Monday, 7 January 2013

City of Fallen Angels - Chapter 3

“You know what’s awesome?” said Eric, setting down his drumsticks. “Having a vampire
in our band. This is the thing that’s really going to take us over the top.”
Kirk, lowering the microphone, rolled his eyes. Eric was always talking about taking the
band over the top, and so far nothing had ever actually materialized. The best they’d ever
done was a gig at the Knitting Factory, and only four people had come to that. And one of
them had been Simon’s mom. “I don’t see how it can take us over the top if we’re not
allowed to tell anyone he’s a vampire.”
“Too bad,” said Simon. He was sitting on one of the speakers, next to Clary, who was
engrossed in texting someone, probably Jace. “No one’s going to believe you anyway,
because look—here I am. Daylight.” He raised his arms to indicate the sunlight pouring
through the holes in the roof of Eric’s garage, which was their current practice space.
“That does somewhat impact our credibility,” said Matt, pushing his bright red hair out of
his eyes and squinting at Simon. “Maybe you could wear fake fangs.”
“He doesn’t need fake fangs,” said Clary irritably, lowering her phone. “He has real
fangs. You’ve seen them.”
This was true. Simonhad had to whip out the fangs wheninitiallybreaking the news to the
band.Atfirstthey’d thought he’d had a head injury, or a mental breakdown. After he’d
flashed the fangs at them, they’d come around.
Eric had evenadmitted thathe wasn’t particularlysurprised.“Ialways knew there were
vampires, dude,”he’d said. “Because, you know how there’s people you know who, like,
always look the same, even when they’re, like, a hundred years old? Like David Bowie?
That’s because they’re vampires.”
Simon had drawn the line at telling them that Clary and Isabelle were Shadowhunters.
That wasn’t his secret to tell.
Nor did they know that Maia was a werewolf. They just thought that Maia and Isabelle
were two hot girls who had both inexplicably agreed to date Simon. They put this down
to what Kirk called his “sexy vampire mojo.” Simon didn’t really care what they called it,
as long as they never slipped up and told Maia and Isabelle about each other.
So far he’d managed to successfully invite them each to alternate gigs, so they never
showed up at the same one at the same time.
“Maybe you could show the fangs onstage?” Eric suggested. “Just, like, once, dude. Flash
’em at the crowd.”
“If he did that, the leader of the New York City vampire clan would kill you all,” Clary
said. “You know that, right?”
She shook her head in Simon’s direction. “I can’t believe you told them you’re a
vampire,” she added, lowering her voice so only Simon could hear her. “They’re idiots,
in case you haven’t noticed.”
“They’re my friends,” Simon muttered.
“They’re your friends, and they’re idiots.”
“I want people I care about to know the truth about me.”
“Oh?” Clary said, not very kindly. “So when are you going to tell your mother?”
Before Simon could reply, there was a loud rap on the garage door, and a moment later it
slid up, letting more autumn sunlight pour inside. Simon looked over, blinking. It was a
reflex, really, left over from when he had been human. It no longer took his eyes more
than a split second to adjust to darkness or light.
There was a boy standing at the garage entrance, backlit by bright sun. He held a piece of
paper in his hand. He looked down at it uncertainly, and then back up at the band. “Hey,”
he said. “Is this where I can find the band Dangerous Stain?”
“We’re Dichotomous Lemur now,” said Eric, stepping forward. “Who wants to know?”
“I’m Kyle,” said the boy, ducking under the garage door. Straightening up, he flipped
back the brown hair that fell into his eyes and held out his piece of paper to Eric. “I saw
you were looking for a lead singer.”
“Whoa,” said Matt. “We put that flyer up, like, a year ago. I totally forgot about it.”
“Yeah,” said Eric. “We were doing some different stuff back then. Now we mostly
switch off on vocals. You have experience?”
Kyle—who was very tall, Simon saw, though not at all gangly—shrugged. “Not really.
But I’m told I can sing.” He had a slow, slightly drawling diction, more surfer than
The members of the band looked uncertainly at one another. Eric scratched behind his
ear. “Can you give us a second, dude?”
“Sure.” Kyle ducked back out of the garage, sliding the door closed behind him. Simon
could hear him whistling faintly outside. It sounded like “She’ll Be Comin’ Round the
Mountain.” It wasn’t particularly in tune, either.
“I dunno,” Eric said. “I’m not sure we can use anyone new right now. ’Cause, I mean, we
can’t tell him about the vampire thing, can we?”
“No,” said Simon. “You can’t.”
“Well, then.” Matt shrugged. “It’s too bad. We need a singer. Kirk sucks. No offense,
“Screw you,” said Kirk. “I do not suck.”
“Yes, youdo,” said Matt. “You suck big, hairy—” “Ithink,”Claryinterrupted,raising her
voice, “that you should let him try out.”
Simon stared at her. “Why?”
“Because he is superhot,” Clary said, to Simon’s surprise. He hadn’t been enormously
struck by Kyle’s looks, but then, perhaps he wasn’t the best judge of male beauty. “And
your band needs some sex appeal.”
“Thank you,” said Simon. “On behalf of us all, thank you very much.”
Clary made an impatient noise. “Yes, yes, you’re all fine-looking guys. Especially you,
Simon.” She patted his hand. “But Kyle is hot like ‘whoa.’ I’m just saying. My objective
opinion as a female is that if you add Kyle to your band, you will double your female fan
“Which means we’ll have two female fans instead of one,” said Kirk.
“Which one?” Matt looked genuinely curious.
“Eric’s little cousin’s friend. What’s her name? The one who has a crush on Simon. She
comes to all our gigs and tells everyone she’s his girlfriend.”
Simon winced. “She’s thirteen.”
“That’s your sexy vampire mojo at work, man,” said Matt. “The ladies cannot resist you.”
“Oh, for God’s sake,” said Clary. “There is no such thing as sexy vampire mojo.” She
pointed a finger at Eric. “And don’t even say that Sexy Vampire Mojo sounds like a band
name, or I’ll—”
The garage door swung back up. “Uh, dudes?” It was Kyle again. “Look, if you don’t
want me to try out, it’s cool.
Maybe you changed your sound, whatever. Just say the word, and I’m out.”
Eric cocked his head to the side. “Come on in and let’s get a look at you.”
Kyle stepped into the garage. Simon stared at him, trying to gauge what it was that had
made Clary say he was hot. He was tall and broad-shouldered and slim, with high
cheekbones, longish black hair that tumbled over his forehead and down his neck in curls,
and brown skin that hadn’t lost its summery tan yet. His long, thick eyelashes over
startling hazel-green eyes made him look like a pretty-boy rock star. He wore a fitted
green T-shirt and jeans, and twining both his bare arms were tattoos—not Marks, just
ordinary tattoos. They looked like scrolling script winding around his skin, disappearing
up the sleeves of his shirt.
Okay, Simon had to admit. He wasn’t hideous.
“You know,” Kirk said finally, breaking the silence. “I see it. He is pretty hot.”
Kyle blinked and turned to Eric. “So, do you want me to sing or not?”
Eric detached the mike from its stand and handed it to him. “Go ahead,” he said. “Give it
a try.”
“You know, he was really pretty good,” Clary said. “I was kind of kidding about
including Kyle in the band, but he can actually sing.”
They were walking along Kent Avenue, toward Luke’s house. The sky had darkened
from blue to gray in preparation for twilight, and clouds hung low over the East River.
Clary was trailing one of her gloved hands along the chain-link fence that separated them
from the cracked concrete embankment, making the metal rattle.
“You’re just saying that because you think he’s hot,” said Simon.
She dimpled. “Not that hot. Not, like, the hottest guy I’ve ever seen.” Which, Simon
imagined, would be Jace, though she was nice enough not to say it. “But I thought it
would be a good idea to have him in the band, honestly.
If Eric and the rest of them can’t tell him you’re a vampire, they can’t tell everyone else,
either. Hopefully it’ll put an end to that stupid idea.” They were nearly at Luke’s house;
Simon could see it across the street, the windows lit up yellow against the coming dark.
Clary paused at a gap in the fence. “Remember when we killed a bunch of Raum demons
“You and Jace killed some Raum demons. I almost threw up.” Simon remembered, but
his mind wasn’t on it; he was thinking of Camille, sitting across from him in the
courtyard, saying, You befriend Shadowhunters, but you can never be of them. You will
always be other and outside. He looked sideways at Clary, wondering what she would say
if he told her about his meeting with the vampire, and her offer. He imagined that she
would probably be terrified. The fact that he couldn’t be harmed hadn’t yet stopped her
from worrying about his safety.
“You wouldn’t be scared now,” she said softly, as if reading his mind. “Now you have
the Mark.” She turned to look at him, still leaning against the fence. “Does anyone ever
notice or ask you about it?”
He shook his head. “My hair covers it, mostly, and anyway, it’s faded a lot. See?” He
pushed his hair aside.
Clary reached out and touched his forehead and the curving scripted Mark there. Her eyes
were sad, as they had beenthatdayinthe Hall ofAccords inAlicante, whenshe’d cutthe
oldest curse of the world into his skin. “Does it hurt?”
“No. No, it doesn’t.” And Cain said unto the Lord, My punishment is greater than I can
bear. “You know I don’t blame you, don’t you? You saved my life.”
“I know.” Her eyes were shining. She dropped her hand from his forehead and scrubbed
the back of her glove across her face. “Damn. I hate crying.”
“Well, you better get used to it,” he said, and when her eyes widened, he added hastily, “I
meant the wedding. It’s what, next Saturday? Everyone cries at weddings.”
She snorted.
“How are your mom and Luke, anyway?”
“Disgustingly in love. It’s horrible. Anyway—” She patted him on the shoulder. “I should
go in. See you tomorrow?”
He nodded. “Sure. Tomorrow.”
He watched heras she ranacross the street and up the stairs to Luke’s frontdoor.
Tomorrow. He wondered how long it had been since he had gone more than a few days
without seeing Clary. He wondered about being a fugitive and a wanderer on the earth,
like Camille had said. Like Raphael had said. Thy brother’s blood crieth unto me from
the ground. He wasn’t Cain, who had killed his brother, but the curse believed he was. It
was strange, he thought, waiting to lose everything, not knowing if it would happen, or
The door shut behind Clary. Simon turned to head down Kent, toward the G train stop at
Lorimer Street. It was nearly full dark now, the sky overhead a swirl of gray and black.
Simon heard tires squeal on the road behind him, but he didn’t turn around. Cars drove
too fast on this street all the time, despite the cracks and potholes. It wasn’t until the blue
van drew up beside him and screeched to a stop that he turned to look.
The van’s driver yanked the keys from the ignition, killing the engine, and threw open the
door. It was a man—a tall man, dressed in a gray hooded tracksuit and sneakers, the hood
pulled down so low that it hid most of his face.
He leaped down from the driver’s seat, and Simon saw that there was a long, shimmering
knife in his hand.
Later Simon would think that he should have run. He was a vampire, faster than any
human. He could outrun anyone. He should have run, but he was too startled; he stood
still as the man, gleaming knife in hand, came toward him. The man said something in a
low, guttural voice, something in a language Simon didn’t understand.
Simon took a step back. “Look,” he said, reaching for his pocket. “You can have my
The man lunged at Simon, plunging the knife toward his chest. Simon stared down in
disbelief. Everything seemed to be happening very slowly, as if time were stretching out.
He saw the point of the knife near his chest, the tip denting the leather of his jacket—and
then it sheared to the side, as if someone had grabbed his attacker’s arm and yanked. The
man screamed as he was jerked up into the air like a puppet being hauled up by its
Simon looked around wildly—surely someone must have heard or noticed the
commotion, but no one appeared.
The man kept screaming, jerking wildly, while his shirt tore open down the front, as if
ripped apart by an invisible hand.
Simon stared in horror. Huge wounds were appearing on the man’s torso. His head flew
back, and blood sprayed from his mouth. He stopped screaming abruptly—and fell, as if
the invisible hand had opened, releasing him. He hit the ground and broke apart like glass
shattering into a thousand shining pieces that scattered themselves across the pavement.
Simon dropped to his knees. The knife that had been meant to kill him lay a little way
away, within arm’s reach. It was all that was left of his attacker, save a pile of
shimmering crystals that were already beginning to blow away in the brisk wind. He
touched one cautiously.
It was salt. He looked down at his hands. They were shaking. He knew what had
happened, and why.
And the Lord said unto him, Therefore whosoever slayeth Cain, vengeance shall be taken
on him sevenfold.
So this was what sevenfold looked like.
He barely made it to the gutter before he doubled over and vomited blood into the street.
The moment Simon opened the door, he knew he’d miscalculated. He’d thought his
mother would be asleep by now, but she wasn’t. She was awake, sitting in an armchair
facing the front door, her phone on the table next to her, and she saw the blood on his
jacket immediately.
To his surprise she didn’t scream, but her hand flew to her mouth. “Simon.”
“It’s not my blood,” he said quickly. “I was over at Eric’s, and Matt had a nosebleed—”
“I don’t want to hear it.” That sharp tone was one she rarely used; it reminded him of the
way she’d talked during those last months when his father had been sick, anxiety like a
knife in her voice. “I don’t want to hear any more lies.”
Simon dropped his keys onto the table next to the door. “Mom—”
“All you do is tell me lies. I’m tired of it.”
“That’s not true,” he said, but he felt sick, knowing it was. “I just have a lot going on in
my life right now.”
“I know you do.” His mother got to her feet; she had always been a skinny woman, and
she looked bony now, her dark hair, the same color as his, streaked with more gray than
he had remembered where it fell around her face.
“Come with me, young man. Now.”
Puzzled, Simon followed her into the small bright-yellow kitchen. His mother stopped
and pointed toward the counter. “Care to explain those?”
Simon’s mouth went dry. Lined up along the counter like a row of toy soldiers were the
bottles of blood that had been in the mini-fridge inside his closet. One was half-full, the
others entirely full, the red liquid inside them shining like an accusation. She had also
found the empty blood bags he had washed out and carefully stuffed inside a shopping
bag before dumping them into his trash can. They were spread out over the counter too,
like a grotesque decoration.
“I thought at first the bottles were wine,” Elaine Lewis said in a shaking voice. “Then I
found the bags. So I opened one of the bottles. It’s blood. Isn’t it?”
Simon said nothing. His voice seemed to have fled.
“You’ve been acting so strangely lately,” his mother went on. “Out at all hours, you
never eat, you barely sleep, you have friends I’ve never met, never heard of. You think I
can’t tell when you’re lying to me? I can tell, Simon. I thought maybe you were on
Simon found his voice. “So you searched my room?”
His mother flushed. “I had to! I thought—I thought if I found drugs there, I could help
you, get you into a rehab program, but this?” She gestured wildly at the bottles. “I don’t
even know what to think about this. What’s going on, Simon? Have you joined some
kind of cult?”
Simon shook his head.
“Then, tell me,” his mother said, her lips trembling. “Because the only explanations I can
think of are horrible and sick. Simon, please—”
“I’m a vampire,” Simon said. He had no idea how he had said it, or even why. But there
it was. The words hung in the air between them like poisonous gas.
His mother’s knees seemed to give out, and she sank into a kitchen chair. “What did you
say?” she breathed.
“I’m a vampire,” Simon said. “I’ve been one for about two months now. I’m sorry I
didn’t tell you before. I didn’t know how.”
Elaine Lewis’s face was chalk white. “Vampires don’t exist, Simon.”
“Yes,” he said. “They do. Look, I didn’t ask to be a vampire. I was attacked. I didn’t have
a choice. I’d change it if I could.” He thought wildly back to the pamphlet Clary had
given him so long ago, the one about coming out to your parents. It had seemed like a
funny analogy then; now it didn’t.
“You think you’re a vampire,” Simon’s mother said numbly. “You think you drink
“I do drink blood,” Simon said. “I drink animal blood.”
“But you’re a vegetarian.” His mother looked to be on the verge of tears.
“I was. I’m not now. I can’t be. Blood is what I live on.” Simon’s throat felt tight. “I’ve
never hurt a person. I’d never drink someone’s blood. I’m still the same person. I’m still
His mother seemed to be fighting for control. “Your new friends—are they vampires
Simon thought of Isabelle, Maia, Jace. He couldn’t explain Shadowhunters and
werewolves, too. It was too much.
“No. But—they know I am one.”
“Did—did they give you drugs? Make you take something? Something that would make
you hallucinate?” She seemed to have barely heard his answer.
“No. Mom, this is real.”
“It’s not real,” she whispered. “You think it’s real. Oh, God. Simon. I’m so sorry. I
should have noticed. We’ll get you help. We’ll find someone.A doctor. Whatever
“I can’t go to a doctor, Mom.”
“Yes, you can. You need to be somewhere. A hospital, maybe—”
He held out his wrist to her. “Feel my pulse,” he said.
She looked at him, bewildered. “What?”
“My pulse,” he said. “Take it. If I have one, okay. I’ll go to the hospital with you. If not,
you have to believe me.”
She wiped the tears from her eyes and slowly reached to take his wrist. After so long
taking care of Simon’s father when he’d been sick, she knew how to take a pulse as well
as any nurse. She pressed her index fingertip to the inside of his wrist, and waited.
He watched as her face changed, from misery and upset to confusion, and then to terror.
She stood up, dropping his hand, backing away from him. Her eyes were huge and dark
in her white face. “What are you?”
Simon felt sick. “I told you. I’m a vampire.”
“You’re not my son. You’re not Simon.” She was shuddering. “What kind of living thing
doesn’t have a pulse? What kind of monster are you? What have you done with my
“I am Simon—” He took a step toward his mother.
She screamed. He had never heard her scream like that, and he never wanted to again. It
was a horrible noise.
“Get away from me.” Her voice broke. “Don’t come any closer.” She began to whisper.
“Barukh ata Adonai sho’me’a t’fila . . .”
She was praying, Simon realized with a jolt. She was so terrified of him that she was
praying that he would go away, be banished. And what was worse was that he could feel
it. The name of God tightened his stomach and made his throat ache.
She was right to pray, he thought, sick to his soul. He was cursed. He didn’t belong in the
world. What kind of living thing doesn’t have a pulse?
“Mom,” he whispered. “Mom, stop.”
She looked at him, wide-eyed, her lips still moving.
“Mom, you don’t need to be so upset.” He heard his own voice as if from a distance, soft
and soothing, a stranger’s voice. He kept his eyes fixed on his mother as he spoke,
capturing her gaze with his as a cat might capture a mouse. “Nothing happened. You fell
asleep in the armchair in the living room. You’re having a bad dream that I came home
and told you I was a vampire. But that’s crazy. That would never happen.”
She had stopped praying. She blinked. “I’m dreaming,” she repeated.
“It’s a bad dream,” Simon said. He moved toward her and put his hand on her shoulder.
She didn’t pull away. Her head was drooping, like a tired child’s. “Just a dream. You
never found anything in my room. Nothing happened.
You’ve just been sleeping, that’s all.”
He took her hand. She let him lead her into the living room, where he settled her into the
armchair. She smiled when he pulled a blanket over her, and closed her eyes.
He went back into the kitchen and swiftly, methodically, swept the bottles and containers
of blood into a garbage bag. He tied it at the top and brought it to his room, where he
changed his bloody jacket for a new one, and threw some things quickly into a duffel bag.
He flipped the light off and left, closing the door behind him.
His mother was already asleep as he passed through the living room. He reached out and
lightly touched her hand.
“I’ll be gone for a few days,” he whispered. “But you won’t worry. You won’t expect me
back. You think I’m on a school field trip. There’s no need to call. Everything is fine.”
He drew his hand back. In the dim light his mother looked both older and younger than
he was used to. She was as small as a child, curled under the blanket, but there were new
lines on her face he didn’t remember being there before.
“Mom,” he whispered.
He touched her hand, and she stirred. Not wanting her to wake, he jerked his fingers back
and moved soundlessly to the door, grabbing his keys from the table as he went.
The Institute was quiet. It was always quiet these days. Jace had taken to leaving his
window open at night, so he could hear the noises of traffic going by, the occasional wail
of ambulance sirens and the honking of horns on York Avenue. He could hear things
mundanes couldn’t, too, and these sounds filtered through the night and into his
dreams—the rush of air displaced by a vampire’s airborne motorcycle, the flutter of
winged fey, the distant howl of wolves on nights when the moon was full.
It was only half-full now, casting just enough light for him to read by as he sprawled on
the bed. He had his father’s silver box open in front of him, and was going through what
was inside it. One of his father’s steles was in there, and a silver-handled hunting dagger
with the initials SWH on the handle, and—of most interest to Jace—a pile of letters.
Over the past six weeks he had taken to reading a letter or so every night, trying to get a
sense for the man who was his biological father. A picture had begun to emerge slowly,
of a thoughtful young man with hard-driving parents who had been drawn to Valentine
and the Circle because they had seemed to offer him an opportunity to distinguish himself
in the world. He had kept writing to Amatis even after their divorce, something she
hadn’t mentioned before. In those letters, his disenchantment with Valentine and sickness
at the Circle’s activities were clear, though he rarely, if ever, mentioned Jace’s mother,
Céline. It made sense—Amatis wouldn’t have wanted to hear about her replacement—
and yet Jace could not help hating his father a little for it. If he hadn’t cared about Jace’s
mother, why marry her? If he’d hated the Circle so much, why hadn’t he left it? Valentine
had been a madman, but at least he’d stood by his principles.
And then, of course, Jace only felt worse for preferring Valentine to his real father. What
kind of person did that make him?
A knock on the door drew him out of his self-recriminations; he got to his feet and went
to answer it, expecting Isabelle to be there, wanting to either borrow something or
complain about something.
But it wasn’t Isabelle. It was Clary.
She wasn’t dressed the way she usually was. She had a low-cut black tank top on, a white
blouse tied loose and open over it, and a short skirt, short enough to show the curves of
her legs up to midthigh. She wore her bright red hair in braids, loose curls of it clinging
against the hollows of her temples, as if it had been raining lightly outside.
She smiled when she saw him, arching her eyebrows. They were coppery, like the fine
eyelashes that framed her green eyes. “Aren’t you going to let me in?”
He looked up and down the hallway. No one else was there, thank God. Taking Clary by
the arm, he pulled her inside and shut the door. Leaning against it, he said, “What are you
doing here? Is everything all right?”
“Everything’s fine.” She kicked off her shoes and sat down on the edge of the bed. Her
skirt rode up as she leaned back on her hands, showing more thigh. It wasn’t doing
wonders for Jace’s concentration. “I missed you.
And Mom and Luke are asleep. They won’t notice I’m gone.”
“You shouldn’t be here.” The words came out as a sort of groan. He hated saying them
but knew they needed to be said, for reasons she didn’t even know. And he hoped she
never would.
“Well, if you want me to go, I will.” She stood up. Her eyes were shimmeringly green.
She took a step closer to him. “But I came all the way here. You could at least kiss me
He reached for her and drew her in, and kissed her. There were some things you had to
do, even if they were a bad idea. She folded into his arms like delicate silk. He put his
hands in her hair and ran his fingers through it, untwisting her braids until her hair fell
around her shoulders the way he liked it. He remembered wanting to do this the first time
he had seen her, and dismissing the idea as insane. She was a mundane, she’d been a
stranger, there’d been no sense in wanting her. And then he had kissed her for the first
time, in the greenhouse, and it had almost made him crazy. They had gone downstairs
and been interrupted by Simon, and he had never wanted to kill anyone as much as he
had wanted to kill Simon in that moment, though he knew, intellectually, that Simon
hadn’t done anything wrong. But what he felt had nothing to do with intellect, and when
he had imagined her leaving him for Simon, the thought had made him sick and scared
the way no demon ever had.
And then Valentine had told them they were brother and sister, and Jace had realized that
there were worse things, infinitely worse things, than Clary leaving him for someone
else—and that was knowing that the way he loved her was somehow cosmically wrong;
that what had seemed the most pure and most irreproachable thing in his life had now
been defiled beyond redemption. He remembered his father saying that when angels fell,
they fell in anguish, because once they had seen the face of God, and now they never
would again. And he had thought he knew how they felt.
It had not made him want her any less; it had just turned wanting her into torture.
Sometimes the shadow of that torture fell across his memories even when he was kissing
her, as he was now, and made him crush her more tightly to him. She made a surprised
noise but didn’t protest, even when he lifted her up and carried her over to the bed.
They sprawled onto it together, crumpling some of the letters, Jace knocking the box
itself aside to make room for them. His heart was hammering against the inside of his
ribs. They had never been in bed together like this before, not really. There had been that
night in her room in Idris, but they had barely touched. Jocelyn was careful never to let
either of them spend the night where the other one lived. She didn’t care much for him,
Jace suspected, and he could hardly blame her. He doubted he would have liked himself
much, if he’d been in her position.
“I love you,” Clary whispered. She had his shirt off, and her fingertips were tracing the
scars on his back, and the star-shaped scar on his shoulder that was the twin of her own, a
relic of the angel whose blood they both shared. “I don’t ever want to lose you.”
He slid his hand down to untie her knotted blouse. His other hand, braced against the
mattress, touched the cold metal of the hunting dagger; it must have spilled onto the bed
with the rest of the contents of the box. “That will never happen.”
She looked up at him with luminous eyes. “How can you be so sure?”
His hand tightened on the knife hilt. The moonlight that poured through the window slid
off the blade as he raised it. “I’m sure,” he said, and brought the dagger down. The blade
sheared through her flesh as if it were paper, and as her mouth opened in a startled O and
blood soaked the front of her white shirt, he thought, Dear God, not again.
Waking up from the nightmare was like crashing through a plate glass window. The
razored shards of it seemed to slice at Jace even as he pulled free and sat up, gasping. He
rolled off the bed, instinctively wanting to get away, and hit the stone floor on his hands
and knees. Cold air poured through the open window, making him shiver but clearing
away the last, clinging tendrils of the dream.
He stared down at his hands. They were clean of blood. The bed was a mess, the sheets
and blankets screwed into a tangled ball from his tossing and turning, but the box
containing his father’s things was still on the nightstand, where he’d left it before he went
to sleep.
The first few times he’d had the nightmare, he’d woken up and vomited. Now he was
careful about not eating for hours before he went to sleep, so instead his body had its
revenge on him by racking him with spasms of sickness and fever. A spasm hit now, and
he curled into a ball, gasping and dry-heaving until it passed.
When it was over, he pressed his forehead against the cold stone floor. Sweat was cooling
on his body, his shirt sticking to him, and he wondered, not idly, if eventually the dreams
would kill him. He had tried everything to stop them—sleeping pills and potions, runes of
sleep and runes of peace and healing. Nothing worked. The dreams stole like poison into
his mind, and there was nothing he could do to shut them out.
Even during his waking hours, he found it hard to look at Clary. She had always been
able to see through him the way no one else had, and he could only imagine what she
would think if she knew what he dreamed. He rolled onto his side and stared at the box
on the nightstand, moonlight sparking off it. And he thought of Valentine.
Valentine, who had tortured and imprisoned the only woman he’d ever loved, who had
taught his son—both his sons—that to love something is to destroy it forever.
His mind spun frantically as he said the words to himself, over and over. It had become a
sort of chant for him, and like any chant, the words had started to lose their individual
I’m notlike Valentine.Idon’t want to be like him. Iwon’t be like him.Iwon’t.
He saw Sebastian—Jonathan, really—his sort-of-brother, grinning at him through a
tangle of silver-white hair, his black eyes shining with merciless glee. And he saw his
own knife go into Jonathan and pull free, and Jonathan’s body tumbling down toward the
river below, his blood mixing with the weeds and grass at the riverbank’s edge.
I am not like Valentine.
He had not been sorry to kill Jonathan. Given the chance, he would do it again.
I don’t want to be like him.
Surely it wasn’t normal to kill someone—to kill your own adoptive brother—and feel
nothing about it at all.
I won’t be like him.
But his father had taught him that to kill without mercy was a virtue, and maybe you
could never forget what your parents taught you. No matter how badly you wanted to.
I won’t be like him.
Maybe people could never really change.
I won’t.


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