City of Bones

By: Cassandra Clare

I have not slept.

Between the acting of a dreadful thing

And the first motion, all the interim is

Like a phantasma, or a hideous dream:

The Genius and the mortal instruments

Are then in council; and the state of man,

Like to a little kingdom, suffers then

The nature of an insurrection.

—William Shakespeare, Julius Caesar





I

DARK DESCENT


I sung of Chaos and eternal Night,

Taught by the heav—nly Muse to venture down

The dark descent, and up to reascend …

—John Milton, Paradise Lost





1

PANDEMONIUM


“YOU’VE GOT TO BE KIDDING ME,” THE BOUNCER SAID, folding his arms across his massive chest. He stared down at the boy in the red zip-up jacket and shook his shaved head. “You can’t bring that thing in here.”

The fifty or so teenagers in line outside the Pandemonium Club leaned forward to eavesdrop. It was a long wait to get into the all-ages club, especially on a Sunday, and not much generally happened in line. The bouncers were fierce and would come down instantly on anyone who looked like they were going to start trouble. Fifteen-year-old Clary Fray, standing in line with her best friend, Simon, leaned forward along with everyone else, hoping for some excitement.

“Aw, come on.” The kid hoisted the thing up over his head. It looked like a wooden beam, pointed at one end. “It’s part of my costume.”

The bouncer raised an eyebrow. “Which is what?”

The boy grinned. He was normal-enough-looking, Clary thought, for Pandemonium. He had electric-blue dyed hair that stuck up around his head like the tendrils of a startled octopus, but no elaborate facial tattoos or big metal bars through his ears or lips. “I’m a vampire hunter.” He pushed down on the wooden thing. It bent as easily as a blade of grass bending sideways. “It’s fake. Foam rubber. See?”

The boy’s wide eyes were way too bright a green, Clary noticed: the color of antifreeze, spring grass. Colored contact lenses, probably. The bouncer shrugged, abruptly bored. “Whatever. Go on in.”

The boy slid past him, quick as an eel. Clary liked the lilt to his shoulders, the way he tossed his hair as he went. There was a word for him that her mother would have used—insouciant.

“You thought he was cute,” said Simon, sounding resigned. “Didn’t you?”

Clary dug her elbow into his ribs, but didn’t answer.


Inside, the club was full of dry-ice smoke. Colored lights played over the dance floor, turning it into a multicolored fairyland of blues and acid greens, hot pinks and golds.

The boy in the red jacket stroked the long razor-sharp blade in his hands, an idle smile playing over his lips. It had been so easy—a little bit of a glamour on the blade, to make it look harmless. Another glamour on his eyes, and the moment the bouncer had looked straight at him, he was in. Of course, he could probably have gotten by without all that trouble, but it was part of the fun—fooling the mundies, doing it all out in the open right in front of them, getting off on the blank looks on their sheeplike faces.

Not that the humans didn’t have their uses. The boy’s green eyes scanned the dance floor, where slender limbs clad in scraps of silk and black leather appeared and disappeared inside the revolving columns of smoke as the mundies danced. Girls tossed their long hair, boys swung their leather-clad hips, and bare skin glittered with sweat. Vitality just poured off them, waves of energy that filled him with a drunken dizziness. His lip curled. They didn’t know how lucky they were. They didn’t know what it was like to eke out life in a dead world, where the sun hung limp in the sky like a burned cinder. Their lives burned as brightly as candle flames—and were as easy to snuff out.

His hand tightened on the blade he carried, and he had begun to step out onto the dance floor, when a girl broke away from the mass of dancers and began walking toward him. He stared at her. She was beautiful, for a human—long hair nearly the precise color of black ink, charcoaled eyes. Floor-length white gown, the kind women used to wear when this world was younger. Lace sleeves belled out around her slim arms. Around her neck was a thick silver chain, on which hung a dark red pendant the size of a baby’s fist. He only had to narrow his eyes to know that it was real—real and precious. His mouth started to water as she neared him. Vital energy pulsed from her like blood from an open wound. She smiled, passing him, beckoning with her eyes. He turned to follow her, tasting the phantom sizzle of her death on his lips.

Also By Cassandra Clare

Last Updated

Hot Read

Recommend

Top Books