Wednesday, 20 February 2013

City of Lost Souls - Chapter 18

Simon sat on the back porch steps of the farmhouse, looking down the path that led
through the apple orchard and down to the lake. Isabelle and Magnus were on the path,
Magnus glancing toward the lake and then up at the low mountains ringing the area. He
was making notes in a small book with a pen whose end glowed a sparkling blue-green.
Alec stood a little distance away, looking up at the trees lining the ridge of hills that
separated the farmhouse from the road. He seemed to be standing as far from Magnus as
he could while remaining in earshot. It seemed to Simon—the first to admit that he was
not that observant about these things—that despite the joking around in the car, a
perceptible distance had come between Magnus and Alec recently, one he couldn’t quite
put a finger on, but he knew it was there.
Simon’s right hand was cradled in his left, his fingers circling the gold ring on his finger.
Clary, please.
He’d been trying to reach her every hour since he’d gotten the message from Maia
about Luke. He’d gotten nothing. Not a flicker of response.
Clary, I’m at the farmhouse. I’m remembering you here, with me.
It was an unseasonably warm day, and a faint wind rustled the last of the leaves in the
tree branches. After spending too long wondering what sort of clothes you were supposed
to wear to meet angels in—a suit seemed excessive, even if he did have one left over
from Jocelyn and Luke’s engagement party—he was in jeans and a T-shirt, his arms bare
in the sunlight. He had so many happy sunlit memories attached to this place, this house.
He and Clary had come up here with Jocelyn almost every summer for as long as he could
remember. They would swim in the lake. Simon would tan brown, and Clary’s fair skin
would burn over and over. She’d get a million more freckles on her shoulders and arms.
They’d play “apple baseball” in the orchard, which was messy and fun, and Scrabble and
poker in the farmhouse, which Luke always won.
Clary, I’m about to do something stupid and dangerous and maybe suicidal. Is it so bad
I want to talk to you one last time? I’m doing this to keep you safe, and I don’t even
know if you’re alive for me to help you. But if you were dead, I’d know, wouldn’t I? I’d feel
“All right. Let’s go,” Magnus said, appearing at the foot of the steps. He eyed the ring
on Simon’s hand, but made no comment.
Simon stood up and brushed off his jeans, then led the way down the wandering path
through the orchard. The lake sparkled up ahead like a cold blue coin. As they neared it,
Simon could see the old dock sticking out into the water, where once they had tied up
kayaks before a big piece of the dock had broken off and drifted away. He thought he
could almost hear the lazy hum of bees and feel the weight of summer on his shoulders.
As they reached the lake’s edge, he twisted around and looked up at the farmhouse,
white-painted clapboard with green shutters and an old covered sunporch with tired white
wicker furniture on it.
“You really liked it here, huh?” Isabelle said. Her black hair snapped like a banner in
the breeze off the lake.
“How can you tell?”
“Your expression,” she said. “Like you’re remembering something good.”
“It was good,” Simon said. He reached up to push his glasses up his nose, remembered
he no longer wore them, and lowered his hand. “I was lucky.”
She looked down at the lake. She was wearing small gold hoop earrings; one was
tangled in a bit of her hair, and Simon wanted to reach over and free it, to touch the side
of her face with his fingers. “And now you’re not?”
He shrugged. He was watching Magnus, who was holding what looked like a long,
flexible rod and drawing in the wet sand at the lake’s edge. He had the spell book open
and was chanting as he drew. Alec was watching him, with the expression of someone
watching a stranger.
“Are you scared?” Isabelle asked, moving slightly closer to Simon. He could feel the
warmth of her arm against his.
“I don’t know. So much of being scared is the physical feeling of it. Your heart speeding
up, sweating, your pulse racing. I don’t get any of that.”
“That’s too bad,” Isabelle murmured, looking at the water. “Guys getting all sweaty is
He shot her a half smile; it was harder than he thought it would be. Maybe he was
scared. “That’s enough of your sass and back talk, missy.”
Isabelle’s lip quivered as if she were about to smile. Then she sighed. “You know what
it never even crossed my mind I wanted?” she said. “A guy who could make me laugh.”
Simon turned toward her, reaching for her hand, not caring for the moment that her
brother was watching. “Izzy…”
“All right,” Magnus called out. “I’m done. Simon, over here.”
They turned. Magnus was standing inside the circle, which was glowing with a faint
white light. It was really two circles, a slightly smaller one inside a larger one, and in the
space between the circles, dozens of symbols had been scrawled. They, too, glowed, a
steely blue-white like the reflection off the lake.
Simon heard Isabelle’s soft intake of breath, and he stepped away before he could look
at her. It would just make it all harder. He moved forward, over the border of the circle,
into its center, beside Magnus. Looking out from the center of the circle was like looking
through water. The rest of the world seemed wavering and indistinct.
“Here.” Magnus shoved the book into his hands. The paper was thin, covered in
scrawled runes, but Magnus had taped a printout of the words, spelled out phonetically,
over the incantation itself. “Just sound these out,” he muttered. “It should work.”
Holding the book against his chest, Simon slipped off the gold ring that connected him
to Clary, and handed it to Magnus. “If it doesn’t,” he said, wondering where his strange
calm was coming from, “someone should take this. It’s our only link to Clary, and what
she knows.”
Magnus nodded and slid the ring onto his finger. “Ready, Simon?”
“Hey,” said Simon. “You remembered my name.”
Magnus shot him an unreadable glance from his green-gold eyes, and stepped outside
the circle. Immediately he was blurry and indistinct too. Alec joined him on one side,
Isabelle on the other; Isabelle was hugging her elbows, and even through the wavering
air Simon could tell how unhappy she looked.
Simon cleared his throat. “I guess you guys had better go.”
But they didn’t move. They seemed to be waiting for him to say something else.
“Thanks for coming here with me,” he said finally, having racked his brain for
something meaningful to say; they seemed to be expecting it. He wasn’t the sort who
made big farewell speeches or bid people dramatic good-byes. He looked at Alec first.
“Um, Alec. I always liked you better than I liked Jace.” He turned to Magnus. “Magnus, I
wish I had the nerve to wear the kind of pants you do.”
And last, Izzy. He could see her watching him through the haze, her eyes as black as
“Isabelle,” Simon said. He looked at her. He saw the question in her eyes, but there
seemed nothing he could say in front of Alec and Magnus, nothing that would encompass
what he felt. He moved back, toward the center of the circle, bowing his head. “Goodbye,
I guess.”
He thought they spoke back to him, but the wavering haze between them blurred their
words. He watched as they turned, retreating up the path through the orchard, back
toward the house, until they had become dark specks. Until he could no longer see them
at all.
He couldn’t quite fathom not talking to Clary one last time before he died—he couldn’t
even remember the last words they’d exchanged. And yet if he closed his eyes, he could
hear her laughter drifting over the orchard; he could remember what it had been like,
before they had grown up and everything had changed. If he died here, perhaps it would
be appropriate. Some of his best memories were here, after all. If the Angel struck him
down with fire, his ashes could sift through the apple orchard and over the lake.
Something about the idea seemed peaceful.
He thought of Isabelle. Then of his family—his mother, his father, and Becky. Clary, he
thought lastly. Wherever you are, you’re my best friend. You’ll always be my best friend.
He raised the spell book and began to chant.
“No!” Clary stood up, dropping the wet towel. “Jace, you can’t. They’ll kill you.”
He reached for a fresh shirt and shrugged it on, not looking at her as he did up the
buttons. “They’ll try to separate me from Sebastian first,” he said, though he didn’t sound
as if he quite believed it. “If that doesn’t work, then they’ll kill me.”
“Not good enough.” She reached for him, but he turned away from her, jamming his
feet into boots. When he turned back, his expression was grim.
“I don’t have a choice, Clary. This is the right thing to do.”
“It’s insane. You’re safe here. You can’t throw away your life—”
“Saving myself is treason. It’s putting a weapon into the hands of the enemy.”
“Who cares about treason? Or the Law?” she demanded. “I care about you. We’ll figure
this out together—”
“We can’t figure this out.” Jace pocketed the stele on the nightstand, then caught up
the Mortal Cup. “Because I’m only going to be me for a little while longer. I love you,
Clary.” He tilted her face up and kissed her, lingeringly. “Do this for me,” he whispered.
“I absolutely will not,” she said. “I will not try to help you get yourself killed.”
But he was already striding toward the door. He drew her with him, and they stumbled
down the corridor, speaking in whispers.
“This is crazy,” Clary hissed. “Putting yourself in the path of danger—”
He blew out an exasperated breath. “As if you don’t.”
“Right, and it makes you furious,” she whispered as she raced after him down the
staircase. “Remember what you said to me in Alicante—”
They had reached the kitchen. He put the Cup down on the counter, reaching for his
stele. “I had no right to say that,” he told her. “Clary, this is what we are. We’re
Shadowhunters. This is what we do. There are risks we take that aren’t just the risks you
find in battle.”
Clary shook her head, clutching both his wrists. “I won’t let you.”
A look of pain crossed his face. “Clarissa—”
She drew a deep breath, barely able to believe what she was about to do. But in her
mind was the image of the morgue in the Silent City, of Shadowhunter bodies stretched
out on marble slabs, and she could not bear for Jace to be one of them. Everything she
had done—coming here, enduring everything she had endured, had been to save his life,
and not just for herself. She thought of Alec and Isabelle, who had helped her, and
Maryse, who loved him, and almost without knowing she was about to do it, she raised
her voice and called out:
“Jonathan!” she screamed. “Jonathan Christopher Morgenstern!”
Jace’s eyes widened into circles. “Clary—” he began, but it was too late already. She
had let go of him and was backing away. Sebastian might already be coming; there was
no way to tell Jace that it wasn’t that she trusted Sebastian but that Sebastian was the
only weapon she had at her disposal that could possibly make him stay.
There was a flash of movement, and Sebastian was there. He hadn’t bothered with
running down the stairs, just flipped himself over the side and landed between them. His
hair was sleep-mussed; he wore a dark T-shirt and black pants, and Clary wondered
distractedly if he slept in his clothes. He glanced between Clary and Jace, his black eyes
taking in the situation. “Lovers’ spat?” he inquired. Something glinted in his hand. A knife?
Clary’s voice shook. “His rune’s damaged. Here.” She put her hand over her heart. “He’s
trying to go back, to give himself up to the Clave—”
Sebastian’s hand shot out and grabbed the Cup out of Jace’s hand. He slammed it down
on the kitchen counter. Jace, still white with shock, watched him; he didn’t move a
muscle as Sebastian stepped close and took Jace by the front of the shirt. The top
buttons on the shirt popped open, baring his collar, and Sebastian slashed the point of his
stele across it, gashing an iratze into the skin. Jace bit down on his lip, his eyes full of
hatred as Sebastian released him and took a step back, stele in hand.
“Honestly, Jace,” he said. “The idea that you thought you could get away with
something like this just knocks me out.”
Jace’s hands tightened into fists as the iratze, black as charcoal, began to sink into his
skin. His words were eked out, breathless: “Next time… you want to be knocked out… I’d
be happy to help you. Maybe with a brick.”
Sebastian made a tsk noise. “You’ll thank me later. Even you have to admit this death
wish of yours is a little extreme.”
Clary expected Jace to snap back at him again. But he didn’t. His gaze traveled slowly
across Sebastian’s face. For that moment there was only the two of them in the room,
and when Jace spoke, his words came cold and clear. “I won’t remember this later,” he
said. “But you will. That person who acts like your friend—” He took a step forward,
closing the space between himself and Sebastian. “That person who acts like they like
you. That person isn’t real. This is real. This is me. And I hate you. I will always hate you.
And there is no magic and no spell in this world or any other that will ever change that.”
For a moment the grin on Sebastian’s face wavered. But Jace didn’t. Instead, he tore
his gaze from Sebastian and looked at Clary. “I need you to know,” he said, “the truth—I
didn’t tell you all the truth.”
“The truth is dangerous,” said Sebastian, holding the stele before him like a knife. “Be
careful what you say.”
Jace winced. His chest was rising and falling rapidly; it was clear that the healing of the
rune on his chest was causing him physical pain. “The plan,” he said. “To raise Lilith, to
make a new Cup, to create a dark army—that wasn’t Sebastian’s plan. It was mine.”
Clary froze. “What?”
“Sebastian knew what he wanted,” said Jace. “But I figured out how he could do it. A
new Mortal Cup—I gave him that idea.” He jerked in pain; she could imagine what was
happening under the cloth of his shirt: the skin knitting together, healing, Lilith’s rune
whole and shining once again. “Or, should I say, he did. That thing that looks like me but
isn’t? He’ll burn down the world if Sebastian wants him to, and laugh while he’s doing it.
That’s what you’re saving, Clary. That. Don’t you understand? I’d rather be dead—”
His voice choked off as he doubled over. The muscles in his shoulders tightened as
ripples of what looked like pain went through him. Clary remembered holding him in the
Silent City as the Brothers rooted through his mind for answers—Now he looked up, his
expression bewildered.
His eyes shifted first not to her but to Sebastian. She felt her heart plummet, though
she knew this was only her own doing.
“What’s going on?” Jace said.
Sebastian grinned at him. “Welcome back.”
Jace blinked, looking momentarily confused—and then his gaze seemed to slide inward,
the way it did whenever Clary tried to bring up something that he couldn’t process—Max’s
murder, the war in Alicante, the pain he was causing his family.
“Is it time?” he said.
Sebastian made a show of looking at his watch. “Just about. Why don’t you go on
ahead and we’ll follow? You can start getting things ready.”
Jace glanced around. “The Cup—where is it?”
Sebastian took it off the kitchen counter. “Right here. Feeling a little absentminded?”
Jace’s mouth curled at the corner, and he grabbed the Cup back. Good-naturedly. There
was no sign of the boy who had stood in front of Sebastian moments ago and told him he
hated him. “All right. I’ll meet you there.” He turned to Clary, who was still frozen in
shock, and kissed her cheek. “And you.”
He drew back and winked at her. There was affection in his eyes, but it didn’t matter.
This was not her Jace, very clearly not her Jace, and she watched numbly as he crossed
the room. His stele flashed, and a door opened in the wall; she caught a glimpse of sky
and rocky plain, and then he stepped through it and was gone.
She dug her nails into her palms.
That thing that looks like me but isn’t? He’ll burn down the world if Sebastian wants
him to, and laugh while he’s doing it. That’s what you’re saving, Clary. That. Don’t you
understand? I’d rather be dead.
Tears burned at the back of her throat, and it was all she could do to hold them off as
her brother turned to her, his black eyes very bright. “You called for me,” he said.
“He wanted to give himself up to the Clave,” she whispered, not sure who she was
defending herself to. She had done what she’d had to, used the only weapon at hand,
even if it was one she despised. “They would have killed him.”
“You called for me,” he said again, and took a step toward her. He reached out and
lifted a long lock of her hair away from her face, tucking it back behind her ear. “He told
you, then? The plan? All of it?”
She fought back a shiver of revulsion. “Not all of it. I don’t know what’s happening
tonight. What did Jace mean ‘It’s time’?”
He leaned down and kissed her forehead; she felt the kiss burn, like a brand between
her eyes. “You’ll find out,” he said. “You’ve earned the right to be there, Clarissa. You can
watch it all from your place at my side, tonight, at the Seventh Sacred Site. Both of
Valentine’s children, together… at last.”
Simon kept his eyes on the paper, chanting out the words Magnus had written for him.
They had a rhythm to them that was like music, light and sharp and fine. He was
reminded of reading aloud his haftarah portion during his bar mitzvah, though he had
known what the words meant then, and now he didn’t.
As the chant went on, he felt a tightening around him, as if the air were becoming
denser and heavier. It pressed down on his chest and shoulders. The air was growing
warmer as well. If he were human, the heat might have been unbearable. As it was, he
could feel the burn of it on his skin, singeing his eyelashes, his shirt. He kept his eyes
fixed on the paper in front of him as a bead of blood ran from his hairline to drip onto the
And then he was done. The last of the words—“Raziel”—was spoken, and he lifted his
head. He could feel blood running down his face. The haze around him had cleared, and
in front of him he saw the water of the lake, blue and sparkling, as untroubled as glass.
And then it exploded.
The center of the lake turned gold, then black. Water rushed away from it, pouring
toward the edges of the lake, flying into the air until Simon was staring at a ring of water,
like a circle of unbroken waterfalls, all shimmering and pouring upward and downward,
the effect bizarre and strangely beautiful. Water droplets shivered down onto him, cooling
his burning skin. He tipped his head back, just as the sky went black—all the blue of it
gone, eaten up in a sudden shock of darkness and clamoring gray clouds. The water
splashed back down into the lake, and from its center, the greatest density of its silver,
rose a figure all of gold.
Simon’s mouth went dry. He had seen countless paintings of angels, believed in them,
had heard Magnus’s warning. And still he felt as if he had been struck through with a
spear as before him a pair of wings unfolded. They seemed to span the sky. They were
vast, white and gold and silver, the feathers of them set with burning golden eyes. The
eyes regarded him with scorn. Then the wings lifted, scattering clouds before them, and
folded back, and a man—or the shape of a man, towering and many stories tall, unfolded
itself and rose.
Simon’s teeth had started to chatter. He wasn’t sure why. But waves of power, of
something more than power—of the elemental force of the universe—seemed to roll off
the Angel as he rose to his full height. Simon’s first and rather bizarre thought was that it
looked as if someone had taken Jace and blown him up to the size of a billboard. Only he
didn’t quite look like Jace at all. He was gold all over, from his wings to his skin to his
eyes, which had no whites at all, only a sheen of gold like a membrane. His hair was gold
and looked cut from pieces of metal that curled like wrought ironwork. He was alien and
terrifying. Too much of anything could destroy you, Simon thought. Too much darkness
could kill, but too much light could blind.
Who dares to summon me? The Angel spoke in Simon’s mind, in a voice like great bells
Tricky question, Simon thought. If he were Jace, he could say “one of the Nephilim,”
and if he were Magnus, he could say he was one of Lilith’s children and a High Warlock.
Clary and the Angel had already met, so he supposed they’d just chum it up. But he was
Simon, without any titles to his name or any great deeds in his past. “Simon Lewis,” he
said finally, setting the spell book down and straightening up. “Night’s Child, and… your
My servant? Raziel’s voice was frozen with icy disapproval. You summon me like a dog
and dare to call yourself my servant? You shall be blasted from this world, that your fate
may serve as a warning to others not to do likewise. It is forbidden for my own Nephilim
to summon me. Why should it be different for you, Daylighter?
Simon supposed he should not be shocked that the Angel knew what he was, but it was
startling nevertheless, as startling as the Angel’s size. Somehow he had thought Raziel
would be more human. “I—”
Do you think because you carry the blood of one of my descendants, I must show you
mercy? If so, you have gambled and lost. The mercy of Heaven is for the deserving. Not
for those who break our Covenant Laws.
The Angel raised a hand, his finger pointed directly at Simon.
Simon braced himself. This time he did not try to say the words, only thought them.
Hear, O Israel! The Lord is our God, the Lord is one—
What Mark is that? Raziel’s voice was confounded. On your forehead, child.
“It is the Mark,” Simon stammered. “The first Mark. The Mark of Cain.”
Raziel’s great arm lowered slowly. I would kill you, but the Mark prevents it. That Mark
was meant to be set between your brows by Heaven’s hand, yet I know it was not. How
can this be?
The Angel’s obvious bafflement emboldened Simon. “One of your children, the
Nephilim,” he said. “One especially gifted. She set it there, to protect me.” He took a step
closer to the edge of the circle. “Raziel, I came to ask a favor of you, in the name of those
Nephilim. They face a grave danger. One of their own has—has been turned to darkness,
and he threatens all the rest. They need your help.”
I do not intervene.
“But you did intervene,” Simon said. “When Jace was dead, you brought him back. Not
that we’re not all really happy about that, but if you hadn’t, none of this would be
happening. So in a way it rests on you to set it right.”
I may not be able to kill you, Raziel mused. But there is no reason I should give you
what you want.
“I haven’t even said what I want,” said Simon.
You want a weapon. Something that can sever Jonathan Morgenstern from Jonathan
Herondale. You would kill the one and preserve the other. Easiest of course to simply kill
both. Your Jonathan was dead, and perhaps death longs for him still, and he for it. Has
that ever crossed your mind?
“No,” said Simon. “I know we’re not much compared to you, but we don’t kill our
friends. We try to save them. If Heaven didn’t want it that way, we ought never have
been given the ability to love.” He shoved his hair back, baring the Mark more fully. “No,
you don’t need to help me. But if you don’t, there’s nothing stopping me from calling you
up again and again, now that I know you can’t kill me. Think of it as me leaning against
your Heavenly doorbell… forever.”
Raziel, incredibly, seemed to chuckle at that. You are stubborn, he said. A veritable
warrior of your people, like him whose name you bear, Simon Maccabeus. And as he gave
everything for his brother Jonathan, so shall you give everything for your Jonathan. Or are
you not willing?
“It’s not just for him,” said Simon, a little dazed. “But, yes, whatever you want. I will
give it to you.”
If I give you what you want, will you also vow never to bother me again?
“I don’t think,” said Simon, “that that will be a problem.”
Very well, said the Angel. I will tell you what I desire. I desire that blasphemous Mark
on your forehead. I would take the Mark of Cain from you, for it was never your place to
carry it.
“I—but if you take the Mark, then you can kill me,” Simon said. “Isn’t it the only thing
standing between me and your Heavenly wrath?”
The Angel paused to consider for a moment. I shall swear not to harm you. Whether
you bear the Mark or not.
Simon hesitated. The Angel’s expression turned thunderous. The vow of an Angel of
Heaven is the most sacred there is. Do you dare to distrust me, Downworlder?
“I…” Simon paused for an excruciating moment. His eyes were filled with the memory
of Clary standing on her tiptoes as she pressed the stele to his forehead; the first time he
had seen the Mark work, when he had felt like the conductor for a lightning bolt, sheer
energy passing through him with deadly force. It was a curse, one that had terrified him
and made him an object of desire and fear. He had hated it. And yet now, faced with
giving it up, the thing that made him special…
He swallowed hard. “Fine. Yes. I agree.”
The Angel smiled, and his smile was terrible, like looking directly into the sun. Then I
swear not to harm you, Simon Maccabeus.
“Lewis,” Simon said. “My last name is Lewis.”
But you are of the blood and faith of the Maccabees. Some say the Maccabees were
Marked by the hand of God. In either case you are a warrior of Heaven, Daylighter,
whether you like it or not.
The Angel moved. Simon’s eyes watered, for Raziel seemed to draw the sky with him
like a cloth, in swirls of black and silver and cloud-white. The air around him shuddered.
Something flashed overhead like the glint of light off metal, and an object struck the sand
and rocks beside Simon with a metallic clatter.
It was a sword—nothing special to look at either, a beaten-up-looking old iron sword
with a blackened hilt. The edges were ragged, as if acid had eaten at them, though the
tip was sharp. It looked like something that an archeological dig might have turned up,
that hadn’t been properly cleaned yet.
The Angel spoke. Once when Joshua was near Jericho, he looked up and saw a man
standing before him with a drawn sword in his hand. Joshua went to him and said, “Are
you one of us, or one of our adversaries?” He replied, “Neither, but as commander of the
army of the Lord, I have now come.”
Simon glanced down at the unprepossesing object at his feet. “And that’s this sword?”
It is the sword of the Archangel Michael, commander of the armies of Heaven. It
possesses the power of Heaven’s fire. Strike your enemy with this, and it will burn the evil
out of him. If he is more evil than good, more Hell’s than Heaven’s, it will also burn the
life from him. It will most certainly sever his bond with your friend—and it can harm only
one of them at a time.
Simon bent down and picked the sword up. It sent a shock through his hand, up his
arm, into his motionless heart. Instinctively he raised it, and the clouds above seemed to
part for a moment, a ray of light arcing down to strike the dull metal of the sword and
make it sing.
The Angel looked down upon him with cold eyes. The name of the sword cannot be
spoken by your meager human tongue. You may call it Glorious.
“I… ,” Simon began. “Thank you.”
Do not thank me. I would have killed you, Daylighter, but your Mark, and now my vow,
prevent it. The Mark of Cain was meant to be placed upon you by God, and it was not. It
shall be wiped from your brow, its protection removed. And if you call upon me again, I
will not help you.
Instantly the beam of light shining down from the clouds intensified, striking the sword
like a whip of fire, surrounding Simon in a cage of brilliant light and heat. The sword
burned; he cried out and fell to the ground, pain lancing through his head. It felt as if
someone were jabbing a red hot needle between his eyes. He covered his face, burying
his head in his arms, letting the pain wash over him. It was the worst agony he had felt
since the night he had died.
It faded slowly, ebbing like the tide. He rolled onto his back, staring up, his head still
aching. The black clouds were beginning to roll back, showing a widening strip of blue;
the Angel was gone, the lake surging under the growing light as if the water were boiling.
Simon began to sit up slowly, his eyes squinted painfully against the sun. He could see
someone racing down the path from the farmhouse to the lake. Someone with long black
hair, and a purple jacket that flew out behind her like wings. She hit the end of the path
and leaped onto the lakeside, her boots kicking up puffs of sand behind her. She reached
him and threw herself down, wrapping her arms around him. “Simon,” she whispered.
He could feel the strong, steady beat of Isabelle’s heart.
“I thought you were dead,” she went on. “I saw you fall down, and—I thought you were
Simon let her hold him, propping himself up on his hands. He realized he was listing
like a ship with a hole in the side, and tried not to move. He was afraid that if he did, he
would fall over. “I am dead.”
“I know,” Izzy snapped. “I mean more dead than usual.”
“Iz.” He raised his face to hers. She was kneeling over him, her legs around his, her
arms around his neck. It looked uncomfortable. He let himself fall back into the sand,
taking her with him. He thumped down onto his back in the cold sand with her on top of
him and stared up into her black eyes. They seemed to take up the whole sky.
She touched his forehead in wonder. “Your Mark’s gone.”
“Raziel took it away. In exchange for the sword.” He gestured toward the blade. Up at
the farmhouse, he could see two dark specks standing in front of the sunporch, watching
them. Alec and Magnus. “It’s the Archangel Michael’s sword. It’s called Glorious.”
“Simon…” She kissed his cheek. “You did it. You got the Angel. You got the sword.”
Magnus and Alec had started down the path to the lake. Simon closed his eyes,
exhausted. Isabelle leaned over him, her hair brushing the sides of his face. “Don’t try to
talk.” She smelled like tears. “You’re not cursed anymore,” she whispered. “You’re not
Simon linked his fingers with hers. He felt as if he were floating on a dark river, the
shadows closing in around him. Only her hand anchored him to earth. “I know.”


Post a Comment