Iris Hale: HUNTER *NaNoWriMo Draft 2016*

*NaNoWriMo 2016*/
Periliares are a crafty bunch. You might know them as 'demons'. They hate that word. The idea that all of them are evil is idiotic. The same way all humans aren't evil, not all periliares are evil. Just top of the food chain. And a lot of them have superiority complexes. That's where I come in. Most of them view themselves as gods, which is fine, whatever. But the second they think they can kill more than their fill, I have an issue.
My name is Iris Hale, and I'm a hunter.
/©Molly Looby

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8. Eight

That night I downloaded Chattication and gave myself the username IronicIllusiveIngenious. And then I waited. And waited. But nothing. I wasn’t sure what the magic formula was, as I’d done everything Erin had. I added the ridiculous Princess Pheebs and Bethany Blossom as well as Erin. Phoebe gave me a welcome lecture I could’ve done without. She said she knew I’d give in eventually blah, blah, blah.

I kept my motives to myself. It would make my I told you so speech all the sweeter.

I spent all of Saturday searching for the corpi online. My phone was right by me all day, just waiting for the stranger’s message I was almost guaranteed. Nothing came. Why I was being ignored, I didn’t know, but it almost made me even more suspicious.

To try and get over myself, I buried myself in finding this corpidem. But it wasn’t until the next weekend that I was confident enough to venture out.

A wave of accidents were taking place, and somebody posted something about a ghost on a forum. After snooping around, I was sure it was a periliare, specifically a corpi with some sort of magic or hex ability. It certainly wasn’t a ghost.

The reason it took me a week to be sure was that I didn’t want to run into an ellem. Elementums were the most powerful types of periliare. It was almost impossible to get close enough to take them down. Trying it might get me killed. It would certainly break my don’t be stupid deal with Sylvie, and I wasn’t about to do that.

Not that catching corpidems was easy. In a similar fashion, they were tricky to catch, but not impossible. And not quite so deadly. You could still end up dead, but I knew what I was doing. The corpis had some sort of ability that helped themselves out in some way. Sort of the opposite to the hominiums whose abilities hindered others. The corpis abilities were always something internal or physical about them.

And this one had some sort of moving or blasting power that better not be telekinesis.

The timing was perfect as Sylvie was out for the day with a group of friends. All I had to do was wave goodbye and walk myself to the train station, making sure my Teneculum was safely tucked away in my jacket.

On the train, I read back over the webpages I’d saved. People were being found dead in their homes or out on the street after some convenient accidents. One man had been crushed by falling shelves in the warehouse he worked in. Another had been trapped by a falling branch. One woman had fallen down a pot hole at the worst possible angle and smacked her head hard on the pavement.

I was sure all these people were alive after their ‘accidents’ and the corpi was ready to use it as an excuse to drain them of their Vitalem. After orchestrating the accident of course.

They were doing quite a good job, but the accidents were a little too close for my liking, and I needed something to take my mind off all the Chattication natter at school.

Phoebe and Ben had exchanged I love yous. Beth and Owen were now officially boyfriend and girlfriend. And as for Erin, she was getting sucked into the world of Sam every day after school. Since sleeping over at my house, they’d spoken every day for hours and hours. I wasn’t sure what they talked about. Erin described it as everything and nothing. Which made my heart sink for reasons I couldn’t explain.

The worst thing was I wasn’t allowed to be annoyed because she wasn’t doing anything stupid. And she liked to remind me of that fact as often as possible. She told me I could have a go at her the moment she made the wrong move. I was waiting in the wings, ready to pounce the second that moment came.

And it would come. I was sure of it.

After hopping off the train, I made my way to the various different locations of the accidents, hoping to find a pattern or a clue. I couldn’t go knocking on people’s houses and asking if there was a periliare in there with them.

Down an alleyway, I spotted a building with scaffolding outside. It was the back of a line of shops with rooms above them that people lived in. The area was quiet, people on the other side of the shops but not this side. From across the street, I squinted up to the top of the scaffolding and saw a blink of colour.

I stood there for a good twenty minutes, making sure to look around and drag my feet and do the whole charade of waiting for someone so they didn’t get suspicious. There was definitely something up there that shouldn’t have been.

My money was on the corpi.

Now the question was how to follow it back to its home. I couldn’t attack it out here in the open, and I couldn’t go over there and ask to use their phone or whatever story would get them talking. The second I went over there, I was sure something was going to drop onto my head.

Lucky for me, some idiot on their phone walked straight into the trap. The person on the roof — which I was certain was a corpi — dropped a wheelbarrow off the top of the scaffolding with perfect precision. It landed straight on the man’s head, knocking him out cold.

I saw my chance, and I took it.

Sprinting over to the man on the ground, I called out in shocked horror, but not too loud as to alert anyone on the other side of the street. There was no one back here, and I wanted to keep it that way.

There was definite scuffling up on the scaffolding as I dropped to my knees by the man. His phone had cracked as it’d hit the ground, much like the man’s skull on connecting with the wheelbarrow. I tried not to look at him. Periliares were one thing, but humans were quite another.

A man who looked in his mid-twenties appeared and raced over to where I was kneeling.

“Oh my god!”

This was my guy. I knew because I always did. Something in my gut told me when I was facing a periliare. That something was squeezing hard.

“A wheelbarrow fell on him!” I cried. “We need to call an ambulance!”

“I already called one.” He panted as he skidded to a stop in front of me. Of course he had. “Why don’t you go to the edge of the street and wait for it? I’ll look after him. I’m first aid trained.” Of course he was.

As terrible as it made me feel, I did what the corpi said. I couldn’t hunt him out here in the open. I needed him to take me back to his house, which he would now I was a witness. I could demand to stay as much as I wanted, but eventually he would give up and kill me on the spot. There was no way I could save this man. Calling an ambulance now would alert the authorities, and that was the last thing I wanted to happen.

So I turned away and walked down the street so the periliare could harvest his Vitalem and kill the poor guy. I had to swallow down my shame and wait.

The hunting life was not an easy one.

I heard his footsteps after a few minutes, and I steeled myself with a deep breath.

“Hey,” he said, putting a hand on my shoulder. “Are you all right?”

I nodded and swallowed. “Just shocked.”

“I know.” He grinned at me. “The ambulance came and took him away. They came from the other street. They said he should be okay.”

Translation: I stole his life-force.

“Really? I didn’t hear anything.”

“That’s because you’re in shock. Come on, I’ll get you a glass of water.” He ushered me down the street, and I let him. “Are you all right?” He asked again once we got walking.

“Yeah.” I breathed the word. “It’s just not something you expect to see every day, is it?”

“No.” His smile was kind. He must’ve practised it in the mirror. Most periliares were masters of manipulation, and this one was no different. “You’ll feel better once you have a drink. What’s your name?”

“Iris.” I gave it to him. A corpi couldn’t manipulate names the way some homis could, so I was safe. Well, in that respect.

“I’m Shaun.” Not his real name for sure.

We walked for a few minutes more, and I made sure to take note of my surroundings as we went. We stopped outside a small terraced house and he took out a key.

I scanned for exits. There was the front door, and a front window that would be big enough for escape as long as it wasn’t locked. I hoped this one had a back door rather than French doors. I didn’t need to go through another one of those in one month. I’d been lucky enough not to be sliced open, and I didn’t want to tempt fate.

“Here we are,” he said as he opened the door. He steered me inside as fast as he could. “Make yourself comfortable. I’ll get you some water.” He pointed to the first door.

I did what he said. I went in and sat down, tapping my Teneculum for good measure.

Here we go.

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