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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13. Thirteen

Tyler continued to chat to me for the rest of the week. For some reason, my vague answers didn’t put him off. He was always asking me what I was doing and thinking. Why he wanted to know those things, I still wasn’t sure.

After chemistry on Friday, I waited for Erin by our lockers before going to lunch, as was the routine every day. I watched the rest of our tutor group come and go, some still making a comment about my now green bruise, but I didn’t listen to any of it.

Mr Coleman came out of his classroom after I’d been waiting for ten minutes and shouted my name as he clocked me.

“Iris Hale. Outside. Now.”

I turned towards his miserable face. “I’m just waiting for Erin, sir. She’s not come back from her lesson yet.”

“And I’m still waiting for a letter from the Queen telling me what a wonderful and patient man I am. Get out.”

I dragged my feet out of the building and had to clamp my lips shut to stop the hundreds of retorts racing around in my mind. It wasn’t worth getting a detention over, but it was a close call.

After another five or so minutes, Erin appeared by the lockers, flushed, and I made a hurry up gesture through the window.

“You’re lucky Mr Coleman didn’t see you,” I said as she made her way out of the double doors. “He essentially threw me out of the building. Where have you been?”

“Sorry.” She pushed some of her super-curls out of her eyes and bit her lip. “I was on the phone to Sam.”

I tried to hold my eyes in my head even though they wanted to burst out of my skull. “On the phone? As in spoke to him in real life?”

“Yeah!” She squeaked it.

“Well isn’t that a turn of events?”

She was squirming around in her place, and I narrowed my eyebrows at her. The grin on her face was too wide.

“What did he sound like?”

She sighed this stupid romantic sound. “His voice was lovely. It was smooth and, well, normal.”

“So he sounded like a sixteen-year-old boy?”

She laughed. “Yes. Only nicer than the loudmouths we have around here. He actually pronounced all of his letters.”

“Did he have an accent or what?”

“No. He just sounded like he was from round here, but posher, you know?”

I nodded, though I didn’t.

“Well, good for you.” It took more effort than I expected to force the words through my lips.

“And that’s not all.” Her eyes were so bright I was a little scared.

A weight dropped into my stomach, and I prepared to keep my facial expression as motionless as possible.

“He asked me to be his girlfriend.”

“What!” The word leapt out of me before I could stop it, and the composure of the second before was already lost. My face felt too hard now, but I couldn’t soften it.

Erin’s smile melted into a frown, and her eyebrows came together. “What?”

“You don’t know this guy!”

“Yes, I do.”

“You’ve only been speaking to him for two weeks.”

“So? I feel like I’ve known him my whole life.”

Anger was bubbling away in my stomach, and I would’ve clenched something tight just to ground me, but I didn’t have anything. “Don’t be stupid.”

“I’m not stupid,” she snapped. “I’m big enough to make my own decisions. Just because you think you’re better than me, Iris.”

I blinked and took a step back. “What? I never said that. I don’t think that.”

“Yeah,” she scoffed. “You’ve been all high and mighty about this for weeks.”

I rubbed my hand through my hair, not sure where to go with this without her storming off. “Erin, please listen to me. There’s something weird going on here. Don’t say yes to him.”

“I’ve already said yes.” She spat the words, full of venom. I’d never seen that deadly look in her eyes before.

The words died in my throat. The anger was begging to take over, but I had to get a grip. I didn’t want to say something I’d regret, though I kinda did.

“I thought you might actually be happy for me.” Her voice dropped into something more recognisable. “Maybe I am stupid.”

“Erin, no. You’re not stupid.”

“You just said I was.”

“No.” My words were getting all jumbled, and my mind was jumping from one thing to the next so fast I couldn’t concentrate. “I said don’t be stupid.”

“Same thing.”

“Erin, please. Of course I want you to be happy, but I have a bad feeling about this.”

“You have a bad feeling about everything! For once can you let me have this one? Please.”

I just looked at her. Her ginger hair seemed even bigger now. Her hazel-brown eyes were wide. Her thin lips were turned down just enough to break my heart.

“Erin, I can’t.”

“I knew it.”

“I can’t because I think you’re in danger.”

“In danger? From what?”

A thought hit me square in the face like that glass had last week. Of course. That made perfect sense. The boys were periliares.

Erin shook her head. “You’re delusional.”

“No, listen to me.” I took a few steps forward, but she backed away. “This is a bad idea. You need to stop talking to Sam. You need to delete the app.”

She just stared at me. “No.”

My whole body deflated.

“You can’t tell me what to do, as much as you might think you can.”

“But this is serious.”

“Why? What do you think’s gonna happen?”

“I don’t want you getting hurt.”

“I can take care of myself. I don’t need your help.” She turned to walk away.

“Erin, please!”

But she ignored me, and I was left staring as she turned the corner.

I didn’t talk to anyone at lunch. In registration Erin sat with some of the other girls from our tutor group, leaving me alone. I didn’t say a word in PE, and by the time I walked into last period physics, it felt like I’d taken a vow of silence.

Phoebe and Beth were whispering about something, and the way they shut up the second I walked into the room meant it had been about me. They sat in silence for a few minutes before Phoebe broke it. I was surprised she lasted as long as she did.

“We just saw Erin.”

I only nodded.

“She said you two had a fight?”

I just looked at her.

“She was really upset.”

Translation: they were on her side.

“Sam’s a nice guy.”

I couldn’t hold it in any longer. I snapped. “Oh yeah? He is? You know that, do you? You’ve met him? Spoken to him? You’ve been around him long enough to make a judgement on his character, have you?”

“Jeez, chill out. She’s not doing anything wrong.”

“Well, I’m sorry. I’m just a little bit worried that my best friend’s going to put herself in danger, that’s all.”

“God, Iris.” Phoebe flipped her hair. “You sound like my mum.”

I raised an eyebrow at her. “Maybe that’s because I’m talking sense.”

“Not everyone you meet online lies.”

“You did.”

That shut her up.

“But she’s right, Iris,” Beth said. “Not everyone does.”

“True. But these boys showing up one after the other who all know each other, messaging girls who all know each other? Bullshit.”

Phoebe rolled her eyes. “You just don’t get it. And you’re a liar too. You told Tyler your name was Lucy.”

I ignored her last comment. “What’s not to get? You know I’ve got one of these losers messaging me. I’m firmly involved in this little activity. What don’t I get?”

“You’re just not…” She waved her hand around on the air like she was struggling for the word.

My stomach clenched. “Not what?”

“Into it, like we are.” She tucked some hair behind her ear and muttered the next words behind her hand. “Whatever that reason may be.”

I laughed once. Hard. Short and sharp. “Okay. Whatever you say, Princess Pheebs.”

Phoebe and Beth looked at each other like they wished they could move away, but Miss Powell started the lesson, silencing any protest they might voice.

I didn’t give a damn what they thought about me. My situation had gone from worrying to outright dangerous. I was sure the boys were periliares. It would make so much sense. The problem now was finding them.

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