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


26. Twenty-Six

I stayed at Corey’s house for dinner that night and returned the next day for something Corey called ‘training’, which was running on a treadmill and lifting weights in the gym in their house. They were rich enough to have a gym, but it was just those two pieces of equipment.

Corey and I were each other’s motivation. When I decided I needed to stop running before my legs gave out, I’d look at Corey sitting on the weight machine, and he’d give me this smirk like he’d won. So I kept on running.

It frustrated me that I couldn’t lift as much as Corey on the weight machine, but I hadn’t grown up around this stuff, so I cut myself some slack.

I went back to Corey’s house three days after school in the next week. I took extra clothes in my PE bag and told Sylvie what was pretty much the truth. I said that Corey had a gym in his house and the two of us were competing for the better mark in our GCSE. All of that was true, there was just more to it than that. But as lies went, it didn’t really count, so I was feeling easy about it.

On Thursday, I waved goodbye to Erin, who had this grumpy frown on her face, and walked back to Corey’s with him.

“I think Erin’s annoyed at me,” I said. “That’s three days this week she’s had to take the bus home by herself.”


“Did you not see her face? She’s pissed off.”

“Well, she won’t be when she realises this is all for her.”

I shook my head. “No. You don’t get it. Erin can’t know about this. I’m not putting her in danger. She will never know what we did. Her boyfriend will just disappear. And even if she knew, she’d still be annoyed that we’re going to kill her boyfriend.”

“Not if she knew he was a periliare.”


I wasn’t sure how to put Erin at ease. She’d been snappy with me ever since lunch when I told her I was going to Corey’s again. But unless she brought it up, nothing was going to happen. I sure as hell wasn’t going to bring it up. I wasn’t even sure what I would say to her. I could tell her what I’d told Sylvie, but I had a feeling that wouldn’t be enough for Erin.

“Any more news on that?”

I shook my head. “Nothing new. It’s all just jabber. Sam did this. Sam did that. I honestly and truly hate his guts.”

He chuckled. “That’s because you know what his end game is.”

“No. I think even if he were a normal human guy who wasn’t planning on harvesting my best friend, I’d still hate him. The fact he’s a periliare doesn’t come into it. All this lovey-dovey stuff is nauseating.”

“You’d be the same.”

I raised my eyebrows at him. “Excuse me? Why the hell do you think that?”

“Girls.” He shrugged. “Both Daisy and Millie get like that when they have boyfriends. Or when they first do anyway.”

“Well, thanks very much for the generalisation. I, in fact, would not be like that. And three girls isn’t enough to make a sweeping statement about my gender like that.”

“Sorry. I was just saying. Anyway, I didn’t mean all girls. I just meant fifteen-year-old girls.”

I rolled my eyes. “Oh, that makes it better, thanks.” I hitched my bag up further onto my shoulder. “So you’re saying you wouldn’t be like that?”

“Been there, done that.”

I just stared at him until he answered.

“I went out with Daisy in year nine.”

I snorted a laugh. I couldn’t help it.

“It was all very much like that. We texted all the time even though we saw each other every day at school. Exhausting.”

“Sounds it. What the hell did you have to say to each other after all day together?”

“What do you have to say to Erin? Aren’t you two texting all the time?”

“Not all the time. But that’s different. We text about homework and stuff.”

“There’s your answer.”

“So you’d text sweet nothings and ask how she was getting on with the maths homework? How romantic.”

He shoved me to the side, and I wasn’t expecting it, so I nearly tripped over onto my face.

I shoved him right back.

“I still haven’t had a message on Chattication,” he said, swiftly moving on. “Maybe they do only message girls.”

“Or they’re too busy with their current targets. We still don’t know how many there actually are.”

“Could be one.”

“Or each of them could have a different guy?” I said.

“I’ve never known three periliares have exactly the same ability before though.”

“Maybe they’re triplets? Though I doubt it.”

“Wish we knew what you could do.”

I shook my head. “I’ve lived my life for fifteen years —   almost sixteen — and nothing extraordinary has ever happened around me. I might have nothing at all.”

“What about other demi-peris?”

“Well, I’ve never met one in real life.” I pushed some hair behind my ear, needing to do something with my hand. “But from what I know, they tend to have a weaker version of whatever their periliare parent could do. It’s usually nothing spectacular though.”

“What about normal periliares?”

“From what I’ve been told, a periliare child will get a mix of the two abilities of their parents, making something different. Occasionally they can pick up just one, but it’s random. Like eye colour.”

“Well, I’ve been listening in biology, and that isn’t true. It’s not random.”

“All right.” I laughed. “I was just using it as an example. I don’t know what abilities are dominant and recessive, do I?”

“That’d be damn useful.”

“Yeah, well. We’ll have to worry about periliare genetics another time. God knows I’ve spent enough hours wondering about it.”

“Shame you can’t set fire to things.”

“I think I’d know if I was half elementum. Like I said, I assume my mother’s a homi. Why else would she show any interest in humans at all?”

We arrived outside Corey’s front door, and neither car was on the drive, as usual. Corey opened the door, and we both went straight into the orange and white kitchen for a drink. He always went for an energy drink with an overenthusiastic name like Power Up or Zapp or something. I’d tried one yesterday, and I didn’t know how he could drink them. They were vile.

“You staying for dinner?” he asked, leaning against the counter and sipping his poison.

“Depends what you’re having.”

“I think Lee’s cooking steak. We always have enough for about five, so you’re welcome to it.”

“Sounds great. What you doing this weekend?”

“Nothing. Why?”

“I think we should go to my house at some point just so Sylvie’s buttered up with your charm.”

He winked. “Well, of course. I can come over after football training. You got a bike?”

“Well, yes.”

“Cool. I’ll cycle over. We can go out then.”

“What? Scared of Sylvie.”

“Of course not. You on the other hand…”

We made our way into the gym, and I grabbed my bag and changed into my sporty T-shirt and jogging bottoms. I jumped on the weights first, still not ready to ‘level up’ as Corey put it, but managing to lift more than at the weekend.

By the time Lee got home, I was panting and sweating and disgusting. I jumped in the shower in the bathroom attached to the gym, because they were posh enough to have a gym en-suite. It struck me as I was drying my hair with a light-blue towel that seemed to be mine now, that it had become normal to shower in Corey’s house. I couldn’t imagine showering at Erin’s. When had it become so easy to hang out here?

I was downstairs before Corey, who seemed to take his sweet time even though he didn’t have much hair to dry. My hair was damp and hanging down my back. It was getting long too. It was to my mid-back now, and the stupid bits of old fringe still weren’t grown out quite enough. I fantasised about cutting it all off, but I knew I’d never have the nerve.

“Hey, chick,” Lee called to me as I made my way into the living room. She was flicking through a magazine but threw it aside when I appeared.

I could hear Theo muttering to himself from the kitchen.

I must’ve glanced in that direction because Lee read my mind. “He told me to get out the way. He pretends he wants me to cook, but he doesn’t. Apparently, he wants it just so.”

“Sounds about right.”

She patted the seat next to her. “Sit down. You got a hair band?”

“Yeah.” I pulled one off my wrist.

“Can I do your hair?”

“Err, sure.” I sat in front of her, and she hopped up and returned with a comb. I shut my eyes at the feel of it through my hair. She started doing some kind of plaiting, braiding thing, I wasn’t sure what exactly.

“It’s always more fun doing someone else’s hair.”

“I used to do Sylvie’s hair all the time. My friend Erin likes doing my hair too. She can’t do much with hers, it’s too frizzy.”

“It’s not often I get to do something girly like this.” She chuckled. “Sometimes I forget. Not that I don’t love my boys.”

I knotted my fingers together in my lap, not knowing what to say to that.

When she was finished, I had two French plaits. I checked them out in the mirror and my face looked even rounder with my hair pulled back, but at least she’d managed to get the bits of fringe in.

“Want to do mine?” Lee asked as I joined her in the living room again.


When we went to the mirror, Lee smiled big and wide. The French plaits I’d done for her weren’t as tidy but had come out better than I’d expected. “Twins. See.” She laughed. “We could be related.”

I could only stare. And for some reason, I wanted to cry.

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