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irginia Mae Mercy, by the age of nine, began to
unravel one of life’s biggest mysteries―she knew
how she was going to die.
Some folks die for love, some die for truth, yet others don’t
have much of a choice. Although, Virginia Mae Mercy, they
say she died for beauty. And if she believed her relentless
dreams, she’d most likely die, right where she was born―an
obscure farmhouse in Geneva, Kansas.
The nightmares that foretold her fate came almost every
night. Especially the melancholy cries of a newborn baby. By
1863, those screams still haunted her after twenty years. Not
to mention all the uncertainties the Civil War made perfectly
clear, usually for the worse.
Virginia often imagined her fearful day. She just didn’t
know the details of it all. Nevertheless, her unforgettable
dreams were about to collide with reality.
Although dying, as it turns out, was the easy part.
Virginia’s childhood was difficult, for sure. The middle part,
that’s where all the mercies took place, and her last days, well
they can only be described as miraculous.
Her mother, Hattie, always appeared in her dreams as a
wicked midwife, which was not too far from the truth. Hattie,
called her Ginny for short. She was the only one who called
her that. To everyone else, she was just Mrs. Mercy, Virginia,
or more notoriously, the village harlot. That’s a nickname she
didn’t deserve, but then again, a lot of things Virginia didn’t
deserve happened to her.
As Virginia’s luck would have it, her husband had recently
died too. The details of that incident were not yet clear, at
least not to her.
The summer of 1863 appeared dangerous
enough―actually, the proverbial calm before the storm. A
deadly twister was heading her way. Its dreadful sound that
rumbled through the air like a stampede of wild horses, shaking
the walls of her dilapidated farmhouse, as Virginia watched
the storm through her parlor window. First, she heard it
approaching from the east. Now she could smell the rain and
felt the warm, dry air, rising.
Dark clouds and debris gathered into a spiraling cone.
Death sometimes comes like salvation, unexpectedly. Yet,
Virginia’s life was as slow and as deliberate as this whirlwind.
It had to be.
Virginia grabbed her daughter and made it to the storm
shelter as she tried locking down its doors, but within
seconds, she lay in a cornfield searching for her little girl. The
twister had torn off the shelter doors, snatching her and the
girl, up in a flash. They both landed acres away, only yards
apart, bruised and hallucinating but they’d survived.
Nothing moved except for the blustery wind. Everything
else stood still. Virginia always dreamed of starting over
somewhere else anyway. Finally, the storm was gone and she
hoped it had taken her husband with it. And if she ever
thought she needed a little push to get on with her life, that’s
when the whirlwinds seemed imbued with divine purpose.