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


11. Eleven

The worst thing about my periliare hunting had always been that I had to keep it a secret from Erin. I was feeling that more than ever. She’d always said I could tell her anything, but I couldn’t tell her this. Instead, I’d had to throw myself onto my bed and cry it out like the pathetic child I was. Sylvie was both so right and so wrong, though I wouldn’t admit it.

Whether she believed it or not, I had to do this. It was the only thing I could do to get back at my mother for what she’d done. I couldn’t get revenge on my actual mother — no one knew where the great Anima was. But I could get back at other members of her kind that’d overstepped the mark.

What else could I do?

Sylvie told me I didn’t have to go to school on Monday if my head still hurt, and I waved her off. It did still hurt, but I wasn’t about to mope around the house all day by myself, crying about my miserable life. Plus, I didn’t want to give her the satisfaction of admitting it was still throbbing.

I spent a good half an hour on Monday morning covering up the now purple, huge, and shining bruise on my head. I did a pretty good job, but I wasn’t sure it would last until the end of the day.

Erin noticed the second she took her seat on the bus and called me out on it.

“Why’ve you got makeup on?” She scrutinised my face and spotted the discolouration on my forehead. I knew it because her eyes lingered on that spot and then went wide.

“Don’t say anything,” I hissed. “I don’t want people noticing.”

“What the bloody hell did you do?”

“I fell down the stairs, okay?”

She pressed her lips together. “You fell down the stairs?”

“Yes.” I held my breath, hoping she’d buy it.

“Why didn’t you tell me?”

I breathed it out. “Because it’s stupid and embarrassing.”

She chuckled and sat back in her seat. “Pretty embarrassing, yeah. How did you manage that?”

“I tripped, obviously.”

She shook her head. “At least the rest of you looks all right.”

“You should see my back. Totally purple.” That at least, was true.

“How you going to hide it?” She nodded at the PE bag at my feet.

“Change in the corer facing outwards.”

“Facing everyone? That’s pretty brave.”

“Better than having them question me. They’re loud mouths.”

She laughed. “You’re not wrong. I hate the PE girls, present company not included of course.”

“It’s all right.” I smirked. “I hate them too.”

The morning passed better than I thought it would. I kept my head down in maths, letting Erin jabber away about her weekend, and in history we just had to listen to Mr Coleman, no talking allowed.

But then at break, Corey Wallace caught my eye again. I was sitting at a picnic bench with Erin, and he appeared from the cafeteria, walking past and raising his eyebrows at me in a silent question. Before I could tell him where to go, he’d already left.

In biology, I was greeted with a squeak from Phoebe. “Oh my God, Iris. What happened?”

I tried to play innocent. “What?”

“Your head! It looks awful.”

I pulled the compact mirror out of my pocket and surveyed the damage. I guess fussing trying to make my hair cover the bruise wasn’t working. If anything, it was making the makeup rub away faster.

Damnit,” I muttered, snapping the mirror shut. I only had my powder with me, thinking only the top layer would need reapplying. There was no way that was going to do much of anything except draw people’s attention to the fact I was applying prohibited makeup. And they’d take no more than three seconds to advertise the fact to Mrs Allen. Well, I knew Matt would, shit stirrer that he was.

“What happened?” Beth asked.

“I fell down the stairs. Please don’t tell anyone.”

Phoebe and Beth shot each other a glance. What it meant, I had no idea. I distracted them by asking about Ben and Owen, and that was that. The rest of the lesson passed in relative peace.

At lunchtime, while Erin was complaining about the English homework we were set last week, and I was trying to cover up my bruise with measly power, none other than Corey Wallace approached us.


I didn’t recognise the voice, and when I looked up, my response vanished straight out of my mouth.

“Can I talk to you a second?”

I exchanged a look with Erin whose eyes were as wide as I’d ever seen them, her eyebrows way up on her forehead.

“O…kay.” I stood, trying not to pull my back too hard, and followed him round the corner of the science block where it was quieter. “What on earth is so important you wanted to take me away from Erin?” It came out as more aggressive than I meant it, but I crossed my arms and pretended that was my intention.

“Hello to you too.” He had this irritating smirk on his face.

“What can’t you say in front of her?”

He raised his hands in surrender. “Chill out.” He said it with a twinge of an American accent.

“What is it?”

“Are you always this aggressive?”

I rolled my eyes. “Well, sorry if I find all this very strange. I’ve never paid any attention to you before, and now all of a sudden you keep watching me. Why?”

“You’re a hunter.” He said it out loud just like that. Like it was no huge secret. Like it was nothing.

It took me half a second to hide the shock on my face, but the way he raised his eyebrows meant he’d seen it. “What?” I raised my own eyebrows.

“You hunt demons.”

I had to squash my smirk when he used the word. He clearly knew nothing about it. “I what?”

He crossed his arms. “You can stop pretending. I know you hunt demons.”

“Are you mad?” I gave a little chuckle. It was quite convincing. “Is this some kind of joke?” I looked around like I was expecting his friends to jump out at any minute.

“I know you know what I’m talking about.” His face dropped into a no-nonsense frown.

“Listen.” I dropped my arms back to my sides. “I don’t know what sort of game this is, but I’m not buying it. You really think demons exist? What on earth have you been reading online?”

He shook his head. “You’re only making yourself look stupid.”

I threw my arms out. “Am I? There’s nobody here. Where are they? Hiding, no doubt? This is a stupid game. No one’s going to buy it. Find someone else to pick on.”

I went to walk away but he grabbed my arm, stopping me. His hands were warm and soft. I was pleased he couldn’t make his fingers meet round my bicep. Not that I was mega beefy or anything, but I was strong. I needed to be.

“Why are you lying to me?”

I shook him off. “Why are you still pretending? Come on, Corey. Give it up.”

He took a step closer, and I had to look up a little to meet his round, dark-chocolate eyes. “I know you’re a hunter. And I know you went hunting this weekend.”

My stomach did a little flip, and my heart was thudding too loud. It took all of my energy not to let it show on my face.

“How else did you get that?” He went to prod the bruise on my forehead, but I slapped his hand away with more force than I needed to. It was almost an involuntary reaction.

“I fell down the stairs.”

“Onto your face?”

“I tripped up. How do you fall?”

He pressed his lips together. “You’re a hunter.”

“And you’re mad.”

“When you’re brave enough to admit it, I’ll be waiting.”

I crossed my arms again and shook my head. “Stop messing around. I don’t have time for this.”

“Fine.” His lips quirked up a bit, like he’d decided he’d won or something. “If you truly think I’m joking, why don’t you go tell Erin about it?”

“I’m about to.”

“Oh really? What if I came with you?”

I felt the confident look on my face fall away, and I just about caught it in time. “You want to go and try and convince another person of this bullshit? Be my guest.”

He kept his eyes on me for three seconds too long and then broke out into a smile, chuckling to himself. “Your lies don’t fool me, Iris Hale. Come find me when you wanna talk.”

And somehow, he ended up having the final word and being the one walking away.

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