Okay, this is the first chapter of the story. Sorry for the very long wait, but for many reasons I haven't been able to finish this until now. Hope you like it :)
Chapter 1: Nightmares
Springfield, U.S.A., ten years before.
The city of Springfield was living an especially torrid summer. The heat was as suffocating by night as it was during the day, and sleeping was a really difficult task. However, the night of the 19th of August, it was something more than mere heat what disturbed the sleep of an eight year old girl. In her bedroom, Lisa Simpson was turning round on dreams, frantically shaking her arms and legs. Suddenly she awoke, shouting. Very scared, she sat at the edge of her bed, sweating and breathing difficultly. She put her hand over her chest; her heart was beating very fast... it was painful. Holding back her tears, she tried to relax.
Very slowly, Lisa got up and walked to the window. There was no one to be seen. The night sky was lit by thousands of stars, and the night wind carried the song of the crickets. That wonderful feeling of calm, almost magical, contrasted with the anguish the little girl had just suffered in her dreams.
And it wasn't the first time it happened. It's logical that children have nightmares, and Lisa knew that, despite her intelligence, she was no exception; however, her summer visits to the kingdom of dreams were being a bit too scary. She still hadn't said anything to her parents, but she was beginning to think she should do it if things didn't get better soon.
The question was, Lisa knew it wasn't a good moment to say anything about her trouble; everyone was too busy with their own problems. Homer was working more than usual in the Nuclear Power Plant for reasons still unknown, and Marge, who seemed to know why he did that, refused to tell a single word about it. Bart... Bart was not in the mood, simply; Krusty the Clown was quitting once for all -or that was what he had said-, and the boy had become sullen and silent. Most of the time, you couldn't tell if he was at home or not. Anyway, Lisa guessed her brother would tease her about her nightmares if she tried to talk to him.
And regarding Lisa's friends… Well, being honest to the truth, Allison was her only real friend, and the poor girl was not in the condition to help; her parents were getting separated and she was the one who needed support and comfort now. And of course, Lisa was beside her for whatever she needed. In fact, she had been about to ask her parents if they'd let her sleep at Allison's home, but she remembered her frequent nightmares, and concluded that wouldn't help her friend very much.
Thus, neither her family, nor her friends... only Colin remained. Unfortunately, her boyfriend had been forced to return to Ireland two weeks ago, due to a serious family problem: his grandfather was terminally ill. Within a few days, Lisa received a letter from Colin, asking her not to worry; he would return to Springfield as soon as he could, and he told her how much he wished to start the school year... together. Lisa blushed as she read those words, but when she noticed the dry, scattered drops over the recycled paper, her joy vanished. Those tears said it all: Colin was suffering. His grandfather had finally passed away, and he was devastated.
Lisa employed her best words, right from inside her heart, to encourage her boyfriend. It took her a whole day, but eventually she finished the letter, which she had written -of course- in recycled paper, nicely lined with leaves and flowers, as well as the envelope. Lisa couldn't resist drawing a heart before closing the envelope and sending the letter to Ireland. Still no reply had been received, but she didn't doubt it would arrive sooner or later.
"I'm with you... Be strong..."
She smiled softly, thinking about the boy she loved, and as she contemplated the stars from the window, her own problems came back to haunt her once again.
Making a great effort, she began to recall all the nightmares she had suffered during the holidays, trying to find an explanation. In the beginning, they seemed to have nothing in common: haunted houses, horrific monsters, natural disasters… the typical stuff. Certainly, they were terrifying reveries, but nothing else; they only were somewhat more frequent than usual. Nevertheless, as nights passed by, her dreams started to become more similar, and eventually they turned into the most terrifying nightmare Lisa could have ever imagined.
The dream began calmly. Lisa was sitting on the couch with her family, watching TV, but suddenly everything blew up. Everything happened always in the same order: explosions could be heard outside the house, she ran to the window to see what was happening, and as soon as she arrived, a deafening noise, similar to the biggest, loudest and scariest thunder you can think of, made the house shake like jelly. Then, when the building was about to collapse, a bright red glow blinded Lisa's eyes. Seconds after, the little girl was standing in the middle of the street, from where she could see the ruins of her house and the charred bodies of her family. With no time left to cry, she saw an inhuman army spreading terror and death in its wake. Spectral-like soldiers annihilated every human being in sight, firing at them some strange weapons that released weird, sinister greenish rays which made the unfortunate victims to horribly writhe in pain. An immense column of tanks was destroying houses all the houses in Evergreen Terrace and was coming unstoppable towards the child, who was completely unable to move. All what she could do was hearing people's screams of agony, as she started to feel an increasing pain inside her. When the soldiers started to shoot at her, Lisa noticed the rays went through her body, leaving it totally unharmed: it was her soul which was receiving the damage. She could perceive how her spirit was being attacked by an unseen and cruel force which seemed to take pleasure on torturing her, slowly draining her life. Over all the whirlwind of screams, shots and explosions, Lisa was able to hear a cruel and devilish laughter that sounded terribly familiar to her. When she tried to rise up her eyes to the monster uttering that dreadful sound, images began to turn more and more blurred, slowly being dyed in a deep blood red color. Then, when she knew she was going to die, when she felt life was escaping out of her body, she let out a shattering shriek, directly from the depths of her soul. It was an incredible, astonishing sound, able to shake the mountains. After that, she realized her soul was fading away. She fell fulminated to the ground, and all the loud and the pain suddenly ceased. Everything became black, and she woke up.
And that way, up to four times in the last month. Lisa began to weep bitterly, not only for the tremendous fear the nightmare caused in her, but also for the thousands of people for whom what she was seeing in her dreams wasn't a nightmare, but a cruel and terrifying reality. Wars caused millions of victims each year, leaving razed countries and shattered families.
- How can we humans be so cruel with all the people around us and then dare to keep on calling ourselves humans? -she lamented-. What kind of crime had committed all the people who are mercilessly massacred in every part of the world? Only thing we get is creating more and more hate between humans. More hatred, more violence, more cruelty, more destruction, more death... This is what we mean by spreading peace and freedom? If this continues this way, the only peace that will reign in the world will be of cemeteries... 'cause humanity will eventually annihilate itself.
While Lisa was thinking aloud, her heart was getting filled of rage against all those who controlled the destiny of mankind, causing misery and getting filthy rich much at the expense of all the suffering people.
- You laugh at us all, safe in your high towers made of crystal and steel, in your indestructible fortresses, driving us to your whim as if we were the pawns of a macabre chess game -she said between teeth, trying to contain the anger rising inside her-. I swear, someday I'll make you pay for your crimes... Someday...
"Oh, who am I trying to fool… I'm just a little girl…"
"Yes; a girl who someday will grow... You'll give them their just deserts, you'll see..."
- Yes, that's also true... -Lisa whispered, slightly smiling-.
Lisa felt her mouth a bit cheesy, and went down to the kitchen for a glass of water. While she descended quietly down the stairs, she saw a dim light in the living room, and soon she also heard the noise of the TV. Who...?
Her older brother looked sideways and then he fixed his eyes back in the screen.
- Bart, what are you doing awake at this hour?
- Watching TV -he replied flatly-.
Somewhat angry at her brother's tone, Lisa stood between Bart and the TV, but not before taking a look at the program.
- Uh-huh... Polynesian tribes... Okay, what's wrong with you?
- Get outta there.
- Or... what?
Bart didn't even bother to reply; he simply averted his eyes. Lisa was going to say something else, but then she noticed the way her brother looked like: his eyes, usually lively and sparkly, seemed to have become dull. Lisa began to worry:
- Bart, what's going on? Why are you so…?
- For nothing.
- Bart, don't lie to me… What's happening to you?
- It's not your business. Leave me alone.
- Oh Bart, please…
- Leave me alone!
Bart rose up suddenly and pushed his sister to the ground. Lisa looked deep into her older brother's eyes: there was anger in them, but it wasn't directed to her. And there was something more... There was fear... So much fear…
- Oh, my God… Bart…
- Leave me! -he screamed, running to the stairs-.
Lisa stood there, sitting on the floor, not knowing how to react. This wasn't because of Krusty... Rarely had she seen Bart so scared, and the only explanation she could find was... was...
- Oh, no! Not again!
Lisa got up and quickly returned to the upper floor. She heard sobs coming out of her brother's room; as she came in, she found Bart crying, his face buried in the pillow.
- GET OUT!
- Bart, please… I want to help you…
Bart suddenly stopped crying.
- Help me… -he whispered-. None can help me, Lis…
- Oh, Bart, no… Please, don't talk like that…
- It's the truth… I know he'll win... In the end he'll win…
- No. We won't let him get away with it. We'll defeat him again, you'll see...
- It's useless, Lisa... - Bart muttered, his eyes fixed on the floor-. No matter how many times he goes to jail, he always finds a way to get out... and everything begins again. I can't stand this nightmare anymore -he sobbed-.
Lisa sat on the bed next to Bart, who looked to another side, ashamed his little sister saw him crying.
-Come on, don't be so pessimistic... We'll find the way to stop this madness, I promise you.
- If they had listened to me, we wouldn't have this damn trouble...
- Huh? I don't get it...
- Frying him: that was the only solution.
- Bart... You know what I think about death penalty...
- Lisa, we both know that palm-haired lunatic won't stop 'til he bumps me off the most twisted way he can find. Things are clear, sis: it's he or me. There's no room for us both in this planet.
- No, Bart... I also wish Bob pays for all he's done. I wish him to be far away from us for the rest of his life and never threaten our lives again...
- Our lives? Don't worry; he only wants to kill me.
- Bart, please… You know I couldn't bear…
- Get to the point, sis.
- Ahem... The solution would be to lock him for life, and in a psychiatric institution, better than in a prison. In such a place, they could help him with his... Ehhh... rather than obvious mental instability, and…
- Locking him up for life? That's your brilliant solution, Einstein? He's already escaped dozens of times, and he'll do it again. Ha! And that's if they don't let him out!
- Bart, I speak of getting him into a place far away from here...
- And who the Hell does care about the well-being of that madman? He tries to kill me and you wanna help him? Get bent!
- Bart, please, listen to me…
- Go away!
- I SAID GO AWAY!
Deeply hurt by her brother's words, Lisa burst into tears and ran out of the room. Full of rage, fear and frustration, Bart started to repeatedly punch his pillow, while he remembered the person guilty for his angst:
- Damn you, Bob... It's your fault I made her cry...
Bart continued swinging punches at the pillow until he got tired. As he stopped, he noticed the sobbing of his sister coming from the other side of the wall. A horrible feeling of guilt fell upon him as a heavy stone; Lisa only wanted to help him, as she always did, and he...
Bart truly hated having to apologize to someone, but this time he knew he had to do it, and as soon as possible. He lowered his head, and went to his sister's room. Lisa hadn't bothered to close the door, but even so, Bart found it hard to enter, and pretty much harder to talk:
- Lisa… -the boy mumbled-.
Her sister didn't answer; she didn't even lift her head from the pillow. Her muffled sobbing got Bart a lump in his throat.
- Lis... I… I'm very sorry...
Bart had to stop, because it was very hard for him to utter these words.
- I know you wanted... You want to help me... I-I'm sorry, Lisa... It's my fault; please, forgive me.
Lisa rose suddenly as she heard that, and with tears in her eyes, she hugged her older brother.
- Come here, you fool! When I say don't worry, I mean it! If Bob escapes again and again, we'll defeat him again and again, until we're older and he can't do anything to us anymore! Do you get it?
- O… Okay…
- Oh... Let's go to the swings… -Lisa proposed, smiling-. And right tomorrow, you tell Mom and Dad about all this, okay?
- Huh... Yes, ma'am...
- Oh, by the way, why didn't they wake up with all that shouting? -Lisa asked, somewhat surprised-.
- Ahh… That's 'cause they're taking sleeping pills, now -her brother explained-. Well, Mom's taking them. Homer simply drinks a few beers before going bed -he smiled-.
- And Maggie? -Lisa asked again-.
- I dunno. I guess Mom took care of her -Bart answered-.
- How? What did she do? -Lisa asked for the third time-.
- Hell… I got no idea… You worry about everyone in the world except yourself, Lis… That can't be good…
Lisa took that like a compliment. She slightly blushed and decided to ask no more. The two siblings came downstairs and walked outside to the garden, where two splendid swings were placed.
- Wow, these swings look really good -Lisa said, very impressed-. Dad must have paid very much money for them.
- Sure, sis. Luckily, Homer sent the bill to a Mr. Flanders -Bart explained, laughing-.
- And what did Mr. Flanders do?
- What do ya think? He paid -Bart laughed loudly-. Man, that guy's a total sucker…
- Oh, don't say that… That man's a very good person -Lisa said, slightly smiling-. Too much, I would say.
Both siblings got up the swings. They stood there swinging for a long time, staring at the stars and enjoying the calmness of that warm summer night. Bart was really happy of having a sister like the one he had. He found pretty hard to admit it, but he loved Lisa very much; truly much more than people could imagine.
- Lisa -he said softly-.
- Yeah, Bart?
- I've been thinking… would you wanna go to Jebediah Springfield Park today after lunch? I dunno… Maybe that way I'll forget about all this crap… for now.
- Of course, Bart! -an excited Lisa answered-. That's the way!
Bart smiled at the tone of his sister's words, but he said nothing. And thus, the two siblings kept on swinging silently.
The sun was about to rise. The fresh breeze of dawn gently swayed the trees' leaves. Bart and Lisa heard a nearby noise: Ned Flanders went out for his usual morning walk. When he looked at the Simpsons' garden, he saw the two children and he greeted them as usual:
- Hi-diddily-ho, neighborinos!
- Ouch… Stupid Flanders…
- Like father, like son... -Lisa giggled in a low voice -. Good morning, Mr. Flanders!
- Very good morning, Lisa! I'm glad you children also get up diddily early to make the most of the day! -Flanders cheered, making one of his usual gestures of lively and enthusiastic neighbor-.
Right then, when the sun began to peek over the horizon, they heard the sound of an engine coming closer, and shortly after they saw a luxurious black car stopping right in front of their house. Lisa felt a chilling sensation going down her spine.
- What's up, Lis?
Lisa didn't answer. A chauffeur went out the car and opened the back door, from where appeared the person who was probably the most hated man around Springfield.
- It's Mr. Burns! -Bart exclaimed furiously, jumping from the swing-. Whatcha doin' here?
- Oh, don't worry, little boy -the tycoon said calmly -. I've only come for your father.
- My father doesn't enter work 'til quarter past eight and right now it's half past five -the kid protested-.
- True, but today I need him to come a bit earlier. We must finish the project in which we've been working for so long, and we must do it as soon as possible. It's very important. For Springfield, of course...
Something in Burns' voice and gestures moved to concern and distrust, but that was a usual effect on the people who spoke with him. The millionaire made a sign to his henchmen, which opened the door and got into the house to get out Homer.
- Mr. Burns, you got no right to break into our house in that way -Lisa pointed out coldly from the swing-.
- I'm afraid you're wrong, little girl. Your father gave me a copy of his keys in case I needed them for urgencies like this -the old man replied simply-.
- I don't believe you -she replied sharply-.
- That's your problem, but it's the truth -Burns said, grinning-.
- I'm sure you used some of your dirty tricks once again -Lisa deducted quite accurately-. Maybe you threatened to fire him?
- Please, you're offending me with these words. I could never fire such a person like… what's his name? -Burns asked sarcastically-.
- Homer J. Simpson -Lisa answered, enraging-. He's been working for you for ten years. Don't you think you could bother learning his name, at least?
- That's it. Simpson… How could I fire someone who's got a whole family depending on him? What kind of monster do you think I am?
- Are ya kiddin' us? -Bart involved, joining her sister-. You've fired my father a thousand times, tried to kill my sister and me to make a vest with our greyhounds, and then tried to kill me to steal the treasure that belonged to my grandfather. Oh, and as if that all wasn't enough, you wanted to condemn the whole town to a perpetual night. You give a damn about the rest of mankind, and better not talk about our family -he concluded, in a firm voice-.
- Of course I mind on you -Burns said with a malevolent smile-. You, Bart, saved my life with your blood, and your sister Lisa helped me to recover all my fortune. And let's no forget about your little sister Maggie, who gave me back my teddy bear Bobo.
Bart and Lisa looked at Montgomery Burns with a rage-filled stare. It was ironically true: they had helped the one they hated the most not once, but several times.
Angered voices began to be heard from inside the house. Homer Simpson protested forcefully while being forced to walk down the stairs.
- You got no right to do this to my husband! -his wife protested-.
- Sorry, madam -said one of Burns' men-. Your husband must come with us.
- Ah, Homer! -his boss said-. Good morning! Get into my car; I'll inform you during the way.
Despite the Simpsons' family protests, Burns' car finally left Evergreen Terrace and headed for the power plant.
- That's indignant! It truly grinds my diddily gears! I'll call the police right now! -Flanders said, very disgusted-.
- That bunch of fools who do nothing but free Bob for him to try to kill me once more? -Bart replied in disbelief-. Man, don't waste your time…
Lisa, Marge and Ned looked each other with a serious expression in their faces; sadly, Bart was right.
- Damn you Mr. Burns… Wretched bloody son of a…
In another situation, Marge would have severely scolded her son for talking like that, but deep inside she thought the same as him about Burns.
- Well -she eventually said, recovering her smile-, despite all this, I have good news for you, kids: next week we go on holidays.
- It's true? Yay!
- Cool, man!
Marge greeted Ned, who politely returned the greeting and walked away whistling happily down the street, while the blue-haired loving mother and their two children entered home.
Little did they know that before the end of the day, their lives were going to change forever...
And that's it. For those who are interested, I'm planning to change the Spanish version of this fanfic. I hope to do it before Christmas. Seeya! ;)