Monday, 7 January 2013

City of Fallen Angels - Chapter 5

Kyle’s apartment turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Simonexpected a filthywalk-up
inanAvenue D tenement, with roaches crawling on the walls and a bed made out of
mattress foam and milk crates. In reality it was a clean two-bedroom with a small living
area, a ton of bookshelves, and lots of photos on the walls of famous surfing spots.
Admittedly, Kyle seemed to be growing marijuana plants on the fire escape, but you
couldn’t have everything.
Simon’s room was basically an empty box. Whoever had lived there before had left
nothing behind but a futon mattress. It had bare walls, bare floors, and a single window,
through which Simon could see the neon sign of the Chinese restaurant across the street.
“You like it?” Kyle inquired, hovering in the doorway, his hazel eyes open and friendly.
“It’s great,” Simon replied honestly. “Exactly what I needed.”
The most expensive item in the apartment was the flat-screen TV in the living room.
They threw themselves down on the futon couch and watched bad TV as the sunlight
dimmed outside. Kyle was cool, Simon decided. He didn’t poke, didn’t pry, didn’t ask
questions. He didn’t seem to want anything in exchange for the room except for Simon to
pitch in grocery money. He was just a friendly guy. Simon wondered if he’d forgotten
what ordinary human beings were like.
After Kyle headed out to work an evening shift, Simon went into his room, collapsed on
the mattress, and listened to the traffic going byonAvenue B.
He’d been haunted by thoughts of his mother’s face since he’d left: the way she’d looked
at him with loathing and fear, as if he were an intruder in her house. Even if he didn’t
need to breathe, the thought of it had still constricted his chest. But now . . .
When he was a kid, he’d always liked traveling, because being in a new place had meant
being away from all his problems. Even here, just a river away from Brooklyn, the
memories that had been eating at him like acid—the mugger’s death, his mother’s
reaction to the truth of what he was—seemed blurred and distant.
Maybe that was the secret, he thought. Keep moving. Like a shark. Go to where no one
can find you. A fugitive and a wanderer shalt thou be in the earth.
But that only worked if there was no one you cared about leaving behind.
He slept fitfully all night. His natural urge was to sleep during the day, despite his
Daylighter powers, and he fought off restlessness and dreams before waking up late with
the sun streaming in through the window. After throwing on clean clothes from his
knapsack, he left the bedroom to find Kyle in the kitchen, frying bacon and eggs in a
Teflon pan.
“Hey, roommate,” Kyle greeted him cheerfully. “Want some breakfast?”
The sight of the food made Simon feel vaguely sick to his stomach. “No, thanks. I’ll take
some coffee, though.” He perched himself on one of the slightly lopsided bar stools.
Kyle pushed a chipped mug across the counter toward him. “Breakfast is the most
important meal of the day, bro.
Even if it’s already noon.”
Simon put his hands around the mug, feeling the heat seep into his cold skin. He cast
about for a topic of conversation—one thatwasn’t how little he ate.“So, Inever asked
youyesterday—what do youdo fora living?”
Kyle picked a piece of bacon out of the pan and bit into it. Simon noticed that the gold
medal at his throat had a pattern of leaves on it, and the words “Beati Bellicosi.” “Beati,”
Simon knew, was a word that had something to do with saints; Kyle must be Catholic.
“Bike messenger,” he said, chewing. “It’s awesome. I get to ride around the city, seeing
everything, talking to everyone. Way better than high school.”
“You dropped out?”
“Got my GED senior year. I prefer the school of life.” Simon would have thought Kyle
sounded ridiculous if it weren’t for the fact that he said “school of life” the way he said
everything else—with total sincerity. “What about you? Any plans?”
Oh, you know. Wander the earth, causing death and destruction to innocent people.
Maybe drink some blood.
Live forever but never have any fun. The usual. “I’m kind of winging it at the moment.”
“You mean you don’t want to be a musician?” Kyle asked.
To Simon’s relief his phone rang before he had to answer that. He fished it out of his
pocket and looked at the screen. It was Maia. “Hey,” he greeted her. “What’s up?”
“Are you going to be at that dress fitting with Clary this afternoon?” she asked, her voice
crackling down the line.
She was probably calling from pack headquarters in Chinatown, where the reception
wasn’t great. “She told me she was making you go to keep her company.”
“What? Oh, right. Yes. I’ll be there.” Clary had demanded that Simon accompany her to
her bridesmaid’s dress fitting so afterward they could shop for comics and she could feel,
in her words, like “less of a frilled-up girly-girl.”
“Well, I’m going to come too, then. I have to give Luke a message from the pack, and
besides, I feel like I haven’t seen you in ages.”
“I know. I’m really sorry—”
“It’s fine,” she said lightly. “But you’re going to have to let me know what you’re
wearing to the wedding eventually, because otherwise we’ll clash.”
She hung up, leaving Simon staring at the phone. Clary had been right. The wedding was
D-day, and he was woefully unprepared for the battle.
“One of your girlfriends?” Kyle asked curiously. “Was that redheaded chick at the garage
one of them? Because she was cute.”
“No. That’s Clary; she’s my best friend.” Simon pocketed his phone. “And she has a
boyfriend. Like, really, really, really has a boyfriend. The nuclear bomb of boyfriends.
Trust me on this one.”
Kyle grinned. “I was just asking.” He dumped the bacon pan, now empty, into the sink.
“So, your two girls. What are they like?”
“They’re very, very . . . different.” In some ways, Simon thought, they were opposites.
Maia was calm and grounded; Isabelle lived at a high pitch of excitement. Maia was a
steady light in the darkness; Isabelle a burning star, spinning through the void. “I mean,
they’re both great. Beautiful, and smart . . .”
“And they don’t know about each other?” Kyle leaned against the counter. “Like, at all?”
Simon found himself explaining—how when he’d come back from Idris (though he
didn’t mention the place by name), they’d both started calling him, wanting to hang out.
And because he liked them both, he went. And somehow things started to turn casually
romantic with each of them, but there never seemed to be a chance to explain to either of
them that he was seeing someone else, too. And somehow it had snowballed, and here he
was, not wanting to hurt either of them, and not knowing how to go on, either.
“Well, if you ask me,” Kyle said, turning to dump his remaining coffee out in the sink,
“you ought to pick one of them and quit dogging around. I’m just saying.”
Since his back was to Simon, Simon couldn’t see his face, and for a moment he wondered
if Kyle was actually angry. His voice sounded uncharacteristically stiff. But when Kyle
turned around, his expression was as open and friendly as ever. Simon decided he must
have imagined it.
“I know,” he said. “You’re right.” He glanced back toward the bedroom. “Look, are you
sure it’s okay, me staying here? I can clear out whenever . . .”
“It’s fine. You stay as long as you need.” Kyle opened a kitchen drawer and scrabbled
around until he found what he was looking for—a set of spare keys on a rubber-band
ring. “There’s a set for you. You’re totally welcome here, okay? I gotta go to work, but
you can hang around if you want. Play Halo, or whatever. Will you be here when I get
Simon shrugged. “Probably not. I have a dress fitting to get to at three.”
“Cool,” said Kyle, slinging a messenger bag over his shoulder and heading toward the
door. “Get them to make you something in red. It’s totally your color.”
“So,” Clary said, stepping out of the dressing room. “What do you think?”
She did an experimental twirl. Simon, balanced on one of Karyn’s Bridal Shop’s
uncomfortable white chairs, shifted position, winced, and said, “You look nice.”
She looked better than nice. Clary was her mother’s only bridesmaid, so she’d been
allowed to pick out whatever dress she wanted. She’d selected a very simple coppery silk
with narrow straps that flattered her small frame. Her only jewelry was the Morgenstern
ring, worn on a chain around her neck; the very plain silver chain brought out the shape
of her collarbones and the curve of her throat.
Not that many months ago, seeing Clary dressed up for a wedding would have conjured
up in Simon a mix of feelings: dark despair (she would never love him) and high
excitement (or maybe she would, if he could get up the nerve to tell her how he felt).
Now it just made him feel a little wistful.
“Nice?” echoed Clary. “Is that it? Sheesh.” She turned to Maia. “What do you think?”
Maia had given up on the uncomfortable chairs and was sitting on the floor, her back
against a wall that was decorated with tiaras and long gauzy veils. She had Simon’s DS
balanced on one of her knees and seemed to be at least partly absorbed in playing Grand
Theft Auto. “Don’t ask me,” she said. “I hate dresses. I’d wear jeans to the wedding if I
This was true. Simon rarely saw Maia out of jeans and T-shirts. In that way she was the
opposite of Isabelle, who wore dresses and heels at even the most inappropriate times.
(Though since he’d once seen her dispatch a Vermis demon with the stiletto heel of a
boot, he was less inclined to worry about it.)
The shop bell tinkled, and Jocelyn came in, followed by Luke. Both were holding
steaming cups of coffee, and Jocelyn was looking up at Luke, her cheeks flushed and her
eyes shining. Simon remembered what Clary had said about them being disgustingly in
love. He didn’t find it disgusting himself, though that was probably because they weren’t
his parents. They both seemed so happy, and he thought it was actually rather nice.
Jocelyn’s eyes widened when she saw Clary. “Honey, you look gorgeous!”
“Yeah, you have to say that. You’re my mother,” Clary said, but she grinned anyway.
“Hey, is that coffee black by any chance?”
“Yep. Consider it a sorry-we’re-late gift,” Luke said, handing her the cup. “We got held
up. Some catering issue or other.” He nodded toward Simon and Maia. “Hey, guys.”
Maia inclined her head. Luke was the head of the local wolf pack, of which Maia was a
member. Though he’d broken her of the habit of calling him “Master” or “Sir,” she
remained respectful in his presence. “I brought you a message from the pack,” she said,
setting down her game console. “They have questions about the party at the Ironworks—

As Maia and Luke fell into conversation about the party the wolf pack was throwing in
honor of their alpha wolf’s marriage, the owner of the bridal shop, a tall woman who had
been reading magazines behind the counter while the teenagers chatted, realized that the
people who were actually going to pay for the dresses had just arrived, and hurried
forward to greet them. “I just got your dress back in, and it looks marvelous,” she gushed,
taking Clary’s mother by the arm and steering her toward the back of the store. “Come
and try it on.” As Luke started after them, she pointed a threatening finger at him. “You
stay here.”
Luke, watching his fiancée disappear through a set of white swinging doors painted with
wedding bells, looked puzzled.
“Mundanes think you’re not supposed to see the bride in her wedding dress before the
ceremony,” Clary reminded him. “It’s bad luck. She probably thinks it’s weird you came
to the fitting.”
“But Jocelyn wanted my opinion—” Luke broke off and shook his head. “Ah, well.
Mundane customs are so peculiar.” He threw himself down in a chair, and winced as one
of the carved rosettes poked into his back. “Ouch.”
“What about Shadowhunter weddings?” Maia inquired, curious. “Do they have their own
“They do,” Luke said slowly, “but this isn’t going to be a classic Shadowhunter
ceremony. Those specifically don’t address any situation in which one of the participants
is not a Shadowhunter.”
“Really?” Maia looked shocked. “I didn’t know that.”
“Part of a Shadowhunter marriage ceremony involves tracing permanent runes on the
bodies of the participants,” said Luke. His voice was calm, but his eyes looked sad.
“Runes of love and commitment. But of course, nonShadowhunters can’t bear the
Angel’s runes, so Jocelyn and I will be exchanging rings instead.”
“That sucks,” Maia pronounced.
At that, Luke smiled. “Not really. Marrying Jocelyn is all I ever wanted, and I’m not that
bothered about the particulars. Besides, things are changing. The new Council members
have made a lot of headway toward convincing the Clave to tolerate this sort of—”
“Clary!” It was Jocelyn, calling from the back of the store. “Can you come here for a
“Coming!” Clary called, bolting down the last of her coffee. “Uh-oh. Sounds like a dress
“Well, good luck with that.” Maia got to her feet, and dropped the DS back in Simon’s
lap before bending to kiss him on the cheek. “I’ve got to go. I’m meeting some friends at
the Hunter’s Moon.”
She smelled pleasantly of vanilla. Under that, as always, Simon could smell the salt scent
of blood, mixed with a sharp, lemony tang that was peculiar to werewolves. Every
Downworlder’s blood smelled different—faeries smelled like dead flowers, warlocks like
burnt matches, and other vampires like metal.
Clary had once asked him what Shadowhunters smelled like.
“Sunlight,” he’d said.
“See you later, baby.” Maia straightened up, ruffled Simon’s hair once, and departed. As
the door closed behind her, Clary fixed him with a piercing glare.
“You must work your love life out by next Saturday,” she said. “I mean it, Simon. If you
don’t tell them, I will.”
Luke looked bewildered. “Tell who what?”
Clary shook her head at Simon. “You’re on thin ice, Lewis.” With which pronouncement
she flounced away, holding up her silk skirts as she went. Simon was amused to note that
underneath them she was wearing green sneakers.
“Clearly,” said Luke, “something is going on that I don’t know about.”
Simon looked over at him. “Sometimes I think that’s the motto of my life.”
Luke raised his eyebrows. “Has something happened?”
Simon hesitated. He certainly couldn’t tell Luke about his love life—Luke and Maia were
in the same pack, and werewolf packs were more loyal than street gangs. It would put
Luke in a very awkward position. It was true, though, that Luke was also a resource. As
the leader of the Manhattan wolf pack, he had access to all sorts of information, and was
well versed in Downworlder politics. “Have you heard of a vampire named Camille?”
Luke made a low whistling sound. “I know who she is. I’m surprised you do.”
“Well, she’s the head of the New York vampire clan. I do know something about them,”
Simon said, a little stiffly.
“I didn’t realize you did. I thought you wanted to live like a human as much as you
could.” There was no judgment in Luke’s voice, only curiosity. “Now, by the time I took
over the downtown pack from the previous pack leader, she had put Raphael in charge. I
don’t think anyone knew where she’d gone exactly. But she is something of a legend.
An extraordinarily old vampire, from everything I understand. Famously cruel and
cunning. She could give the Fair Folk a run for their money.”
“Have you ever seen her?”
Luke shook his head. “Don’t think I have, no. Why the curiosity?”
“Raphael mentioned her,” Simon said vaguely.
Luke’s forehead creased. “You’ve seen Raphael lately?”
Before Simon could answer, the shop bell sounded again, and to Simon’s surprise, Jace
came in. Clary hadn’t mentioned he was coming.
In point of fact, he realized, Clary hadn’t mentioned Jace much lately at all.
Jace looked from Luke to Simon. He looked as if he were mildly surprised to see Simon
and Luke there, although it was hard to tell. Though Simon imagined that Jace ran the
gamut of facial expressions when he was alone with Clary, his default one around other
people was a fierce sort of blankness. “He looks,” Simon had once said to Isabelle, “like
he’s thinking about something deep and meaningful, but if you ask him what it is, he’ll
punch you in the face.”
“So don’t ask him,” Isabelle had said, as if she thought Simon was being ridiculous. “No
one says you two need to be friends.”
“Is Clary here?” Jace asked, shutting the door behind him. He looked tired. There were
shadows under his eyes, and he didn’t seem to have bothered to put on a jacket, despite
the fact that the autumn wind was brisk. Though cold no longer affected Simon much,
looking at Jace in just jeans and a thermal shirt made him feel chilly.
“She’s helping Jocelyn,” explained Luke. “But you’re welcome to wait here with us.”
Jace looked around uneasily at the walls hung with veils, fans, tiaras, and seed-pearlencrusted
trains. “Everything is .. .so white.”
“Of course it’s white,” said Simon. “It’s a wedding.”
“White for Shadowhunters is the color of funerals,” Luke explained. “But for mundanes,
Jace, it’s the color of weddings. Brides wear white to symbolize their purity.”
“I thought Jocelyn said her dress wasn’t white,” Simon said.
“Well,” said Jace, “I suppose that ship has sailed.”
Luke choked on his coffee. Before he could say—or do—anything, Clary walked back
into the room. Her hair was up now, in sparkling pins, with a few curls hanging loose. “I
don’t know,” she was saying as she came closer to them. “Karyn got her hands on me and
did my hair, but I’m not sure about the sparkles—”
She broke off as she saw Jace. It was clear from her expression that she hadn’t been
expecting him either. Her lips parted in surprise, but she said nothing. Jace, in his turn,
was staring at her, and for once in his life Simon could read Jace’s expression like a
book. It was as if everything else in the world had fallen away for Jace but himself and
Clary, and he was looking at her with an unconcealed yearning and desire that made
Simon feel awkward, as if he had somehow walked in on a private moment.
Jace cleared his throat. “You look beautiful.”
“Jace.” Clary looked more puzzled than anything else. “Is everything all right? I thought
you said you couldn’t come because of the Conclave meeting.”
“That’s right,” Luke said. “I heard about the Shadowhunter body in the park. Is there any
Jace shook his head, still looking at Clary. “No. He’s not one of the New York Conclave
members, but beyond that he hasn’t been identified. Neither of the bodies have. The
Silent Brothers are looking at them now.”
“That’s good. The Brothers will figure out who they are,” said Luke.
Jace said nothing. He was still looking at Clary, and it was the oddest sort of look, Simon
thought—the sort of look you might give someone you loved but could never, ever have.
He imagined Jace had felt like that about Clary once before, but now?
“Jace?” Clary said, and took a step toward him.
He tore his gaze away from her. “That jacket you borrowed from me in the park
yesterday,” he said. “Do you still have it?”
Now looking even more puzzled, Clary pointed to where the item of clothing in question,
a perfectly ordinary brown suede jacket, was hanging over the back of one of the chairs.
“It’s over there. I was going to bring it to you after—”
“Well,” said Jace, picking it up and thrusting his arms hastily into the sleeves, as if he
were suddenly in a hurry, “now you don’t have to.”
“Jace,” Luke said in that calming tone he had, “we’re going to get an early dinner in Park
Slope after this. You’re welcome to come along.”
“No,” Jace said, zipping the jacket up. “I’ve got training this afternoon. I’d better head
“Training?” Clary echoed. “But we trained yesterday.”
“Some of us have to train every day, Clary.” Jace didn’t sound angry, but there was a
harshness to his tone, and Clary flushed. “I’ll see you later,” he added without looking at
her, and practically flung himself toward the door.
As it shut behind him, Clary reached up and angrily yanked the pins out of her hair. It
cascaded in tangles down around her shoulders. around her shoulders.
“Clary,” Luke said gently. He stood up. “What are you doing?”
“My hair.” She yanked the last pin out, hard. Her eyes were shining, and Simon could tell
she was forcibly willing herself not to cry. “I don’t want to wear it like this. It looks
“No, it doesn’t.” Luke took the pins from her and set them down on one of the small
white end tables. “Look, weddings make men nervous, okay? It doesn’t mean anything.”
“Right.” Clary tried to smile. She nearly managed it, but Simon could tell she didn’t
believe Luke. He could hardly blame her. After seeing the look on Jace’s face, Simon
didn’t believe him either.
In the distance the FifthAvenue Diner was lit up like a star againstthe blue twilight.
Simonwalked beside Clary down the avenue blocks, Jocelyn and Luke a few steps ahead
of them. Clary had changed out of her dress and was back in jeans now, a thick white
scarf wound around her neck. Every once in a while she would reach up and twirl the ring
on the chain around her neck, a nervous gesture he wondered if she was even aware of.
When they’d left the bridal store, he had asked her if she knew what was wrong with
Jace, but she hadn’t really answered him. She’d shrugged it off, and started asking him
about what was going on with him, if he’d talked to his mother yet, and whether he
minded staying with Eric. When he told her he was crashing with Kyle, she was
“But you hardly even know him,” she said. “He could be a serial killer.”
“I did have that thought. I checked the apartment out, but if he’s got an ice cooler full of
arms in it, I haven’t seen it yet. Anyway, he seems pretty sincere.”
“So what’s his apartment like?”
“Nice for Alphabet City. You should come over later.”
“Not tonight,” Clary said, a little absently. She was fiddling with the ring again. “Maybe
Going to see Jace? Simon thought, but he didn’t press the point. If she didn’t want to talk
about it, he wasn’t going to make her. “Here we are.” He opened the diner door for her,
and a blast of warm souvlaki-smelling air hit them.
They found a booth over by one of the big flat-screen TVs that lined the walls. They
crowded into it as Jocelyn and Luke chattered animatedly with each other about wedding
plans. Luke’s pack, it seemed, felt insulted that they hadn’t been invited to the
ceremony—even though the guest list was tiny—and were insisting on holding their own
celebration in a renovated factory in Queens. Clary listened, not saying anything; the
waitress came around, handing out menus so stiffly laminated they could have been used
as weapons. Simon set his own on the table and stared out the window. There was a gym
across the street, and he could see people through the plate glass that fronted it, running
on treadmills, arms pumping, headphones clamped to their ears. All that running and
getting nowhere, he thought. Story of my life.
He tried to force his thoughts away from dark places, and almost succeeded. This was
one of the most familiar scenes in his life, he thought—a corner booth in a diner, himself
and Clary and her family. Luke had always been family, even when he hadn’t been about
to marry Clary’s mom. Simon ought to feel at home. He tried to force a smile, only to
realize that Clary’s mother had just asked him something and he hadn’t heard her.
Everyone at the table was staring at him expectantly.
“Sorry,” he said. “I didn’t—What did you say?”
Jocelyn smiled patiently. “Clary told me you’ve added a new member to your band?”
Simon knew she was just being polite. Well, polite in that way parents were when they
pretended to take your hobbies seriously. Still, she’d come to several of his gigs before,
just to help fill up the room. She did care about him; she always had. In the very dark,
tucked-away places of his mind, Simon suspected she had always known how he felt
about Clary, and he wondered if she wouldn’t have wanted her daughter to make a
different choice, had it been something she could control. He knew she didn’t entirely
like Jace. It was clear even in the way she said his name.
“Yeah,” he said. “Kyle. He’s kind of a weird guy, but supernice.” Invited, by Luke, to
expand on the topic of Kyle’s weirdness, Simon told them about Kyle’s apartment—
careful to leave out the detail that it was now his apartment too—his bike messenger job,
and his ancient, beat-up pickup truck. “And he grows these weird plants on the balcony,”
he added. “Not pot—I checked. They have sort of silvery leaves—”
Luke frowned, but before he could say anything, the waitress arrived, carrying a big
silver coffee pitcher. She was young, with bleached pale hair tied into two braids. As she
bent to fill Simon’s coffee cup, one of them brushed his arm. He could smell sweat on
her, and under that, blood. Human blood, the sweetest smell of all. He felt a familiar
tightening in his stomach. Coldness spread through him. He was hungry, and all he had
back at Kyle’s place was room-temperature blood that was already beginning to
separate—a sickening prospect, even for a vampire.
You have never fed on a human, have you? You will. And when you do, you will not
forget it .
He closed his eyes. When he opened them again, the waitress was gone and Clary was
staring at him curiously across the table. “Is everything okay?”
“Fine.” He closed his hand around his coffee cup. It was shaking. Above them the TV
was still blaring the nightly news.
“Ugh,” Clary said, looking up at the screen. “Are you listening to this?”
Simon followed her gaze. The news anchor was wearing that expression news anchors
tended to wear when they were reporting on something especially grim. “No one has
come forward to identify an infant boy found abandoned in an alley behind Beth Israel
hospital several days ago,” he was saying. “The infant is white, weighs six pounds and
eight ounces, and is otherwise healthy. He was discovered strapped to an infant car seat
behind a Dumpster in the alley,” the anchor went on. “Most disturbing, a handwritten
note tucked into the child’s blanket begged hospital authorities to euthanize the child
because ‘I don’t have the strength to do it myself.’ Police say it is likely that the child’s
mother was mentally ill, and claim they have ‘promising leads.’ Anyone with information
about this child should call Crime Stoppers at—”
“That’s so horrible,” Clary said, turning away from the TV with a shudder. “I can’t
understand how people just dump their babies off like they’re trash—”
“Jocelyn,” Luke said, his voice sharp with concern. Simon looked toward Clary’s mother.
She was as white as a sheet and looked as if she were about to throw up. She pushed her
plate away abruptly, stood up from the table, and hurried toward the bathroom. After a
moment Luke dropped his napkin and went after her.
“Oh, crap.” Clary put her hand over her mouth. “I can’t believe I said that. I’m so stupid.”
Simon was thoroughly perplexed. “What’s going on?”
Clary slunk down in her seat. “She was thinking about Sebastian,” she said. “I mean
Jonathan. My brother. I assume you remember him.”
She was being sarcastic. None of them was likely to forget Sebastian, whose real name
was Jonathan and who had murdered Hodge and Max and had nearly succeeded in
helping Valentine win a war that would have seen the destruction of all Shadowhunters.
Jonathan, who had had burning black eyes and a smile like a razor blade.
Jonathan, whose blood had tasted like battery acid when Simon had bitten him once. Not
that he regretted it.
“But your mom didn’t abandon him,” Simon said. “She stuck with raising him even
though she knew there was something horribly wrong with him.”
“She hated him, though,” Clary said. “I don’t think she’s ever gotten over that. Imagine
hating your own baby. She used to take out a box that had his baby things in it and cry
over it every year on his birthday. I think she was crying over the son she would have
had—you know, if Valentine hadn’t done what he had.”
“And you would have had a brother,” said Simon. “Like, an actual one. Not a murdering
Looking close to tears, Clary pushed her plate away. “I feel sick now,” she said. “You
know that feeling like you’re hungry but you can’t bring yourself to eat?”
Simon looked over at the bleached-haired waitress, who was leaning against the diner
counter. “Yeah,” he said. “I know.”
Luke returned to the table eventually, but only to tell Clary and Simon that he was taking
Jocelyn home. He left some money, which they used to pay the bill before wandering out
of the diner and over to Galaxy Comics on Seventh Avenue. Neither of them could
concentrate enough to enjoy themselves, though, so they split up, with a promise to see
each other the next day.
Simon rode into the city with his hood pulled up and his iPod on, blasting music into his
ears. Music had always been his way of blocking everything out. By the time he got out
at Second Avenue and headed down Houston, a light rain had started to fall, and his
stomach was in knots.
He cut over to First Street, which was mostly deserted, a strip of darkness between the
bright lights of First Avenue and Avenue A. Because he had his iPod on, he didn’t hear
them coming up behind him until they were nearly on him. The first intimation he had
that something was wrong was a long shadow that fell across the sidewalk, overlapping
his own. Another shadow joined it, this one on his other side. He turned—
And saw two men behind him. Both were dressed exactly like the mugger who had
attacked him the other night— gray tracksuits, gray hoods pulled up to hide their faces.
They were close enough to touch him.
Simon leaped back, with a force that surprised him. Because his vampire strength was so
new, it still had the power to shock him. When, a moment later, he found himself perched
on the stoop of a brownstone, several feet away from the muggers, he was so astonished
to be there that he froze.
The muggers advanced on him. They were speaking the same guttural language as the
first mugger—who, Simon was beginning to suspect, had not been a mugger at all.
Muggers, as far as he knew, didn’t work in gangs, and it was unlikely that the first
mugger had criminal friends who had decided to take revenge on him for their comrade’s
demise. Something else was clearly going on here.
They had reached the stoop, effectively trapping him on the steps. Simon tore his iPod
headphones from his ears and hastily held his hands up. “Look,” he said, “I don’t know
what this is about, but you really want to leave me alone.”
The muggers just looked at him. Or at least he thought they were looking at him. Under
the shadows of their hoods, it was impossible to see their faces.
“I’m getting the feeling someone sent you after me,” he said. “But it’s a suicide mission.
Seriously. I don’t know what they’re paying you, but it’s not enough.”
One of the tracksuited figures laughed. The other had reached into his pocket and drawn
something out.
Something that shone black under the streetlights.
A gun.
“Oh, man,” Simon said. “You really, really don’t want to do that. I’m not kidding.” He
took a step back, up one of the stairs. Maybe if he got enough height, he could actually
jump over them, or past them. Anything but let them attack him. He didn’t think he could
face what that meant. Not again.
The man with the gun raised it. There was a click as he pulled the hammer back.
Simon bit his lip. In his panic his fangs had come out. Pain shot through him as they sank
into his skin. “Don’t—”
A dark object fell from the sky. At first Simon thought something had merely tumbled
from one of the upper windows—an air conditioner ripping loose, or someone too lazy to
drag their trash downstairs. But the falling thing, he saw, was a person—falling with
direction, purpose, and grace. The person landed on the mugger, knocking him flat. The
gun skittered out of his hand, and he screamed, a thin, high sound. windows—an air
conditioner ripping loose, or someone too lazy to drag their trash downstairs. But the
falling thing, he saw, was a person—falling with direction, purpose, and grace. The
person landed on the mugger, knocking him flat. The gun skittered out of his hand, and
he screamed, a thin, high sound.
The second mugger bent and seized the gun. Before Simon could react, the guy had
raised it and pulled the trigger. A spark of flame appeared at the gun’s muzzle.
And the gun blew apart. It blew apart, and the mugger blew apart along with it, too fast to
even scream. He had intended a quick death for Simon, and an even quicker death was
what he got in return. He shattered apart like glass, like the outward-flying colors in a
kaleidoscope. There was a soft explosion—the sound of displaced air— and then nothing
but a soft drizzle of salt, falling onto the pavement like solidified rain.
Simon’s vision blurred, and he sank down onto the steps. He was aware of a loud
humming in his ears, and then someone grabbed him roughly by the wrists and shook
him, hard. “Simon. Simon!”
He looked up. The person grabbing him and shaking him was Jace. The other boy wasn’t
in gear, but was still wearing his jeans and the jacket he’d taken back from Clary. He was
disheveled, his clothes and face streaked with dirt and soot. His hair was wet from the
“What the hell was that?” Jace asked.
Simon looked up and down the street. It was still deserted. The asphalt shone, black and
wet and empty. The second mugger was gone.
“You,” he said, a little groggily. “You jumped the muggers—”
“Those weren’t muggers. They were following you since you got off the subway.
Someone sent those guys.” Jace spoke with complete surety.
“The other one,” Simon said. “What happened to him?”
“He just vanished.” Jace snapped his fingers. “He saw what happened to his friend, and
he was gone, like that. I don’t know what they were, exactly. Not demons, but not exactly
human, either.”
“Yeah, I figured that part out, thanks.”
Jace looked at him more closely. “That—what happened to the mugger—that was you,
wasn’t it? Your Mark, here.” He pointed at his forehead. “I saw it burn white before that
guy just . . . dissolved.”
Simon said nothing.
“I’ve seen a lot,” Jace said. There was no sarcasm in his voice, for a change, or any
mockery. “But I’ve never seen anything like that.”
“I didn’t do it,” Simon said softly. “I didn’t do anything.”
“Youdidn’t have to,” said Jace. His goldeneyes burned inhis soot-streaked face. “‘For itis
written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.’”


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