There wont be a free alternative to Flash. Flash is soo powerful it's too feature rich for it to be realistic that a developer would put the man hours into building something like that for free.
I love it as a program, along with Macromedia Dreamweaver is the single greatest software suite i've ever used.
I would recommend you getting it (by any means possible
) but don't be expecting an open source or freeware version unfortunately.