This was my response to the March 12th, 2012 Fantasy Writer's Challenge.
The challenge: "When I Close My Eyes"
Call me Carolyn, Dad
"I can't. I just can't."
Father clasped my hand. "You must. We all have to eventually, Carrie."
"It's Carolyn, Dad. You promised. And you don't understand."
"Everyone has bad dreams, Carolyn. You'll have good ones soon enough. Who knows? Maybe even tonight."
"They're never good, Dad. Ever. He'll come again. He always does."
"The friar. He's always after me. He wants me burned or drowned. He won't stop chasing me."
"They're just dreams, Carrie- I'm sorry, dear, Carolyn. They're not real. Just dreams. That's all."
"They're real enough. And it'll happen too. I know it will."
"Sweetheart, trust your father. Nothing bad's gonna happen. I'm always here. I'll always protect my little girl."
I wanted to believe him. God in heaven knows I wanted to. But he never did. Not in the dreams. "You didn't protect Mom." Father's face grew long. He kept silent a long while. No doubt he was trying to find the perfect lie to soothe me. It wouldn't work. I might be young, but I remember.
"Your mom was different, Carrie. I couldn't help her."
"She was no different than I am, Dad. You know it's true. You won't help me. You can't."
"Never say that. I'll never let anything happen to you. You're all I got now."
"And it pains you, doesn't it? A witch daughter? Born from a witch mother?"
"She was no witch, Carrie. She was a good mother and a wonderful wife. She loved us both."
Loved. Past tense. That was the key. No more. The dead don't love. They can't. She's only a memory now. Mom, I need you so much. You'd understand.
"Carrie, listen to me. Had I known what would happen we'd have left Edenton. Gone someplace safe."
"Safe? Where's that? A friar's a friar, Dad. Edenton's no different than anywhere else. Burn the witches. Drown them. Purge the village of their wickedness. There's no place safe. You know that. And I know it. It'll happen, Dad. Just like in the dreams."
"They're just dreams, Carolyn. They're not the future."
"No? Then why are they all the same? Mom had them. She told you about them all the time. I heard her. You didn't listen. You told her they were just dreams too. And then they came. Just like she said they would. And you just stood there and let them take her."
"I had to keep you safe, child. Your mother wanted you safe. If I'd have resisted they'd have taken us all. You too. Your mother did what she did to keep you alive. So did I. Don't make like I didn't love her or didn't care. God knows I did."
"I didn't say you never loved her. I said you didn't protect her." I tried to take the sting out of my voice. He hurts for her still. I know he does. And he'll hurt for me too. Soon. "How can I make you see, Dad? I've done everything you've told me to. I don't talk to anyone else like I do with you. They don't know. I speak like the other children when I'm not home. I play their silly games and laugh when they laugh and go where they go. I pretend like I don't understand what the grown-ups talk about. It's just not enough. The friar knows. I don't know how, but he does. He knows I'm different. I can tell it by the way he looks at me when he thinks I'm not watching."
"You're just imagining it, sweetheart. You've done everything perfectly. He can't know."
"You think because I'm young I don't understand."
"You are young, Carrie. Despite your dreams. Despite your gifts. As remarkable as you are, you're still young."
"I'm old enough to burn."
"Put it out of your mind, Carrie. Carolyn. Go to sleep now. It'll be okay. I promise."
"Save your promises, Dad. I know. The dreams will come true. And you'll stand by as they take me just like you did when they took Mom. I'm the seven-year-old abomination, the devil's child who thinks and speaks beyond her years. It's okay. I understand."
Firelight flickered through the window. Soon was now it seemed. "They're coming. I can hear them."
I stroked his cheek and he grabbed my hand and held it there. "It's okay, Dad. I love you too. But call me Carolyn. It'll be easier for you."