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Fanfic / Welcome to Sand Hands

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Welcome to Sand Hands is a Gamebook “written” by the folks at Botnik Studios using predictive text keyboards trained on books in the Give Yourself Goosebumps series, similarly to their other production, Harry Potter and the Portrait of What Looked Like a Large Pile of Ash. Like that work, this results in a hilarious mix of Word-Salad Humor, unintentional sarcastic parody and mind-melting insanity.

Due to the nature of the medium, the plot varies depending on the choices you make, but the story is primarily about you and your cousin Zoe trying to get to school through a zombie-infested forest. Or, if you choose to stay home from school, you end up a middle-aged loser dad to two vampire children who walk all over you.

Oh, and at some point (as the title implies) your hands get turned into sand.


You decide to read the list of tropes. Zoe is the best at tropes.

  • Abusive Parents: Possibly your mom, if her threats about "the hook" are anything to go by.
  • Accidental Misnaming: A ghost horse calls you “Denny”. Granted, your name is never specified, but if you tell the horse your name is Denny, the Lemony Narrator will point out that you are lying.
  • Actually Pretty Funny: Twice you can't help laughing at a joke Sal makes at your expense.
  • A Date with Rosie Palms: After Brad saves you, the book tells you to "jerk off to his winning smile later".
  • Alternate Self: The phone operator you call on the Zombie Forest route is also you. This is neither explained nor ever mentioned again.
  • Ambiguously Gay: You make some suggestive comments after Brad saves your life.
    You glance at him lovingly... You can jerk off to his winning smile later.
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  • Ambiguous Situation: The book mentions that a man named Pancakes Rocky used to be your stepdad. It is unclear whether he and your mother divorced or if he died. The fact that you consider calling him implies he is alive, but the story has shown that death isn’t quite the roadblock it used to be.
  • Amicably Divorced: Pancakes Rocky used to be your stepdad, and is apparently on good enough terms with the family that you consider calling him to ask for pancake batter. Y’know, to fill the batter crate.
  • And That's Terrible: Getting eaten by zombies isn’t very fun.
  • And Then John Was a Zombie: You get turned into a zombie in one of the bad endings.
  • Animate Inanimate Object:
    • The skateboard in Zombie Forest, who can move, talk and seems to have hands and shoulders.
    • There's also "Tombo the Man-piano", whoever he is.
  • Antagonistic Offspring: And how. Your vampire children are basically the principal antagonists of the Bad Future path (though the feeling is clearly mutual).
  • Artifact of Death: The Desk of Evil crushes and kills you.
  • Artistic License – Physics: Apparently sound doesn't travel in the dark.
  • Badly Battered Babysitter: You become one when you have to watch your vampire stepchildren while their mother is “knocking golf balls toward targets.”
  • Baleful Polymorph: At one point you can be turned into a broom in Dr. Backpack’s lab.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Saying that Zoe stinks of zombie angers her so much that she punches you in the mouth.
    • Zoe blames the skateboard for the three of you getting lost in the forest, so it strangles you and her for five hours.
  • Beware the Nice Ones:
    • The endearingly awkward magician who gives you the sword looks pretty harmless... But if you dare to bite him, he WILL kill you without remorse.
    • Likewise, the polite and gentle Dr. Backpack punishes you for threatening him by killing Zoe offscreen and then having you turned into a broom. Don't mess with that guy...
  • Big Bad Duumvirate: The vampire kids are the key antagonists in the Bad Future arc.
  • Big, Stupid Doodoo-Head:
    • When you're captured by a dragon, what do you say to it? "Barf pants". The narrator even points out how idiotic that is.
    • The dragon's name-calling isn't any better. He calls you 'mean names' like "bathroom boy" and "worst idiot".
  • Blatant Lies: If your future self takes your old self's place you pass off the changes to your appearance as a growth spurt, and everyone believes you. This is despite the fact that you presumably now look like a thirty-year-old rather than a kid.
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: At one point you're offered the choice of vacuuming the floor instead of advancing the plot, in which case the text tells you to “put this book down, Mom.” If you select this option you're redirected to the front cover.
  • Butt-Monkey: You get repeatedly insulted in the Zombie Forest route, by everyone from the Lemony Narrator to Zoe to a talking skateboard. You have it even worse in the Bad Future route, where you also have the vampire kids to contend with. You even insult yourself at one point.
    You can't imagine what it's like to be good-looking.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Coach Curly announces that Zoe's severed head is now the ball. You are very upset about this because it's hard to dribble and won't fit in the goal properly.
  • Cool Big Sis: Zoe is actually your cousin, but she plays this role. You go out of your way to talk about how cool she is.
  • Cool Old Guy: Dr. Backpack. Despite being an old man with an “old man voice”, he is a scientist who invented a time machine and lives in a house with vampire tigers, a room full of disembodied screams, and a secret floor panel into a tube that turns would-be assailants into brooms.
  • Cyclops: Fainter and Kip, the guys on the helicopter mission, are both cyclops.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Hinted at with Zoe. The start of the story mentions your aunt getting stabbed, though it's never made clear if this is referring to Zoe's mom or not. Zoe also mentions a couple of times that her mom is in prison, but this is ignored in favour of your problems.
  • Diabolus ex Machina: A few of the deaths come with absolutely no warning.
    • One ending has you become a successful businessman, but then get crushed by your own desk.
    • If you take too long selecting a sword from the magician, the Annihilator of Lungs appears out of nowhere and kills you.
  • Dirty Coward: If you behave like this, the Narrator will HATE your guts and get you the most painful and embarrassing endings in the book.
  • Disappeared Dad: Your father, evidently a famous baseball player, is nowhere to be found. The closest thing you have to a father is Pancakes Rocky, and even he only used to be your stepdad.
  • Dissimile:
    • "It's like being afraid of something heavy."
    • "You feel as if you were eating lunch."
  • Does Not Like Spam:
    • You hate eating owl.
    • Zoe does not like yogurt, though you do.
  • Eerily Out-of-Place Object: The payphone and elevator in the middle of Zombie Forest.
  • Everyone Calls Him "Barkeep": Big One and Little One, the vampire children. Justified, as the narrator tells us that they don’t actually have names.
  • Evil Smells Bad: It's mentioned several times that the zombies smell putrid. Justified, as they are decaying corpses. Later, they are described as smelling of robots and scabs.
  • Exactly What It Says on the Tin:
    • Zombie Forest is a forest full of zombies.
    • Dr. Backpack's Scream Room is full of screaming and nothing else.
    • One death has you run into the Annihilator of Lungs, which annihilates your lungs.
  • Eye Color Change: Zoe's eyes turn pink when she gets angry at you for shrinking.
  • Father, I Want to Marry My Brother: You’re a bit too fond of your cousin Zoe, and at one point outright contemplate having a baby with her.
    She has the most amazing scent you've ever seen. Sometimes you bump into her on purpose.
  • Flaming Sword: You get given one by the magician if you ask him for a magical sword.
  • The Friend Nobody Likes: Scoop, Mysterious Mark and the Elevator Twins are all described as “your least favorite friends.”
  • Generation Xerox: Played with. The book mentions you used to have a stepfather. In the Bad Future route, you become a stepfather yourself.
  • The Ghost: There are several characters who are mentioned, but never appear.
  • Grandfather Paradox: If you go back in time and tell your past self that you are your future self, your past self has a heart attack and dies, leaving your future self to take his place. The fact that this should violate causality is never addressed.
  • Hate Sink: Your evil vampire kids are the Arc Villains of the Bad Future scenario and simply the most hateful characters in the book. Their Establishing Character Moment has them playing with a bottle of garlic and mocking you for your passiveness. If you choose to stand up to them, they'll kill you. If you go to Dr. Backpack's mansion with Zoe to teleport back in time and fix the disaster, they will hunt you down to the Mansion to terrorise you further. Among the things they can do are:
    • 1. Turn Zoe and Backpack into vampires and have them gloating about your worthlessness.
    • 2. Send Vampire Tigers that maul Dr. Backpack and do the same to you, unless you surrender.
    • 3. Kill Backpack and Zoe and drain their blood (and do the same to you if you let them find you).
    • Sal the Bus Driver also qualifies, first he stops at your house just to throw a rude joke and drive away without you. Later, he can show up at the Zombie Forest and try to murder you for no apparent reasonnote , taunting you all the way. Luckily, you can kill the bastard with the Magician's sword if you have one.
  • Have a Nice Death: Most of the bad endings come with funny remarks about whatever unfortunate fate you met.
  • His Name Really Is "Barkeep": “Mom” may actually be your mom’s name, since your cousin Zoe calls her “Aunt Mom”. Also, Big One and Little One, your vampire stepsons.
  • Hollywood Science: You seem a bit confused about what science is. You assume that some shovels in Dr Backpack's lab are "science shovels" and enthusiastically ask him "Are ghosts science?"
  • Hypocritical Humour: Zoe's husband calls you a nerd, but he's the one asking you Goosebumps trivia questions.
  • Ice-Cream Koan: Dr. Backpack explains time this way, staring with "Let's say time is like a pair of kids pretending to be sunglasses, And space is the man in white coveralls munching on alien eggs. Then you can think of my machine as the cutoff jeans...", and finishing with "...squeezing the life out of an orange. Does that make sense?"
  • I Don't Like the Sound of That Place: Zombie Forest and The Room of Your Scream both qualify. The scream room is actually just a room that contains the sound of screaming.
  • Immediate Self-Contradiction: You are "terrified but not scared" at the prospect of going into Zombie Forest.
  • Incredible Shrinking Man: If you throw stones at the frogs then you shrink.
  • Jerkass:
    • Sal the Bus Driver. The very first thing he does is driving right next to your house, just to make a rude joke, and drive away.
    • The skateboard. If you wink at it it rolls off and leaves you to be eaten by zombies, and if you jump on it then it repeatedly insults you.
    • The dog with the microphone who lists the four hundred worst things about you.
    • Zoe's husband is also particularly unpleasant toward you, refusing to let you see your own cousin, unless you answer his questions correctly.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • Your bratty vampire kids are this for most of the story, attacking you and everyone you come into contact with and getting away with it. Unless you manage to get the Rush concert ending.
    • You can become this on one route, getting off scot-free despite lying to a ghost horse for free soda, killing Zoe by accident and murdering a cyclops in cold blood.
  • Kissing Cousins:
    • At one point you will start thinking about having a baby with Zoe, your cousin. She asks you to wait until you’re not in a zombie-filled forest.
    • When Zoe punches you in the face you think it's "kind of hot".
  • Lemony Narrator: The narrator makes a lot of odd comments and never misses a chance to snark at you.
  • Made of Iron: You survive getting strangled for five hours, but Zoe doesn't.
  • Mad Scientist: Dr. Backpack, the scientist who helps you travel through time in the Bad Future route. His home is full of strange things like vampire tigers, a maze with its own ecosystem, and a tube that can turn people into brooms.
  • Man Bites Man: You have the option to bite the magician, though doing so gets you killed.
  • The Many Deaths of You
  • Metaphorgotten: "Today has been a saltshaker of horrors- and you're the salt!"
  • Mind Screw: When you use the pay phone in the middle of the zombie-infested forest, the operator is also you.
  • Mister Strangenoun: Dr. Backpack.
  • Multiple Endings: Most of them are bad ones and result in you dying, though one only results in you turning into a coward. The best ones involve everyone surviving, while in some of the more bittersweet ones you survive but Zoe dies.
  • The Nameless: Your vampire children are referred to as "the big one" and "the little one." The narrative outright states “They don't have names.”
  • Narrating the Obvious:
    • The narration describes a stinging pain in your balls, then points out that you are a guy.
    • The ball rolling off into the zombie-filled woods is described as "not a good thing".
    • The narration also feels the need to point out that getting ripped apart by zombies isn't very fun.
  • Never Say "Die": The talking dog announces that "you're about to get rid of your life".
  • The '90s: The Zombie Forest route is implied to take place in the 90s. Specifically, 1997.
  • Noodle Incident: Oh, so many. One highlight is Tombo the Man-Piano eating your feet.
    • Your aunt (Presumably Zoe’s mother) getting stabbed by “that man”.
  • No Fair Cheating: If you cheat at the maze, the book itself punishes you by putting you in stupid clothes and trapping you forever in a hall of mirrors.
  • No Sympathy: Whenever Zoe brings up her Missing Mom the protagonist callously ignores her. Since the protagonist is “you” this becomes a case of Protagonist-Centered Morality.
  • Noodle Implements: Your mom threatens you with "the hook" if you don't behave.
    You've never seen the hook, but you know that's a threat.
  • Off with His Head!:
    • If you leave the basketball behind in Zombie Forest, the coach cuts Zoe's head off to replace it. Then when you lose the ball game, he cuts your head off as well.
    • Sticking your head in a guillotine leads to you losing it, unsurprisingly.
  • Oh, My Gods!: At one point you exclaim "What in heaven's hands!".
  • Only the Knowledgable May Pass: Subverted on two routes - you have to answer Goosebumps trivia questions to proceed, but you inevitably have to guess since the questions are about books that don't actually exist.
  • OOC Is Serious Business: If you accidently kill your cousin Zoe and then reflect on what you've done, the Lemony Narrator - the one that constantly mocks you and makes snarky jokes at your expence - will suddenly become very supportive of you, consoling you and convincing you to move on... Only to return to his old persona, ironically remarking how you're lucky that nobody mentions Zoe because you killed her.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Pretty standard, actually. They drink blood, can turn their victims into more vampires, and transform into bats. Though apparently there can also be vampire tigers.
  • Poor, Predictable Rock: A literal example. No matter what you choose in the Rock–Paper–Scissors game, Zoe will play rock. If you also play rock, Dr. Backpack will call you out on it.
  • Pun:
    • When you turn into rock the narrator calls you "bad to the stone".
    • If you are turned into a broom the narrator points out that there's "no sweep for the wicked".
  • Refusal of the Call: You can choose not to go into Zombie Forest at all, which puts you on the Bad Future route. If you do go in, you can also change your mind partway through, in which case you get a Game Over where the narrator calls you out for cowardice.
  • Riddle for the Ages: We never find out what “shmare” is, even though it's referenced several times. All we know is it's a food.
  • Rock–Paper–Scissors: You play this against Zoe to decide who has to get the money for Dr. Backpack. Zoe chooses rock, and if you choose rock as well Dr. Backpack calls you out for being unoriginal.
  • Sadist Teacher: In one of the bad endings, Coach Curly beheads Zoe, using her head as the ball and later beheads you as well for losing a game... all because you lost "the lucky ball" in the forest.
  • Scary Scorpions: If you bite the magician, scorpions fly out of his eyes and kill you.
  • Schmuck Bait: On one route, you're given the choice to stick your head in a guillotine. It ends as well as you would expect.
    To definitely chop your own head off, turn to page 137.
  • Schrödinger's Gun: If you don't look for your lost ball, Brad turns out to be sick when you get to school, but he's perfectly healthy in other routes and even finds the ball himself in one of them.
  • Sitcom Arch-Nemesis: Sal the school bus driver. Veers into actual Arch-Enemy territory at one point when he tries to strangle you, but for the most part he seems to take great joy in insulting you and seeing you miss the bus.
  • Stable Time Loop: If you actually manage to make it back in time and lie to your past self about your identity, you end up turning into your younger self and taking the forest path. And losing all your adult memories. Making it like the entire thing never happened.
  • Stealth Pun: Thousands of birds are spraying the government house with sprinkles. Hundreds and thousands of sprinkles.
  • Stupidity Is the Only Option: If you are Genre Savvy and don't eat the cursed apple this gets you a Bad Ending where you are called a coward. The only way to progress from that point is to eat the apple and become cursed.
  • Suicide Mission: For some reason, your role in the helicopter mission is to kill the other members of your team. You end up being a little too good at that, and crash the helicopter before Kip and Fainter can complete the main objective.
  • Super Breath: At one point you blow a door shut, seemingly with your own breath.
  • Taken for Granite:
    • Happens to your hands if you get the titular "Sand Hands".
    • Also happens to your whole body if you eat the pears rather than the oranges.
  • Talking Animal: The first thing you see in Zombie Forest is a dog with a microphone saying nasty things about you. Later, you can meet another talking dog who pretends to be a dragon.
  • Tastes Like Feet:
    • The zombies smell of robots and scabs.
    • The cursed pears taste like graveyards and Derek's breath.
  • Tastes Like Purple:
    • Zoe has "the most amazing scent you've ever seen".
    • The school bus sounds of "rubber wheels and yellow".
  • Tempting Apple: Eating a sketchy apple is what curses you with the titular sand hands.
  • Tempting Fate:
    • When you go into Zombie Forest, Zoe tells you, "Don't worry. We will never die." Even if you manage to survive, she almost never does.
    • If you do not retrieve the ball from the forest you try to justify this to yourself by saying "It's not like it was a medicine ball". However, when you get to school Brad is ill and can apparently only be cured by playing basketball.
  • This Loser Is You: A more literal example than most since "you" are the protagonist, but the book goes out of its way to remind you what an incompetent, stupid failure you are.
    To accept that you're a joke to them and always will be, turn to PAGE 111.
    Nice job, idiot.
    An earthworm whispers a secret in your ear as you sink into the ground. The secret is your breath stinks. THE END
    Guess you shouldn't have been an idiot!
  • Time Travel: Figures prominently in the Bad Future storyline as you try to Set Right What Once Went Wrong.
  • Too Dumb to Live: Once you're surrounded by zombies you have two options: you can attempt to ride off on a skateboard, or you can get Zoe to wink at it. Of course, winking at it does nothing, and throwing confetti at it doesn't help either.
    • There's a guillotine and you can try and stick your neck in it. Even the Narrator will warn you against this action, but if you persist, you can end your life in a very silly fashion.
    • A pretty jarring example; when you and Dr. Backpack hide from the vampire tigers, Backpack suddenly jumps from under the cover and proclaims "I'm Backpack!". Naturally, this gets him mauled to death.
  • Torches and Pitchforks: In the Rush ending, you turn the crowd against your vampire kids and someone kicks their teeth in. The book tells you this is a Good Ending.
  • Trademark Favourite Food: You love pears, but eating them gets you a bad ending.
  • The Undead: Both zombies and vampires are prevalent. You also encounter a ghost horse on one route.
  • Understatement: Being eaten by zombies is said to be "not very fun".
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: You describe an elevator in the middle of a zombie-filled forest as "normal".
  • Vampire Bites Suck: A good quarter of the death endings come at the hands of your rotten little vampire kids.
  • Vampires Hate Garlic:
    • You can come across your vampire children throwing around a glass bottle of garlic. It's implied that if the bottle breaks the garlic could hurt them- not that you care, but if they get into trouble, you get into trouble.
    • When the vampire kids attack Dr. Backpack you can try to fend them off with a clove of garlic, but they notice you and kill you before you manage it.
  • Video Game Cruelty Punishment:
    • If you bite the friendly magician, he kills you by summoning scorpions from his eyes.
    • Attacking Dr. Backpack gets you turned into a broom.
  • Villain Protagonist: Happens in one ending. The "spy" in the oil slick? It's his job to tell the government about the oil spill. You're kind of a dick for trying to stop him.
  • We Hardly Knew Ye
    "I need help with this maze!" you scream. The friendly Maze Monkey pops up from the maze and is immediately snatched by its greatest enemy, the Maze Monkey Eagle.
    The circle of life.
  • What the Hell, Player?: Biting the Magician causes him to question the reader directly with a bewildered "Why would you choose that?"... before killing the protagonist.
  • Would Harm A Child: Par for the course as with any Goosebumps book. Special mention goes to Sal for being a school bus driver who still straight up tries to murder you. The crowd at the Rush concert counts as well, since they're more than willing to beat up your vampire offspring (though it's never specified how old the vampires are so this may not be the case).
  • Why Did It Have to Be Snakes?: The protagonist is afraid of frogs. He even says "Frogs... Why did it have to be frogs?" in the intro.
  • You Need a Breath Mint: On one route you sink into the ground and die. As you do so, a worm tells you that your breath stinks.