City of lost souls, p.12
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       City of Lost Souls, p.12
 

         Part #5 of The Mortal Instruments series by Cassandra Clare
Page 12

 

  "Luke," Clary whispered. He didnt move. His face was an awful gray color.

  "I just called his pack," Jocelyn said. She didnt look at her daughter; Clary realized Jocelyn had not asked her a single question about Jace and Sebastian, or why she and Jace had emerged from her bedroom, or what they had been doing there. She was entirely focused on Luke. "They have some members patrolling the area. As soon as they get here, we have to leave. Jace will come back for you. "

  "You dont know that-," Clary began, whispering past her dry throat.

  "I do," said Jocelyn. "Valentine came back for me after fifteen years. Thats what the Morgenstern men are like. They dont ever give up. Hell come for you again. "

  Jace isnt Valentine. But the words died on Clarys lips. She wanted to drop to her knees and take Lukes hand, hold it tightly, tell him she loved him. But she remembered Jaces hands on her in the bedroom and didnt. This was her fault. She didnt deserve to get to comfort Luke, or herself. She deserved the pain, the guilt.

  The scrape of footsteps sounded on the porch, the low murmur of voices. Jocelyns head jerked up. The pack.

  "Clary, go and get your things," she said. "Take what you think youll need but not more than you can carry. Were not coming back to this house. "

  Chapter 6 : No Weapon in this World

  Little flakes of early snow had begun to fall from the steel-gray sky like feathers as Clary and her mother hurried along Greenpoint Avenue, their heads bent against the chill wind coming off the East River.

  Jocelyn had not spoken a word since they had left Luke at the disused police station that served as pack headquarters. The whole thing had been a blur-the pack carrying their leader in, the healing kit, Clary and her mother struggling to get a glimpse of Luke as the wolves seemed to close ranks against them. She knew why they couldnt take him to a mundane hospital, but it had been hard, beyond hard, to leave him there in the whitewashed room that served as their infirmary.

  It wasnt that the wolves didnt like Jocelyn or Clary. It was that Lukes fiancee and her daughter werent part of the pack. They never would be. Clary had looked around for Maia, for an ally, but she hadnt been there. Eventually Jocelyn had sent Clary out to wait in the corridor since the room had been too crowded, and Clary had slumped on the floor, cradling her knapsack on her lap. It had been two in the morning, and she had never felt so alone. If Luke died. . .

  She could barely remember a life without him. Because of him and her mother, she knew what it was like to be loved unconditionally. Luke swinging her up to perch her in the fork of an apple tree on his farm upstate was one of her earliest memories. In the infirmary he had been taking rattling breaths while his third in command, Bat, had unpacked the healing kit. People were supposed to take rattling breaths when they died, shed remembered. She couldnt remember the last thing shed said to Luke. Werent you supposed to remember the last thing you said to someone before they died?

  When Jocelyn had come out of the infirmary at last, looking exhausted, shed held out a hand to Clary and had helped her up off the floor.

  "Is he. . . ," Clary had begun.

  "Hes stabilized," Jocelyn had said. Shed looked up and down the hallway. "We should go. "

  "Go where?" Clary had been bewildered. "I thought wed stay here, with Luke. I dont want to leave him. "

  "Neither do I. " Jocelyn had been firm. Clary had thought of the woman whod turned her back on Idris, on everything shed ever known, and had walked away from it to start a new life alone. "But we cant lead Jace and Jonathan here either. Its not safe for the pack, or Luke. And this is the first place Jace will look for you. "

  "Then where. . . ," Clary had started, but shed realized, even before shed finished her own sentence, and had shut her mouth. Where did they ever go when they needed help these days?

  Now there was a sugary dusting of white along the cracked pavement of the avenue. Jocelyn had put on a long coat before theyd left the house, but beneath it she still wore the clothes that were stained with Lukes blood. Her mouth was set, her gaze unwavering on the road before her. Clary wondered if this was how her mother had looked walking out of Idris, her boots clogged with ashes, the Mortal Cup hidden in her coat.

  Clary shook her head to clear it. She was being fanciful, imagining things she hadnt been present to see, her mind skittering away, perhaps, from the awfulness of what she just had seen.

  Unbidden, the image of Sebastian driving the knife into Luke came into her head, and the sound of Jaces familiar and beloved voice saying "collateral damage. "

  For as is often the happenstance with that which is precious and lost, when you find him again, he may well not be quite as you left him.

  Jocelyn shivered and flipped her hood up to cover her hair. White flakes of snow had already begun to mix with the bright red strands. She was still silent, and the street, lined with Polish and Russian restaurants in between barbershops and beauty parlors, was deserted in the white and yellow night. A memory flashed before the backs of Clarys eyelids-a real one this time, not a wisp of imagination. Her mother was hurrying her down a night-black street between piles of heaped and dirty snow. A lowering sky, gray and leaden. . .

  She had seen the image before, the first time the Silent Brothers had dug into her mind. She realized what it was now. Her memory of a time her mother had taken her to Magnuss to have her memories altered. It must have been in the dead of winter, but she recognized Greenpoint Avenue in the memory.

  The redbrick warehouse Magnus lived in rose above them. Jocelyn pushed open the glass doors to the entryway, and they crowded inside, Clary trying to breathe through her mouth as her mother pushed the buzzer for Magnus one, two, and three times. At last the door opened and they hurried up the stairs. The door to Magnuss apartment was open, and the warlock was leaning against the architrave, waiting for them. He was wearing canary-yellow pajamas, and on his feet were green slippers with alien faces, complete with sproingy antennae. His hair was a tangled, curly, spiky mass of black, and his gold-green eyes blinked tiredly at them.

  "Saint Magnuss Home for Wayward Shadowhunters," he said in a deep voice. "Welcome. " He threw an arm wide. "Spare bedrooms are that way. Wipe your boots on the mat. " He stepped back into the apartment, letting them pass through in front of him before shutting the door. Today the place was done up in a sort of faux-Victorian decor, with high-backed sofas and large gilt mirrors everywhere. The pillars were strung with lights in the shape of flowers.

  There were three spare rooms down a short corridor off the main living room; at random Clary chose one on the right. It was painted orange, like her old bedroom in Park Slope, and had a sofa bed and a small window that looked out on the darkened windows of a closed diner. Chairman Meow was curled up on the bed, nose tucked under his tail. She sat down beside him and petted his ears, feeling the purring that vibrated through his small furry body. As she stroked him, she caught sight of the sleeve of her sweater. It was stained dark and crusted with blood. Lukes blood.

  She stood up and yanked the sweater off violently. From her backpack she took a clean pair of jeans and a black V-necked thermal shirt and changed into them. She glanced at herself briefly in the window, which showed her a pale reflection, her hair hanging limply, damp with snow, her freckles standing out like paint splotches. Not that it mattered what she looked like. She thought of Jace kissing her-it felt like days ago instead of hours-and her stomach hurt as if shed swallowed tiny knives.

  She held on to the edge of the bed for a long moment until the pain subsided. Then she took a deep breath and went back out into the living room.

  Her mother was seated on one of the gilt-backed chairs, her long artists fingers wrapped around a mug of hot water with lemon. Magnus was slumped on a hot-pink sofa, his green slippers up on the coffee table. "The pack stabilized him," Jocelyn was saying in an exhausted voice. "They dont know for how long, though. They thought there might have been silver powder on the blade, but it appears to be somethi
ng else. The tip of the knife-" She glanced up, saw Clary, and fell silent.

  "Its okay, Mom. Im old enough to hear whats wrong with Luke. "

  "Well, they dont know exactly what it is," Jocelyn said softly. "The tip of the blade Sebastian used broke off against one of his ribs and lodged in the bone. But they cant retrieve it. It. . . moves. "

  "It moves?" Magnus looked puzzled.

  "When they tried to dig it out, it burrowed into the bone and nearly snapped it," Jocelyn said. "Hes a werewolf, he heals fast, but its in there gashing up his internal organs, keeping the wound from closing. "

  "Demon metal," said Magnus. "Not silver. "

  Jocelyn leaned forward. "Do you think you can help him? Whatever it costs, Ill pay-"

  Magnus stood up. His alien slippers and rumpled bed-head seemed extremely incongruous given the gravity of the situation. "I dont know. "

  "But you healed Alec," said Clary. "When the Greater Demon wounded him. . . "

  Magnus had begun to pace. "I knew what was wrong with him. I dont know what kind of demon metal this is. I could experiment, try different healing spells, but it wont be the fastest way to help him. "

  "Whats the fastest way?" Jocelyn said.

  "The Praetor," said Magnus. "The Wolf Guard. I knew the man who founded it-Woolsey Scott. Because of certain. . . incidents, he was fascinated with minutiae about the way demon metals and demon drugs act on lycanthropes, the same way the Silent Brothers keep records of the ways Nephilim can be healed. Over the years the Praetor have become very closed-off and secretive, unfortunately. But a member of the Praetor could access their information. "

  "Lukes not a member," Jocelyn said. "And their roster is secret-"

  "But Jordan," said Clary. "Jordans a member. He can find out. Ill call him-"

  "Ill call him," said Magnus. "I cant get into Praetor headquarters, but I can pass on a message that ought to hold some extra weight. Ill be back. " He padded off to the kitchen, the antennae on his slippers waving gently like seaweed in a current.

  Clary turned back to her mother, who was staring down at her mug of hot water. It was one of her favorite restoratives, though Clary could never figure out why anyone would want to drink warm sour water. The snow had soaked her mothers hair, and now that it was drying, it was beginning to curl, like Clarys did in humid weather.

  "Mom," Clary said, and her mother looked up. "That knife you threw-back at Lukes-was it at Jace?"

  "It was at Jonathan. " She would never call him Sebastian, Clary knew.

  "Its just. . . " Clary took a deep breath. "Its almost the same thing. You saw. When you stabbed Sebastian, Jace started to bleed. Its like theyre-mirrored in some way. Cut Sebastian, Jace bleeds. Kill him, and Jace dies. "

  "Clary. " Her mother rubbed her tired eyes. "Can we not discuss this now?"

  "But you said you think hell come back for me. Jace, I mean. I need to know that you wont hurt him-"

  "Well, you cant know that. Because I wont promise it, Clary. I cant. " Her mother looked at her with unflinching eyes. "I saw the two of you come out of your bedroom. "

  Clary flushed. "I dont want to-"

  "To what? Talk about it? Well, too bad. You brought it up. Youre lucky Im not in the Clave anymore, you know. How long have you known where Jace was?"

  "I dont know where he is. Tonight is the first time Ive talked to him since he disappeared. I saw him in the Institute with Seb-with Jonathan, yesterday. I told Alec and Isabelle and Simon. But I couldnt tell anyone else. If the Clave got hold of him-I cant let that happen. "

  Jocelyn raised her green eyes. "And why not?"

  "Because hes Jace. Because I love him. "

  "Hes not Jace. Thats just it, Clary. Hes not who he was. Cant you see that-"

  "Of course I can see it. Im not stupid. But I have faith. I saw him possessed before, and I saw him break free of it. I think Jace is still inside there somewhere. I think theres a way to save him. "

  "What if there isnt?"

  "Prove it. "

  "You cant prove a negative, Clarissa. I understand that you love him. You always have loved him, too much. You think I didnt love your father? You think I didnt give him every chance? And look what came of that. Jonathan. If I hadnt stayed with your father, he wouldnt exist-"

  "Neither would I," said Clary. "In case you forgot, I came after my brother, not before. " She looked at her mother, hard. "Are you saying it would be worth it never to have had me, if you could get rid of Jonathan?"

  "No, I-"

  There was the grating sound of keys in a lock, and the apartment door swung open. It was Alec. He wore a long leather duster open over a blue sweater, and there were white flakes of snow in his black hair. His cheeks were candy-apple red from the cold, but his face was otherwise pale.

  "Wheres Magnus?" he said. As he looked toward the kitchen, Clary saw a bruise on his jaw, below his ear, about the size of a thumbprint.

  "Alec!" Magnus came skidding into the living room and blew a kiss to his boyfriend across the room. Having discarded his slippers, he was barefoot now. His cats eyes shone as he looked at Alec.

  Clary knew that look. That was herself looking at Jace. Alec didnt return the gaze, though. He was shucking off his coat and hanging it on a hook on the wall. He was visibly upset. His hands were trembling, his broad shoulders tightly set.

  "You got my text?" Magnus asked.

  "Yeah. I was only a few blocks away anyway. " Alec looked at Clary, and then at her mother, anxiety and uncertainty warring in his expression. Though Alec had been invited to Jocelyns reception party, and had met her several times besides that, they did not by any measure know each other well. "Its true, what Magnus said? You saw Jace again?"

 
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