It was Evening; the last embers of thefire were just burning out sending a rich smell of smoke wafting around theroom. The Four stockings were lined up over the Fireplace and their shadows were cast over the floor. Snow lay thick and fast on the ledge outside and coveredall of Springfield. It was Christmas Eve.
Monica Simpson stretched out in herarmchair and sighed. She loved Christmas but this one wasn't going so well yet.She had fought with Maggie about who was first to try Marge's homemade Christmas cookies, are rare treat that the Family got only got on Christmas day.
The tree stood tall and proud standing by the Window where it always was placed. Lying on her stomach under the lower branches was Maggie Simpson and she had her hands on a parcel saying "TO MAGGIE,FROM MOM AND DAD"
"I'm sure I'm getting that video game," Maggie Grinned, relishing her words with glee. This was a trademark of the oldest Simpson still living with Homer and Marge, every single year she would go through the presents and predict what she and her younger sister would be getting. Monica wouldn't join in with this game as she liked to keep things and surprise and would leave the room when Maggie began predicting but this year her curiousness had gotten the better of her so she remained in her chair.
Replacing the brightly wrapped package Maggie picked up one with Bunnies on it "Blech!" She cried "Mom makes it soobvious which is which," Maggie announced stroking one of her own whichconsisted of paper with black skulls on a blood red background.
"I hate all your silly Tomboy logos;" Monica snapped "I'm not into all that boy stuff."
Maggie stuck out her tongue at Monica and chucked the Bunny present aside. "Probably another flipping cuddly toyanyway," She scoffed as she reached for another gift to her now from her Aunts Patty and Selma. Monica leaped off her chair and picked up her present wrapped in the Bunny paper and placed it back under the tree.
"Why are so mean to me Maggie?" She asked sitting a safe distance away from her sister in case Maggie's rage got the better of her.
"Because you're a right wimp and always scared to spoil a surprise, THAT'S why," Maggie snarled.
Knowing she was not wanted; Monica took herself into the kitchen where Marge was just finishing off the Christmas pudding for when Bart and Lisa visited for dinner the next day.
Monica adored the smell of the burning brandy when Marge set the pudding on fire; Homer on the other hand was annoyedthat good alcohol would go to waste.
"Mom, can I help with anything?" Monica asked
"No, No dear," Marge Gabbled as she dashed around the kitchen and throwing open the fridge to check on the amount of brandy that was left.
"Nothing... at all?"
"No Monica, go to bed now we have a long day tomorrow," Marge Replied, placing the steaming pudding on the table.
Monica glared at her Mother's back and stomped from the room but on her way out she slipped on the Skateboard that Maggie had left by the chair on her way in.
Not being able to skateboard even an inch, Monica went flying and hit the table, she regained her balance perfectly fine but as she had crashed, the table had been thrown over and...and the pudding that Marge had worked so hard on was spewed all over the kitchen. Fruit splattered onto the gleaming walls and tiles, the mincemeat had exploded as it hit the countertop and the cream had oozed over everything except poor Monica and the infernal skateboard.
Marge gasped and then as the horrible truth sunk in she turned to her Daughter who coward against at table leg. "Go to bed," Marge groaned not able to muster up enough anger as the shock was still there. Monica scurried from the floor, past Maggie who was trying to look puzzled and up to her room. On her way up she could here her Mother crying from the kitchen and Maggie saying "I don't know why Monica tried to skateboard in the house, I mean she can't even control that stupid scooter very well..." Monica stopped and leaned as far as she could over the banister and bellowed "YOU TAKE THAT BACK MAGGIE SIMPSON! YOU PUT THAT WRECHED SKATEBOARD THERE SO I WOULD FALL OVER, I HATE YOU!"
Monica ran up the rest of the way in tears and slammed her door as hard as she could and tried to block out her Sister's voice as she lied disgracefully to her Mother by holding a pillow over her ears.
"Why was I born into such an unfair family?" She asked herself as she looked around her bedroom, half the stuff in there was Maggie's Hand-me Downs. The only really clothes that she had herself was her church clothes, her green dress, her swim suit and an old fairy costume with a rip in the skirt and a bent wing. The rest of her clothes belonged to either Lisa or Maggie.
Monica threw open her wardrobe door and looked in on the rows of neat clothes, none of them being hers to start with. She picked up her blue frock that had been Maggie's when she was ten. Looking upinto the shelf above, she took down Maggie's old jumper with the skull on the front. Both sisters didn't really share the same taste in clothes and Monica had never worn the jumper and never intended to.
Feeling sick Monica threw back the jumped and slammed the doors shut; she then faced her room and saw Maggie's old toys lined up on her dresser, her ancient books lying dusty with broken covers in the distant bookshelf and the family photo on the bedside table next to herlamp.
Monica reached out for the photo and held it close; this had been the best day of her life in the picture. It had been taken on a trip up to Mt. Springfield when she had been four and she had, had such a lovely time there with nature, chasing rabbits and that magnificent picnic.
Monica was pulled out of dream world as she heard Homer bang his way through the door, "Man, Mr. Burns makes us work hard on Christmas eve," She heard him complain.
Not wanting her father coming up to talk with her Monica crept over to the door and very quietly slid the bolt through then lay back on her bed as she heard Marge sobbing out the situation to Homer.
She could picture Maggie's smug face andglowered at the Eight-year-Old Maggie who grinned back at her from out of the photo. She slammed the frame down so she didn't have to look at her childish sibling any longer.
"I hate this place," She muttered
It was about ten minutes later when she heard a knock on her bedroom door: "Monica, Honey can I come in?" Homer calledthrough.
"Clear off Homer!" Monica roared back, "Your just gonna give me a lecture to!"
She waited from a moment but then heard her Father back off downstairs.
Supper seemed like hours ago even though it was only about half an hour, Time crawled by and Monica tried to pass the time by reading but only got past a few pages of "Little Women" (Another one of Monica's items which she had received new on her tenth birthday)
Before she had to stop and place the book down, no matter how exciting Louisa May Alcott's story was, it couldn't distract Monica now.
She heard Maggie stomp up the stairs and slam the door of her own bedroom. About an hour later she heard Marge and Homer approach her door and she heard muffled whispers: "I think we should go and talk to her Homey, I bet it was just an accident,"
But then blocking her ears yet again she didn't hear the rest of the speech. Slowly she heard her parents enter their bedroom and the hassle as Marge read her book and Homer complained loudly about the working day. Soon their light snapped off and the house was black...
Monica lay in the total darkness not wanting to get undressed into her Nightie. The air seemed to have a sort of magic around it and the room was warm so the lonely girl slipped over to her window and threw it open. The snowy air beat into her face and she could hear the faint sound of carol singers in the background.
That reminded her of a time two Christmases ago, it had been the dead of night and some Carol Singers had called round, Homer had given them a right fright during the performance of Jingle Bells. They were convinced a Yeti was on the loose as Homer had been wearing his long white Dressing gown at the time.
She giggled to herself but then her thoughts tore back to that evening, the fight and then the incident with the Christmas pudding. It hadn't been her fault, it had been Maggie's. She tried to convince herself that there was nothing to feel guilty about but in her heart she felt a little resentment.
"I wish I was never born," She proclaimed as a clock in the distance struck twelve.
On the last Dong she looked out onto the dark snow clouds and as to her amazement that a light was coming over the biggest and greyest of the clouds. She thought it must be a plane but as it got closer she thought for one silly Moment it was a UFO. She backed away and looked around for something to defend herself with if it came any closer but as the snow cleared she saw that it was a figure of a person.
Bewildered, Monica dropped the curtain rod that she had been holding and stuck her face out of the window. The figure drew closer and became the form of a woman and the curious girl saw her face.
She must have only been about twenty at the most, her long white hair fell to her knees and it was a pure as the falling snow it had a healthy glow about it. (It wasn't often that Springfield had proper snow because of the Nuclear Power Plant continuously pumping fumes into the atmosphere) Her dress was baby blue with perfect stitches. It wasn't often Monica noticed the clothes on people but it was hard not to look at the stunning gown.
A Light seemed to come from her; it consumed her and was probably what made her hair glow so deeply.
She soared through the open window and settled herself on Monica's bed. The scared Monica flattened herself against the wall ready to cry out for her Mommy.
"Don't be scared Monica," The Woman spoke, her voice echoed around the room and Monica was sure that the voice would wake up her parents; they would come and rescue her.
The Girl laughed gracefully as she saw Monica frantically looking at the bolted door and back at her. "They can't hear me," She Whispered
Monica couldn't summon up the courage to speak. But then came out with it: "You can fly?"
"Yes," She answered casually "Your wondering who I am no? Well Monica I am your Aunt, I lived over Two Hundred Years ago,"
"Shouldn't you be dead then?" Monica asked before she could keep her mouth shut. She covered her mouth with her hand and wondered what the stunning woman in blue would do to her.
"Cheeky Madam!" Her Aunt Exclaimed "But time for chit-chat later, you have just said that she wish that you have never been born,"
"Yes Ma'am," Monica Replied trying her best to be polite now.
"Well what do you think it would have been like if you had never been born?"
"I-I Don't know..." Monica tailed off.
Her Long-Lost Aunt leaned forward and whispered: "Would you like me to show you?"
"No thank you," Monica answered "I'm tired and I really want to get some sleep, its Christmas tomor..."
Before she could finish the woman had grabbed her arm and before she could pull away or complain the two of them had soared of out the window, Monica clutched her Aunt in fright as they soared up towards the moon.
Monica felt the wind pierce her face as the Aunt carried her up and up.
"Where are you taking me?" She screeched
"You'll see!" She replied giving Monica a shake, "You wished not to be born and your wish has been granted,"
They then landed with a thump on the drive outside the Simpson's House and Monica pulled away, "You... just brought me back home,"
"No I didn't," She Answered and before Monica could argue she disappeared in a torrent of golden light leaving Monica alone in the snowy Driveway wondering if the entire thing had been some dream or hallucination.
She vaguely pinched herself and stood up, no she wasn't asleep, she was standing in the driveway of 742 Evergreen Terrace, Wet from the crash-landing in the snow and wide awake.
She gingerly came to the conclusion that the Woman was Insane but deep down she didn't really think that...or did she? Everything was a haze now. She stumbled up to the door and was going to ring the bell. Monica reached up her finger to press the button but as the two came together her finger seemed slipped through the brickwork.
Monica looked shocked and tried again, yet again her finger slipped through the bricks and cement as if they were only a ghostly reflection. She shivered and with the palm of her hand she watched in awe as it almost floated in and out. She though for a moment and then the answer came to her, Monica summoned up her courage and hoped the door would not bar her. She leaned forward and stuck her entire face through the woodwork until her body was in the cold outside and her head was in the warm, welcoming hallway.
She slid through the door until she was right in the house and out of the cold. "I must be dreaming if I can walk through doors," Monica thought as she crept into the living room. She sat on the sofa for a while looking at the stockings but something was terribly wrong with one of them that Monica noticed.
Her green stocking had been replaced with a blue one, darker than Maggie's and the name "Lee" was stitched into the Blue Fabric instead of "Monica" was this some kind of joke?
Also as she looked at the clock she realised with a jolt that the time was now 6:00 bewildered, Monica wondered how she could loose Six Hours of her life in a mere five minutes.
Above her she heard hushed voices andthen two children came bouncing downstairs. One was a girl and Monica realised it was Maggie but not the Maggie she knew, this Maggie's hair was still in spikes and she was wearing a thick pair of glasses and an anxious look etched on her face.
The other was a boy will short brown hair and wearing Radioactive Man pyjama's. Unlike his intellectual sister, he was not dressed.
"Lee," Asked Maggie "Are you sure we are allowed to do this?"
"Oh Maggie you spoil-sport!" Said Lee as he gently punched his older sister on the shoulder.
Monica was surprised, as her sister never liked being pushed around.
"Hey Maggie, What's with the glasses?" Monica Asked, her older sister ignored her completely, "Maggie, MAGGIE!" Yelled Monica, waving her hands; in front of her Siblings face.
She then turned to Lee, "Who are you?" She asked. Lee ignored Monica completely and continued talking to his sister.
"We have to be quiet or Mom and Dad will wake up," He Instructed
"Hello!" Monica cried
"They can't hear or see you Monica," echoed her Aunt's Gentle Voice from out of the blue: "Remember you were never born."
"Please," Monica cried out "What do I do?"
But nobody replied.
Monica slumped to the floor her head in her hands and cried, it was all so simple now: Monica had never been born in this vision and this Lee boy was her replacement and Maggie (from what is sounded) was now the Smart one of the Family while Lee was the one who would run riots. He had forced his sister to sneak down early so they could swipe the gifts.
When Monica took her head off her hands the scene had changed: She was sitting at the table with her family as Marge served her family breakfast but there was no plate of steaming pancakes for Monica though.
"Kids, after breakfast will you get ready for church?" Marge asked her Two Children and the invisible one listening in.
"Sure Mom," Maggie grinned, watching them eat; Monica became aware of how hungry she was. The family began to talk on how they would spend their day and Monica couldn't take it anymore. She ran off upstairs.
On the Landing she "walked through" The door to Maggie's room and stared around: At home her sister's bedroom was plastered with posters of skulls, heavy metal bands, cars and the array of Tomboy logo's she admired. There would be piles of Comics stacked in every corner and masses and masses of bits and bobs everywhere, the place would be a complete tip.
In here on the Other hand: In place of the heavy metal posters there were photo's in frames and instead of comics piled in every corner there was a bookshelf filled of the kinds of books that Monica would have loved to look at if she wasn't in such and awkward position. There was a writing desk that was clear only for a pad and pencil and a few sheets of Math problems. There was a neat little bed and above it a poster of identifying different birds and the entire room was spotless.
Hearing footsteps, Monica stuck her head through the door and saw Maggie climbing the stairs her glasses resting on her forehead. She stood aside as the other Maggie made her entrance. Maggie seated herself at the desk and picking up the pencil she tore off the first page of the pad and began to write. Monica sneaked over and read over her shoulder:
The lonely girl sat in the freezing snow
How does she know?
Her Family against her
Her chances mere
How will she ever return?
With their love?
When will she learn?
"Oh My God," Monica stammered out loud" Maggie, I never knew you could write like that!"
Of course the other Maggie couldn't hear the praise and continued writing. Monica sat on the bed and watched her for a while. She soon got bored and went to find her non-existent brother. She found him slumped on the sofa, wearing his Church Clothes and watching the Christmas special of Itchy and Scratchy and at this point Scratchy's eyes were being used in a food processor. Never liking the show much Monica went to sit on the step outside: "So I'm not gonna exist for the rest of my life," She thought fighting back the tears. "I want to go home," She cried out loud hoping for an answering voice but nothing occurred.
The scene went black again and then she found herself sitting in a pew in the First Church of Springfield, Rev. Lovejoy was reading aloud from the Bible; retelling the story of the First Christmas and he was at the part where Joseph and Mary were trying to find an inn to stay in for the night.
"What a crappy Christmas," Monica said to herself as she shot an evil look at her "brother".
In the car on the way home Monica sat next to Maggie and hissed to Lee: "So you're the one who would take me place, I guess you're me in a way if I was a boy...Mom and Dad said I would have been called Lee if I was you,"
Her "brother" turned to her and for a minute Monica was sure he could see her but then she realised he was taking to Maggie about the Christmas dinner,"
"I just love the pudding!" Maggie cried out.
Back at Home Monica wandered off upstairs again wanting to take a look in her "brother's" Room (her room).
Poking her head through the door she had a good look around and took in the massive change: it was a boy's room now. Blue Walls, Blue Carpet, Blue Shades. Soccer Balls and Baseballs were scattered over the floor and the posters that the original Maggie would have liked were tacked to his wall.
She stepped into the room that never should have been and began to sob again. She missed her old room with the green colour scheme; she missed her clothes and toys even if they had been Hand-me Dows from her Siblings, She missed her Parents and even her real Sister. But what she missed the most was being human, someone who people could see and talk to. She had dreams of being invisible but not a Ghostly Outline in the background unable to communicate with the outside world even if she was in it 24/7.
She wanted her own life back more than anything now.
She then caught sight of the photo on the bedside table, it was the same one that she had on hers, approaching the table she saw up closer that it was completely the same only she yet again had been taken from it and replaced with Lee. His grin was identical to hers. Lee Simpson aged four. Seeing this photo finally pushed Monica over the edge, she fell to the floor crying harder and screamed out "Please let me go home! I was happy with my life and I'm glad to be born! I don't like this ghostly boy who has taken my place... Please!" She suddenly heard a gasp from the doorway and looking up she saw Lee looking at her from the doorway. His face was one of shock but then he smiled at her and in that split second, Monica smiled back.
Then his face became a blur and falling into eternal darkness and she knew no more...
"Monica, wake up!"
Monica's eyes flickered open, she was lying on the floor of her room with Maggie leaning over her looking scared but not the Maggie she had seen before, this was the original Maggie with her hair down and not in their long spikes.
"Oh Monica I was so worried!" She uttered allowed shaking her addled sister.
"W-What happened?" Monica asked shakily
"I heard you yelling, so I came in and you were on your back on the floor.
Monica sat up and Maggie threw her arms around her Sisters neck and Monica saw the room, not a comic in sight and everything as she had left it the night before, she caught sight of the picture in the frame and saw herself grinning back. She was home.
She hugged her sister back and eventually they broke apart.
"I hear Mom, Cooking breakfast," Maggie Smiled.
"I think I need something as well," Monica muttered
"Monica, I want to apologize for yesterday," Maggie Apologized "I never meant for you to get the blame but I never left the skateboard there for you to fall on,"
"I believe you sis and I forgive you."
"I told Mom last night that I was guilty not you, I paid for the new Christmas pudding,"
"Mom went out to the Kwik-E-Mart last night and managed to buy the last one from Apu, he says the store is even open on Christmas day! Mom doesn't have any hard feelings against you."
"Oh I see,"
Maggie took her sisters hand and the two of them headed for the stairs,
"Merry Christmas, by the way," Maggie Proclaimed.
"Merry Christmas to you too!" Monica Answered and they both giggled.
They started off down the stairs to go and enjoy the day that followed but half way down Maggie turned to her younger sibling and said:
"Monica, I'm glad that you're my Sis,"
Monica turned to her sister and smiled:
"I'm Glad to..."