The Fall of the Hotel Dumort Page 2

“I’m telling you”—Greg pulled the ashtray from under the table’s jukebox and lit up a cigarette—“things have been messed up recently. I mean, messed up.”

“Messed up how?”

“The vampires, man.” Greg took a long drag. “There’s something wrong with them.”

“I found a few in my apartment last night when I got home,” Magnus said. “They didn’t seem right. They were disgusting, for a start. And they looked sick.”

“They are sick. They’re feeding like crazy. It’s getting bad, man. It’s getting bad. I’m telling you . . .”

He leaned in and lowered his voice.

“Shadowhunters are going to be all over us if the vampires don’t get it under control. Right now I’m not sure the Shadowhunters know what’s going on. The murder rate in the city is so high, maybe they can’t tell. But it won’t be long before they figure it out.”

Magnus leaned back in his seat.

“Camille usually keeps things under control.”

Greg gave a heavy shrug. “I can only tell you that the vamps started coming around to all the clubs and discos. They love that stuff. But then they just started attacking people all the time. In the clubs, on the streets. The NYPD thinks the attacks are weird muggings, so it’s been kept quiet so far. But when the Shadowhunters find out, they’re going to come down on us. They’re getting trigger-happy. Any excuse.”

“The Accords prohibit—”

“The Accords my ass. I’m telling you, it won’t be long before they start ignoring the Accords. And the vampires are so in violation that anything can happen. I’m telling you, it’s all so messed up.”

A plate of pancakes was deposited in front of Magnus, and he and Greg stopped speaking for a moment. Greg stubbed out his barely smoked cigarette.

“I gotta go,” he said. “I was out patrolling to see if anyone had been attacked, and I saw you through the window. Wanted to say hi. It’s nice to see you back.”

Magnus dropped five dollars onto the table and pushed the pancakes away.

“I’ll come with you. I want to see this for myself.”

The temperature had shot up in the hour or so he’d been in the diner. This amplified the pong of the overflowing trash—spilling out of metal trash cans (which only cooked it and intensified the scent), bags of it piled up on the curbs. Trash just thrown down onto the street itself. Magnus stepped over the hamburger wrappers and cans and newspapers.

“Two basic areas to patrol,” Greg said, lighting up a new cigarette. “This area and midtown west. We go street by street. I’m working west from here. There are a lot of clubs over by the river, in the Meatpacking District.”

“It’s quite warm.”

“This heat, man. I guess it could be the heat making them freak out. It gets to everyone.”

Greg pulled off his vest. There were certainly worse things than taking a walk with a handsome, shirtless man on a summer morning. Now that it was more of a civilized hour, people were out. Gay couples walking hand in hand, in the open, during the day. That was fairly new. Even as the city seemed to be falling apart, something good was happening.

“Has Lincoln spoken to Camille?” Magnus asked.

Max Lincoln was the head of the werewolves. Everyone just called him by his last name, which fit with his tall and gaunt frame and bearded face—and because, like the more famous Lincoln, he was a famously calm and resolute leader.

“They don’t talk,” Greg said. “Not anymore. Camille comes down here for the clubs, and that’s it. You know what she’s like.”

Magnus knew all too well. Camille had always been a bit aloof, at least to strangers and acquaintances. She had the air of royalty. The private Camille was a different beast entirely.

“What about Raphael Santiago?” Magnus asked.

“He’s gone.”


“Rumor is that he’s been sent away. I heard that from one of the fey. They claim to have overheard it from some vamps walking through Central Park. He must have known about what was happening and had some words with Camille. Now he’s just gone.”

This didn’t bode well.

They walked through the Village, past the shops and cafés, up toward the Meatpacking District, with its cobbled streets and disused warehouses. Many of these were now clubs. There was a desolate feel here in the morning—just the remains of the abandoned parties and the river slugging along below. Even the river seemed to resent the heat. They checked everywhere—in the alleys, next to the trash. They looked under vans and trucks.

“Nothing,” Greg said as they peered into and poked the last pile of trash in the last alley. “Guess it was a quiet night. Time to check in. It’s late.

This required a quick walk in the ever-increasing heat. Greg couldn’t pay for a cab and refused to allow Magnus to do so, so Magnus unhappily joined in the jog all the way down to Canal Street. The werewolves’ den was concealed behind the facade of a takeout-only restaurant in Chinatown. One werewolf stood behind the counter, under the menu and the stock photos of various Chinese dishes. She looked Magnus over. When Greg nodded, she let them pass through a beaded curtain to the back.

There was no kitchen behind the back wall. Instead there was a door that led to a much larger facility—the old Second Precinct police station. (The cells came in handy during the full moon.) Magnus followed Greg down the dimly lit hallway to the main room of the station, which was already full. The pack had gathered, and Lincoln stood at the head of the room, listening to a report and nodding gravely. When he saw Magnus, he raised a hand in greeting.

“All right,” Lincoln said. “Looks like everyone is here. And we have a guest. Many of you know Magnus Bane. He’s a warlock, as you see, and a friend to this pack.”

This was accepted at once, and there were nods and greetings all around. Magnus leaned against a file cabinet near the back to watch the proceedings.

“Greg,” Lincoln said, “you’re the last in. Anything?”

“Nope. My patch was clean.”

“Good. But unfortunately, there was an incident. Elliot? Want to explain?”

Another werewolf stepped forward.

“We found a body,” he said. “In midtown, near Le Jardin. Definitely a vampire attack. Clear marking on the neck. We slit the throat so the puncture marks were hidden.”

There was a general groan around the room.

“That will keep the words ‘vampire killer’ out of the papers for a while,” Lincoln said. “But clearly things have gotten worse, and now someone is dead.”

Magnus heard various remarks in low voices about vampires, and some in louder voices. All of the remarks contained profanity.

“Okay.” Lincoln put his hands up and silenced the general sounds of dismay. “Magnus, what do you think about this?”

“I don’t know,” Magnus said. “I only just got back.”

“Ever seen anything like this? Mass, random attacks?”

All heads turned in his direction. He steadied himself against the file cabinet. He wasn’t quite ready to give a presentation on the ways of vampires at this hour of the morning.

“I’ve seen bad behavior,” Magnus said. “It really depends. I’ve been in places where there was no police force and no Shadowhunters nearby, so sometimes it can get out of hand. But I’ve never seen anything like it here, or in any developed area. Especially not near an Institute.”

“We need to take care of this,” a voice called out.

Various voices of assent echoed around the room.

“Let’s talk outside,” Lincoln said to Magnus.

He nodded at the door, and the werewolves parted so that Magnus could pass. Lincoln and Magnus got some burned coffee at the corner deli and sat on a stoop in front of an acupuncturist’s shop.

“Something’s wrong with them,” Lincoln said. “Whatever it is, it hit fast, and it hit hard. If we have diseased vampires around causing this kind of bloodshed . . . eventually we’ll have to act, Magnus. We can’t let it go on. We can’t let murders happen, and we can’t run the risk of bringing the Shadowhunters down here. We can’t have problems like that starting up again. It will end badly for all of us.”

Magnus examined the crack in the step below. “Have you contacted the Praetor Lupus?” he asked.

“Of course. But we can’t identify who is doing this. It doesn’t seem like the work of one rogue fledgling. This is multiple attacks in multiple locations. The only luck for us is that all of the victims have been on various substances, so they can’t articulate what happened to them. If one of them says vampire, the police will think it’s because they’re high. But eventually the story will take shape. The press will get wind of it, and the Shadowhunters will get wind of it, and the whole thing will escalate rapidly.”

Lincoln was right. If this went on, the werewolves would be well within their rights to act. And then there would be blood.

“You know Camille,” Lincoln said. “You could talk to her.”

“I knew Camille. You probably know her better than I do at this point.”

“I don’t know how to talk to Camille. She’s a difficult person to communicate with. I would have spoken to her already if I knew how. And our relationship isn’t quite the same as the relationship you had.”

“We don’t really get along,” Magnus said. “We haven’t spoken for several decades.”

“But everyone knows that you two were . . .”

“That was a long time ago. A hundred years ago, Lincoln.”

“For you two does that kind of time even matter?”

“What would you want me to say to her? It’s hard to walk in after that long a time and just say, ‘Stop attacking people. Also, how have you been since the turn of the century?’”

“If there’s something wrong, maybe you could help them. If they’re just overfeeding, then they need to know that we’re prepared to act. And if you care for her, which I think you do, she deserves this warning. It would be for the good of us all.”

He put his hand on Magnus’s shoulder.

“Please,” Lincoln said. “It’s possible we can still fix this. Because if this goes on, we’ll all suffer.”

Magnus had many exes. They were strewn throughout history. Most of them were memories, long dead. Some were now very old. Etta, one of his last loves, was now in a nursing home and no longer recognized him. It had become too painful to visit her.

Camille Belcourt was different. She’d come into Magnus’s life under the light of a gas lamp, looking regal. That had been in London, and it had been a different world. Their romance had happened in fog. It had happened in carriages bumping along cobbled streets, on settees covered in damson-colored silk. They’d loved in the time of the clockwork creatures, before the mundane wars. There seemed to be more time then, time to fill, time to spend. And they’d filled it. And they’d spent it.

They had parted badly. When you love someone that intensely and they do not love you in the same way, it is impossible to part well.

Camille had arrived in New York at the end of the 1920s, just as the Crash had been happening and everything had been falling apart. She had a great sense of drama, and a good nose for places that were in crisis and in need of a guiding hand. In no time at all she’d become the head of the vampires. She had a place inside the famous Eldorado building on the Upper West Side. Magnus knew where she was, and she knew where Magnus was. But neither of them contacted the other. They had passed each other, purely by accident, at various clubs and events over the years. They’d exchanged only a quick nod. That relationship was over. It was a live wire, not to be touched. It was the one temptation in life Magnus knew to leave alone.

And yet here he was, just twenty-four hours back in New York, stepping into the Eldorado. This was one of New York’s great art deco apartment buildings. It sat right on the west side of Central Park, overlooking the reservoir. It was notable for its two matching square towers jutting up like horns. The Eldorado was the home of the old money, the celebrities, the people who simply had. The uniformed doorman was trained not to take notice of anyone’s attire or mien as long as they looked like they had come to the building for a legitimate reason. For the occasion Magnus had decided to skip his new look. There would be no punk here—no vinyl or fishnet. Tonight was a Halston suit, black, with wide satin lapels. This passed the test, and he got a nod and a light smile. Camille lived on the twenty-eighth floor of the north tower, a silent oak-paneled and brass-railed elevator ride up into some of the most expensive real estate in Manhattan.

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