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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3. Three

When we got our timetables and discovered we didn’t have history until tomorrow, Erin’s smile couldn’t have stretched any wider. After that, the morning started off like any first day back should. Our tutor was in a good mood and even asked us how our summers had been. The corridors became a sea of navy-blue, and for once, I hadn’t needed a new blazer, so I didn’t have to try and avoid the weird stale plastic smell they seemed to give off and could instead enjoy the mandarin fabric softener Sylvie had taken a liking to.

Because Phoebe, Beth, and I all took extra science as one of our options — because we were mad or something, I have no idea — I saw them first period in biology. When I entered the room, they were already chatting, whispering into each other’s ears. Beth had one eyebrow raised and Phoebe was nodding and grinning.

I took in a huge breath before sitting myself next to Phoebe. Not that I didn’t like them, I did. Well, enough to spend my many many many many science lessons with them. They were Erin’s friends really. I only used them so I didn’t look like more of a weirdo. I already had the title of strange stamped on my forehead because I lived with my aunt. I didn’t need people thinking I didn’t have any friends on top of that.

“Hey!” Phoebe spun on her stool to greet me.

As I was one of the last people there, having to walk the furthest, I was stuck with a stool that was higher than all the rest, meaning I’d have to give myself back ache bending down to write in my book. If it was Erin, I would’ve made a comment about saving me a seat, but I bit my tongue.

“How was your summer?” Beth asked, leaning forward so she could see past Phoebe.

“Great.” I smiled at them both, hoping that was enough.

Erin and I had seen Phoebe and Beth once at the very start of the holidays for Phoebe’s birthday. I hadn’t felt the need to see them again. A break from all the drama was pleasant in fact.

“How were yours?” I asked them.

Beth smirked at Phoebe, and Phoebe blushed red. Not just in her cheeks either. When Phoebe blushed, it was a whole face deal.

I just watched them, not saying anything. I didn’t know if I was supposed to know about Phoebe’s boyfriend, so I kept my mouth shut. She was Erin’s friend after all, and I didn’t want to get her in trouble.

Beth nudged Phoebe. “Tell her.”

“All right.” Phoebe swept her cocoa-brown hair off her shoulder. It was even shinier than I remembered. “I met a guy.”

Meet him did you? I had to bite my tongue again. “Oh right?”

“Yeah.” She did this tiny, cute smile. “He’s called Ben.”

“Is he in our year?” I thought I might as well try and fish for the information I already knew to avoid any mistakes later.

“No. He’s the year above. But he doesn’t go to this school.”

“Wow.” I tried my hardest, but it still came out sarcastic. “So he’s sixteen?”

“Seventeen.” She gave a little giggle. “He had his birthday yesterday.”

“Wow.” I could only repeat myself. “But—”

“I know.” She tucked her hair behind her ear. “But he thinks I already had my birthday too. He knows I’m in year eleven, but he thinks I’m sixteen already.”

“Wow.”

Lucky for me, I didn’t have to say anything more because Mrs Allen started the lesson, at last finishing her conversation with Matt who was doing a stellar job of keeping her occupied. Phoebe and Beth shut up to listen, and the rest of the hour passed in peace. That was one of the reasons I could stomach being almost-friends with Phoebe and Beth; they didn’t like getting in trouble.

When the bell went for second period, the jabbering continued.

“Ben just sent me a giant love heart,” Phoebe sang as we made our way to the PE block. “He’s the cutest.”

“Let’s see,” I said as she waved the phone in front of my face. I took it off her and backed out of the chat and into the settings to see if she’d used her own picture.

The photo staring back at me was of a beautiful girl with honey-blonde hair and excellent makeup who looked about eighteen.

Of course she hadn’t.

I shook my head and gave it back to her as we made our way outside. “See, that’s the problem I have with all this. You’re not even using your own picture. He’s going to think you’re this airbrushed model instead of an actual human being. You could’ve at least used a picture that looked a little bit like you.”

She narrowed her eyes and shoved her phone into her blazer. “Well, we’re not all platinum-blonde and gorgeous, Iris.”

I pressed my lips together to stop something nasty springing out. “You’re beautiful, Pheebs. And I like your hair much better than mine. Have you seen how goddamn shiny yours is today?”

Beth put her arm around Phoebe’s shoulder as we joined the mob of people waiting outside the sports hall. “She’s right. You could’ve used your own picture.”

Phoebe shook her head. “Don’t you know anything? He’s seventeen for God’s sake.”

“Maybe he’s using a fake picture too?” I meant it to sound like a good thing. It was supposed to come out as though it was a funny thought. But the daggers Phoebe shot me and the wide eyes on Beth, meant it hadn’t come out that way.

“What the hell is your problem, Iris?”

I raised my hands in surrender. “I swear, that came out all wrong. I’m sorry.”

“Just because you think you’re above dating and boys and being normal.”

Ouch.

Phoebe grabbed Beth’s arm and pulled her away, disappearing into the crowd, which wasn’t necessary as we were all stuck here waiting for a PE teacher to leave the comfort of their office and tell us what to do. I sighed and pushed back another stupid piece of hair that had fallen out.

“What was that?” Erin appeared beside me, waving goodbye to Georgie.

“Nothing. I said something stupid and Phoebe overreacted.”

“What did you say?” Erin didn’t miss a beat.

“Just that maybe Ben was using a fake picture. Which he might be. I didn’t get a look, so I can’t be sure. But you know Phoebe is?”

She nodded. “Stupid, isn’t it?”

“Beyond stupid.”

From the corner of my eye I caught one of the boys from the other band laughing in the general direction of our cluster. They started to make their way in the other direction when the shrill whistle filled the air. But one of them kept eye contact with me much too long. He stood out amongst his friends with his coffee-coloured skin — Crowshall wasn’t known for its diverse community, that was for sure.

I nudged Erin, not taking my eyes off him as he smirked and walked away.

“Who’s that?” I nodded in the boy’s direction, not wanting to point. “I can’t remember his name.”

She screwed up her lips. “I think his name’s Corey. I don’t really know anyone in the other band though, so I’m not sure. Why?”

I shook my head. “Nothing. I just swear he was making eye contact with me.”

She laughed. “And why wouldn’t he?”

I nudged her as we were corralled into the sports hall. “I didn’t mean it like that. He was looking at me like he knew me.”

“Weird.”

I narrowed my eyes. “I don’t like it. What was he looking at?”

Erin gave me a once over. “You look fine.”

She didn’t need to know that wasn’t what I was worrying about.

“Anyway, so what? It’s not the worst thing in the world to have boys interested in you,” she said as we squeezed our way into the sports hall.

I huffed. “I didn’t mean it like that, and you sound like Phoebe.”

Erin held up her palms. “I’m just saying.”

“She said I was above dating and boys and being normal.”

She chuckled. “Being normal is for losers, Iris. Take it as a compliment.”

“That’s easy for you to say.”

She just rolled her eyes and dragged me over to where Phoebe and Beth were sitting, making a big show of not looking at me. By the time I realised what Erin was doing, it was too late, and she’d already sat her butt down on the floor.

I clenched my hands into fists and sat down next to her, facing away from Phoebe. The floor was cold through my tights and didn’t feel clean against my hands, but I didn’t care. I didn’t care about Phoebe either. Not really. Why should I care what she thought when she was so stupid she was dating some guy she didn’t even know? If it was even a guy. He was probably some creep. I was sort of counting on it so I could make an I told you so speech.

I tried to push Phoebe into the back of my mind. Now I had something else to worry about. Who was this Corey? Why had he been staring at me? And what did he want?

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