The Horrific Holiday Haunting of Homestead High School


Katelyn Styborski and Thomas Hill

And So It Begins:

It was the day before Winter Break and everyone else was already on their way home after a grueling week of finals… everyone except you. Unfortunately, you had missed the PSAT due to a national, week-long competition and had to make it up during the second half of the day while all your friends were at a group lunch. You head to the community room, where a woman is waiting.

“Hello, I’m Mrs. Jolly. I’ll be proctoring your PSAT today. I’ve turned off the announcements in here so we won’t be interrupted.”

“Okay!” you respond, eager to get started so you can finally leave. You sit down and begin to fill out the name sheet as Mrs. Jolly reads through the instructions. After you start the first section, she slips out to use the restroom. Oddly enough, when you finish the section a half-hour later, she still hasn’t returned. Just as you get up to look for her, the lights spark, flicker, and then fizzle out. You dash into the hallway to find it empty, so you head for the doors to drive home. That’s when you see the 7 feet of snow blocking the glass doors. You’re snowed in with no power, no supplies, and no companions. You decide to…

Go to the cafeteria for food (go to the cafeteria box)

Go to the auditorium for costumes to keep warm (go to the auditorium box)


The Cafeteria

You walk down the hallway towards the cafeteria. Luckily, the doors are unlocked, so you run towards the kitchen for some food. You enter the storage pantry, looking for chips, cookies, and any nonperishables to get you through the storm. Unfortunately, you only find vats and vats of nacho cheese. As you turn to check another pantry, you accidentally bump one of the giant vats of nacho cheese over. It collides into the other vats, and all of a sudden you’re swept up in a wave of rubbery, thick (and probably expired) nacho cheese. You try to swim, to rise above the disgusting school condiment, but it’s futile. You feel the nacho cheese fill your lungs, coating your throat and flooding your nose. You try to gasp for air, but only choke on more cheese. As your vision goes black from the lack of oxygen, you realize this is it—you’re suffocating. What an embarrassing way to die, you think as the world fades black for the final time.



The Auditorium

You cut back through the community room to reach the auditorium as quickly as possible. Shivering, you open the door to the backstage closet of the auditorium and look around for costumes. Unfortunately, there’s nothing there. Then you remember that the winter musical cast was supposed to rehearse after school today. The costumes are probably in the wings of the stage. You head out onto the stage and are surprised to find two costumes sitting right in the center, (almost as if they were waiting for you)—a reindeer and an elf. You…

Put on the elf costume (go to elf box)

Put on the reindeer costume (go to reindeer box)


The Elf

You slip on the elf costume—yes, even, the pointy ears. There’s no one around to see you, and besides, you’re going to freeze to death if you don’t get something warm on. All of a sudden, your arm feels tingly, like when it falls asleep. Suddenly, the tingling stops and your arm shrinks with a loud POP! Your other arm begins to tingle and it shrinks with a large POP! as well. Next, it’s your legs, and finally your head follows. Panicking at your new, one-and-a-half foot tall self, you frantically run around the stage in circles. Then you realize you need to do something to get your bearings. You decide to…

Put on the reindeer costumesurely that’ll fix this, right? (go to reindeer box)

Climb onto the giant yeti set piece and look around for a solution (go to giant yeti box)


The Reindeer

You decide to put on the reindeer costume, relishing in its soft, fluffy fur. All of a sudden, you feel your arms and legs elongating, just as two magnificent antlers burst from your skull with a sickening crunch. Glancing at your reflection in the stomach of the giant yeti, your worst fears are confirmed—you’ve become a reindeer. Your heart sinking, you begin to shiver again. Considering you’re a reindeer, you decide to prance around the stage. Unfortunately, you quickly lose control of your new body and crash into the numerous holiday-themed set pieces surrounding you. Shocked still, you watch them teeter back and forth before they collapse on top of you. You’re trapped! Realizing that you must escape before you’re crushed, you…

Screech loudly… maybe someone will hear you and come help (go to screech box)

Try to wriggle out… you’re all alone, so there’s no use in calling for help, right? (go to wriggle box)


Giant Yeti

You slowly clamber up the giant yeti set piece, carefully slipping your hands and feet into the tiny chips in the wood. You assure yourself, it’s just like rock-climbing—but you’ve never climbed under these conditions before. Despite your costume, your fingers are freezing. Being small does you no favors in the warmth department. Ignoring the pain of your now numb appendages, you continue to climb. Finally, you make it to the top of the yeti. You jump for joy (which is really out of character for you. This elf costume must be getting to your head.) Unfortunately, your tiny jump is just enough to offset the balance of the yeti. With a heart-stopping CreeEaK~! the set piece hurtles to the floor. You hit the ground with an admittedly satisfying splat—like a stress ball filled with yogurt knocking out an old politician’s dentures—and immediately die. I mean, really? You chose to climb the yeti. What’d you think would happen?




Hoping beyond hope that there’s someone left in the building, you begin to screech for help, flinching at the sound of your new, animalistic voice. Suddenly, you see the eyes of the fake snowmen across the stage blink at you. Terrified, your reindeer voice cracks and you wonder if reindeer puberty exists. Honestly, what was that? Emerging from your very important thoughts, you see a snowman standing over you—with such a judgmental look on its face, it’d offend Barney the purple dinosaur.

“Good lord, child, could you stop that?” the snowman asked in a perfect British-accented voice with enough ridicule to rival Dr. Price. You are understandably rattled by the talking snowman, who pulls you out of the wreckage. You feel your bones begin to mend. In your horror you….

Scream and try to squirm away (go to Scream box)

Stay level-headed and see what happens (Go to Snowball Fight box)



Your scream of terror sends a shockwave through the auditorium. You back away from the living snowmen until you’re pressed up against something warm and fuzzy. Warm and fuzzy? You turn around and realize that you’re chest to chest with the giant yeti set piece who has also come to life! You scream even louder. It plucks you off the stage with its giant hands and chomps on your bones. The last sound you hear is the sickening crunch of your head separating from your body.




Ignoring the crushing weight of your claustrophobia, you struggle to slip out from under the giant yeti set piece. You pull and twist and strain until eventually, with the added lubrication of your slobber, you’re able to escape death. Unfortunately, your back legs and one of your antlers are broken in the process. After dragging yourself away from the yeti, you pass out from pain. When you wake up, you’re bleary-eyed and foggy-headed. White shapes move at the corners of your vision. You try to move and find that both of your legs have been magically healed! Soon you get your bearings, and realize that those white shapes were sentient snowmen! And they’re heading straight for you!

Scream and try to squirm away (go to Scream box)

Stay level-headed and see what happens (Go to Snowball Fight box)


Snowball Fight

“What’s going on?” you try to say to the snowman. Seeming to understand your reindeer-speak, the snowman nods his head.

“We have helped you,” the snowman says, “but only in return for one of your magnificent antlers.” He holds out his stick arm expectantly.

Confused, but grateful, you allow him to take your antler. You sit on the snowy ground, feeling the stump of where your antler once was. In the middle of your moping, some tiny snowmen begin pulling at your hooves.

“Have a snowball fight with us!” They chime, their wide coal smiles beaming up at you.

Soon you’re pummeling baby snowmen with snowballs. Did you think through the ethics of this?

Right as you’re about to whack a child in the face with an icy sphere of pain, a nutcracker jumps into the fray and shields a snowbaby from its fate. You find yourself feeling guilty, (as you should, you monster.) The nutcracker tells you that he won’t report you to the chief snowman if you allow him and his other friends to join the fight. Do you accept?

Accept the nutcracker’s request (go to Vial box)

Deny the nutcrackers (go to Crunch box)



Worried that they might hurt the snowmen, you deny the nutcracker’s request. The nutcrackers are furious and one lifts you up, placing your recently healed leg in its mouth. You get crunched up by the nutcrackers’ horrifying flat jaws. You thought it would hurt less than razor sharp teeth. You were wrong. Your anguished bleats echo across the abandoned auditorium for the next three hours.




You allow the nutcrackers to join in your snowball fight. You team up with the baby snowmen and ambush the nutcrackers, raining down snowballs onto their fort. They respond by walloping you with walnuts ensconced in snow. One hits you square on the forehead. Your skin splits open and you begin to bleed onto the snow – the field of white surrounding you is slowly stained red. The little snowmen rush over and heal you. Meanwhile, a nutcracker takes your blood-soaked snow in a vial and disappears backstage.

You start to become curious about what the sentient creatures are doing with your bodily samples.

Follow the nutcrackers backstage (Go to Curtain box)

Screw that, you’re not dying (again.) Stay where you are. (Go to SnowGrow box)



You begin to grow bored of the snowball fight, especially since every time someone hits a snowman it just gets bigger… and stronger. As the nutcrackers hit the snowbabies, they become larger and larger until you become trapped inside of their snowy bodies. It’s freezing!

Give up. You’re done with this craziness (go to Coward box)

    Burrow your way free (go to Curtains box)



Your hooves and ears grow numb after a few minutes. Icicles hang from your nose, and your lips turn purple. Slowly, agonizingly, you contract frostbite. Your limbs become black and dead. Your breathing slows as you take shorter and shallower breaths. Eventually, after hours of suffering, your blood turns to ice and you meet your end.




Two nutcrackers guard the curtain to the backstage, blocking your way. Their imposing glares are clearly meant to dissuade you from entering backstage, but this only increases your curiosity. Trying to think of a way to distract them, you make an attempt to imitate Santa Claus’ iconic “Ho ho ho!” Sadly, despite your best Santa impression, they refuse to let you pass. Do you..?

Use your one good antler to headbutt them in the nuts-cracker (go to Crunch box)

Hum the nutcracker melody from the ballet The Nutcracker to put them into a trance (Go to Rafters box)



The humming works! (somehow). The nutcrackers think you are Clara and assemblé you into the rafters so you can sneak behind the curtain. You hold fast to the rafters, squinting into the blackness around you. It’s too dark to see anything happening backstage.

Hum Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer to maybe somehow magically make your nose glow (go to Cult box)

Blindly jump down and hope something good comes out of it (go to Irony box)



You jump into the darkness, hoping that you’ll land on something to break your fall. Unfortunately, there’s absolutely nothing except the cold, hard wooden surface of the stage. You break all four legs on impact and are impaled on your own antler… oh the irony.




The song shockingly works and the room lights up to reveal a horrifying cult circle drawn on the floor with your reindeer blood. Your antler sits in the middle of the circle, glowing an evil shade of green. Snowmen and nutcrackers chant around the circle. Their heads snap up to reveal dark soulless eyes. The abyss calls to you.

Give into the nothing and join the snowmen and nutcrackers in the circle. (go to Chant box)

Gallop away as fast as you can – Mamma didn’t raise no scientology sympathizer. (go to Trance box)



Your hooves are stuck to the floor. You’re paralyzed! The voices of the snowmen and nutcrackers draw you in. You have no choice but to go along with it.

(go to Chant box)



The sentient creatures make room for you in the circle. You touch your hooves to their branch and block arms and chant with them – somehow you know all the words. As your voices ebb and flow with the chant, you start to hear whispers in the back of your head. Your chants grow louder, echoing around the stage. Your head begins to feel fuzzy – How long have you been standing here? The blood on the stage is boiling somehow, your broken antler vibrates on the ground, the glow becoming stronger with the heat.

You have to get out of here! See if you can call the antler to you somehow – it was once yours, wasn’t it? (go to Antler box)

You’ve got to admit, this is pretty cool. You feel powerful, like some kind of transformation is happening. (go to Transformation box)



You try to call the antler to you, but to no avail. The antler stays put. You try harder – you’ve come this far; you’re not giving up now. The antler spins around on the ground, trying to fight you. Finally, you overpower it and the antler shoots towards you, whizzing around with a green flare of magic. You duck as it zooms straight at your head. Narrowly missing you, the antler then swings around like a boomerang, impaling all of the snowmen and nutcrackers still sitting around the circle. It lands on the ground at your feet.




Then you realize a transformation is happening. Your limbs are tingling. As the blood on the ground boils more and more violently, your body grows colder and colder. Soon, your lips are so numb, you can barely chant. Fatigue takes hold of your body. You can bear the cold no longer. You curl up into a ball on the floor. Your blood turns to ice.




Enchanting Ending

You gingerly lift up the antler with your hooves. The green glow sputters out and you’re left with a dull, ordinary reindeer antler. You attempt to lift the antler to your head, but you can’t. You’re a reindeer. Forever? You slump to the ground in defeat. If reindeers could cry, boy would you. Instead, you let out a soft bleat, your wet nose snuffling in frustration. You angrily headbutt the antler across the stage. It clinks into something metal, sending a merry jingle ringing through the air.

The doors to the auditorium burst open and Mrs. Jolly comes sprinting towards you. “Oh, there you are! I’ve been looking for you everywhere. What have you gotten yourself into?”

You stamp your hooves in excitement.

“There, there, dear – haha, ‘Dear!’ Ah, no wonder my husband left me. Don’t worry, sweet thing, I’m here to help.” Mrs. Jolly pulls a candy cane out of her pocket and pops it in your mouth. With the sweet, minty taste of the holidays slipping over your tongue, you close your eyes, feeling joy deep in your soul.

When you open them again, you are sitting in the community room with your PSAT in front of you. You look up in surprise, but only find Mrs. Jolly sitting at her desk. You open your mouth to say something, but she holds a hand to her lips and winks.

“You may close your test booklet.”


Everlasting Ending

You must have passed out, because when you come to, you are not in a cult circle drawn with your own blood surrounded by snowmen and nutcrackers. Instead, you are sitting in the middle of the stage in the auditorium. There is no one in sight.

You still feel cold – freezing, even. You try to look around, but you can’t. Where are you? Then, the spotlights come on. You squint in the bright light. Then, you hear chatter from backstage. Oh no. You know what’s coming next.

Mr. Shaw makes his way onstage. He welcomes an imaginary audience to the winter musical. You try to get his attention to tell him there must be some mistake – you’re not supposed to be on stage! But you can’t. In fact, you can’t move at all. You can’t even blink.

As the rehearsal starts, and the theatre kids swarm on stage, you finally realize the truth. You’ve been turned into a set piece. You have an existential crisis while your peers jam out to cheesy Christmas music, all blind to your suffering. Finally, the show ends. You have a moment’s peace. Then, the show starts over. Again. And again. And again, for all of eternity. The worst part? You can’t even see the performance.