The Pearl Chapter 6
Kino, Juana, and Coyotito begin their dark journey. When they reach a place where the wind no longer reaches, they walk carefully in wagon ruts so that their footprints will not be obvious, and the first wagon that passes through will obliterate their tracks altogether. As they walk, meeting no one on the dark road, Kino hears the music of the pearl interweaving with the Song of Family in his head. He doesn't fear the night animals or their sounds because he carries the long knife that Juan gave him.
As dawn presents itself, Kino finds a clearing away from the road where Juana and Coyotito can hide. He uses a tree branch to brush away the tracks from the road to the clearing so that they will not be found. During the day, Juana asks him if the buyers might not have been right about the pearl, and he suggests that if it weren't valuable, they wouldn't have tried to steal it. Although he doesn't know for certain who attacked him, he believes that the buyers did it. He looks into the pearl for assurance and talks of the rifle he will buy, but the pearl only reflects an image of the man he killed. He says that he and Juana will marry in a big church and the pearl shows him Juana with her face bruised from his fists. Then he says that Coyotito will learn to read, and the pearl reflects the baby's face swollen from the doctor's poison. The music of the pearl begins to mingle with the Song of Evil and the sinister melody plays on in his head.
Kino naps for a short while and wakes with some premonition that danger is coming. He sneaks to the road and hides there to keep watch. Presently he sees the trackers, two on foot and a third man with a rifle on horseback. They are following the wagon ruts as if they could plainly see Kino's footprints. He knows that they are after the pearl. Kino plans how he must attack if they find his hiding spot near the road, and for a few tense moments, the trackers look around on the road near him. When they move on, Kino hurries back to the clearing and doesn't bother to cover his tracks. He knows that the trackers will circle back around to the swept path soon enough and recognize the sweep marks and displaced stones and other minute details that cannot be covered. He hurries to Juana and tells her that the trackers will find them. He considers letting them take him, but she reminds him that the trackers will kill them all. So together they flee toward the mountains hoping to lose the trackers over the smooth rock surface.
As Kino and his wife approach the mountain, Kino suggests that Juana hide with the baby and let him lead the trackers into the mountains. She refuses to separate from him even for Coyotito's sake, and so they continue on looping back and forth, making their trail somewhat difficult for the trackers to follow. As the sun descends in the sky, they reach a spring in the mountain, and above it is a shallow cave in the cliff where Kino wants to hide his family. The trackers can be seen far off in the distance, and Kino knows that they will make their way to the spring by nightfall. He helps Juana up the cliff with the baby on her back, and he tells Juana that she must keep Coyotito quiet if they are to survive the night. She assures him that she will.
The trackers prepare their camp at the spring just below the cave. Kino knows that if he can kill the man with the rifle, he can kill the other trackers and save his family. Kino waits for the darkest part of night before the moon rises to make his attack. Only the man with the rifle stays awake and the end of his cigarette glows in the darkness. Kino can see the position of each man when the watchman lights a match for his cigarette. It is time to attack. He sheds his white clothes because they will be visible in the night and wears only the knife around his neck. Kino tells his wife that if he is killed, she should remain hidden until the men have passed and then strike out on her own for Loreto. Juana is afraid for him.
Kino begins his descent down the sheer face of the mountain, moving so slowly that the rifleman will not notice the dark shape that descends from the cave. When Kino reaches the ground, the moon is rising and he must wait for the moment to spring on the watchman with the rifle. As he waits, a cry comes from the cave above and wakes one of the sleeping men. The watchman says that it sounds like a baby, and the other man explains that sometimes coyote cries sound like babies. The cry comes again and the watchman cocks the gun and aims at the dark cave planning to silence to the animal.
Kino leaps from his place and stabs the watchman through the neck and into the chest as the gun goes off. He wrenches the rifle away and hits the man who was barely awake with the rifle butt, crushing his head like a melon. The third man frantically tries to climb the cliff to escape, and with cold precision, Kino picks him off with the gun. The man lands in the pool of water and Kino stands over him and puts another bullet between his eyes. Now that the men are dead, Kino hears some sound trying to force its way into his head. "And then Kino's brain cleared from its red concentration and he knew the sound -- the keening, moaning, rising hysterical cry from the little cave in the side of the stone mountain, the cry of death." Chapter 6, pg. 114
Everyone in La Paz watches as Kino and Juana walk side-by-side into town. They seem to carry darkness with them in the rifle that Kino has across his arm and in the bundled shawl that Juana carries over her shoulder like a sack. The shawl is encrusted with dried blood, and her face is weary and tight. The neighbors, who rush to the street to see them, take a step back. Kino and Juana seem "removed from human experience; [as if] they had gone through pain and had come out on the other side; [and] there was almost a magical protection about them." Chapter 6, pg. 116
Kino's ears ring with the Song of Family as he and Juana walk through the town and to the edge of the sea. Kino holds the pearl up and looks into it. It reflects images of his burning hut, the eyes of the man he killed with the rifle, and Coyotito in the dark cave with the top of his head ripped away by a bullet. The frantic and lunatic music of the pearl swells in Kino's ears and he holds the cursed object out to Juana. She insists that he throw it. They watch the pearl splash into the Gulf and it settles to the bottom of the sea among the algae and seaweed. "And the music of the pearl drifted to a whisper and disappeared." Chapter 6, pg. 118