Stranger Things: Flight of Icarus




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October 31, 2023 | ISBN 9780593823101

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About the Book

Two years before the events of Stranger Things: Season 4, Eddie Munson—Hellfire Club leader, metalhead, and Hawkins outcast—has one shot to make it big.

Hawkins, Indiana: For most, it’s simply another idyllic, manicured all-American town. But for Eddie Munson, it’s like living in a perpetual Tomb of Horrors. Luckily, he has only a few more months to survive at Hawkins High. And what is senior year, really, but killing time between Dungeons & Dragons sessions with the Hellfire Club and gigs with his band, Corroded Coffin?

At the worst dive bar in town, Eddie meets Paige, someone who has pulled off a freaking miracle. She escaped Hawkins and built a wickedly cool life for herself working for a record producer in Los Angeles. Not only is she the definition of a badass—with killer taste in music—but she might also be the only person who actually appreciates Eddie as the bard he is instead of as the devil incarnate. But the best thing? She’s offering him a chance to make something of himself, and all he needs to do is get her a demo tape of Corroded Coffin’s best songs.

Just one problem: Recording costs money. Money Eddie doesn’t have. But he’s willing to do whatever it takes, even if that means relying on his dad. Al Munson has just stumbled back into Eddie’s life with another dubious scheme up his sleeve, and yet Eddie knows this is his only option to make enough dough in enough time. It’s a risk, but if it pays off he will finally have a one-way ticket out of Hawkins. 

Eddie can feel it: 1984 is going to be his year.
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Stranger Things: Flight of Icarus

Chapter One

“Well. You’re dead.”

The kid gapes at me across the table, really showing off his sparkly orthodontic hardware. “No, I’m not.”

“You took on a kraken by yourself. You’re f***ing dead, man.”

Stan kicks me in the shin. “Can you cut him a break? He’s a freshman.”

“He’s been playing for almost a year now. Hey, freshman—­”

“Gareth,” mumbles Gareth from somewhere beneath his plume of puffy, wavy hair.

“How many hit points you got?”

He mutters something I can’t make out, but I’m pretty sure it rhymes with Nero.

“That’s what I thought. So let me walk you through the next part.” I lean forward, one hand on either side of my DM screen. “It’s the final swipe of the monster’s tentacles that does you in. Agony crashes through you, overwhelming your willpower. And your lungs pay the price.”

Ronnie throws an eraser at my head. “Jesus Christ, Eddie,” she says, but I can hear the laughter in her voice.

“On instinct, you try to draw breath. But you’re two dozen feet beneath the surface of the Solnor Ocean, and the rest of your party is all the way back on shore. Which means there is no one to save you as the sea fills your throat.”

“That’s sick,” says Dougie, watching me with wide, awestruck eyes.

“And there is no one to watch as your body twitches one final time and sinks, lifeless, into the black depths of the unknown. So ends the tale of Illian the Unvanquished, half-­elf paladin and Champion of the Lost Lands.”

Applause springs up around the table, a respectable smattering from my players. Ronnie and Dougie are the most enthusiastic, Dougie even surging to his feet in a much appreciated display of approval. Gareth, in contrast, sinks low in his chair, poking at his D20 with a dejected finger.

“This is bullshit,” he says.

“What is up your ass, Gareth?” Dougie demands. “You got a crazy Munson death monologue. That’s, like, worth its weight in gold.”

Gareth’s skinny shoulders are up around his ears, but he still turns an impressive glare on Dougie. “Am I supposed to be happy? He killed me!”

“You’re not special, he’s trying to kill all of us!”

“Okay.” I hold up both hands, trying to fend off whatever explosion is brewing here. “As your humble dungeon master, would you gentlemen allow me the pleasure of your shutting the hell up?”

They shut the hell up. Which gives me just enough time to meet each of my players’ eyes in turn . . . while I scramble around, figuring out what the hell I’m gonna do next.

Hellfire membership isn’t exactly bursting at the seams; counting myself, there’re only six of us. Ronnie and I have both been members since we walked in the door together the first week of ninth grade, and even though Dougie had resisted “joining nerd club,” a bare month of listening to us recite inside jokes from our Hellfire sessions had him almost begging for a seat at the table.

Stan, a junior, had come along the following year, though his attendance is . . . hit-­or-­miss. His family’s got it in their brains that D & D comes straight from Satan himself, and that even touching dice with more than six sides would be enough to send their precious baby boy straight into the flames of eternal damnation. Stan tries his best to get around this by spinning stories about weekly algebra tutoring and by giving Ronnie all his Hellfire shit to keep at her place so his snooping mom can’t find it. But even with all this cloak-­and-­dagger maneuvering, Stan winds up missing one game out of three.

Sophomore Jeff has been part of Hellfire for two years now, but it feels like longer. He’d been playing with his older brothers before he started at Hawkins High, and he knows almost as much about the game as I do. He definitely knows more about playing bass than I do, which is why he’d been a welcome addition to Corroded Coffin, rounding out the sound in a way that Ronnie, Dougie, and I hadn’t been able to on our own.

And then there’s little freshman Gareth, who’s glaring at the laminated chart of U.S. presidents on the wall like he wants to start using it for target practice.

He better not. We can’t afford to land on the shit list of another teacher, not when so many of them already refuse to share space with “that Satanic cult.” As it stands, every Monday, I start the process of wheeling and dealing with the small handful of teachers with the smallest slice of sympathy to our cause, bargaining for the right to roll a couple of dice in their classrooms once the final bell rings at 2:50 on Wednesday afternoon. And every Monday, as I go through the motions of asking about Mrs. Debbs’s upcoming retirement and cleaning chalkboards in Mr. Vick’s lab, I ask myself the same question.

Why am I doing this?

I’ve never been able to answer it. But I’m still here, week after week. Isn’t that the definition of insanity?

“Maybe you should be happy, freshman,” I say. “You learned a valuable lesson today.”

I can feel Ronnie watching me. She’s twirling a pencil between her fingers, so fast that it blurs. I don’t look over at her.

Gareth snorts. “How valuable can it be if I won’t be around to use it?”

Some of Gareth’s angst slams into focus. But it’s not something I can deal with here, in front of all these watching eyes. “Well, boys and girls,” I say, straightening up, “I think that just about wraps up our session here today.” There’s a chorus of groans, mostly from Stan and Dougie. “We’ll regroup next week, as our surviving adventurers journey deep into the labyrinth of . . . Ralishaz the Mad.”

Gareth is packed almost as soon as I finish speaking, throwing all his shit into his backpack as fast as he can. He shoves his chair back with an ungodly squeal of aluminum legs on linoleum and stomps to the door, throwing it open with a crash that rattles the wall.

Dougie sucks his teeth, watching the door swing shut behind Gareth. “This kid sucks.”

“Shut up, Dougie,” Ronnie comments calmly. She raises an eyebrow at me in silent question, but I’m already on my feet and sidling around the table.

“Same time,” I lecture the room over my shoulder as I stalk out the door. “If you’re late, you get the Illian treatment. Comprende?” A chorus of sures and whatevers sweeps me into the hallway.

Gareth is already a sea of lockers away and moving fast. “Hey! Freshman!”

For a second, I think the kid isn’t going to stop. But then he does, turning to face me with an eye roll and a sigh. “What.”

“You got somewhere to be?”

“My mom’s picking me up in like minus-­two minutes, so yeah.” He glowers up at me, adjusting his backpack on his shoulder. As he does it, the hem of his shirt catches on the strap, pulling just enough for me to catch sight of something purple and painful spreading across his side. “You already kicked me out of your club. What else do you want from me?”

“Whoa whoa whoa, who said anything about kicking you out?”

“You did. When you killed me.”

“So?” I ask.

“So . . .” Gareth is starting to look more uncertain now, shifting from foot to foot. “So Illian’s gone. So I’m gone.”

“So you make a new character.”

Gareth blinks at me, like he honestly never considered that possibility before. “I do?”

“You think I’m gonna let someone crazy enough to tangle with a kraken walk away from this party? No way.” I lean in closer, conspiratorial. “Those other assholes won’t last one millisecond in Ralishaz’s labyrinth without your guts.”

“Is it gonna be bad?”

“It’s gonna be the worst,” I say, and laugh at Gareth’s aluminum grin. “We just gotta get you set up with another character. You free tomorrow after school?”

“I have to ask my mom,” Gareth says, but the force of his nodding makes it clear that, mom’s approval or not, he’ll be there.

There’s a distant honk of a car horn from the direction of the school parking lot. Someone’s losing their patience. “Shit,” Gareth says. “I gotta—­”

“Absolutely, dude.”

The kid takes a few running steps down the hall, and then stops, like he can’t help himself. “You’re sure, right?” he falters. “I can come back?”

“As long as you wanna be in Hellfire, you can be in Hellfire.”

He nods, gaze turned inside, like he’s making himself memorize those words. “Okay,” he says, and then he’s scurrying toward the school’s front entrance. I watch after him until he’s out of sight.

“Wow. And I left my Kleenex at home.”

Stranger Things Series

Stranger Things: Flight of Icarus
Stranger Things: The Official Coloring Book, Season 4
Stranger Things: Lucas on the Line
Stranger Things: The Official Hellfire Club Notebook
Stranger Things: The Official Coloring Book
Stranger Things: Rebel Robin
Stranger Things: Runaway Max
Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town
Visions from the Upside Down: Stranger Things Artbook
Stranger Things: Suspicious Minds
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About the Author

Caitlin Schneiderhan
Caitlin Schneiderhan is a TV writer and novelist, whose work can be seen on Netflix’s hit show Stranger Things. She hatched from a cocoon of Terry Pratchett novels when she was thirteen years old, and her love of fun, genre-focused storytelling runs deep. Hailing from Silver Spring, Maryland, Schneiderhan now resides in Los Angeles. She still has a full shelf of Terry Pratchett paperbacks. More by Caitlin Schneiderhan
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