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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24. Twenty-Four

Sylvie pulled up at a big, red brick, semi-detached house in Rookhill on Saturday. “This is it,” she said.

I opened the car door and turned to her. “Now don’t drive away until they answer the door. I don’t want to be stranded here if we’re not in the right place.”

“That’s Theo’s Range Rover.” She pointed to the big black car on the drive. There was also a red Peugeot. “Stop worrying so much.”

She shouted goodbye from the car when Corey opened the door wearing a plaid shirt and black jeans. I’d also gone for black jeans today, as well as a grey vest top with a skull on it, my leather jacket, and my darkest makeup. When I had a rock chick day, I went all out.

Corey raised his eyebrows at me. “O…kay. Just a little bit different than at school.” He moved out the way to let me past. “But all right.”

I could see into the living room from where I stood. The back of the sofa was peeking out behind the wall.

“Come through.”

Corey led me into a huge living room which was dominated by the L-shaped sofa pointing at a giant TV. In the back was a dining room table.

“Wow,” I said as I looked around. “Nice house.”

“Thanks. I’ll get you a drink. Sit down.”

I didn’t sit down. Instead, I got closer to the wall where there was a picture of Theo, a young-looking Corey, and a blonde woman with a fantastic smile. I moved past the sofa and matching arm chair and checked out the walls for more pictures. There was a frame with six pictures in it over the dining room table. There were various pictures of the three of them, but they were smiling the widest in a photo with them all wearing shorts.

Corey made me jump as he handed me a glass of Coke. “We’re in Florida in that one.” He pointed to the one of them all in shorts. “You ever been to the states?”

“Yeah, we did Disney and Universal when I was twelve.”

“What about the real USA?”

I shook my head. “No, but it’s not my homeland. Is that Lee with you and your dad?”

“Yeah. They’re upstairs. I’ll get them.”

I sat down on the sofa as he went to shout up the stairs. Nerves were chewing on my insides, and I had to play with my hands for something to do. I had the weirdest feeling that I was at a job interview or something, not that I’d had one unless the mock interviews we had in year ten counted. Not as far as I was concerned.

Corey joined me on the sofa as Theo and a beautiful, slim, honey-blonde haired woman appeared.

“Hey, Iris.” Theo sat down next to Corey. “Good to see you. This is Lee.”

The woman was a couple of inches taller than me, and as she sat herself down and shot me a smile, I was taken aback by her bright-blue eyes. “Good to meet you, Iris.” Her voice was chirpy and her accent was British, which surprised me for some reason. “We’ve certainly heard a lot about you.”

“Nice to meet you too.” It took all of my strength not to look at my hands. I felt like I was being outnumbered, but I wasn’t sure why.

“So how long have you been hunting?” Theo leant against the cushions and put his arms on the back of the sofa, a picture of care-free confidence.

“Almost two years now.”

“Corey told me you’ve always gone alone too.”

“Yeah.” I squeezed my fingers in my lap. “I didn’t know any other hunters. But I guess I’m sort of a special case because I already knew about periliares.”

“Periliares, yes,” Theo said. “Corey showed us that piece of paper. I’d never really thought about what they called themselves.”

I only shrugged. I didn’t know what else to do.

“And we also know about your…heritage.”

I suspected as much.

“Theo.” Lee elbowed him in the side, but she still had a smile on her face, so I guessed it was playful. “It doesn’t matter, Iris.” She turned to me. “We know you’re not one of them. What Theo is trying to say is that we know a lot about you from what Corey’s said, but we want to hear it from you. We want to know everything.”

“My life’s really not that interesting aside from the hunting.”

“Then start there.”

Lee’s smile really was beautiful, and there was no saying no to it, so I told them everything I could think they might want to know. Both Theo and Lee nodded along like I was more interesting than I really was, and Corey looked as though he went off into his own little world. At one point he got his phone out.

“I haven’t had any messages yet,” Corey said when I was finished, waving his phone at me.

“You still might. It was about a week until I got anything.” I turned to Theo. “Did Corey show you the app?”

He nodded.

“What do you think about it?”

“It sounds like a very similar power to others we’ve hunted. We’d call them controllers.”

“Hominiums.” It gave me a thrill to correct him. I was sure it was misguided, but I enjoyed it all the same. “And I’m not sure I would call it controlling. The one that phoned me couldn’t control me, but it stirred an emotional reaction. I’m not sure what would’ve happened after that point. I hung up.”

“Smart move.” Theo rubbed his chin. “Have you come across anything like this before?”

“There was a periliare I was out hunting a little while ago thinking it was the one — or one of the ones — that had been on the app. His ability was quite similar. He was beautiful, and he could turn on the charm and get you to do anything he wanted. He was certainly controlling me, but at least I was aware of it. Whatever this periliare does seems similar but more subtle. Erin has no idea what’s happening to her. She wouldn’t believe me if I told her what was going on.”

“Did you catch it? The periliare?”

“No.” I felt heat blaze in my cheeks. “He got away. I had to leave it because I wasn’t prepared for the fight. He wasn’t the one I was looking for anyway.”

Theo clapped his hands together. “Excellent.”

I could only blink.

“You and Corey can hunt the periliare that got away as a practice. That sound all right?”

Corey was nodding. “Sounds great.”

“Wait.” I had to say it. “Is that it?” Passing down the heroism of hunting ‘demons’ from father to son, I understood. But ushering your only child off into the unknown world of the periliares with nothing but a Teneculum and a demi-peri girl was madness. I knew I was one to talk, but I always went hunting with as much caution as possible, and of course, Sylvie was always there to tell me not to go. It was alien to hear someone say the opposite.

Lee chuckled. “What else is there?”

“I dunno.” I shook my head. “My aunt doesn’t want me to go hunting. She’s banned me, actually. But you make it sound so normal.”

“It is normal.” She grinned at Corey, and his smile was almost on par with hers.

“Well, I mean, it’s normal for me too. But it’s strange to hear it being spoken about, and I dunno, got on with like this.” My words were coming out all wrong, and I fought more heat as it tried to race up my cheeks.

Theo chuckled. “We do just get on with it, you’re right.”

“What about safety?”

Corey raised his eyebrows and met his father’s eye.

“Corey knows what he’s doing,” Theo said.

“Hey!” It jumped out of me before I could stop it. All my nerves and anticipation were building into something I had to let out. “So do I. I’ve managed this long without anybody helping me.”

Theo smirked.

“I told you.” Corey crossed his arms. “She’s fiery.”

“There it is.” Theo nodded. “Good to know you’ve got a spark, Iris. Though you’re right, you must’ve done if you’ve survived this long by yourself.”

“Damn right,” I muttered.

“So it’s all decided?” He looked around at each of us. “You two can take down this periliare?”

This time, I nodded.

“Excellent.”

“You should make a plan,” Lee said, and I had to shut my mouth to stop the response leaping out. “This is new territory. You need to get used to working together. The first time me and Theo worked together were getting in each other’s way and tripping over each other all night.” She laughed like that wasn’t the most dangerous thing I’d ever heard.

Corey jumped up from the sofa. “We’ll get to it. Come on, Iris.”

All I could do was scurry after him, letting the stares of Theo and Lee land on my back.

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