Study Guide

Revenge of the Witch (The Last Apprentice) Chapter 12

By Joseph Delaney

Chapter 12

The Desperate and the Dizzy

  • As Tom and Alice approach the farm, "somewhere far off a dog barked twice" (12.1). Every novel has to include a barking dog. It's a rule.
  • Tom introduces Alice to his Mam. And he meets Jack and Ellie's new baby, who was born the night Mother Malkin died. Hm.
  • Mam and Alice really hit it off. They get along better than Jack and Tom do. Jack is furious that Tom brought the relative of a witch into the house.
  • During the night, Tom worries that Mother Malkin's spirit might have possessed Ellie's baby, so he goes and tells his Mam about it.
  • Her idea is to drop the baby into the water. "If she floats, the witch is inside her. […] If she sinks, she's innocent" (12.61). Well, it's either that or weigh her with a duck.
  • Mam is joking, of course. She tells Tom that she knows evil when she sees it, and this baby isn't evil. Okay?
  • Tom mentions a book the Spook gave him on possession, but it's in Latin. Mam suggests Tom go ask Alice about it. Mam has to go to another house and deliver a baby, and says she might not return for a day or two.
  • Tom gives Alice the book, and she says to come back the next night. He does, and Alice tells him about the book. It's called Possession, The Damned, the Dizzy, and the Desperate. Alice explains the 3 Ds:
    • Damned: "people who do things differently. […] People who are left-handed" (12.111).
    • Dizzy: "a body that's newly possessed has poor balance" (12.112).
    • Desperate: "a witch who once had a healthy human body is desperate to get another one" (12.113).
  • They hypothesize over who the possessed could be, and settle on Jack. It won't be the baby, because Mother Malkin would have to wait for it grow up. And Ellie's not very strong. But Jack would be strong enough to fight Tom.
  • Tom goes to bed to fret. He notices Mother Malkin's creepy silver slug trail in the yard. Too bad she isn't a slug, or a clever maze of salt would get rid of her for good.
  • She oozes her way into the cellar, so Tom goes to Alice's room.
  • Alice seems to be talking to someone. Maybe she's just rehearsing her Jeff Dunham‎ ventriloquist routine.
  • Tom bursts into Alice's room and sees her talking to the mirror. But it's not her reflection; it's Mother Malkin's.
  • Acting fast, Tom busts the mirror. How? It was Tom, in Alice's room, with a candlestick.
  • The noise wakes up Jack and Ellie, and Jack is furious because that mirror was one of their father's family's last possessions.
  • Everyone calms down, although Ellie almost falls over, saying she feels light-headed. Could she be... dizzy? Tom tries to tell her to take the baby and leave, but she refuses to do that.
  • Tom realizes that he can't wait for his Mam to come back. He has to do something himself.
  • That night, he runs. Okay, that wasn't the something we were expecting. Seems a little cowardly just to run away like that, doesn't it?