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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12. Twelve

My feet didn’t feel too steady as I made my way back to Erin. How in the hell did he know about me? No one knew about me, only Sylvie, and she wouldn’t say anything to anyone. She didn’t even want to admit it to herself.

And how did he know about periliares in the first place? Well, he obviously didn’t know very much as he referred to them as demons. Was Corey Wallace a hunter? The idea was so crazy I couldn’t believe it. If there was a hunter in the Crowshall area, wouldn’t I know about it? Damn, if there was a hunter in the school, I should know about it. At least it made sense of his staring.

If he was a hunter, how did he get into it? I thought I was special when Aeirie visited me just after my fourteenth birthday and gave me the greatest gift I’d ever received: the Teneculum. Did she visit him? Nice of her to warn me.

No. She couldn’t have. If she had, he’d call them periliares same as me. That also meant he didn’t have a link to the periliares.

Then what the hell was going on?

Erin’s eyes were wide and she was resting her elbows on the table as she waited for me. By the looks of it, she hadn’t looked down since I’d left.

“What the hell was that about?” she asked as I sat down.

I huffed. “Just Corey Wallace being a dickhead.”

“What did he say?”

“He was just teasing me about falling down the stairs.” I had to look away from her.

“But that doesn’t make sense. How would he know about that?”

I shrugged.

“And he was on his own.” She shook her head. “I don’t believe it. Why would he bother without his friends? And why would he bother to take you away from here? Away from people? Like he didn’t want any witnesses.”

I put my palms down on the table. “I don’t know. It sounded like he was trying to get some gossip out of me. I dunno, maybe he didn’t think I fell, maybe he thought someone pushed me.”

“That would be some pretty good gossip.” Her face was blank and making me squirm. “Are you sure you don’t have anything to tell me?”

My heart almost strangled me as it jumped up into my throat and blocked my airways. “Like what?” I forced the words out.

“Is there anything going on between you and Corey? You keep obsessing over him.”

I let out a huge breath and felt as though I was lighter than air all at once. She didn’t know. I was safe. “No. There isn’t.”

She narrowed her eyes.

“I swear.” I laughed, not helping my case. “I would’ve told you long before this.”

“You better.”

I continued to obsess over Corey for the rest of the day. I didn’t even care when the girls started asking me questions about the bruises down my back in PE as we changed. It turned out they were harder to hide than I’d thought. It didn’t matter if the falling down the stairs story got out now. It might even convince Corey that I hadn’t been lying. Well, I hadn’t lied as much as he thought. After all, I wasn’t a hunter anymore. Well, for the next few weeks at least.

When I got home from school I went straight to my laptop, slinging my bag on the floor. Facebook was my first port of call. He was the first of many Corey Wallaces to come up as we had over a hundred and fifty mutual friends. His profile picture was him and a group of friends I recognised from school, but like him, they were in the other band, so I couldn’t bring any names to mind. He seemed to post mostly pictures of himself and his friends out and about. In fact, it looked like he was always out. How could he have time for hunting if he was always out with his friends?

I snooped around for a while, even looking at his dad’s profile, but that didn’t give anything away. Corey had a ridiculous amount of friends, and when I checked, it was over double mine. Though, of course, he didn’t have as many friends as Phoebe and Beth, who both had over a thousand. Maybe I was the abnormal one here. I couldn’t remember the last time I’d posted anything online that wasn’t anonymously in one of the hunter forums.

Next, after trying to remember my damn password, I checked his Instagram, where there was a lot more content, and a similar number of friends or followers or whatever they were. I smirked and laughed as I went through his photos. It seemed Corey Wallace liked to take pictures of himself. There were loads of comments on each, all from the same five or so people who I guessed were the people tagged in his Facebook photos.

But there was nothing even hinting at being a hunter. I expected his accounts to be like mine, mostly empty, but alas, I’d been wrong.

If he wasn’t a hunter, what was he?

I slammed my laptop shut and went to get changed out my uniform. What I was thinking was stupid and unreasonable. He was probably a hunter, that was the correct explanation.

But what if he was a periliare?

I shook the thought away. He couldn’t be. I would know. I always knew. There was no way we could’ve been that close at lunch and me not known.

Distracting myself with my growing pile of homework worked until after dinner when it ran out. Giving into temptation, I opened Chattication and began searching through Princess Pheebs’s contacts for Corey. There was no way I’d find him by myself unless he was on as his own name, which for some reason, wasn’t cool on Chattication.

Of course, Phoebe had a stupid amount of friends, only a few of which I imagined she talked too, and I got bored after the first hundred or so names.

Something pinged at the top of my screen.

Tyler.—Miller.: Hi.

I just stared at it for a minute before groaning and opening the message. Here was that random message from someone I didn’t know. And clearly someone not considered cool as he’d used his name. Well, what I assumed was his name. How the hell was I supposed to know what his real name was? What the hell was wrong with this damn app?

IronicIllusiveIngenious: Who are you?

The app assigned colours to our messages once I responded. Mine was the maroon colour I’d picked when I downloaded the app and it’d asked for my favourite colour for reasons I couldn’t understand. Well, now it made sense.

A light-blue message popped up.

Tyler.

A man of few words, excellent.

How did you get my username?

I’m friends with Ben and Phoebe.

Of course he was. I backed out of the conversation and sent a message to Phoebe to see if she did in fact, know someone called Tyler Miller.

When I entered back into the Tyler.—Miller. conversation, a new message popped up.

What’s your name?

Lucy.

I decided it was best to use a name that had none of the same letters as my own name. My whole name in fact. There was no way I was letting this guy know I was Iris Hale.

Hi Lucy :)

I left him hanging, more to see what he would do than actually giving a damn. It was all very suspicious indeed. The familiar feeling of dread and wrongness spread through my stomach. There was something off about all these guys springing up all of a sudden. Phoebe used to complain about the lack of boys on the websites she’d make avatars on. Skinny blonde avatars of course. It didn’t seem right that four would appear from nowhere in the space of a month and chat to her friends. I wondered how many people she’d got to join Chattication and how many of them received spontaneous messages from random boys.

It took maybe five minutes for another message to flash up from Tyler.

What you doing?

Nothing really. As well as not wanting to give him anything, it was the truth.

I just finished some history homework. Seem to have had loads since we moved up into year 11.

Yeah. Homework’s the worst. I was making myself chuckle as I continued to reply to his messages in the least committal way possible.

Phoebe got around to answering my message within half an hour, which was slow for her.

Princess-Pheebs-xox: No.

Something squeezed in my heart as I replied.

IronicIllusiveIngenious: He said he was friends with you and Ben.

Phoebe’s message went bright-pink. He might be. Ben’s got a lot of friends.

Of course he did.

I’ll ask Ben now.

Oh yeah, because Ben was a trustworthy source. I knew something was up with these boys, and now I had Tyler, I had the tools to work out what.

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