City of Fallen Angels

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Authors: Cassandra Clare
him.
    Maybe people could never really change.
    I won’t.

4
T HE A RT OF E IGHT L IMBS
    HERE ARE ENSHRINED THE LONGING OF GREAT HEARTS AND NOBLE THINGS THAT TOWER ABOVE THE TIDE, THE MAGIC WORD THAT WINGED WONDER STARTS, THE GARNERED WISDOM THAT HAS NEVER DIED .
    The words were engraved over the front doors of the Brooklyn Public Library at Grand Army Plaza. Simon was sitting on the front steps, looking up at the facade. Inscriptions glittered against the stone in dull gilt, each word flashing into momentary life when caught by the headlights of passing cars.
    The library had always been one of his favorite places when he was a kid. There was a separate children’s entrance around the side, and he had met Clary there every Saturday for years. They would pick up a stack of books and head for the Botanical Garden next door, where they could read for hours, sprawled in the grass, the sound of traffic a constant dull thrumming in the distance.
    How he had ended up here tonight, he wasn’t quite sure. He had gotten away from his house as fast as he could, only to realize he had nowhere to go. He couldn’t face going to Clary’s—she’d be horrified at what he’d done, and would want him to go back to fix it. Eric and the other guys wouldn’t understand. Jace didn’t like him, and besides, he couldn’t go into the Institute. It was a church, and the reason the Nephilim lived there in the first place was precisely to keep creatures like him out. Eventually he had realized who it was he
could
call, but the thought had been unpleasant enough that it had taken him a while to screw up the nerve to actually do it.
    He heard the motorcycle before he saw it, the loud roar of the engine cutting through the sounds of light traffic on Grand Army Plaza. The cycle careened across the intersection and up onto the pavement, then reared back and shot up the steps. Simon moved aside as it landed lightly beside him and Raphael released the handlebars.
    The motorcycle went instantly quiet. Vamp motorcycles were powered by demonic spirits and responded like pets to the wishes of their owners. Simon found them creepy.
    “You wanted to see me, Daylighter?” Raphael, as elegant as always in a black jacket and expensive-looking jeans, dismounted and leaned his motorcycle against the library railing. “This had better be good,” he added. “It is not for nothing that I come all the way to Brooklyn. Raphael Santiago does not belong in an outer borough.”
    “Oh, good. You’re starting to talk about yourself in the third person. That’s not a sign of impending megalomania or anything.”
    Raphael shrugged. “You can either tell me what you wanted to tell me, or I will leave. It is up to you.” He looked at his watch. “You have thirty seconds.”
    “I told my mother I’m a vampire.”
    Raphael’s eyebrows went up. They were very thin and very dark. In less generous moments Simon sometimes wondered if he penciled them on. “And what happened?”
    “She called me a monster and tried to pray at me.” The memory made the bitter taste of old blood rise in the back of Simon’s throat.
    “And then?”
    “And then I’m not sure what happened. I started talking to her in this really weird, soothing voice, telling her nothing had happened and it was all a dream.”
    “And she believed you.”
    “She believed me,” Simon said reluctantly.
    “Of course she did,” said Raphael. “Because you are a vampire. It is a power we have. The
encanto
. The fascination. The power of persuasion, you would call it. You can convince mundane humans of almost anything, if you learn how to use the ability properly.”
    “But I didn’t want to use it on her. She’s my mother. Is there some way to take it off her—some way to fix it?”
    “Fix it so she hates you again? So she thinks you are a monster? That is a very odd definition of fixing something.”
    “I don’t care,” Simon said. “Is there a way?”
    “No,” Raphael said cheerfully.

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