Study Guide

The Monstrumologist Chapter 12

By Rick Yancey

Chapter 12

"The Devil's Manger"

  • Their job isn't done quite yet: They still have to go into the creatures' den to kill the alpha female (and whatever young she must be protecting).
  • The men ask how they're supposed to find the matriarch, and Kearns proposes using the front door—the Warthrop mausoleum.
  • Dr. Warthrop still doesn't think that his father could've been behind the whole thing, but he goes with Kearns to search the mausoleum all the same.
  • Kearns notices a brass plaque with the Warthrop family crest, a large W. He plays with it for a bit, and eventually discovers that he can turn it like a dial until it's upside down. When he then pulls it, it opens to reveal a clock recessed in a small chamber.
  • Kearns intuits that the clock is actually a lock—he needs to turn it to the right "time" to unlock whatever he's looking for.
  • Dr. Warthrop remembers the passage in his father's diary "The witching hour approaches… The hour comes, and Christ himself is mocked." He deciphers it to mean 3:00AM.
  • Sur enough, when they turn the clock hands to 3:00AM it opens a secret door into a dark passage.
  • Dr. Warthrop volunteers to check it out, and he returns to report that there are stairs and a locked door. He finally admits that he was wrong—his father absolutely had to have been the one who orchestrated the Anthropophagi's presence. Gee, ya think?
  • Now if only they had the key…
  • Kearns quickly gathers supplies for the hunt like extra ammunition, guns, grenades, and old-fashioned flares.
  • He explains that the alpha's instinct will be to protect her young and they need to exploit that fact as much as possible. They will head into the lowermost depths of their den to locate the young and therefore find the matriarch.
  • Once again the constable tries to keep Will Henry from being involved, but Kearns insists he's only going to accompany them as far as the door. Sure he is…
  • The doc, Kearns, Malachi, and Will Henry venture down the passageway to the trapdoor. Just as they're trying to figure out a way to open it, Will Henry remembers the key that he (conveniently) put in his pocket after it fell out of the shrunken head.
  • The key opens the trapdoor, revealing a smooth, cylindrical chute with a ten-foot drop into a deeper cavern—and a stench that could wake the dead. When they throw in a flare it reveals thousands of bones. This is where they fed the Anthropophagi. Kearns guesses at least two or three people a month for twenty years. Yikes.
  • Kearns is psyched to go down there and get the matriarch. Malachi quickly follows, with Dr. Warthrop going last. They have to be lowered with a rope, one by one.
  • Will Henry is stuck waiting at the trapdoor with Constable Morgan. The constable, perhaps in an attempt to combat his growing feeling of impotence, is bragging about how he's going to arrest Warthrop and Kearns so fast their heads will spin.
  • Then Dr. Warthrop comes back, requesting Will Henry's assistance. Looks like he has to go into the devil's manger after all.
  • Kearns and Malachi are waiting for them by the entrance to an access tunnel. It has collapsed, and they need someone small to climb through the remaining gap to ascertain how thick the wall is.
  • The doc gives Will Henry his revolver and tells him to be careful and take his time. Kearns wants him to be their scout, to the doc's dismay.
  • Will Henry bravely scoots/crawls through the narrowing tunnel, fighting claustrophobic panic as he goes. He reaches the end of the tunnel, and in his desperation he scrapes the soil to see if the exit could be just on the other side. Doing so causes the ground beneath him to give way, and he tumbles down in a landslide of debris.
  • Now the tunnel is truly blocked; he can't even find where he came through. He's on his own.
  • When he finally gathers his wits, he realizes that he's right in the Anthropophagi's nest.
  • He hears a high-pitched, rhythmic huffing, and discovers a wounded juvenile Anthropophagus lying in one of the nests. It has lost half of its arm and looks to be suffering from a terrible infection. Will Henry surmises that he must've been an unfortunate victim of their bizarre teeth-cleaning ritual.
  • The matriarch must have abandoned it because it was dying. Will Henry wrestles with his compassion for the beast.
  • He decides to put the thing out of its misery by shooting it in the brain. However, when he cocks the hammer of the revolver the Anthropophagus awakens and slaps the gun from Will Henry's hand.
  • They begin to wrestle, the creature enraged and Will Henry just trying to save himself.
  • They tumble together down another tunnel. When they come to a stop the Anthropophagus bites Will Henry's arm. In his desperation (and for lack of better options) Will Henry bites the creature's infected stump. (Oh gross.)
  • That buys him some time. He finds a large rock and starts to smash the Anthropophagus with it until it is clearly dead (and then just a little bit more).
  • Will Henry pukes (duh) and cries a little bit. We can't blame him. Then he fashions a bandage for his arm with fabric from his jacket.
  • He tries to find his way back to the nest chamber, but he's lost. He's wounded, lost, and completely in the dark. Poor kid.
  • He finally gives in to despair and crouches down and prays.
  • As he's sitting there, Kearns finds him—Will Henry had almost made it back to the den.
  • Apparently they had found another passage, so Kearns took one and Dr. Warthrop and Malachi took the other.
  • Kearns asks to inspect Will Henry's wound and suggests that he leave the bandage off to prevent an infection. (Um, huh?)
  • Kearns gives Will Henry his lamp and the revolver he'd dropped. He gives him instructions to find his way back to the trapdoor.
  • About halfway back, he begins to hear small sounds in the tunnel behind him. And the tunnel is going downward, growing oddly smaller and smaller—how on earth did Kearns get through there? Will Henry starts to doubt that he's going the right way.
  • Then he's hit with the unmistakable stench of Anthropophagi.
  • Just as he is trying to figure out what to do, Kearns reappears out of the darkness. He was using Will Henry as bait to draw out the matriarch ("air out" the wound, indeed). Since it didn't work, though, desperate times call for desperate measures—he hands Will Henry a lit flare and pushes him down the tunnel.
  • Will Henry falls through the slick tunnel into another chamber, where he is instantly attacked by another juvenile Anthropophagus. He kills it with a lucky shot, but then his brother joins the attack and Will Henry keeps missing it with his subsequent shots.
  • Kearns is lying above them, though, waiting for the matriarch, so he's trying to shoot this creature as well. As it lunges for Will Henry he takes it down.
  • And that's when Dr. Warthrop rejoins the crew.
  • He is obviously distraught—he was super worried about Will Henry and is relieved to see him. (It's like when you scare your parents and they act mad even though they're really just so thankful you're okay.)
  • Malachi is standing behind the doc, and he's about to mistake Kearns for an Anthropophagus when he finally announces his presence and drops through the hole.
  • It becomes clear that Kearns was using Will Henry as bait, and Malachi is so not cool with this that he's ready to shoot him.
  • Kearns reminds them that the matriarch is still alive, though, so they grumpily refocus and rejoin the hunt.
  • There's some debate over who gets to pursue the alpha and who has to stay with Will Henry to guard the exit. Finally Kearns and the doc go after her, and Malachi stays with Will Henry.
  • The doc warns Will Henry that something feels off—it goes against their nature to sacrifice their young the way she has.
  • Turns out the shot that killed the second Anthropophagus was actually Malachi's. He finally got some of his revenge.
  • Malachi notices that the ground where they are is very wet. There is a stream that runs perpendicular to their cave, and that was their primary source of fresh water.
  • Will Henry relates another one of the Anthropophagi's bizarre bonding rituals, where they enjoy sliding on their backs into the shallows, letting water pour into their mouths and then chomping at it to make the water froth. Maybe it's another aspect of their dental hygiene?
  • The doc and Kearns find the baby that the matriarch had absconded with lying by the stream, defenseless. Kearns dispatches it immediately.
  • The alpha had been returning for her other young, and upon hearing Kearns' gunshot she bursts through the ground beneath Malachi and grabs him by the legs.
  • Malachi is desperately reaching for Will Henry in a grotesque imitation of Erasmus Gray and his father at their moments of death. However, he makes it very clear that he doesn't want to be saved. He wants revenge. He gestures to Will Henry to throw him a grenade.
  • Malachi pulls the pin and clutches the grenade to his chest as the alpha pulls him down.
  • After the smoke from the explosion clears, Will Henry can see that it didn't kill the alpha. It blew off one of her arms and littered her with shrapnel, but she sees him standing by her dead baby and starts to go after him.
  • Will Henry realizes that he only has one bullet. Well, drat.
  • In a desperate gambit he grabs her dead baby and shakes it. She stops, confused as to whether it's alive or dead, but then starts to come for him again.
  • Will Henry waits for her to get so close he can see his own reflection in the orbit of her one eye, and then he shoots her right in the groin (you know, where her brain is).

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