They tumbled through the portal, Clary's fingers still entwined with Jace's, and hit the ground so hard that dust flew up. Her vision was blurry for the first few seconds, but she could see Simon and Isabelle lying on the ground in front of her. She could feel Jace's leg flung over her own.
"Ouch," Simon said, his glasses askew, and Clary sat up, rubbing her arm.
"Where are we?" she asked Jace, who had got up and was surveying the surroundings.
"I...I don't know,"
Clary had never heard Jace so lost.
"Ugh," Isabelle had recovered and spat out a mouthful of filth "It's all in my hair. And my mouth. Absolutely disgusting."
"Well, we're next to a Church," Simon said helpfully "Maybe it's another Institute?"
Clary got to her feet and moved closer to the entrance of the church, a wooden door with faded paint chipping off in some places. There were chunks of gouged wood, and as Clary reached out to turn the handle-
"Clary, don't," Jace snapped, and she withdrew her hand "Let me,"
He took out his Stele and carved a rune into the wood. It glowed for a few seconds, then disappeared, sinking into the wood. The door swung open and the four of them went inside. The interior smelt old and musty, like it hadn't been open for a long time. The pews were covered in dust, as was the alter.
"It's not a very busy Institute, is it?" Isabelle commented, running a finger along a row of chairs. It came back covered in grime and she made a noise of disgust.
"I don't think it was ever an institute," Jace's voice was careful as he wandered through the centre aisle "Look."
He indicated the book on the floor- a prayer book- dripping with black slime and blood.
"It's fresh," Isabelle said "Do we have company?"
"I have a message for Clarissa Morgenstern," a dry, gravelly voice echoed around the Church, making them all jump. Clary thought it sounded familiar, but couldn't quite place it.
"Who are you? Show yourself!" Isabelle demanded, brandishing her whip.
"I have a message for Clarissa Morgenstern," the voice repeated.
Clary was about to respond, but Jace got there first.
"There is no Clarissa Morgenstern," he called "Just Clarissa Fray. Will you speak with her?"
"Clarissa Fray?" the voice seemed surprised " Very well, Clarissa Fray."
A thud came from behind them and they all turned. Isabelle let a shriek.
It was Raphael, the vampire that had tried to kill Simon, and he stood there, dripping blood onto the floor, holding a young girl in his grasp. She couldn't have been more than five or six years old and had curly blonde hair. Blood blossomed out of the wound in her chest, but it wasn't a bite, it was a cut. Jace narrowed his eyes.
"What do you want?" Simon interrupted "What are you doing here?"
"Didn't I say that I'd kill her next time I saw you?" he said, tilting his head at Isabelle.
"Oh, piss off," Simon said weakly "You always say that."
Isabelle glared at Simon "And you were going to tell me...when?"
"But I am not here to pick a fight with you or your...girlfriend," Raphael spat out the last word disbelievingly "I am here to pass on a message to Clarissa Morgenstern, but it seems that she is not here?"
"Yes, we're so sorry about that," Jace said and Clary stepped forward.
"This is ridiculous. Tell me the message. It's for me."
"Very well." Raphael dropped the unconscious child on the floor "There we have it."
"That's the message?"
"Not satisfied?" There was a glimmer in the vampire's eyes "Want more?"
"Get out of here," Jace said "You've delivered your message. Now go."
Jace said nothing, his expression cold.
"Jace Wayland," Raphael said, not without venom "You are going to fall. And when you do, I will be waiting for you."
"Sounds great," said Jace "Now get out before I make you."
As he passed Isabelle, he darted forward and grabbed her hand.
"Steady pulse," he said "I admire that."
He dropped a kiss to the back of her hand and Simon moved forward, ready to strike him, but Isabelle got there first. She drove her hand across his face, making a loud crack.
"Don't ever touch me again, Downworlder," she spat, and Raphael's smile grew.
"I look forward to it," he said, and vanished.
Isabelle shook her head, shivering. Simon growled.
Jace was kneeling by the girl, assessing her injuries.
"It was a clean cut, not too deep, but she's a mortal so I can't heal her and she's bleeding out fast. We need to get her to the Institute."
"We don't even know where we are," Isabelle said scornfully "We'd have better luck finding a mortal hospital and leaving her there."
"We can't just leave her!" Clary said "Besides, there was obviously a point to this. She might know something."
"Clary's right," Simon agreed "We need to get her help. And if the worst comes to the worst..." his voice trailed off.
Jace lifted his head.
"You'd bite her?" Clary was shocked "Simon!"
"Would you rather she die?"
"No- but that's what happened to Simon, and I seem to remember that you weren't too happy about it!" She retorted "She's only a child!"
"Clary's right again, of course," he said "Come on, let's get her to an ER,"
Jace lifted the girl up and gave Clary his Stele.
"Be careful with it,"
"I'm always careful!"
They left the Church, Simon first, then Jace, followed by Isabelle and Clary.
"How do we find an ER now?" Isabelle asked.
But Clary had already got her mobile phone out and was dialling a number.
"Hello?" said Clary "I'm going to need an ambulance, please,"