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The Fall of the Hotel Dumort, Page 3

Cassandra Clare

  "No," Lincoln said. "I've seen that myself with our own. But you understand . . . we can't let this behavior continue."

  "I know you can't."

  Lincoln finished his wine and set the glass down gently.

  "I'm sorry, Magnus. I really am. But if it happens again, you need to leave it to us."

  Magnus nodded. Lincoln gave him a squeeze on the shoulder, then let himself out.

  For the next several days Magnus kept to himself. The weather was brutal, flicking between heat and storm. He tried to forget about the scene in Camille's apartment, and the best way to forget was to keep busy. He hadn't really kept up with his work for the last two years. There were clients to call. There were spells to study and translations to do. Books to read. The apartment needed redecorating. There were new restaurants and new bars and new people. . . .

  Every time he stopped, he flashed back to the sight of Camille squatting on the carpet, the girl limp in her arms, the mirror full of drugs, Camille's face covered in blood. The mess. The stink. The horror. The blank looks.

  When you lost someone to addiction--and he had lost many--you lost something very precious. You watched them fall. You waited for them to hit the bottom. It was a terrible wait. He would have nothing to do with it. What happened now was not his problem. He had no doubt that Lincoln and the werewolves would take care of things, and the less he knew the better.

  It kept him awake at night. That, and the thunder.

  Sleeping alone was Hell, so he decided not to sleep alone.

  He still woke up.

  It was the night of July thirteenth--lucky thirteen. The thunderstorm outside was incredibly loud, louder than the air conditioner, louder than the radio. Magnus was just finishing up a translation and was about to go out to dinner, when the lights flickered. The radio faded in and out. Then everything went very bright as power surged through the wires. Then . . .

  Out. Air conditioner, lights, radio, everything. Magnus flicked his hand absently and lit a candle on his desk. Power outages were not uncommon. It was a moment before he realized that things had grown very quiet and very dark indeed, and there were voices shouting outside. He went to the window and opened it.

  Everything was dark. The streetlights. Every building. Everything except the headlights of the cars. He took the candle and carefully walked down the two flights to the street and joined the excited masses of people. The rain had stopped--it was just thunder grumbling in the background.

  New York . . . was off. Everything was off. There was no skyline. There was no glow of the Empire State Building. It was utterly, utterly dark. And one word was being yelled from window to window, from street to car to doorway . . .


  The parties started almost at once. It was the ice cream shop on the corner that kicked it off, selling anything they had for a dime a cone, and then just giving away the ice cream to anyone who came by with a bowl or a cup. Then the bars started passing around cocktails in paper cups to passersby. Everyone poured out onto the streets. People propped battery-powered radios in the windows, so there was a mix of music and news reports. The outage had been caused by a lightning strike. All of New York was down. It would be hours--days?--before service was restored.

  Magnus returned to his apartment, got a bottle of champagne from his refrigerator, and returned to his front stoop to drink it, sharing it with a few people who walked past. It was too hot to stay inside, and the outside was far too interesting to miss. People started dancing on the sidewalk, and he joined in for a while. He accepted a martini from a nice young man with a beautiful smile.

  Then there was a hissing. People gathered around one of the radios, one playing news. Magnus and his new friend, who was named David, joined them.

  ". . . .ires throughout the five boroughs. More than a hundred fires have been reported in the last hour. And we have multiple reports of lootings. Gunfire is being exchanged. Please--if you are out tonight, use extreme caution. Though all police have been called in to duty, there are not enough officers to . . ."

  Another radio a few yards away, on a different station, gave a similar report.

  ". . . .undreds of stores have been broken into. There are reports of total breakdowns in some areas. You are strongly advised to stay indoors. If you cannot get home, seek shelter in . . . ."

  In the short silence, Magnus could hear sirens in the distance. The Village was a tight community, so it celebrated. But clearly this was not the case all over the city.


  Magnus turned to find Greg breaking through the group. He pulled Magnus away from the crowd, into a quiet space between two parked cars.

  "I thought that was you," he said. "It's all happening. They've gone nuts. The blackout. . . . The vampires are going crazy at this club. I can't even explain it. It's on Tenth Ave and down a block. No cabs in this blackout. You have to run."

  Now that Magnus was trying to get somewhere, he realized the pure madness of the blacked-out streets. Since there were no traffic lights, normal people were trying to guide traffic. Cars were either frozen in place or moving far too fast. Some were parked and turned inward, their headlights being used to illuminate stores and restaurants. Everyone was out--the Village had poured out of every building, and there was no room anywhere. Magnus and Greg had to weave through the people, through the cars, tripping in the dark.

  The crowds thinned somewhat the closer they got to the river. The club was in one of the old meatpacking warehouses. The brick industrial facade had been painted silver, and the word "ELECTRICA," along with a lightning bolt, was above the old service doors. Two werewolves stood by these, holding flashlights, and Lincoln waited off to the side. He was deep in conversation with Consuela, who was his second-in-command. When they saw Magnus, Consuela stepped aside to a waiting van, and Lincoln came over.

  "This is what we feared," Lincoln said. "We waited too long."

  The werewolves guarding the entrance parted, and Lincoln pushed open the doors. Inside the club it was entirely pitch black, save for the beams from the werewolves' flashlights. There was a strong smell of spilled, mixed liquor and something unpleasantly tangy and sharp.

  Magnus raised his hands. The neon lights around the room buzzed and glowed. The overhead work lights--unflattering fluorescents--sputtered on. And the disco ball crept to life, slowly spinning, sending a thousand points of colored reflected light around the room. The dance floor, made of large squares of colored plastic, was also illuminated from below.

  Which made the scene all the more terrible.

  There were four bodies, three women and one man. All looked like they had been running for various points of exit. Their skin was the color of ash, marked everywhere with greenish-purple bruises and dozens of marks, and garishly lit by the red, yellow, and blue lights below them. There was very little blood. Just a few small puddles here and there. Not nearly as much blood as there should have been.

  One of the dead women, Magnus noticed, had familiar long blond hair. He'd last seen her on the plane, handing him the passes . . .

  Magnus had to turn away quickly.

  "They were all drained," Lincoln said. "The club hadn't opened for the night yet. They were having trouble with their sound system even before the power went out, so the only people here were the employees. Two there. . . ."

  He pointed to the raised DJ platform with its piles of turntables and speakers. Some werewolves were up there examining the scene.

  "Two behind the bar," he continued. "Another one ran and hid in the bathroom, but the door was broken down. And these four. Nine total."

  Magnus sat down on one of the nearby chairs and put his head in his hands for a moment to gather himself. No matter how long you lived, you never got used to seeing terrible things. Lincoln gave him a moment to collect himself.

  "This is my fault. When I went to see Camille, one of them took the passes to this place from my pocket."

  Lincoln pulled over a chair and sat next to Magn

  "That doesn't make it your fault. I asked you to speak to Camille. If Camille came here because of you . . . it doesn't put the blame on either of us, Magnus. But you can see now, it can't go on."

  "What do you plan on doing?" Magnus said.

  "There are fires tonight. All over the city. We take this opportunity. We burn this place down. I think it would spare the victims' families for them to think their loved ones died in a fire, rather than . . ."

  He indicated the terrible scene just behind them.

  "You're right," Magnus said. "No good could come of anyone seeing their loved one like that."

  "No. And no good would come of the police seeing this. It would send the city into a complete panic, and the Shadowhunters would be forced to come down here. We keep this quiet. We deal with it."

  "And the vampires?"

  "We're going to go and get them, and lock them in here while it burns. We have permission from the Praetor Lupus. The entire clan is to be treated as infected, but we'll try to be judicious. The first one we'll be getting, though, is Camille."

  Magnus exhaled slowly.

  "Magnus," Lincoln said, "what else can we do? She's the clan leader. We need this to end now."

  "Give me an hour," Magnus said. "One hour. If I can get them off the streets in an hour--"

  "There's already a group headed up to Camille's apartment. Another will go to the Hotel Dumont."

  "How long ago did they leave?"

  "About a half hour."

  "Then I'm going now." Magnus stood. "I have to try to do something."

  "Magnus," Lincoln said, "if you stand in the way, the pack will remove you from the situation. Do you understand that?"

  Magnus nodded.

  "I'll come up when we're done here," Lincoln said. "I'll go to the Dumont. That's where they'll end up anyway."

  A Portal was required. Given the situation on the streets, there was every chance that the werewolves hadn't gotten to Camille's apartment yet--if that was even where she was. He would just need to get to her. But before he could even start to draw the runes, he heard a voice in the dark.

  "You're here."

  Magnus turned on his heel and threw up a hand to illuminate the alley.

  Camille was moving toward him, unsteady. She wore a long, black dress--rather, it was a dress that was now colored black from the sheer quantity of blood on it. It was still wet and heavy, and it stuck to her legs as she made her way forward.

  "Magnus . . ."

  Her voice was thick. Smears of blood covered Camille's face, her arms, her silver-blond hair. She held one hand against a wall for support as she moved toward him in a series of heavy, toddler-like steps.

  Magnus approached her slowly. As soon as he got close enough, she gave up the effort of standing and fell forward. He caught her halfway to the ground.

  "I knew you'd come," she said.

  "What have you done, Camille?"

  "I was looking for you. . . . Dolly said you were . . . you were here."

  Magnus gently lowered her to the ground.

  "Camille . . . do you know what's happened? Do you know what you did?"

  The smell coming from her was nauseating. Magnus breathed sharply through his nose to steady himself. Camille's eyes were rolling back into her head. He gave her a shake.

  "You need to listen to me," he said. "Try to stay awake. You need to summon all of them."

  "I don't know where they are. . . . They're everywhere. It's so dark. It's our night, Magnus. For my little ones. For us."

  "You must have grave dirt," Magnus said.

  This got a loose nod.

  "Okay. We get the grave dirt. You use it to summon them. Where is the grave dirt?"

  "In the vault."

  "And where is the vault?"

  "Green-Wood . . . Cemetery. Brooklyn . . ."

  Magnus stood and began to draw the runes. When he was finished and the Portal began to open, he picked Camille up from the ground and held on to her tightly.

  "Think of it now," he said. "Get it clearly in your mind. The vault."

  Considering Camille's state, this was a risky proposition. Holding her closer, feeling the blood on her clothing seep through his shirt . . . Magnus stepped through.

  There were trees here. Trees and a bit of moonlight cutting through the cloudy night sky. Absolutely no people, no voices. Just the distant rumble of the stuck traffic. And hundreds of white slabs jutting up from the ground.

  Magnus and Camille were standing in front of a mausoleum that resembled a folly--the front piece of a tiny colonnaded temple. It was built directly into the side of a low hill.

  Magnus looked down and saw that Camille had found the strength to wrap her slender arms around him. She was shuddering a bit.


  She tipped her head upward. She was crying. Camille did not cry. Even under these circumstances, Magnus was moved. He still wanted to console her, wanted to take the time to tell her everything would be all right. But all he could say was, "Do you have the key?"

  She shook her head. There hadn't been much chance of that. Magnus put his hand on the lock securing the wide metal doors, closed his eyes, and concentrated until he felt the light click under his fingertips.

  The vault was about eight-foot square and was made of concrete. The walls were lined with wooden shelves, floor to ceiling. And those shelves were filled with small glass vials of earth. The vials varied quite a bit--some were thick green, or yellow blown glass with visible bubbles. There were thinner bottles, some extremely small bottles, a few tiny brown bottles. The oldest ones were stopped up with corks. Some had glass stoppers. The newest had screw-on caps. The age was also seen in the layers of dust, the grime, the amount of webbing running between them. In the back, you wouldn't have been able to lift some of the bottles from the shelves, so thick was the accumulated residue. There was a history of New York vampirism here that would probably have interested many, that was probably worth studying. . . .

  Magnus put out his hands, and with one great blast of blue light, all the vials burst at once. There was a great cough of dirt and glass powder.

  "Where will they go?" he asked Camille.

  "The Dumont."

  "Of course," Magnus said. "Them and everyone else. We're going there, and you're going to do as I say. We need to make this right, Camille. You have to try. Do you understand?"

  She nodded once.

  This time Magnus was in control of the Portal. They emerged on 116th Street, in the middle of what appeared to be a full-scale riot. There were fires here. The echoes of screams and breaking glass went from one end of the street to the other. No one took any notice of the fact that Magnus and Camille were suddenly in their midst. It was too dark, and far too crazy. The heat was much worse in this area, and Magnus felt his entire body dripping with sweat.

  There were two vans parked directly in front of the Dumont, and an unmistakable crowd of werewolves was already gathered. They had baseball bats and chains. That was all that was visible. There were undoubtedly some containers of holy water. There was already plenty of fire around.

  Magnus pulled Camille down behind the cover of a parked Cadillac that had already had all its windows smashed. He reached around inside and popped open the door.

  "Get in," he said to Camille. "And stay down. They're after you. Let me go and talk to them."

  Even as Magnus was making his way around the car, Camille found the strength to crawl across the glass-strewn front seat and was falling out through the driver's side door. When Magnus tried to get her back inside, she pushed him away.

  "Get out of the way, Magnus. It's me they want."

  "They'll kill you, Camille."

  But she had been seen. The werewolves crossed the street, bats at the ready. Camille held up a hand. Several vampires had just arrived in front of the hotel. Several others had already fought, and several others were lying, still, on the sidewalk. A few more were being restrained.

  "Go in
side the hotel," she ordered.

  "Camille--they'll burn us," one said. "Look at them. Look at what's happening."

  Camille looked to Magnus, and he understood. She was leaving this to him.

  "Get inside," she said again. "That is not a request."

  One by one over the course of the next hours, every vampire in New York--no matter what condition they were in--appeared on the steps of the Dumont. Camille, leaning against the doors for support, ordered them inside. They passed through the phalanx of werewolves with their bats and chains, looking wary. It was almost dawn when the last groups appeared.

  Lincoln arrived at the same time.

  "Some are missing," Camille said as he got out of his car.

  "Some are dead," Lincoln replied. "You have Magnus to thank that more aren't dead."

  Camille nodded once, then went inside the hotel and shut the doors.

  "And now?" Lincoln said.

  "You can't cure them without their consent--but you can dry them out. They stay locked in there until they are clean," Magnus said.

  "And if this doesn't work?"

  Magnus looked at the broken-down facade of the Dumont. Someone, he noticed, had changed the n to an r. Dumort. Hotel of the dead.

  "Let's see what happens," Magnus said.

  For three days, Magnus kept the wards on the Dumont. He went by several times a day. Werewolves patrolled the perimeter all hours, making sure no one got out. On the third day, just after sunset, Magnus released the ward on the front door and went inside, and sealed it again behind him.

  Clearly there had been an organizing principle at work inside the hotel. The vampires who had not been affected by the drug were littered throughout the lobby and on the balconies and steps. They were mostly sleeping. The werewolves now permitted them to rise and leave.

  With Lincoln and his aides by his side, Magnus retraced the steps he had taken almost fifty years before, to the ballroom of the Dumont. Once again the doors were sealed--this time with a chain.

  "Get the cutters from the van," Lincoln said.

  There was a truly terrible smell coming from under the door.

  Please, Magnus thought. Be empty.

  Of course the ballroom would not be empty. It was a silly wish that all the events of the last three days simply hadn't happened. Because in the end nothing is worse than seeing the fall of one you loved. It was somehow worse than losing a love. It made everything seem questionable. It made the past bitter and confused.