Start of the book:
From the chaos, I heard Livvy call my name.
“Ty? Ty, I…”
Whipping around, I watched her knees crumple beneath her. Dark, silken hair fanned out on the rowan floor. Blackthorn eyes stared glassy, unseeing. My twin. Livia Blackthorn. The girl who had been always for me. Now I must return the favour.
But I can’t.
Clutching my heart, I whispered her name as I fell into a pit of darkness, not knowing when or how I was going to escape.
I am frozen in fear, paralysed, as I watch, again and again, the broken piece of metal being forced into Livvy. A sharp, metallic smell. Annabel Blackthorn smiling, wild with bloodthirst. Dark hair, blue eyes, never to be seen again.
I woke with a quiet exhale, pushing myself up against the wall. My own silver eyes met with shuttered aquamarine ones, hidden in the dark. Aquamarine. Said to be considered a symbol for faithfulness, courage and friendship.
“Jules?” I ask, knowing fully well who was there.
I watched him push himself upwards, absently running a hand through his fair hair.
“It’s me,” he said slowly, as if tasting each word carefully, “Kit.”
I study him cautiously for a few seconds. No signs that he had been crying. Kit had been dry-eyed when his father had been mercilessly ripped apart by Mantid demons.
Snapping out of my reverie, I watch my harried expression become blank in his eyes.
“My bag,” I demanded, my voice raspy in the deafening silence, “Where is it?”
As I said that, he let out a quiet noise of discomfort.
“My duffel bag,” I repeat again, trying not to think about her. Dark hair, blue eyes swim to the surface of my mind.
I watched Kit, elegantly unfolding himself from his position. I shifted slightly, so that my legs were dangling over the side of the unfamiliar wooden bed. I frowned, my eyes fixed to outside of the window, where glass spires twisted exquisitely up towards the sky. Where Livia now was. As Kit handed me the bag, I eagerly rummaged through its contents, searching for something important. Not even important. Vital.
“Do you want me to get Julian?”
“Not right now.”
As I continued rustling through my possessions, Kit coughed and spoke somewhat awkwardly, “I’ll get Helen- she can tell you what happened.”
Why was he awkward? According to Jules, my mind didn’t work the same way as others so I found it difficult identifying emotions and sarcasm. But it also came with my ability to observe things in ways that other cannot see. Not that it was helping right now.
“I know what happened,” I said quickly, as a bolt of pain drilled through me. A feeling of emptiness at the bottom of my heart. Something cold touched my hand. My phone. All of the tension escaped my body and I felt as relaxed as I could in such a situation.
I glanced up at Kit. He wore such a curious expression on his face that I couldn’t help grin inside at his naïveté.
“I’m going back to sleep now. There are still drugs in my system. I can feel them.” I wasn’t pleased by this, as there was so much to do, yet so little time.
“Should I stay?” Kit inquired, as I tossed my duffel bag to other side of the room.
“Yes I’d rather you did,” I replied as the sleeping drugs pulled me under, “And go to sleep if you want. I’ll be fine”
The last thing I saw was blue eyes, but, instead of dark hair, this time it was blonde.
As I walked downstairs, my eyes skated across everything in the room. I wore white, the colour of mourning for Shadowhunters, but also the colour of fresh snow and cotton fields. How could a colour so pure be associated with death? I scanned the room again. I spotted Diana, dressed charmingly in a white dress and a gear jacket. I frown.
“Twenty-three minutes,” I tell her.
I had forgotten that I didn’t always state the obvious.
“It will take us twenty-three minutes to get down to the Fields, and the ceremonies begin in twenty-five. Where is everyone?”
Diana pulled a face. “I’m sure they’re on their way-ʺ
“I want to talk to Julian,” I interrupted her, not allowing myself to forget the list in my mind. “He went with Livvy to the Silent City. I need to know what he saw and what they did to her.” The unknown tore me apart. Not knowing what they did to Livvy tore me apart. Livvy dying tore me apart.
Loud footsteps fell on the stairs. I cringed at the sound, too deafening for my sensitive ears. I needed my headphones.
I watched as my family, Emma and Cristina file down the stairs, each wearing a range of emotions. The air stank of grief. I found my eyes flicking to the clock, measuring how much time left. A few seconds later, Kit trailed down the stairs, wearing a seemingly uncomfortable white gear jacket.
As we prepared to leave, I stole a glance at Jules. His expression was terrifying, but not in an angry or monstrous way. Instead, his features were schooled into a hard and cold expression devoid of any emotion. My hands fluttered, like how they do when I am anxious or sad. Or scared.
Glass, twin, apple, whisper, stars, crystal, shadow, lilt. Twin. I whisper these words to myself as I scaled the funeral pyre. These words kept me in place, allowed me a leash for my emotions. Twin. From behind me, I hear the outraged cries of the Nephilim. We were supposed to grief inconspicuously and move on. But they don’t know anything. They don’t know how it feels like to lose a part of you. I feel a burst of outrage as I clambered the pile of wood even quicker. Splinters dug into my hands but I didn’t stop. This is for you Livia. As I reached the peak of the pyre, I broke down, kneeling beside my beloved sister. I lightly caressed her hands and unclasped something from around her neck. I love you I think as Jules reaches the platform and holds me.
“Atque in pepetuum, genimus, ave atque vale,” I whispered
Forever and ever, my twin, hail and farewell.’
A circle. A symbol of wholeness, perfection.
Crouching down, I swiftly traced another one within the other circle in the soft sands by Lake Lyn. Imitating my notes, I traced each spiked rune in the border between the two circles. These runes did not speak of the angels- instead they spoke of power, greed, death. But the human conscious was rarely scientifically correct. Besides, I needed Livvy. She had always been there for me. I hadn’t been there for her once. No way was that happening again.
I felt Kit’s gaze drill into my back. I turned around and saw that his face was pulled into an expression between a grimace and a look of fascination. I shrugged inwardly and placed the ingredients in a perfect row beside me: the myrrh grown by faeries, the chalk powdered from the bones from the bones of a murder victim, Livvy’s baby tooth and a lock of her hair (the bone and hair of the person to be resurrected) and the letter from Thule (an object from another dimension).
“Did I do it right?” I questioned Kit, as I slowly lowered myself onto the sand. He pulled another face- different from his other one- before frowning at me. I laughed privately, won over by my friend’s many facial expressions.
“How would I know?” was the dry reply that I got.
I acknowledged the sharp edged knife in his voice. “Well you father was a magician; I thought he might have taught you some of this,” I shot back, smirking, despite the solemn situation which lay at the palm of my hand, at the surprise that flitted in his eyes at my sudden aggression.
Kit kicked the edge of the water in apparent frustration; glass crystals flew up into the smoky grey sky. “Actually my dad kind of kept me away from learning real spells. But I know a little.”
My heart flew; I could actually kiss him.
He shuffled towards me from the lake. Sighing, he pointed at the luminous crimson ball I held in the palm of my hand.
“The catalyst goes in the middle of the circle,” he muttered, a strain in his normally smooth voice.
I placed the mini sun in the centre of the ceremonial circle. “Come sit next to me,” I patted the patch of sand beside me. Kit knelt down.
I took a deep breath and started muttering the Latin words. After the second line, I removed Livvy’s necklace from around my neck and handed my only reminder of her to Kit. He placed it on the edge of the circle.
I began to recite louder, the desire to bring my twin pulling at me like a magnet. “Abyssus abyssum invocat in voce cataractarum taurum; omnia excelsa tua et fluctus tui super me transierunt.” Deep calls to deep in the voice of your waterfalls. All your whirlpools and waves have passed over me.
As I chanted, each object caught fire and burned with a pure white flame, light in the darkness. Suddenly, a strong wind blew over Lake Lyn, smelling of grave dirt. The spell was working. I smiled and continued.
“Do you hear that?” Kit asked, worry transparent in his voice.
I only shook my head. Nothing could stop me now.
“Hic mortui vivunt, hic mortui vivunt…” I now spat out the words, like they were fire on my lips.
“Ty, stop.” Kit’s hand gripped my shoulder tightly. I ignored him and continued, rage building inside me, rage at him trying to prevent Livvy from coming back.
“Ty don’t do this.” His words were like bullets, but I had already put up my defence.
I glared at him, angry, but also bewildered as Kit would never stop the ritual for something insignificant.
“What do you mean? I don’t understand,” I said, trying to think of what must have happened. A misinterpreted ingredient maybe?
“Don’t do this. Don’t raise her from the dead.” His answer took down my defences and shot me with his last bullet.
“But I have to,” I begged him, hating myself that I needed his help. Emotion choked back my voice. “I can’t live without Livvy.”
“Yes you can,” he whispered, revealing more bullets to shoot at me. Not even bullets. Shells. Not even my best defence could prevent me from breaking. “You can. You think this will make your family stronger, but it will destroy them if you bring her back.” He was now aiming for my weak spots. “You think you can’t survive without Livvy, but you can. We will go through this together.” Kit was now crying, silent tears rolling down his cheeks. He never cried. He didn’t deserve to cry. He didn’t lose a twin. I did. I was the one broken. He had pushed me back into the bottomless pit that I had spent so long getting out from. I felt tears well up in the corners of my eyes, threatening to escape. “I love you, Ty. I love you.”
My tears froze in their place, as I absorbed his confession. But I couldn’t love him now. Not when he prevented me from rescuing the thing I loved the most from a terrible darkness.
But, despite him baring his soul out to me, he proceeded on. “She’s gone, Ty. She’s gone forever” Falling, falling even more. “You have to get through this. Your family will help you. I will help you.” As if I want your help, I thought bitterly. “But not if you do this. No if you do this, Ty.”
My mouth twisted up in a grimace, capturing my tears, not allowing myself to cry.
“I have to get her back,” I choked, suffocated. “I have to.”
I turned my back from Kit, hissing out the Latin that sat at the edge of my lips.
“Ty!” Kit sounded hurt, but, oh boy, he had no idea what pain felt like. A continuous fall into the bottomless pit. Never dying, but always suffering.
“Igni ferroque, ex silentio, ex amino-” In the space of a second, Kit threw himself at me. I tumbled backwards, too surprised to defend myself. As we rolled into the shallows of the crystalline lake, and I suddenly came back to reality. I shoved Kit as hard as I could, putting all of my weight against it. When he didn’t let go, I thrusted mt elbow into his throat, sharp enough to most likely injure his oesophagus. He let go for a brief second, but, because of my Shadowhunter training, it was all I needed to dart away from his outstretched hand. He tried to grab me again, but I kicked him in the stomach, hard enough to make him double up in pain. I may have looked thin and fragile, but God help anyone who underestimated my strength. Including Kit.
As tears streamed down my face, I screamed the last words of the spell. “Ex silento, ex amino! Livia Blackthorn! Resurget! Resurget! Resurget!”
It was over. The spell was done.
I smiled a bitter smile as the flame in the circle turned a midnight black, light turned to darkness.
All of a sudden, the flames devoid of light rose upwards. My eyes widened. I shot a glance at Kit, who has stumbled back up. Kit who had seen dark magic gone wrong. He glimpsed at me, and I saw his facial expression. He looked like he was about to knock me out. Maybe he would.
A movement caught the edge of my sight. The still water on the lake rippled, and a shimmering, transparent figure rose out of the water, sending out droplets of diamond everywhere. Livvy.
“Livvy,” Kit whispered, running to the edge of the lake despite his injuries.
I ran to the edge, stumbling and fell onto my knees on the shores of the lake. My twin looked like a luminous goddess, her bare feet trailing across the glowing water. My eyes stung at the sight of her. I was so happy, overjoyed, ecstatic to see her again. The same couldn’t be said for Livvy. She wore a look of unfathomable, impossible sadness on her transparent face.
“Why have you disquieted me?” she asked, melancholy dripping from her voice, which reminded me of water rushing through rocks, trees sighing in the wind and soft angel wings flapping in the sky.
“Livvy,” I sighed, stretching out my hand to touch her. Instead, my hand passed through the skirt of her dress.
“It’s not really her,” Kit murmured softly, as if talking to a small animal in pain. “She’s a ghost.”
A ghost. I felt the rage for Kit, for Annabel, for life building up inside me again. “Why aren’t you here?” I yelled, my voice becoming shriller and louder by the second. “I did everything right. I did everything right,” I sobbed, rage spilling out from me.
“The catalyst you used was corrupted. It wasn’t strong enough to fully bring me back,” Livvy explained to me in the soothing voice she had previously used to comfort me. Back when she was alive. “It might have other consequences as well. Ty-”
“But you can stay with me, right?” I interrupted her, before she could say anymore. “You can stay with me like this?” I was now grasping at loose ends of an unfinished embroidered piece. One false move could destroy the whole masterpiece.
I watched Livvy’s outline shimmer as she elegantly stepped towards me. “Is that what you want?” she questioned, her voice relaxing me.
“Yes.” The answer left me automatically. “That’s why I did all this. I want you with me in any way you can be.” Words were now pouring out of my mouth. “You were there with me before I was born,
Livvy. Without you, I just- there’s nothing if you aren’t there.” I allowed my emotions loose, stripping them of their leashes, rising up to the surface of my mind.
“I loved you, Ty. I loved you even when I was dead. But you have upended the universe, and we will all pay for it. You’ve ripped a hole in the fabric of life and death.” Tears developed in the corners of my blue eyes, wetting her long lashes. “You don’t know what you’ve done. You cannot borrow from death. You can only pay for it.” At that, Livvy vanished, as if she had never been there.
My mind took a few seconds to process this before a guttural sound was ripped out from the bottom of my soul. Livvy had just rescued me from the void but here I was, falling, falling, falling again. Tears ran from my eyes like an ocean and another sob wracked my body. The emptiness, the ache in my heart, had just been filled, only to be replaced with desolation and yearning which hit twice as hard. I hugged my knees harder, my tears staining the already dark fabric even darker. The pain which I had thought to be the worst had just been restored by an even worse agony, drilling through every fibre, every atom of my body and mind.
I looked up just in time to see the letter from Thule catch fire and spell out nine words:
I love you. I love you. I love you.