Zurito sat patting his horse and looking at the bull charging the cape that Hernandez swung for him out under the bright light while the crowd shouted.
“You see that one?” he said to Manuel.
“It was a wonder,” Manuel said.
“I got him that time,” Zurito said. “Look at him now.”
At the conclusion of a closely turned pass of the cape the bull slid to his knees. He was up at once, but far out across the sand Manuel and Zurito saw the shine of the pumping flow of blood, smooth against the black of the bull’s shoulder.
“I got him that time,” Zurito said.
“He’s a good bull,” Manuel said.
“If they gave me another shot at him, I’d kill him,” Zurito said.
“They’ll change the thirds on us,” Manuel said.
“Look at him now,” Zurito said.
“I got to go over there,” Manuel said, and started on a run for the other side of the ring, where the monos were leading a horse out by the bridle toward the bull, whacking him on the legs with rods and all, in a procession, trying to get him towards the bull, who stood, dropping his head, pawing, unable to make up his mind to charge.
Zurito, sitting his horse, walking him toward the scene, not missing any detail, scowled.
Finally the bull charged, the horse leaders ran for the barrera, the picador hit too far back, and the bull got under the horse, lifted him, threw him onto his back.
Zurito watched. The monos, in their red shirts, running out to drag the picador clear. The picador, now on his feet, swearing and flopping his arms. Manuel and Hernandez standing ready with their capes. And the bull, the great, black bull, with a horse on his back, hooves dangling, the bridle caught in the horns. Black bull with a horse on his back, staggering short-legged, then arching his neck and lifting, thrusting, charging to slide the horse off, horse sliding down. Then the bull into a lunging charge at the cape Manuel spread for him.
The bull was slower now, Manuel felt. He was bleeding badly. There was a sheen of blood all down his flank.
Manuel offered him the cape again. There he came, eyes open, ugly, watching the cape. Manuel stepped to the side and raised his arms, tightening the cape ahead of the bull for the veronica.
Now he was facing the bull. Yes, his head was going down a little. He was carrying it lower. That was Zurito.
Manuel flopped the cape; there he comes; he side-stepped and swung in another veronica. He’s shooting awfully accurately, he thought. He’s had enough fight, so he’s watching now. He’s hunting now. Got his eye on me. But I always give him the cape.
He shook the cape at the bull; there he comes; he sidestepped. Awful close that time. I don’t want to work that close to him.
The edge of the cape was wet with blood where it had swept along the bull’s back as he went by.
All right, here’s the last one.
Manuel, facing the bull, having turned with him each charge, offered the cape with his two hands. The bull looked at him. Eyes watching, horns straight forward, the bull looked at him, watching.
“Huh!” Manuel said, “Toro!” and leaning back, swung the cape forward. Here he comes. He side-stepped, swung the cape in back of him, and pivoted, so the bull followed a swirl of cape and was then left with nothing, fixed by the pass, dominated by the cape. Manuel swung the cape under his muzzle with one hand, to show the bull was fixed, and walked away.
There was no applause.
Manuel walked across the sand towards the barrera, while Zurito rode out of the ring. The trumpet had blown to change the act to the planting of the banderillos while Manuel had been working with the bull. He had not consciously noticed it. The monos were spreading canvas over the two dead horses and sprinkling sawdust around them.
Manuel came up to the barrera for a drink of water. Retana’s man handed him the heavy porous jug.
Fuentes, the tall gypsy, was standing holding a pair of banderillos, holding them together, slim, red sticks, fishhook points out. He looked at Manuel.