It was the 10-year anniversary of the night Jack attempted to give Sandy Claws a “vacation,” AKA the Christmas that almost wasn’t. As Jack stood atop Spiral Hill in the midst of the snow, Sandy-er, Santa rode in his sleigh over Halloween Town after a long night of giving out presents to those who deserved them and coal (or some leftover presents from Jack) to those naughty children.
Every year as Santa headed home, he always brought some snow to Halloween Town for the residents there to celebrate for a night. This year though, Jack didn’t feel the same as previous years; it felt as though something was amiss in the world of joy and screams. So, doing as a good Pumpkin King would do to protect his people, he went off to where he felt the trouble was coming from: The Hinterlands, home of the Holiday Trees.
He walked down Spiral Hill as it uncurled before him to lead to the woods. ‘Time to start wandering around,’ Jack thought as he entered the dense forest laid out in front of him.
A few hours later (maybe?) he discovered himself in a very familiar place, seeing as every year as the new year began all the Holiday Leaders gathered here to convene and prevent another holiday from being taken over or worse, destroyed entirely.
This time however, he was alone, which hadn’t happened since he first discovered this place a little over a decade ago. ‘Everything seems in order,’ he thought. ‘So why did- ‘
*CREAK, CREAK, CRACK*
The sudden sounds from the otherwise silent forest startled Jack, and he walked carefully toward the sound. Some distance away from the Halloween Tree he found the source of noise: a…new tree?