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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18. Eighteen

By Tuesday, the colour of my bruise had matured to yellow, and was slowly turning to brown. But it was fading at last, and that was the main thing. I was still wearing my bandage to school, but now I’d developed the reputation for being clumsy, not as many people asked about it.

Corey had been giving me weird looks on Monday, and that continued on. I looked for him everywhere, never knowing when he was going to appear and give me this strange one eyebrow, turned lip look like he knew something he shouldn’t.

When I came out of PE, he was there, leaning against the wall. I went to walk in the other direction, but he shouted my name and jogged over.

I groaned. “What do you want now?”

“I wanna talk to you.”

“Well, maybe I don’t wanna talk to you.” I hitched my bag up onto my shoulder. “I need to put this away, and I actually want to enjoy break.”

“You’ll be interested in this.”

“No.” I began walking to my lockers, and he followed me.

“Trust me.”

“I have no reason to trust you.”

“I’m just gonna stick around until you hear me out.”

“Don’t you have a load of friends waiting for you somewhere?”

He didn’t answer that, just walked next to me all the way to my lockers. A few of the people in my tutor group recognised him and gave him a hi or a wave or something. Erin raised her eyebrows when she saw him, but didn’t say anything.

Corey followed us both out of the building as we went to sit on our usual bench. Erin kept throwing me looks.

“Will you get lost?” I said to Corey as we sat down.

“No. I told you. I need to talk to you.”

“No.”

“I won’t go away.”

“I can see that.”

“Please.”

Erin shoved me in the back, and I jumped up. “Go,” she whispered.

I rolled my eyes and followed Corey back round the other side of the building where we’d had our last talk.

“What?”

“Maybe I wasn’t clear enough before,” he said, not seeming as cocky as last time. “I didn’t really want to have to say it, but this is stupid.” He took a deep breath. “I’m a hunter.” He held up his hand. “And before you say you’re not, I know you are.”

I crossed my arms, before having to re-cross them so I wasn’t rubbing against my bandage, and put all my weight on my right leg. “You know, huh?” Denial clearly wasn’t working for me, so I dropped it.

“Yes. Plus, another wound? How bad are you at this?”

I narrowed my eyes at him. “I’m alive, aren’t I?”

“Who trained you?”

I blinked at him. “Trained me?”

“Yeah.”

“No one. I trained myself.”

His eyebrows came together. “No wonder you look like that. How are you still alive?”

“I’m good at what I do.”

“Oh really?”

“Yes.”

“Well, obviously you’re not that good.” He glanced at my bandage, and I uncrossed my arms.

“So, is that it? I admit it, okay? Are we done now?”

“No. When I asked you last week, it was because I was going to ask if you wanted to team up. I didn’t expect you to deny it, so I went and did some digging instead.”

I pressed my lips together. “Is that right?”

“Yep. I know about you, Iris Hale.”

My stomach tensed up, but not in a periliare way. He couldn’t know my secret. Damn it, I hadn’t known it for a good portion of my life, how could he?

I tried to keep my expression neutral. “If you think I’m so bad at this, why do you want to team up?”

He shrugged. “It’d be fun.”

“Would it? I don’t think so. I know how to look after myself. I don’t know how to look after you.”

“Who says you’d been looking after me? I think I’d be looking after you.”

“Whatever, Corey.”

“Plus, I can be someone to come to when you do things like that.” He nodded to my bandage.

“I’ve been doing this by myself long enough. I don’t need you to help me.”

“Uh-huh.”

“Why do you want my help anyway?”

He chewed on his lip. “I don’t wanna say.”

I felt my eyebrows come together. “Why not?”

“You won’t like it.”

“What is it?” My voice was hard.

“Let’s just say you have some skills that I don’t have.”

“Excuse me?”

“You know straight away who’s a demon, and who isn’t, don’t you?”

The words clogged my throat, and I could only stare open-mouthed at him.

“Yeah,” he said. But he wasn’t grinning in the arrogant fashion I expected.

How did he know? He couldn’t know. That information wasn’t anywhere. He couldn’t know.

“I don’t want to scare you away, Iris. So I don’t wanna say what it is I know. I want us to be friends.”

“Friends.” I could only repeat it.

“Yeah. I know you’ve got Erin, and I’ve got my friends, but wouldn’t it be nice to have a hunter friend?”

My eyes felt too wide, and I couldn’t give anything as a response.

“Maybe you need time to think about it.”

“No.” I grabbed his arm as he went to walk away like he’d done to me last time. “I need to know what it is you think you know. And I want to know how you know it.”

“I don’t want to say it out loud.” He brushed me off. “Like I said, I don’t want you to run away. And I don’t want us to start off like this.”

“I haven’t agreed to anything. And I need to know.”

“But—”

“Spit it out. What is it?”

He sighed, looked around him, and leant closer to my ear. “I know about your…parentage.”

 My heart was too loud in my chest. “Everyone knows I live with my Aunt Sylvie,” I breathed out all at once.

“But they don’t know why.”

“Some do. My mother left, and my father died.”

“But they don’t know why,” he said again.

I couldn’t breathe.

“I know.”

“No.” I whispered it. “You don’t.”

“Your father was Hector Hale.”

“So? Erin could’ve told you that.”

“Your mother is Anima Smith.”

I stopped breathing. My brain stopped functioning. I stared. I froze.

“Of course, she’s just Anima, right? All the demons use Smith. Well, most of them do.”

I shook my head. “No.”

“I know who your parents are. And I know what they did.”

Tears were beginning to sting in my eyes. “My father didn’t do anything.”

“Apart from fall in love with a demon.”

I felt like my legs were going to give way any minute.

“You’re half demon, Iris Hale.”

“No. No. No.”

“I know you are. And that’s why I want your help.”

I backed away. “No. How can you know that about me?”

“I told you; I’ve been digging.”

“Where?”

“It doesn’t matter.”

“It matters,” I growled.

“Their names are on your birth certificate.”

“So?”

“Well, first of all, it’s a bit suspicious that your dad died and your mother didn’t want you.”

“Hey!” I pointed right into his face. “Don’t talk about things you don’t understand. I don’t need your friendship, Corey Wallace.”

“I just mean that demons aren’t exactly the best mothers.”

I huffed. “You could say that.”

“And your father’s death?”

I raised my eyebrows, urging him to continue, though my head was spinning. How could he know all this?

“Your mother did it, didn’t she?”

“It doesn’t say that on his death certificate.”

“I know that. I also know it’s safe to assume she killed him.”

“No.” I shook my head. “You don’t know anything. Who are you to come over here and question my parents, neither of which I ever met.” My blood felt like lava, and I wanted to punch something over and over again. Preferably, his face. “You got what you wanted. You taunted me. I gave in. You got me, okay? What else do you want? You wanna hunt me? Are you one of those hunters?”

He sighed. “This is why I didn’t want to tell you what I knew.”

“Get away from me,” I muttered.

“Iris, I—”

“Get away from me!” I screamed it, and everyone in the surrounding area turned to look.

“Okay, okay.” He held up his palms and took a few steps back. “I’m sorry. When you can forgive me, come find me. I’ll be waiting.”

“You’ll be waiting your whole goddamn life.”

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