The Courtyard

The wagons drew into a tight circle around the leader, a black funeral carriage. The Roma horsemen rode clockwise around the wagons, firing their pistols and rifles and waving their rusted swords. The hunters rushed and met them head on, striking and batting aside firearms with sword and knife. The Gypsies leapt from their carriages and wagons and rushed into the fray. Horses were tripped and shot and slain. Hunters and Roma were unseated, and the fight moved to the ground. A steady rat-a-tat rang out from the castle walls as Paul, Dante, and Rod fired the Thompson guns.

Bob ducked and weaved through the battle, slashing skilfully. More than once, he found himself pressed back-to-back with either Marge, Joshua, or Brian, only to push forward again, cleaving himself a path to the encircled wagons. He beheaded a Gyspsy, then saw, over the bleeding neck, Waylon Smithers.

"Hello there, Sideshow."

Bob sneered.

"Tell me: is it not disheartening to know that the man you killed is now going to kill you?"

"A bit humbling, perhaps. But I guess anyone can make a mistake." He adjusted his stance, holding his katana at a downward angle at his right hip. "But this time, Waylon, you won't be coming back."

Smithers laughed his cruel, nasal laugh, then drew an enormous claymore.

"That's my size," he laughed.

"More like compensation for it," Bob replied, his voice steady. Waylon raised his blade and rushed Bob. Bob blocked and countered, only to see his counterstrike deflected and have to duck to avoid decapitation. He's certainly a better fencer, that's for sure.

A group of Gypsies broke ranks and cut their way through the fray, bearing with them tow large, squirming burlap sacs. Rod saw them heading for the castle doors and fired. The two Gypsies with the hostages kept running, while the others turned and returned fire. Rod saw one drop to one knee and fire a long tubular weapon. A swirling, smoking projectile was racing towards him and the others on the wall.

"Shit!" He screamed. He threw himself from the wall. Paul turned and saw the rocket just as it hit. He and Dante were thrown into the air in charred pieces.

Rod awoke in the face down in the snow. He barred his teeth and growled like a rabid dog. Roma fell before him, felled by one of Brian's shots. Rod took the battered sabre from his dead hands and with a bestial roar he charged at his foes. He struck wildly and with every ounce of his hatred. His sabre shattered, so he used the grip and handguard to punch and smash every face in sight. He dropped his impromptu brass knuckles and seized one adversary by the neck, intending to wring his neck like a plump capon. As he began to strangle him, the Gypsy drew his sidearm and point-blank fired into Rod's stomach. Rod growled, then seized the gun and turned it on it's owner. He fired again, and again. He fell to the snow, now pink with blood.

The two gypsies rushed along the darkened corridors, struggling with their wriggling captives. They reached the chapel. Both dropped their prisoners, who grunted "D'oh!" as they hit the stone floor. The Roma opened the door, only to be met with the business end of a shotgun.

"Hands in th'air, ye palm-readin' goatcheese eaters!" Seamus growled. Millhouse emerged from a door in the hall behind the Gypsies, holding his pulse-rifle. Alucard came after him, pistol raised, with the red dot of his laser sight right on one of the Gypsy's foreheads.

"Good work lads. Take their weapons and tie them up," Fr. O'Flaherty said. The three lead the Gypsies away, while Fr. O'Flaherty, Fr. Molloy, and Seamus set to releasing the two captive Simpson children. Seamus pulled his dirk from his stocking and sliced one of the sacs open. Maggie was inside. She was crying. Fr. Molloy helped her up while Fr. O'Flaherty opened the other bag. Eric was quiet, his eyes telling of his terrors.

"Patrick, Seamus, you take the bairns into the chapel and keep them safe. The sun's almost set, but no vampire can reach you in here now. The Gypsies are yer main concern. Seamus, be ready with that shotgun."

"Yes father."

"Father, where are you going?"

Fr. O'Flaherty did not answer, but strode swiftly into the chapel, and genuflected before the newly re-blessed altar. He walked around to the tabernacle, genuflected again, and opened it.

"To destroy Mr. Burns."

Smithers swung with all his strength. Sideshow Bob rolled under the swing, slashing Smithers' thigh as he did so. Smithers moaned and sank to one knee. He turned and attacked repeatedly. Bob block and parried, then deflected a swing and stepped past Smithers, using the momentum of the swing and a shove to make Smithers loose his control of his weapon. Bob struck swiftly, cutting Smithers' throat. Smithers gasped and shuddered. He felt for his neck, the looked at his hand, finding it dripping with his own swiftly-cooling blood. His shuddering breathes rose in clouds in the wintry air. He turned and threw himself at Robert for one last desperate attack. Bob sliced the top off of Smithers' head with one deft stroke. Smithers crumpled in the snow, twitching and dieing. Bob drew his tanto and drove it into Smithers exposed brain.

"No coming back this time, old chum."

Nelson, Millhouse, Alucard and Dolph broke through the Gypsies and made it into the centre of the wagons. They climbed upon Burns' hearse. Nelson readied a stake and hammer while Millhouse knelt beside the coffin, ready to open it on Nelson's signal.

"One…two…"

The sun had just crossed below the horizon.

"Thr-!"

The coffin flew open and Burns burst forth, gleaming sword in hand. He tossed Nelson aside like a rag doll, and kicked Millhouse so forcefully that he was thrown into one of the nearby wagons. Burns leapt over the wagons and began to march towards the castle.

Bart saw him, and was nearest to him. He beat away a Roma with his machete and rushed to stop Burns. Just at that moment, a shrill howl filled the air, and the courtyard became even colder. A pack of werewolves, fangs gleaming, mouths trailing saliva, rushed down the mountainsides and up the Borgo Pass, and came streaming into the courtyard. Hunter and Gypsy alike were pulled to the ground and torn to pieces. Meanwhile, from their earth boxes in the wagons emerged the Vampyr, Burns' personal guards, clad in black and red and wielding swords and crossbows. Those Gypsies that had their wits and their lives dropped their weapons and fled, only to fall prey to werewolves waiting outside the gates. Marge clenched her teeth and raised her sword. She let out a scream and charged at Burns. Burns heard her, and readied his ruddy sword. A thin silver blade caught him in the side. Mel had caught him off-guard, and pierced him with his rapier. Before he could retaliate, his arms were severed, one by Brian and one by Lisa. Homer struck with his axe, hitting Burns between the shoulder blades. Marge lunged and rived Burns through the heart, then, spinning on her heel, withdrew her katana and cleaved Burn's head from his shoulders. With a sigh of relief, the five rushed back to aid their friends. Something behind them suddenly threw them to the ground.

"Fools! I am Charles Foster Ka- d-I, er, Charles Montgomery Burns! I am an immortal! You cannot slay me! Die you worms!"

A dozen sword-wielding vampires came racing towards them, with twice as many werewolves running at their sides.

The castle doors flew open. Burns turned; the charging vampires and wolves froze. Fr. O'Flaherty was standing in the doorway, holding above his bowed head a single consecrated Host. The vampires screamed, and burst into flames. Their ashes begat ghostly blue flame that consumed their charred remains, then faded into the night. The wolves whined and ran, their tails between their legs. Burns screamed, raising his shrieking voice to the cold stars. He aged, his skin growing sagging and pale, his hair becoming greyer and scarcer, and his nose curving and lengthening. His skin grew loose and leprous, and began to fall from his face and melt into bubbling pools that then burst into flame. His skeleton hung suspended in the air for the briefest of moments, then, as if time had slowed, began to fall. The bones came out of joint, the fangs fell from their sockets. Blue flames materialized, and consumed the skeleton as in reached the ground. There was a flash and a puff of smoke, and Burns was finished.