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Killjoys

book_age18+
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highschool
coming of age
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Blurb

“If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you, if you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same. Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, and - which is more - you'll be a man, my son.”

These are the words that start our tale of four friends, their deep and personal friendship and their own coming of ages, where they finally come to terms with their own flaws and manage to find perfection in being imperfect and broken. It is a story about accepting yourself with all of your strengths and weakness, living life with all of its ups and downs, experiencing pain and joy, confronting both your inner demons as well as the people closest to you.

Our character’s lives are entwined with discrimination, hatred, addiction and death, yet it always seems that there is some resemblance of light, of contempt at the end of the dark and long tunnel before us. We just simply have to find a way to get to it and make our own path.

Killjoys is created by Aljoa Rodinger, an EGlobal Creative Publishing signed author.

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Chapter 1
"If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs and blaming it on you if you can meet with triumph and disaster and treat those two impostors just the same. Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it, and - which is more ¨C you'll be a-" "Hey! Earth to dumbass! Are you there?!" screamed a harsh female voice, which snapped him out of his daze. He closed his locker and looked to the source of the sound. A young woman of his age with short, straight, lavender purple hair was glaring at him with furrowed eyebrows. Her eyes were coffee brown, in her ears she had wooden tunnels and in her nose was a nose ring. She wore a grey T-shirt which was torn at the bottom, exposing her belly and midsection. She adorned ripped blue jeans that exposed her left knee and her hands, which were manicured a bright pink colour, were currently folded in front of her chest as she leant on her locker to look at him. "Oh, sorry Laura. I was just lost in thought," said the young man. "About what?" asked the purple haired girl with a raised eyebrow. "Just a poem that father used to read to me-" replied the young man with a shake of his head and a small smile. "Whatever. Let's just get going," she sighed as she started walking away from him. He followed suit as they walked through the old halls of Rudolph Master's School for the Enlightenment. "You think they'll accept us?" "I don't see why not. It's not like the music club is especially well known around the school. I wouldn't be surprised if they recruit us the second we walked in," replied the young man arrogantly and with an air of confidence. Once they reached the door to the music room they stopped dead in their tracks. Behind the door, they could hear what could only be described as a violent beating of drums. The young man reached for the door knob and closed his eyes, concentrating on the noise coming from the other side. "Funny, even though it sounds like somebody is throwing all of their pent up frustration on a drum set, I can still make out a small hint of a rhythm. Either the drummer is a lucky i***t, or more skilled than I think." Once he opened the door he looked for the man responsible for the noise. In the back was a mountain of a man, slamming his drumsticks on a drum set with his back to the two of them, seemingly unaware of their entrance since he didn't turn around to face them. He was wearing a tight, navy blue T-shirt, which exposed his giant muscles. He was wearing green cargo pants and, from what the young man could tell, black army boots. On his head, he wore a short, dark brown mohawk and, on a giant speaker next to him, were resting a pair of black aviators. "I wonder if this guy lifts tanks for fun," thought Arnaldo before realising something. "Wait a minute- I recognise this song!" He started to sing the song mentally as the drummer continued to play. When he finally finished with a sigh, the young man clapped. The drummer appeared to be startled and he quickly reached for his sunglasses. "Oh, excuse me, I didn't hear you come in," said the man with a deep voice with a slight Swedish accent as he stood up. "No, no, it's quite alright. If anything it's our fault for not alerting you. Arnaldo Caglione, a pleasure to meet you," said the young man as he extended his hand. Arnaldo wasn't small, far from it. But he still had to look up to look at the man. Dog tags hung around his neck and Arnaldo tried his best to read them. "S. Gustav." The tall man took his hand and squeezed it tightly, causing Arnaldo to squirm and hiss in pain. "Sven Gustav. I'm a transfer student from Storuman, Sweden. I'm currently a second year here. Haven't seen you guys before, so I'm guessing you're first years?" asked the Swede as he released Arnaldo from his death grip. "Yeah. This is my friend, Laura-" he looked to his left, noticing a lack of a particular purple haired girl. Turning around a bit more, he noticed Laura standing all the way by the door. "...Riverman. Laura, what are you standing over there for? Come over here and introduce yourself." "N-No thanks. I feel p-p-perfectly fine right here," she said, covering behind the door. "Laura, come on, don't be rude. I know he looks scary and-" he looked Sven over, noting his clean shaven face seemed to have a permanent scowl on it. "-quite intimidating but he doesn't seem that bad," Laura shook her head and Arnaldo just sighed. "Excuse me would you?" he said to Sven. Arnaldo walked over to Laura and began to push her to the Swede, ignoring her protests and squirming as they got closer and closer to the Giant. Laura craned her neck to look at the tall man as he cast a shadow down on her. "H-Hi-L-Laura Riverman. How's it hanging?" she greeted meekly, raising a trembling hand. The tall man leant down slightly, arms crossed as he looked at her as if he was a lion and she was the poor gazelle that he had just caught and Laura squirmed and gulped audibly. Finally, after what seemed like forever, the Swede smiled and waved a little. "Nice to meet you, Laura," he said politely and Laura just laughed nervously. "You guys here to join the school's music club?" "That would be correct," nodded Arnaldo as he looked around the empty classroom. The classroom was quite big and had a bit of an echo to it. In the back were various instruments and sound equipment while in the front were rows and rows of desks. He also noted that it was empty. "Where is the rest of the club?" "You're looking at it!" proclaimed Sven with open arms and Arnaldo and Laura blinked in shock. "Wait. You're the only member?" asked Laura. "That's right." "How did the school body even allow a club to exist if it only has one member?" she asked. "Well, let's just say that I was persuasive. Very persuasive," replied the Swede with an evil smile and a crack of his knuckles that made Laura and Arnaldo gulp. "Well, from what I heard earlier, you certainly have the talent to be in a musical group. That was a very good cover of Ghost Division," complimented Arnaldo. "Thank you. Didn't take you for a metal fan," commented the Swede, arching a surprised eyebrow. "I'm not. I'm just very skilled when it comes to music," boasted the Italian when his spotted something peculiar. In the back, he spotted a blue bass guitar and an idea flashed in his eyes. "Laura," he called to her and pointed at the guitar. "If you'd please." The purple haired girl walked over and grabbed the bass guitar. "Is this thing tuned?" she asked Sven. "It should be. Like I said, I'm the only member here and I'm not much of a guitarist," she plugged the bass guitar in and played a few chords. "Yeah. This should do just fine," she said with a wide smile. "Ok. Laura is going to play a song, any song whatsoever and I'm going to try and guess the song," explained Arnaldo to the still somewhat confused Sven. "Why?" he asked. "Because this will be a good way for Laura to brush off her dusty guitar skills and for me to see if I'm still as smart as I last remember. Plus, it could be fun," he explained and turned to Laura. "You ready?" "Ready when you are." He closed his eyes and she began to play. The tune was very simple and the tempo was a bit slow so Arnaldo didn't have a problem recognising it. "Ok so it starts with an E5 note three times, then it switches quickly to E3, then immediately going to an E1. Then it goes and visits A3 for a while and then goes straight back to E3. This song sure does love the E note. And I don't know a whole lot of songs that do that." Suddenly, Laura picked up her tempo which threw Arnaldo off guard for a moment. "Ok-so now this song decided to switch to D7, for no apparent reason. Oh wait, I know why it did that. So that I could recognise it more easily," he thought with a triumphant grin "Otherside by Red Hot Chili Peppers," he said as he opened his eyes. Laura stopped playing and nodded in confirmation. "Track number four on Californication released in 1999 under-" "Ok! We get it! You're a nerd!" groaned Laura as she unplugged the guitar and set it back down on the stand. "No, I'm pretty sure I'm amazing," boasted Arnaldo. "Dumbass," muttered Laura under her breath, countering Arnaldo's grinned before the young Caglione noticed something out of the corner of his eye. A large, black, grand piano. His grin widened and he made his way over to it. "May I?" he asked Sven, whom merely nodded slightly. He ran his fingers down the hard maple wood, noting that it was dusty. As if it was not used in a long time. He played with the buttons, noting that it was tuned perfectly. He noticed the brand and smiled even more. "Fazioli. My little Italian heart is soaring with pride right now," he took off his black vest, leaving him only in his white buttoned up shirt, black jeans and black leather shoes. He sat down on the black leather bench, stretched his fingers with a loud pop and began to play. The melody was slow, deep and chilling, almost haunting. He closed his eyes and suddenly he was no longer in the music room of his high school. He was sitting on the bench and playing the piano, but he was sitting in a field of poppies. Hills upon hills of frozen poppies stretched before him like an ocean of snowy red. In the sky he could see grey clouds, threatening to pour down their wrath upon him, but he knew that they wouldn't. Because he knew exactly where he was. He was in his mind. His ego. His self. His anima. His soul. "Your warm hands-touch-my cold skin," he sang, to no one. His voice was slow and deep yet warm and seductive, even to his own ears, it sounded like a sweet river of honey. "There is-smoke in the air-.and liquor on my chin. Your eyes are glazed with love-but I feel no such thing," he suddenly picked up the tempo, just barely, as he sang the chorus. "You moan my name with such lust-but I can't seem-to remember yours. For you are not the first-nor will you be the last! I whisper a name-from months ago. Yet you don't seem to notice-no, you don't seem to notice-my empty words-of love." He slowed down his pace to the original speed as he began to step on the pedals, softening the already soft melody even more. "Your lips-taste sweet-but I can't lose control. But you are a drug-. like so many before," he smashed the keys of the keyboard as he once again picked up the tempo and his voice was raised into a mighty but quiet crescendo. "I have been at least, with five women last week. Because that happy ever after-" he slowed down his tempo and calmed down as his voice dropped to a whisper. "-does not exist for me-" he sang the final note, ending it now with a grand finale, but with a baseline. When he finally opened his eyes, he was once again back in the music room, where the sound of clapping shifted his attention back to the other two people in the room. "Thank you," he thanked as he closed the piano and put on his vest. "Well-" he asked Sven. "Are we in?" "You were in the moment you opened that door," Sven crossed his arms and looked at the ceiling. "Would be great if we could find more members though," he muttered. "Let me handle that," offered Arnaldo causing Sven and Laura to both look at him with a confused expression. "And how do you plan on doing that?" asked Laura. "I'm good with people. I bet I can convince people to join. Besides, this school has over six hundred students in it. There's bound to be at least a few people with some musical talent in here," he explained easily. "Not to mention the fact you didn't exactly advertise your club very well," he said to Sven, who looked away and rubbed the back of his head in shame. "I mean, no posters, no flyers, no announcements on the school radio-nothing. The only reason me and Laura know about it is because I asked our homeroom teacher." "I-may not-be exactly the best-at those-things-" admitted Sven. "Yeah, we noticed," commented Arnaldo, which caused Sven to snap his head to him with a scowl. "Don't take this the wrong way," said Arnaldo, raising his hands up and stepping back a little. "But you kind of scare people. Naturally, people will be a bit hesitant to join." "Fine. When can you have it done?" asked the Swede, sighing a defeated sigh. "How about this," said Arnaldo as he pointed to the clock that hung on the wall. "I bet I can recruit two people by 17:00. If I do, you pay for dinner. If I don't, then I'll pay." "Recruit two new members in a little under two hours?" he extended his hand. "You've got yourself a deal Mr Caglione." "Please," said the Italian as he shook the hand that was almost as big as his own head. "Mr Caglione is my father. Call me Arnaldo." "Well then, Arnaldo, you better be off then. I and Laura will stay here for a while and practice on her guitar skills a little more. We'll meet you out front at 17:00." And with that, he was off. Off to find two more members.

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