City of Lost Soulspart #5 of The Mortal Instruments Series by Cassandra Clare / Young Adult / Fantasy
Simon stood and stared numbly at the front door of his house.
He'd never known another home. This was the place his parents had brought him back to when he was born. He had grown up within the walls of the Brooklyn row house. He'd played on the street under the leafy shade of the trees in the summer, and had made improvised sleds out of garbage can lids in the winter. In this house his family had sat shivah after his father had died. Here he had kissed Clary for the first time.
He had never imagined a day when the door of the house would be closed to him. The last time he had seen his mother, she had called him a monster and prayed at him that he would go away. He had made her forget that he was a vampire, using glamour, but he had not known how long the glamour would last. As he stood in the cold autumn air, staring in front of him, he knew it had not lasted long enough.
The door was covered with signs-Stars of David splashed on in paint, the incised shape of the symbol for Chai, life. Tefillin were bound to the doorknob and knocker. A hamsa, the Hand of God, covered the peephole.
Numbly he put his hand to the metal mezuzah affixed to the right side of the doorway. He saw the smoke rise from the place where his hand touched the holy object, but he felt nothing. No pain. Only a terrible empty blankness, rising slowly into cold rage.
He kicked the bottom of the door and heard the echo through the house. "Mom!" he shouted. "Mom, it's me!"
There was no reply-only the sound of the bolts being turned on the door. His sensitized hearing had recognized his mother's footsteps, her breathing, but she said nothing. He could smell acrid fear and panic even through the wood. "Mom!" His voice broke. "Mom, this is ridiculous! Let me in! It's me, Simon!"
The door juddered, as if she had kicked it. "Go away!" Her voice was rough, unrecognizable with terror. "Murderer!"
"I don't kill people. " Simon leaned his head against the door. He knew he could probably kick it down, but what would be the point? "I told you. I drink animal blood. "
"You killed my son," she said. "You killed him and put a monster in his place. "
"I am your son-"
"You wear his face and speak with his voice, but you are not him! You're not Simon!" Her voice rose to almost a scream. "Get away from my house before I kill you, monster!"
"Becky," he said. His face was wet; he put his hands up to touch it, and they came away stained: His tears were bloody. "What have you told Becky?"
"Stay away from your sister. " Simon heard a clattering from inside the house, as if something had been knocked over.
"Mom," he said again, but this time his voice wouldn't rise. It came out as a hoarse whisper. His hand had begun to throb. "I need to know-is Becky there? Mom, open the door. Please-"
"Stay away from Becky!" She was backing away from the door; he could hear it. Then came the unmistakeable squeal of the kitchen door swinging open, the creak of the linoleum as she walked on it. The sound of a drawer being opened. Suddenly he imagined his mother grabbing for one of the knives.
Before I kill you, monster.
The thought rocked him back on his heels. If she struck out at him, the Mark would rise. It would destroy her as it had destroyed Lilith.
He dropped his hand and backed up slowly, stumbling down the steps and across the sidewalk, fetching up against the trunk of one of the big trees that shaded the block. He stood where he was, staring at the front door of his house, marked and disfigured with the symbols of his mother's hate for him.
No, he reminded himself. She didn't hate him. She thought he was dead. What she hated was something that didn't exist. I am not what she says I am.
He didn't know how long he would have stood there, staring, if his phone hadn't begun to ring, vibrating his coat pocket.
He reached for it reflexively, noticing that the pattern from the front of the mezuzah-interlocked Stars of David-was burned into the palm of his hand. He switched hands and put the phone to his ear. "Hello?"
"Simon?" It was Clary. She sounded breathless. "Where are you?"
"Home," he said, and paused. "My mother's house," he amended. His voice sounded hollow and distant to his own ears. "Why aren't you back at the Institute? Is everyone all right?"
"That's just it," she said. "Just after you left, Maryse came back down from the roof where Jace was supposed to be waiting. There was no one there. "
Simon moved. Without quite realizing he was doing it, like a mechanical doll, he began walking up the street, toward the subway station. "What do you mean, there was no one there?"
"Jace was gone," she said, and he could hear the strain in her voice. "And so was Sebastian. "
Simon stopped in the shadow of a bare-branched tree. "But Sebastian was dead. He's dead, Clary-"
"Then you tell me why his body isn't there, because it isn't," she said, her voice finally breaking. "There's nothing up there but a lot of blood and broken glass. They're both gone, Simon. Jace is gone. . . . "
Chapter 1 : The Last Council
No Evil Angel
Love is a familiar. Love is a devil. There is no evil angel but Love.
-William Shakespeare, Love's Labour's Lost
TWO WEEKS LATER
THE LAST COUNCIL
"How much longer will the verdict take, do you think?" Clary asked. She had no idea how long they'd been waiting, but it felt like ten hours. There were no clocks in Isabelle's black and hot-pink powder-puff bedroom, just piles of clothes, heaps of books, stacks of weapons, a vanity overflowing with sparkling makeup, used brushes, and open drawers spilling lacy slips, sheer tights, and feather boas. It had a certain backstage-at-La-Cage-aux-Folles design aesthetic, but over the past two weeks Clary had spent enough time among the glittering mess to have begun to find it comforting.
Isabelle, standing over by the window with Church in her arms, stroked the cat's head absently. Church regarded her with baleful yellow eyes. Outside the window a November storm was in full bloom, rain streaking the windows like clear paint. "Not much longer," she said slowly. She wasn't wearing any makeup, which made her look younger, her dark eyes bigger. "Five minutes, probably. "
Clary, sitting on Izzy's bed between a pile of magazines and a rattling stack of seraph blades, swallowed hard against the bitter taste in her throat. I'll be back. Five minutes.
That had been the last thing she had said to the boy she loved more than anything else in the world. Now she thought it might be the last thing she would ever get to say to him.
Clary remembered the moment perfectly. The roof garden. The crystalline October night, the stars burning icy white against a cloudless black sky. The paving stones smeared with black runes, spattered with ichor and blood. Jace's mouth on hers, the only warm thing in a shivering world. Clasping the Morgenstern ring around her neck. The love that moves the sun and all the other stars. Turning to look for him as the elevator took her away, sucking her back down into the shadows of the building. She had joined the others in the lobby, hugging her mother, Luke, Simon, but some part of her, as it always was, had still been with Jace, floating above the city on that rooftop, the two of them alone in the cold and brilliant electric city.
Maryse and Kadir had been the ones to get into the elevator to join Jace on the roof and to see the remains of Lilith's ritual. It was another ten minutes before Maryse returned, alone. When the doors had opened and Clary had seen her face-white and set and frantic-she had known.
What had happened next had been like a dream. The crowd of Shadowhunters in the lobby had surged toward Maryse; Alec had broken away from Magnus, and Isabelle had leaped to her feet. White bursts of light cut through the darkness like the soft explosions of camera flashes at a crime scene as, one after another, seraph blades lit the shadows. Pushing her way forward, Clary heard the story in broken pieces-the rooftop garden was empty; Jace was gone. The glass coffin that had held Sebastian had been smashed open; glass was lying everywhere in fragments. Blood, still fresh, dripped down the pedestal on which the coffin had sat.
The Shadowhunters were making plans quickly, to spread out in a radius and search the area around the building. Magnus was there, his hands sparking blue, turning to Clary to ask if she had something of Jace's they could track him with. Numbly, she gave him the Morgenstern ring and retreated into a corner to call Simon. She had only just closed the phone when the voice of a Shadowhunter rang out above the rest. "Tracking? That'll work only if he's still alive. With that much blood it's not very likely-"
Somehow that was the last straw. Prolonged hypothermia, exhaustion, and shock took their toll, and she felt her knees give. Her mother caught her before she hit the ground. There was a dark blur after that. She woke up the next morning in her bed at Luke's, sitting bolt upright with her heart going like a trip-hammer, sure she had had a nightmare.
As she struggled out of bed, the fading bruises on her arms and legs told a different story, as did the absence of her ring. Throwing on jeans and a hoodie, she staggered out into the living room to find Jocelyn, Luke, and Simon seated there with somber expressions on their faces. She didn't even need to ask, but she did anyway: "Did they find him? Is he back?"
Jocelyn stood up. "Sweetheart, he's still missing-"
"But not dead? They haven't found a body?" She collapsed onto the couch next to Simon. "No-he's not dead. I'd know. "
She remembered Simon holding her hand while Luke told her what they did know: that Jace was still gone, and so was Sebastian. The bad news was that the blood on the pedestal had been identified as Jace's. The good news was that there was less of it than they had thought; it had mixed with the water from the coffin to give the impression of a greater volume of blood than there had really been. They now thought it was quite possible he had survived whatever had happened.
"But what happened?" she demanded.
Luke shook his head, blue eyes somber. "Nobody knows, Clary. "
Her veins felt as if her blood had been replaced with ice water. "I want to help. I want to do something. I don't want to just sit here while Jace is missing. "
"I wouldn't worry about that," Jocelyn said grimly. "The Clave wants to see you. "
Invisible ice cracked in Clary's joints and tendons as she stood up. "Fine. Whatever. I'll tell them anything they want if they'll find Jace. "
"You'll tell them anything they want because they have the Mortal Sword. " There was despair in Jocelyn's voice. "Oh, baby. I'm so sorry. "
And now, after two weeks of repetitive testimony, after scores of witnesses had been called, after she had held the Mortal Sword a dozen times, Clary sat in Isabelle's bedroom and waited for the Council to rule on her fate. She couldn't help but remember what it had felt like to hold the Mortal Sword. It was like tiny fishhooks embedded in your skin, pulling the truth out of you. She had knelt, holding it, in the circle of the Speaking Stars and had heard her own voice telling the Council everything: how Valentine had raised the Angel Raziel, and how she had taken the power of controlling the Angel from him by erasing his name in the sand and writing hers over it. She had told them how the Angel had offered her one wish, and she had used it to raise Jace from the dead; she told them how Lilith had possessed Jace and Lilith had planned to use Simon's blood to resurrect Sebastian, Clary's brother, whom Lilith regarded as a son. How Simon's Mark of Cain had ended Lilith, and they had thought Sebastian had been ended too, no longer a threat.
Clary sighed and flipped her phone open to check the time. "They've been in there for an hour," she said. "Is that normal? Is it a bad sign?"
Isabelle dropped Church, who let out a yowl. She came over to the bed and sat down beside Clary. Isabelle looked even more slender than usual-like Clary, she'd lost weight in the past two weeks-but elegant as always, in black cigarette pants and a fitted gray velvet top. Mascara was smudged all around Izzy's eyes, which should have made her look like a racoon but just made her look like a French film star instead. She stretched her arms out, and her electrum bracelets with their rune charms jingled musically. "No, it's not a bad sign," she said. "It just means they have a lot to talk over. " She twisted the Lightwood ring on her finger. "You'll be fine. You didn't break the Law. That's the important thing. "
Clary sighed. Even the warmth of Isabelle's shoulder next to hers couldn't melt the ice in her veins. She knew that technically she had broken no Laws, but she also knew the Clave was furious at her. It was illegal for a Shadowhunter to raise the dead, but not for the Angel to do it; nevertheless it was such an enormous thing she had done in asking for Jace's life back that she and Jace had agreed to tell no one about it.
Now it was out, and it had rocked the Clave. Clary knew they wanted to punish her, if only because her choice had had such disastrous consequences. In some way she wished they would punish her. Break her bones, pull her fingernails out, let the Silent Brothers root through her brain with their bladed thoughts. A sort of devil's bargain-her own pain for Jace's safe return. It would have helped her guilt over having left Jace behind on that rooftop, even though Isabelle and the others had told her a hundred times she was being ridiculous-that they had all thought he was perfectly safe there, and that if Clary had stayed, she would probably now be missing too.
"Quit it," Isabelle said. For a moment Clary wasn't sure if Isabelle was talking to her or to the cat. Church was doing what he often did when dropped-lying on his back with all four legs in the air, pretending to be dead in order to induce guilt in his owners. But then Isabelle swept her black hair aside, glaring, and Clary realized she was the one being told off, not the cat.
"Morbidly thinking about all the horrible things that are going to happen to you, or that you wish would happen to you because you're alive and Jace is. . . missing. " Isabelle's voice jumped, like a record skipping a groove. She never spoke of Jace as being dead or even gone-she and Alec refused to entertain the possibility. And Isabelle had never reproached Clary once for keeping such an enormous secret. Throughout everything, in fact, Isabelle had been her staunchest defender. Meeting her every day at the door to the Council Hall, she had held Clary firmly by the arm as she'd marched her past clumps of glaring, muttering Shadowhunters. She had waited through endless Council interrogations, shooting dagger glances at anyone who dared look at Clary sideways. Clary had been astonished. She and Isabelle had never been enormously close, both of them being the sort of girls who were more comfortable with boys than other female companionship. But Isabelle didn't leave her side. Clary was as bewildered as she was grateful.