. Marcia does both of those things often, now. She does those things so often, in fact, that I often forget that there was ever a time when she did not do those things. It turns out that all she needed was for someone to silence the little people inside her head and to set her inner child free.

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Jeff is a writer and editor living in the Pacific Northwest.
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