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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14. Fourteen

I took my time getting to my locker and then to the bus. My thinking was that if Erin got to the bus first, she would have no say in my sitting next to her, as opposed to her not sitting next to me.

She may as well have slapped me in the face. There, sitting on the bench Erin and I always sat on, was her little brother, Fionn. Erin was sitting with his friends, turned away from them, looking far too close at her phone.

“So,” I said to him as I sat down, taking Erin’s usual seat in the aisle.

“Yep.” He shot me that cheeky grin I knew him for.

I couldn’t help but give a tiny one back. “On a scale of one to ten, how annoyed is she with me?”

“Eleven,” he answered without thinking.

“Excellent.”

He shrugged. “She will’ve forgotten by Monday.”

“I hope so. What did she give you to swap seats?”

He pulled the big bar of Galaxy chocolate Erin had bought before school out of his rucksack. It made my heart sink. She’d made me run to the nearest corner shop in Rookhill with her before school to get it. She’d said something about celebrating the weekend. We were going to open it on the bus home. What a difference a couple of hours made.

Sylvie was in the kitchen humming to herself when I got home. She seemed extra cheery this afternoon, just to make me feel worse.

“Hi,” she sung as I slumped in one of the kitchen chairs. “No Erin today?”

It was almost a spoken agreement that Erin would appear at my house or I would appear at Erin’s on a Friday night.

“No.” I sighed. “We had a fight.”

Her eyes widened. “A fight? What about?”

“She’s been messaging this boy, and now she’s his girlfriend.”

Sylvie picked up her mug off the counter and wrapped her hands around it. “Okay. Is this a boy from school?”

“No.” I slapped my hand on the table harder than I meant to, making her jump. “And therein lies the problem.”

“You’re being your cautious self and she doesn’t like it?”

“Exactly.”

Sylvie shook her head. “I’m sure she didn’t want to hear you going on about it when it’s brand new. You should’ve waited for a little while. You never know, this might go away.”

“You’re so not sticking up for me like I wanted.” I crossed my arms.

“You’re making a big deal out of something that might go away. It doesn’t matter what she does as long as she’s not going to meet up with him, okay?”

“But what if she does?”

“She won’t because you won’t let her.” She laughed. “I know what you’re like.”

Against my better judgement, I smirked.

“That’s better. Stop worrying about it. Was there anything else?”

I wanted more than anything to tell her of my suspicion that Sam and the other boys were periliares, but I daren’t. More often than not, I told Sylvie everything, but I didn’t want to push her. If I told her what I thought, she’d keep an even closer eye on me, so this one had to be kept top secret. For now at least.

“No.” I gave her my most convincing smile and went upstairs to get changed.

Right on cue at half past four, a message pinged on my phone from Tyler.

Hey! How was your day?

I left him hanging for a few minutes to finish reading the article I was in the middle of. He was always patient. He never tried to message to regain my attention unless it’d been maybe five hours without a response. An inhuman patience you might say.

Fine. How was yours?

Also fine J

I flopped down on my bed and stared at the ceiling. It’d been a while since Phoebe and Ben had become boyfriend and girlfriend, and she hadn’t mentioned meeting him yet. If they were indeed periliares, what were they waiting for? Not that I wanted any harm to come to Phoebe or that I was ready to take however many of them there actually were. I just didn’t understand what they were waiting for.

Another message made me jump.

I heard about Sam and Erin. Isn’t that great?

I threw my phone back down on the bed and jumped up. That’s just what I needed. I stomped downstairs and made myself a hot chocolate, though I was already hot and bothered. I sat and drank it in the kitchen, flicking through the various junk mail that hadn’t made it to the bin yet and doodling on the pictures in the local paper.

When I returned upstairs to my phone, I felt a little lighter.

Yeah!  I smirked as I let the message go. Two can play at this game.

It’s so crazy though, right?

Totally. They haven’t known each other for that long, but what does that matter, really?

You’re right.

Erin says she feels like she’s known him her whole life.

Wow.

Yeah. I know.

I waited until after he’d told me some boring story about something that happened to him earlier in the day to start probing him for information.

So, hey. I realised I don’t even know where you boys are from!

Oh yeah.

So where are you from?

The outskirts of London.

Hmm. Sometimes I referred to Crowshall as the outskirts of London, and we were about forty-five minutes away. That didn’t narrow it down at all. If I was going to do anything about these periliares, I had to figure out where they were hiding. There was still a tiny chance they were just humans, though I doubted it.

I continued anyway. Do you all go to the same school? You, Sam, Ben, and Owen?

Yeah. Ben and Owen are in the year above me and Sam though.

As I suspected. At least he was keeping his story straight so far.

So tell me, what’s your favourite thing to do in London?

And so my evening continued with the most tedious game of twenty questions. Tyler didn’t want to give anything up, which only increased my suspicion. Naming various landmarks and asking if he’d been to them wouldn’t have given much away, and yet he was reluctant to answer.

I waited a couple of hours before messaging Phoebe and Beth to avoid whatever remarks they’d been thinking up to throw at me. If all of the boys answered in the same non-committal way, I was onto something.

As usual, Beth was perfectly polite. Outskirts of London. Why?

And Phoebe had something to say. Why do you care? Don’t you think they’re all murderers or something?

I replied to Beth first because she wasn’t being a bitch. I wondered if he’d said anything more specific, that’s all. But then I decided to send Phoebe the exact same message to cut down on about half an hour of arguing.

Specific about what?

It was only on reading my message back that I realised it didn’t make perfect sense.

More specific about where they lived.

They live on the outskirts of London.

Yeah. Just as I suspected. Now we were getting somewhere.

Has he ever said anything more than that?

No. Why should he? I’m not stalking him.

I left her to it and began my searching for periliares in the general London area who were causing trouble. Of course, that list was endless. There were corpis and homis and even an ellem or two. At least they weren’t ellems. Well, I assumed they weren’t. The ellems didn’t seem to care much for humans outside of draining their Vitalem, and this whole boyfriend charade would’ve been tiring for them. If the boys were ellems, they would’ve killed us all by now for sure.

But that begged the question, what were they? This whole act seemed like a homi thing to do, but what were their abilities? And did they all have the same one?

I was way in over my head with this, and I wasn’t even sure if they were periliares or not. If they were humans, they were up to something just as concerning, that much was certain.

I stayed up all night trying to find a periliare that sounded like it could be one of the boys, and at last, I found one.

There was a message on one of the forums from an ex-hunter who couldn’t get out any more but had various pieces of information. He said there was a homi persuading young girls to fall in love with him. There was even an address. And it was on the outskirts of London.

Bingo.

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