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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20. Twenty

Later that night, I got a friend request from Corey Wallace on Facebook, and I accepted it and spent at least half an hour scrolling through his photos and posts. We didn’t speak, but I was sure he was looking at my profile too.

The next two weeks passed without much of anything going on. Sylvie still watched my every move. I still didn’t know where she’d hidden my Teneculum, not that I’d had a lot of opportunity to look because she was always right there. Phoebe and Beth were worrying about various different pieces of coursework and catering practicals, so I didn’t have to hear much about Ben and Owen, which was a welcomed relief now that I couldn’t do anything about it, even if I knew where they were.

The bruise had faded from my head, and the cut on my arm was just a pink line of scar that I was sure would clear itself up in the next year or so. I’d had worse. I still had scars on both my wrists and elbows where they fixed my broken arms. The ones from when I was eight were getting smaller and smaller, but the ones from the summer were still too bright for my liking. I also had a claw mark near my right shoulder from my first ever fight with a periliare, but I wore that like a badge of honour. At the rate I was going, I’d be a picture of scars before my twentieth birthday.

I was sitting at my desk, writing the conclusion to another history essay, when my phone buzzed.

Tyler.—Miller.: Hey Lucy! How was your day?

I gave a little groan and opened the message. It was every day he messaged me. Every single day.

Fine. As usual.

Me too. Got no homework today so that was a bonus.

Good for you.

What you doing?

Homework. Some of us aren’t so lucky.

Oh. I’m bored.

I rolled my eyes and threw my phone down on my bed. It wasn’t my job to entertain him, not when he wasn’t giving me any new information anyway. My phone went off a few times as I finished off and checked my history essay. I decided not to look at it until after dinner. There were three messages.

Want to chat?

Like on the phone? In real life?

If you want to, of course.

My heart was in my mouth. I’d opened Chattication and his message, so he knew I’d read them now.

Before I really knew what I was doing, I typed a reply.

Sure. Why not?

I held my breath, and my phone rang with an unrecognised number that must’ve been Tyler. I cleared my throat before answering.

“Hello?” I said it like a question, even though I knew it had to be him phoning.

“Hey.” His voice was soft. Charming. I knew it. “It’s so great to finally talk to you.”

“Well, you sound pretty much the way I imagined.” I sat myself down on my bed.

“You sound sharper than I imagined.”

“Sharper?” I felt my eyebrows come together. “What, did you think I’d be all breathy and giggly?”

“I dunno.” He chuckled.

Something skipped in my chest. A smile burst its way across my face. I felt warm and alive. And I wanted to throw up. This was it. This was his ability. It wasn’t in the messaging at all. It was in his voice.

I ended the call without a goodbye and blocked his number, my breaths coming too fast now. Shutting my phone in a drawer, I flopped onto my bed, my head in my hands.

So that’s how they were doing it. There was something alluring and persuasive in their voices. It made me feel happy and like I was actually friends with this stranger. It was like there was this sunny glow in my heart and the pit of my stomach.

No wonder Sam had wanted to speak to Erin on the phone. No wonder he asked her to be his girlfriend over the phone. All at once I felt terrible for having a go at her. There was no way she could’ve said no to a voice like that. If it’d been a message, I was sure she would’ve been much more reasonable.

Not that any of this meant I was any closer to catching him or them or however many of them there were.

I typed out a few different messages to Erin, but they all sounded like an attack, or at least weren’t clear enough. So I decided to just wait for the next day. Thursdays were usually my favourite days at school. I didn’t have science, and I had four lessons with Erin. I was sure that would be put to the test tomorrow.

I managed to wait until break to talk to her as I didn’t want anyone to overhear. And if she got angry, I didn’t want people to stare.

“Erin,” I said once we left our tutor base. I stopped us before we reached out usual picnic bench. There were too many people round there. “I really need to talk to you about something. And I don’t want you to get upset.”

“Oh.” Her voice was too soft. “You’re going to try and convince me to break up with Sam again, aren’t you? He said you would do that.”

“He said what?”

“Can we just not talk about it?”

“No. I’m begging you to stop.”

“No. Forget it. Anyway, I had something to tell you.”

My stomach squeezed, and I couldn’t breathe. This wasn’t going to be good.

A smile leapt into her cheeks and my suspicions were confirmed. “We were talking on the phone last night, and, well, Sam said he loves me!”

My stomach dropped into the floor. My heart plummeted. I felt too heavy. I was running out of time.

“So?” Erin nudged me. “What do you think?”

“I…I don’t know.”

“I know you don’t like him or you’re scared of the idea of him or whatever, but please, just think about it.”

Oh I am.” I had to clench my hands into fists.

“Can we pretend that he’s just a boy from school? Would that make it easier?”

“But he’s not.”

“But if he was, would you be pleased for me?”

“Of course I would, you’re missing the point.”

She gave me this smile like nothing I was saying was getting through at all. “You can be cautious, that’s what you’re like. That’s okay. But this is really exciting.”

I had to take a deep breath and shut my eyes before meeting her stupid giddy look again. “Did you say it back?”

Fear flashed in her eyes. “What?”

“Did you say it back?”

She started squirming on the spot.

“You did, didn’t you?”

She pressed her lips together and nodded.

I had less time than I thought. “Find Phoebe and Beth.”

“What?”

I put on a fake beam and tried to make my voice sound light. “They’ll love to hear this! Go. Go tell them.”

“All right.” Her eyes narrowed a little, but the idea of sharing this apparent joy got the better of her, and she started walking away. “Wait.” She turned back around. “Aren’t you coming with me?”

“No, no. You go. I’ve got someone to find.”

When she turned the corner, I raced to the PE block looking for Corey. There were groups of boys milling about all over the place, but I couldn’t see him. My heart was thudding too loud. I couldn’t hear anything over the roar of my blood, and my panicked gasps.

I found him in the cafeteria, a place I tried to avoid, huddled in a booth with three other boys and two girls. He was in the back. Of course he was.

“Corey!” I had to stand in front of all of them as there was no way to get to him. “I need to talk to you.”

The boys made an interested sort of ooh, and the girls shot each other a look.

“Can’t we talk at lunch?”

“No. Right now.” I would’ve pulled on his arm if I could get to him.

“Okay. Budge up,” he said to the girl next to him. The two girls had to climb out to let Corey out, and the second he was standing, I grabbed his wrist and pulled him outside towards the PE block, the opposite way from Erin.

“What is it?” he asked as we stopped, yanking his arm back.

“Something bad’s going on. There’s a periliare getting ready to pull Erin in, I just know it. I hate to ask, but I need your help. I have no idea where it is, and I don’t have much time left.”

He took a moment to take that in. “Okay. Sure. No problem. My dad’ll be able to help. We’ll sort this out. We won’t let anything happen to Erin.”

I breathed out a huge sigh of relief and felt a little dizzy. “Thank you. Thank you.”

“So you’ll take up my offer?”

“What?”

“My offer of being friends?”

I cringed. “Do you have to put it like that? But yes, I am. I accept.”

“Awesome.” This time the beautiful smile seemed genuine. “Just one question. What’s a periliare?”

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