The Fall of the Hotel Dumort Page 5

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 inside 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.

The werewolf returned with the bolt cutters, and the chain was snapped, and landed on the floor with a hollow clank. A few of the unaffected vampires had remained behind to watch, and they were gathered at the werewolves’ backs.

Magnus pushed the door open.

The white marble floor of the ballroom was splintered. Had that really been fifty years ago, right here, where Aldous had opened the Portal to the Void?

The vampires were scattered in every part of the room, maybe thirty in all. These were the sick, and they were all in a profound state of suffering. The smell alone was enough to gag anyone. And the werewolves lifted their hands to their faces to block it out.

The vampires made no move and gave no greeting. Only a few lifted their faces to see what was happening. Magnus stepped over them, looking at each one. He found Dolly near the center of the room, not moving. He found Camille sprawled behind one of the long curtains that hung at the far end of the ballroom. Like the others, she was surrounded by a number of foul pools of regurgitated blood.

Her eyes were open.

“I want to walk,” she said. “Help me, Magnus. Help me walk a bit. I need to look strong.”

There was a steadiness to her voice, despite the fact that she was too weak to get up on her own. Magnus bent down and lifted her to her feet, then supported her as she walked, with as much dignity as she could, over the slumped bodies of her clan. He sealed the doors again when they had left.

“Up,” she said. “Around. I need to walk. Upstairs.”

He could feel the strain as she took each step. Sometimes he was mostly carrying her.

“Do you remember?” she said. “Old Aldous opening the Portal here . . . remember? I had to warn you about what he was doing.”

“I remember.”

“Even the mundanes knew to stay away from the place and let it rot. I hate that some of my little ones live in rotten places, but it’s dark. It’s safe.”

It was too difficult to talk and walk, so she fell silent again and leaned against Magnus’s chest. When they reached the top floor, they stood against the rail and looked down at the wreckage of the hotel lobby.

“It never really went away for us, did it?” she said. “There’s really never been another—not like you. Is it the same for you?”

“Camille . . .”

“I know we can’t go back. I know. Just tell me there’s never been another like me.”

In truth there had been many others. And while Camille was certainly in a class by herself, there had been much love—at least on Magnus’s part. Yet there was a hundred years of pain in that question, and Magnus had to wonder if maybe he had not been so alone in his feeling.

“No,” Magnus said. “There’s never been another like you.”

She seemed to gain some strength from that.

“It was never meant to happen,” she said. “There was a club downtown where some of the mundanes enjoyed getting bitten. They had the drugs in their system. They are quite powerful, these substances. It just took hold. I was given some of the infected blood to drink as a gift. I didn’t know what I was drinking—I only knew what effect it had. I didn’t know we were capable of addiction. We didn’t know.”

Magnus looked at the char on the ceiling. Old wounds. Nothing ever really went away.

“I will . . . I will make the command,” she said. “What happened here will never happen again. You have my word.”

“It’s not me you have to tell.”

“Tell the Praetor,” she replied. “Tell the Shadowhunters if you must. It will not happen again. I’ll forfeit my life before I allow it.”

“It’s probably best you speak to Lincoln.”

“Then I will speak to him.”

The mantle of dignity had returned to her shoulders. Despite all that had happened, she was still Camille Belcourt.

“You should leave now,” she said. “This isn’t for you anymore.”

Magnus wavered for a moment. Something—some part of him wanted to remain. But he found that he was already walking down the steps.

“Magnus,” Camille called.

He turned.

“Thank you for lying to me. You have always been kind. I never have been. That was why we couldn’t be, wasn’t it?”

Without replying, Magnus turned and continued down the stairs. Raphael Santiago passed him on the way up.

“I am sorry,” Raphael said.

“Where have you been?”

“When I saw what was happening, I tried to stop them. Camille attempted to make me drink some of the blood. She wanted everyone in her inner circle to participate. She was sick. I have seen such things before and knew how they would end. So I went away. I returned when a vial of my grave soil was broken.”

“I never saw you enter the hotel,” Magnus said.

“I entered through a broken basement window. I thought it was best to remain hidden for a while. I have been caring for the sick. It has been very unpleasant, but . . .”

He looked up, past Magnus’s shoulder, in Camille’s direction.

“I must go now. We have much to do here. Go, Magnus. There’s nothing for you here.”

Raphael had always been able to read Magnus a little too well.

Magnus made his decision when he was in the cab going home. Once he got inside his apartment, he prepared without hesitation, gathering everything he would need. He would need to be very specific. He would write it all down.

Then he called Catarina. He drank some wine while he waited for her to arrive.

Catarina was perhaps Magnus’s truest and closest friend, aside from Ragnor (and that relationship was often in a state of flux). Catarina was the only one who’d gotten any letters or calls while he’d been on his two-year trip. He hadn’t, however, actually told her he was home.

“Really?” she said when he opened the door. “Two years, and then you come back and don’t even call for two weeks? And then it’s, ‘Come over, I need you’? You didn’t even tell me you were home, Magnus.”

“I’m home,” he said, giving what he considered to be his most winning smile. The smiling took a bit of effort, but hopefully it looked genuine.

“Don’t even try that face with me. I am not one of your conquests, Magnus. I am your friend. We are supposed to get pizza, not do the nasty.”

“The nasty? But I—”

“Don’t.” She held up a warning finger. “I mean it. I almost didn’t come. But you sounded so pathetic on the phone that I had to.”

Magnus examined her rainbow T-shirt and pair of red overalls. Both of these stood out strongly against her blue skin. The contrast hurt Magnus’s eyes. He decided not to comment on her attire. The red overalls were very popular. It was just that most people weren’t blue. Most people did not live the rainbow.

“Why are you looking at me like that? Seriously, Magnus—”

“Let me explain,” he said. “Then yell at me if you want.”

So he explained. And she listened. Catarina was a nurse, and a good listener.

“Memory spells,” she said, shaking her head. “Not really my thing. I’m a healer. You’re the one who handles all this kind of stuff. If I do it wrong . . .”

“You won’t.”

“I might.”

“I trust you. Here.”

He handed Catarina the folded piece of paper. On it was a list of every time he’d seen Camille in New York. Every time in the entire twentieth century. These were the things that had to go.

“You know, there’s a reason we can remember,” she said more softly.

“That’s much easier when your life has an expiration date.”

“It may be more important for us.”

“I loved her,” he said. “I can’t take what I saw.”

“Magnus . . .”

“Either you do this or I attempt to do it on myself.”

Catarina sighed and nodded. She examined the paper for several moments, then took hold of Magnus’s temples very gently.

“You remember you’re lucky to have me, right?” she said.

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