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Scoropion House

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The story takes place in the future, in the fictional country of Opium which lies between Mexico (called "Aztlбn" in the story) and the United States. Opium, a large opium farm and den, was established by a powerful drug lord named Matteo Alacrбn (entitled "El Patrуn") as a means to stop the flow of illegal immigrants across the border going both ways.

The main character, Matt, a clone of El Patrуn, lives with a cook named Celia, his caretaker, who works at the "Big House". El Patrуn cloned Matt because he wanted someone to be exactly like him, personality-wise. Matt is forbidden to form contact with any other people. The general population find clones repulsive, mostly because clones are rendered severely mentally retarded at birth, thought Matt avoided this because El Patrуn bribed the government to allow Matt's intelligence to remain intact.

When Matt sees other children for the first time, he tries to break out of the house and meet them. He ends up injuring his right foot by jumping through a window that he broke onto shards of broken glass, and must be taken to the Big House for help. While being treated, Mr. Alacrбn, the great-grandson of El Patrуn, reveals that Matt is El Patrуn's clone. The children who rescued him, Steven and Emilia, are horrified, though Emilia's sister Marнa is more sympathetic to Matt, as they are the same age.

After being yelled at and thrown out of the house by Mr. Alacrбn, and being put in a dark cell for six months where he was treated like an animal, El Patrуn comes to the mansion and, after seeing the conditions Matt lived in, orders him to be put in a room like everyone else. Matt is then taken to live with the rest of El Patron's families: the Alacrбns. The entire Alacrбn family is selfish, greedy and despise each other greatly. But in spite of this, they all are united in their hatred of Matt. While taking a tour of the Opium farms with Tam Lin, Matt's bodyguard, Matt discovers a dead man on the ground. Tam Lin explains that the person is an eejit, a human with a computer chip implanted into his or her brain. Eejits are similar to mindless zombies and only obey voice commanded orders. If an eejit were told to stay it would stay at the same spot until it was told otherwise, even in the face of potentially deadly situations. Eejits are considered beasts of burden, and consist of illegal immigrants that tried to get across Opium to either Aztlбn or the United States, as well as any of El Patrуn's servants that had displeased him in any way. As Matt continues to grow up, it becomes very clear that despite El Patrуn's favoritism, he is barely tolerated. Considered a beloved pet by some and a beastly intruder by others, he is kept ignorant of the nature of clones until a cruel joke reveals why he is different.

As the story progresses, Matt develops more acute perceptions of the people around him, especially that of the Alacrбn family. After a near-fatal heart attack, El Patrуn requires a heart transplant from Matt to himself, but is foiled when Matt's guardian, Celia, reveals that she has poisoned Matt with foxglove and arsenic, just enough that it would not kill the boy, but would kill El Patrуn if he were to acquire Matt's heart. El Patrуn dies, and Matt escapes the mansion in the ensuing chaos with the help of Marнa. At this point in the book Maria and Matt confess that they love each other, though it is unclear whether Maria loves Matt romantically or simply as a pet. With the preparations of his bodyguard, Tam Lin, Matt manages to escape Opium to Aztlбn, which was once the nation of Mexico. There, he comes across many events and places, such as a cruel environment for orphans. These orphans are called the Lost Boys, and Matt is sent to live with them. The "Keepers" operate the plankton farms on the principles of communism, treating the orphans unfairly (though claiming to be fair); they have them laboring every day and feeding them "healthy and nutritious" plankton. The Keepers are allowed lavish quarters and delectable food, claiming that this is fair because they "earned" the right to do so by working hard during their childhood

Matt is at first an outcast, and deemed an unwanted aristocrat. However, as his peers see that he is not a spoiled child, Matt becomes a hero in his society, and leads a rebellion against the Keepers. After liberating the Lost children, Matt finds Marнa. After living in a convent with Marнa and her mother, Matt learns from Esperanza, Marнa's mother, that Opium is in a lockdown state. This means that nothing can enter or leave the country. The only way in is with El Patrуn's signature (his fingerprints and DNA). After getting inside and finding Celia, Mr. Ortega and Daft Donald, he tells Matt that El Patron has had a funeral, and his family had gathered to celebrate his death, because they lived their lives in perpetual fear of him. They drink a special wine harvested in the year El Patrуn was born, which turned out to be poisoned, killing everyone present except for Daft Donald, who had been guarding the place with Tam Lin. Tam Lin later drank the wine, with knowledge of its poison, because he wanted to end his life, regretting all of the evil things he has done in the past, which included killing 20 children by accident with a poorly placed bomb that was actually meant for the English prime minister.

It is revealed that El Patrуn viewed his family as his possessions, and when he died he would be taking all of his possessions with him to his afterlife. Marнa's estranged mother, Esperanza, who is a champion of clone's rights in the United States, tells Matt that because he is a clone of El Patrуn, upon the death of the original he now takes the original's place as El Patron, the ruler of Opium. Esperanza offers Matt her support as well as the aid of both the United States and Aztlбn, but only if he promises to destroy Opium from within. He agrees, and then returns to Opium to take control. On the last page before the book ends Matt thinks to himself that he will be able to shut down Opium and he will be able to revert the eejits back into regular humans.

At nearly six years of age, Matt has spent his short life in a small cottage with only his foster mother, Celia, and the television for company, and occasional visits from a doctor. He longs to be able to play with the children he sees outside his windows. One day, when some children come close enough to talk to him, he breaks a window to escape the locked house, but injures himself by jumping out onto the broken glass. He is rushed to the Big House, where he is kept as a prisoner in a small room and where he is visited and sometimes tormented by the other children.




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