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Silver Dollar Eyes by Alicia Ballard

The woman in the white hat walks alone in the woods. Many have seen her, fewer have spoken to her. I am not one of those few. They say her name is Virginia, Virginia Tsukiko. They also say she drowned her children in the lake down the dirt road in the woods.

            Some say she’s not really there, that she strung herself up shortly after her kids were gone. I’ve seen her, Virginia in her white hat, carrying a dripping bundle. Sometimes she looks back while I follow behind her. Silver dollars over her eyes; her smile is so sad it breaks my heart.

            Some say they can hear her, crying for her children, crying for forgiveness. I have yet to hear her cries. They say her cries can drive a person mad. They say a lot of things about her, but I say they do not know her. I know her, that poor Virginia in her pretty white hat. So accused, so sad.

            Maybe she’ll come for me , for what I did, for what the townspeople say she did. For now, she just looks back on me, silver dollar eyes shining and she smiles her sad knowing smile back on her husband. Her husband that took his three little ones to the lake. She tried to stop me, she hit me and bit me but, in the end, I succeeded. Poor Virginia, in her pretty white hat, the hat I bought for her when our eldest was born.

            Now I hear her, she’s calling my name. Sometimes it sounds just like the wind, but I know it’s her. She’s coming for me at last, and I’m ready. I feel her cold hands creep up my chest, her long icy fingers wrap around my throat. She comes into view now, blonde hair visible beneath the brim of her pretty white hat, silver dollar eyes glinting in the moonlight. Her smile has changed; it’s no longer sad, no longer knowing. It stretches from ear to ear, small sharp teeth shining. Revenge has come at last. As my vision darkens, I see my children; blue skinned. I cannot hear what they are saying, yet their mouths move. They smile, small white teeth and silver dollar eyes glinting in tune with their mother’s.

            The sweet hand of death takes me as their faces finally give into darkness. Goodbye Virginia, with her pretty white hat. Goodbye children with your blue faces. Goodbye wooded road with your lake placed peacefully to one side. It’s time for me to receive my own silver dollar eyes.