City of Fallen Angels
Page 19

 Cassandra Clare

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Jocelyn whispered, "That's how Jonathan's eyes were when he was born-like black tunnels. They changed later, to look more human, but I remember...."
And with a shudder she turned and hurried from the room, the morgue door swinging shut behind her.
Clary glanced at Catarina, who looked impassive. "The doctors couldn't tell?" she asked. "I mean, his eyes-and those hands-"
Catarina shook her head. "They don't see what they don't want to see," she said, and shrugged. "There's some kind of magic at work here I haven't seen much of before. Demon magic. Bad stuff." She slipped something out of her pocket. It was a swatch of fabric, tucked into a plastic Ziploc bag. "This is a piece of what he was wrapped in when they brought him in. It stinks of demon magic too. Give it to your mother. Maybe she can show it to the Silent Brothers, see if they can get something from it. Find out who did this."
Numbly, Clary took it. As her hands closed over the bag, a rune rose up behind her eyes-a matrix of lines and swirls, the whisper of an image that was gone as soon as she slid the Baggie into the pocket of her coat.
Her heart was pounding, though. This isn't going to the Silent Brothers, she thought. Not till I see what that rune does to it.
"You'll talk to Magnus?" said Catarina. "Tell him I showed your mama what she wanted to see."
Clary nodded mechanically, like a doll. Suddenly all she wanted was to get out of there, out of the yellow-lit room, away from the smell of death and the tiny defiled body lying still on its slab. She thought of her mother, every year on Jonathan's birthday taking out that box and crying over the lock of his hair, crying over the son she should have had, replaced by a thing like this one. I don't think this was what she wanted to see, Clary thought. I think this was what she was hoping was impossible. But "Sure," was all she said. "I'll tell him."
The Alto Bar was your typical hipster dive, located partially under the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway overpass in Greenpoint. But it had an all-ages night every Saturday, and Eric was friends with the owner, so they let Simon's band play pretty much any Saturday they wanted, despite the fact that they kept changing their name and couldn't be counted on to draw a crowd.
Kyle and the other band members were already onstage, setting up their equipment and doing final checks. They were going to run through one of their old sets, with Kyle on vocals; he learned lyrics fast, and they were feeling pretty confident. Simon had agreed to stay backstage until the show started, which seemed to relieve some of Kyle's stress. Now Simon peered around the dusty velvet curtain at the back of the stage, trying to get a glimpse of who might be out there.
The interior of the bar had once been stylishly decorated, with pressed-tin walls and ceiling, reminiscent of an old speakeasy, and frosted art deco glass behind the bar. It was a lot grungier now than it had been when it opened, with permanent smoke stains on the walls. The floor was covered in sawdust that had formed into clumps as a result of beer spills and worse.
On the plus side, the tables that lined the walls were mostly full. Simon saw Isabelle sitting at a table by herself, dressed in a short silver mesh dress that looked like chain mail, and her demon-stomping boots. Her hair was pulled up into a messy bun, stuck through with silver chopsticks. Simon knew each of those chopsticks was razor sharp, able to slice through metal or bone. Her lipstick was bright red, like fresh blood.
Get a grip, Simon told himself. Stop thinking about blood.
More tables were taken up by other friends of the band. Blythe and Kate, the respective girlfriends of Kirk and Matt, were at a table together sharing a plate of pallid-looking nachos. Eric had various girlfriends scattered at tables around the room, and most of his friends from school were there too, making the place look a lot more full. Sitting off in the corner, at a table all by herself, was Maureen, Simon's one fan-a tiny waifish blond girl who looked about twelve but claimed she was sixteen. He figured she was probably actually about fourteen. Seeing him sticking his head around the curtain, she waved and smiled vigorously.
Simon pulled his head back in like a turtle, yanking the curtains closed.
"Hey," said Jace, who was sitting on an overturned speaker, looking at his cell phone, "do you want to see a photo of Alec and Magnus in Berlin?"
"Not really," said Simon.
"Magnus is wearing lederhosen."
"And yet, still no."
Jace shoved the phone into his pocket and looked at Simon quizzically. "Are you okay?"
"Yes," Simon said, but he wasn't. He felt light-headed and nauseated and tense, which he put down to the strain of worrying about what was going to happen tonight. And it didn't help that he hadn't fed; he was going to have to deal with that, and soon. He wished Clary were here, but he knew she couldn't come. She had some wedding responsibility to attend to, and had told him a long time ago that she wasn't going to be able to make it. He'd passed that on to Jace before they'd gotten here. Jace had seemed both miserably relieved and also disappointed, all at the same time, which was impressive.
"Hey, hey," Kyle said, ducking through the curtain. "We're just about ready to go." He looked at Simon closely. "You sure about this?"
Simon looked from Kyle to Jace. "Did you know you two match?"
They glanced down at themselves, and then at each other. Both were wearing jeans and long-sleeved black T-shirts. Jace tugged on his shirt hem with slight self-consciousness. "I borrowed this from Kyle. My other shirt was pretty filthy."
"Wow, you're wearing each other's clothes now. That's, like, best-friend stuff."
"Feeling left out?" said Kyle. "I suppose you want to borrow a black T-shirt too."
Simon did not state the obvious, which was that nothing that fit Kyle or Jace was likely to fit his skinny frame. "As long as everyone's wearing their own pants."
"I see I have come in on a fascinating moment in the conversation." Eric poked his head through the curtain. "Come on. It's time to start."
As Kyle and Simon headed for the stage, Jace got to his feet. Just below the hem of his borrowed shirt, Simon could see the glittering edge of a dagger. "Break a leg up there," Jace said with a wicked grin. "And I'll be down here, hopefully breaking someone else's."
Raphael had been supposed to come at twilight, but he kept them waiting almost three hours past the appointed time before his Projection appeared in the Institute library.
Vampire politics, thought Luke dryly. The head of the New York vampire clan would come, if he must, when the Shadowhunters called; but he would not be summoned, and he would not be punctual. Luke had spent the past few hours whiling away the time by reading several of the library's books; Maryse hadn't been interested in talking and had spent most of the time standing by the window, drinking red wine out of a cut-crystal glass and staring at the traffic going by on York Avenue.
She turned as Raphael appeared, like a white chalk drawing on the darkness. First the pallor of his face and hands became visible, and then the darkness of his clothes and hair. Finally he stood, filled in, a solid-looking Projection. He looked at Maryse hurrying toward him and said, "You called, Shadowhunter?" He turned then, his gaze sweeping over Luke. "And the wolf-human is here too, I see. Have I been summoned to a sort of Council?"
"Not exactly." Maryse set her glass down on the desktop. "You have heard about the recent deaths, Raphael? The Shadowhunter bodies that have been found?"
Raphael raised expressive eyebrows. "I have. I did not think to make note of it. It has nothing to do with my clan."
"One body found in warlock territory, one in wolf territory, one in faerie territory," said Luke. "I imagine your folk will be next. It seems a clear attempt to foment discord among Downworlders. I am here in good faith, to show you that I do not believe that you are responsible, Raphael."
"What a relief," Raphael said, but his eyes were dark and watchful. "Why would there be any suggestion that I was?"
"One of the dead was able to tell us who attacked him," said Maryse carefully. "Before he-died-he let us know that the person responsible was Camille."
"Camille." Raphael's voice was careful, but his expression, before he schooled it into blankness, showed fleeting shock. "But that is not possible."
"Why is it not possible, Raphael?" Luke asked. "She is the head of your clan. She is very powerful and famously quite ruthless. And she seems to have disappeared. She never came to Idris to fight with you in the war. She never agreed to the new Accords. No Shadowhunter has seen or heard tell of her in months-until now."
Raphael said nothing.
"There is something going on," Maryse said. "We wanted to give you the chance to explain it to us before we told the Clave of Camille's involvement. A show of good faith."
"Yes," said Raphael. "Yes, it is certainly a show."
"Raphael," said Luke, not unkindly. "You don't have to protect her. If you care for her-"
"Care for her?" Raphael turned aside and spat, though as he was a Projection, this was more for show than result. "I hate her. I despise her. Every evening when I rise, I wish her dead."
"Oh," said Maryse delicately. "Then, perhaps-"
"She led us for years," said Raphael. "She was the clan head when I was made a vampire, and that was fifty years ago. Before that, she came to us from London. She was a stranger to the city but ruthless enough to rise to head the Manhattan clan in only a few short months. Last year I became her second in command. Then, some months ago, I discovered that she had been killing humans. Killing them for sport, and drinking their blood. Breaking the Law. It happens sometimes. Vampires go rogue and there is nothing that can be done to stop them. But for it to happen to the head of a clan-they are supposed to be better than that." He stood still, his dark eyes inward-looking, lost in his memories. "We are not like the wolves, those savages. We do not kill one leader to find another. For a vampire to raise a hand against another vampire is the worst of crimes, even if that vampire has broken the Law. And Camille has many allies, many followers. I could not risk ending her. Instead I went to her and told her she had to leave us, to get out, or I would go to the Clave. I didn't want to do that, of course, because I knew that if it were discovered, it would bring wrath down on the entire clan. We would be distrusted, investigated. We would be shamed and humiliated in front of other clans."
Maryse made an impatient noise. "There are more important things than loss of face."
"When you are a vampire, it can mean the difference between life and death." Raphael's voice dropped. "I gambled that she would believe I would do it, and she did. She agreed to go. I sent her away, but it left behind a conundrum. I could not take her place, for she had not abdicated it. I could not explain her departure without revealing what she had done. I had to pose it as a long absence, a need to travel. Wanderlust is not unheard of in our kind; it comes upon us now and then. When you can live forever, staying in one place can come to seem a dull prison after many, many years."
"And how long did you think you could keep up the charade?" Luke inquired.
"As long as I could," said Raphael. "Until now, it seems." He looked away from them, toward the window and the sparkling night outside.
Luke leaned back against one of the bookshelves. He was vaguely amused to notice that he seemed to be in the shape-shifter section, lined with volumes on the topics of werewolves, naga, kitsunes, and selkies. "You might be interested to know she has been telling much the same story about you," he said, neglecting to mention whom she had been telling it to.
"I thought she had left the city."
"Perhaps she did, but she has returned," said Maryse. "And she is no longer satisfied only with human blood, it seems."
"I do not know what I can tell you," said Raphael. "I was trying to protect my clan. If the Law must punish me, then I will accept punishment."
"We aren't interested in punishing you, Raphael," said Luke. "Not unless you refuse to cooperate."
Raphael turned back to them, his dark eyes burning. "Cooperate with what?"
"We would like to capture Camille. Alive," said Maryse. "We want to question her. We need to know why she has been killing Shadowhunters-and these Shadowhunters in particular."
"If you sincerely hope to accomplish this, I hope you have a very clever plan." There was a mixture of amusement and scorn in Raphael's voice. "Camille is cunning even for our kind, and we are very cunning indeed."
"I have a plan," said Luke. "It involves the Daylighter. Simon Lewis."
Raphael made a face. "I dislike him," he said. "I would rather not be a part of a plan that relies upon his involvement."
"Well," said Luke, "isn't that too bad for you."
Stupid, Clary thought. Stupid not to bring an umbrella. The faint drizzle that her mother had told her was coming that morning had turned into nearly full-blown rain by the time she reached the Alto Bar on Lorimer Street. She pushed past the knot of people smoking out on the sidewalk and ducked gratefully into the dry warmth of the bar inside.
Millennium Lint was already onstage, the guys whaling away on their instruments, and Kyle, at the front, growling sexily into a microphone. Clary felt a moment of satisfaction. It was largely down to her influence that they'd hired Kyle at all, and he was clearly doing them proud.
She glanced around the room, hoping to see either Maia or Isabelle. She knew it wouldn't be both of them, since Simon carefully invited them only to alternating gigs. Her gaze fell on a slender figure with black hair, and she moved toward that table, only to stop midway. It wasn't Isabelle at all, but a much older woman, her face made up with dark outlined eyes. She was wearing a power suit and reading a newspaper, apparently oblivious to the music.