Study Guide

The Demon's Lexicon Chapter 10

By Sarah Rees Brennan

Chapter 10

The House of Mezentius

  • They have to take a boat to get to Merris's house, and Alan informs Nick that he gets terribly seasick—apparently the last time he was on a boat, when he was really little, Nick got so sick he coughed up blood.
  • Nick doesn't remember this incident and thinks Alan is being silly… until the boat leaves the dock and he has to go lie down.
  • Alan stays with him throughout the boat ride, and Nick wavers in and out of consciousness. He comes to in a taxi, and when they arrive at Merris's house, The House of Mezentius, Mae and Alan have to help him inside.
  • Nick awakens a few hours later to the sound of screams.
  • He finds Alan outside his room, and together they go to Mae and Jamie's room.
  • It becomes obvious to Nick that he's the only one who can hear the screaming, so he tells Alan someone's being tortured in the house, and can tell from Alan's reaction that Alan knows what's going on.
  • Alan says it's not exactly torture, and the others demand to see what he's talking about.
  • Alan tries to discourage them, but Mae insists, so he takes them down the hall where they find several people being held in cells—people who are clearly possessed by demons.
  • Merris shows up and explains that The House of Mezentius is a containment center for the possessed, a place where they can live out their last days without harming anyone else. At a price, of course. Their loved ones pay for the rooms.
  • Jamie seems a little conflicted about the whole operation, but it makes sense to Nick. He just wonders why they don't just kill the possessed people. Human bodies can't handle demon possession for long, and it's obvious they're all going to die painful, miserable deaths.
  • Merris explains that their loved ones maintain hope for a cure, and through research and experiments funded by the room fees, Mezentius House is trying to find one. In the meantime, they keep the possessed in containment circles, which Merris says she can explain to Alan who's interested in how it all works.
  • Mae asks if demons ever leave human bodies, and Merris says no, never—they much prefer the human world to their own, and they won't give it up.
  • Alan becomes upset after a while and walks away. Nick knows that Alan can normally handle himself in disturbing circumstances but realizes it must be harder with the second tier mark messing with his mind.
  • Nick follows Alan and finds him in the bathroom, splashing cold water on his face. Nick reassures him and they share a tender moment that gets interrupted by Nick's phone ringing; Alan tells him to go ahead and answer it, and Nick excuses himself.
  • It's a woman responding to his ad—the one with the picture of Marie. She identifies herself as Natasha Walsh and says Marie was her sister. She's dead. The woman then asks if this has anything to do with Alan. Nick is rattled by the familiar way she refers to his brother and says this isn't a good time before hanging up.
  • He goes back into the bathroom, but Alan is gone. Nick hears Alan's voice down the hall and overhears him talking to Merris, saying, "I knew he'd be sick, but that didn't matter," and "I don't regret anything I've done."
  • Merris tells Alan he won't be welcome at the market anymore, and Nick realizes that Alan must have told her the truth about Mum.
  • Nick eavesdrops a while longer, getting more upset and confused by the minute. He hears Alan essentially blackmail Merris so that she'll get them a new place to live and can't believe his brother is taking all of these risks for Mum—not to mention the fact that Alan is keeping a lot of secrets from him these days.
  • Nick calls back Natasha Walsh and makes an appointment to meet her. He's going to get to the bottom of all of Alan's lies.
  • They leave Merris's the next day, and Nick, who gets super seasick again, refuses Alan's company in favor of Mae's.
  • This time when things get steamy Nick goes with it. He's so angry at Alan he doesn't care about Alan's feelings for Mae anymore, and he and Mae get pretty cozy in one of the bunkrooms on board. Until Nick passes out. Very sexy.

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