The Fiery Trial (Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy #8)(10) by Cassandra Clare, Maureen Johnson

Jace released the swan’s head and came to sit down by Simon’s side. “I remember how we met. Do you?”

“You’re playing a game of what do you remember with me?” Simon asked. “That’s classy.”

“It’s not a game. I saw you. You didn’t see me. But I saw. I saw it all.”

“This is fun,” Simon said. “You and me and the tunnel of what the hell are you talking about.”

“You need to try to remember this,” Jace said. “This is important. You need to remember how we met.”

Whatever this was—a dream, some kind of altered state—it was veering in a very odd direction.

“How is it everything is about you?” Simon said.

“This isn’t about me at all. This is about what I saw. This is about what you know. You can get there. You need to get this one back. You need this memory.”

“You’re asking me to remember somewhere I didn’t see you?”

“Exactly. Why wouldn’t you have seen me?”

“Because you were glamoured,” Simon said.

“But someone did see me.”

That had to be Clary. Obvious choice. But . . .

Now there was something rocking in the back of Simon’s mind. He had been somewhere with Clary, and Jace was there . . . except Jace wasn’t there.

That was both in his memory and in the present. Jace was gone. The boat trundled on, turning a corner and plunging back into the dark. There was a short decline and a burst of fog, then the ooOoOOOoOOoo of a cartoon ghost and the mocked-up entryway of some kind of gothic mansion. The ride had gone from lovers’ lane to haunted mansion. Simon rode along, through tableaux of the mansion’s rooms. In the library, ghosts dangled from wires and a skeleton popped out of a grandfather clock.

This fantasy, or whatever it was, seemed to be tapping into his memories of going to the Haunted Mansion at Disney World when he was a kid. And yet, as they moved from room to room, things looked more familiar—the cracking stone walls, the threadbare tapestries . . . the Haunted Mansion was turning into the Academy. There was a ghostly version of the cafeteria and the classrooms.

“Over here, Simon.”

It was Maia, waving from what looked like an elegant, wood-paneled office. There was a sign on the wall behind her, some kind of verse of poetry. Simon only caught a line of it: “as old and as true as the sky.” Maia wore an elegant suit, her hair clipped back, and gold bangle bracelets on her wrists. She looked sadly at Simon. “Are you really going to leave us?” she said. “Leave being a Downworlder? Become one of them?”

“Maia,” Simon said, a lump in his throat. He remembered only bits and pieces of his friendship with her—more than friendship, maybe? How brave she was, and how she’d been his friend when he’d desperately needed one.

“Please,” she said. “Don’t go.”

The boat moved swiftly past, to another room, a completely standard apartment living room, with some cheap furniture. It was Jordan’s apartment. Jordan stepped out of the bedroom doorway. There was a wound in his chest; his shirt was black with blood.

“Hey, roomie,” he said.

Simon’s heart felt like it stopped in his chest. He tried to speak, but before he could say a word, everything plunged into darkness. He felt the boat slide off its track with a soft bump, as if he had come to the end of the ride. Everything rushed forward. The tunnel opened out, and the boat lurched forward suddenly and began to speed up, as if carried on a current. Simon gripped the bench he sat on to hold himself steady.

He had been dumped out on a massive body of water, a river, very wide. Next to him the New York skyline was dark—the buildings eerily not illuminated—but he could make out their shapes. Not far up on the left side, he could see the silhouette of the Empire State Building. Ahead of him, maybe a mile or so up, there was a bridge spanning the river he was on. He could even make out the shadowy outline of an old-fashioned Pepsi-Cola sign on the right bank. That, he knew. That sign was near the base of the 59th Street Bridge to Queens.

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