فصل 11

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فصل 11

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  • زمان مطالعه 12 دقیقه
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Chapter eleven

The Cry of Death

While Kino was looking up, he saw some caves. The caves were about thirty feet up on the rocky hill. Kino climbed up, holding the rocks with his hands and feet. The caves were a few feet deep and made by the wind. Kino crawled into the largest cave and lay down. He knew that nobody could see him from outside. He crawled out of the cave again and climbed quickly down to Juana.

‘We must go up there,’ Kino said. ‘Perhaps the men will not find us up there.’

Juana did not ask Kino any questions. She filled her water- bottle to the top and Kino helped her up to the cave. Kino brought up the packages of food and passed them to Juana. She sat in the entrance of the cave and watched.

Juana saw that Kino did not try to rub out their tracks in the sand. Instead, Kino climbed up the rocks beside the water and pulled out the little plants.

When Kino had climbed a hundred feet, he slowly came down again. He looked carefully at the rocks leading to the cave. He saw that there were no marks. Then he climbed up to the cave and crawled in beside Juana.

‘The trackers will see these marks I have made and they will follow them,’ said Kino. ‘When the men go up there, we will go back down again. But I am afraid that the baby will cry. You must not let the baby cry.’

‘He will not cry,’ Juana said.

She lifted the baby and looked into Coyotito’s eyes. Coyotito looked at Juana.

‘He knows not to cry,’ she said

Kino lay in the entrance of the cave. He watched the shadow of the mountain move across the land until the shadow reached the sea. Then all of the land was in the shadow.

Kino and Juana waited a long time. The trackers did not come to the little pool until the evening. The three men were on foot because the horse could not climb the side of the hill. From the cave, the men looked like little people. Two of the trackers moved about on the small beach, near the pool. They saw Kino’s tracks going up the mountain. The man with the rifle sat down and rested. The other two men sat down, too. Kino could see the light of their cigarettes. Kino could see the men eating and he could hear their voices.

Night came to the valley. The animals that drank from the pool came near. The animals smelt the men and went away again into the darkness. Kino heard a sound behind him. Juana was whispering, ‘Coyotito’. She was telling the baby to be quiet. Kino saw Juana cover Coyotito’s head with her shawl.

Down on the beach, one of the men lit a match. Kino saw that the other two men were sleeping. They looked like sleeping dogs. The third man watched. Kino could see the man’s rifle by the light of the match. The match went out, but Kino still knew where the men were. In his mind, Kino could see the two men sleeping and the third man with his rifle between his knees.

Kino moved quietly back into the cave. Juana’s eyes were like two bright stars. Kino crawled close to Juana and put his lips near her face.

‘There is a way to fight them,’ he said.

‘But they will kill you,’ Juana answered.

‘If I can get to the man with the rifle, I shall be all right,’ Kino replied. ‘The other two men are sleeping.’

Juana’s hand came out from under her shawl and held Kino’s arm.

‘The men will see your white clothes in the starlight,’ Juana said.

‘No, they won’t see me in the starlight,’ Kino answered, ‘but I must go before the moon rises.’

Kino tried to think of something kind to say.

‘If the men kill me,’ he said, ‘stay here quietly. When they have gone away, go back home.’

Juana’s voice shook as she said, ‘Go with God.’

Kino looked closely at Juana and he could see her large eyes. Kino put out his hand and found Coyotito. For a moment, Kino put his hand on the baby’s head. Then Kino raised his hand and touched Juana’s face. Juana held her breath as Kino crawled out of the cave.

Kino stood in the entrance of the cave for a moment and Juana could see him against the sky. He was taking off his white clothes. The men would not see Kino’s brown skin in the darkness. Kino hung his big knife around his neck so that his hands were free. Juana could see Kino in the cave entrance. He did not come back to her. Kino was bending forward and looking. Then, suddenly, he disappeared.

Juana crawled to the entrance of the cave and looked out. She was like a bird looking out of its hole in the mountain. Coyotito was asleep under the blanket on Juana’s back. His head was resting against Juana’s neck and shoulder. Juana was quietly whispering her prayers.

When Juana looked out of the cave, the night seemed less dark. The sky was getting light in the east. Juana looked down and she could see the burning cigarette of the man with the gun.

Kino went slowly down the rocks. He hung his knife down his back, so that the knife would not hit against the stone. Kino climbed down the mountain with his fingers and toes and he pressed himself against the rocks so that he would not fall. Any sound, like a little stone rolling down the rocks, would wake the men below. Any unusual sound would make the man with the rifle look up. But the night was not so silent. The noise of insects filled the valley.

Kino went slowly and silently down the mountain. One foot moved a few inches and then his toes held on to the stone. The other foot moved and then one hand went a little downwards. Then the other hand went down, until Kino’s whole body had moved very slowly. Kino’s mouth was open so that even his breath would make no sound.

If the men below heard a sound and looked up, they would see Kino’s body against the rocks. Kino had to move very slowly, so as not to make the men look up. The climb down took a long time. When Kino reached the bottom, he hid behind a little tree. Kino’s heart was beating quickly and his hands and face were wet with sweat. He bent down and breathed deeply.

The men were only twenty feet away. Kino tried to remember what the ground was like. He tried to remember if there were any big stones in the way. Kino rubbed his legs because they were shaking after the climb down. Then Kino looked towards the east. The moon was going to rise in a few moments and he must attack before it rose.

It was now getting lighter in the valley. Kino could see the men who were sleeping. First, he had to kill the watcher quickly. Silently, Kino pulled his knife over his shoulder and held the handle. But Kino was too late. As he stood up, the moon appeared in the east. Kino bent down again behind the little tree.

It was now getting lighter in the valley. Kino could see the watcher sitting on the little hill near the pool. The watcher was looking at the moon. He lit another cigarette and the match shone in his face for a moment. Kino could not wait any longer. When the watcher turned his head, Kino must jump. His legs were ready. And then, from above him, came a little cry. The watcher turned his head to listen and then stood up. One of the sleepers moved on the ground. This man sat up and looked around.

‘What is it?’ asked the man who had woken up.

‘You can’t tell,’ said the man who had been asleep. ‘Perhaps it is a wild dog with some puppies. I’ve heard a puppy cry like a baby.’

The sweat rolled down Kino’s face and fell into his eyes and burnt them. The little cry came again and the watcher looked up the side of the hill to the dark cave.

‘Perhaps there’s a wild dog up there,’ said the watcher.

Kino heard a movement as the man got ready to shoot his rifle.

‘If it’s a wild dog, this will stop it,’ said the watcher. And he raised his rifle towards the cave.

Kino jumped forward as the rifle fired. Kino’s large knife swung and cut through the man’s neck and chest. Kino was a terrible killer now. He took the rifle with one hand. With the other, he pulled his knife out of the man’s body.

Kino moved very fast. He turned round and hit the second man’s head. The third man crawled away, into the pool. Then he began to climb up the rocks where the water came down. The man’s hands and feet were caught in the bushes. He cried as he tried to climb up. But Kino had become hard and cruel. He raised the rifle and fired. Kino saw the man fall backwards into the pool. Kino walked into the water. In the moonlight, he could see the man’s frightened eyes. Then Kino fired the rifle, between the man’s eyes.

Kino stood and looked up, to the cave. Something was wrong. The insects were silent now. Kino listened. He knew the sound. He knew the long, rising cry from the little cave in the side of the mountain. He knew it was Juana’s voice. The sound was the cry of death.

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