Cloud Atlas: Chapter Summary (Chapter 6: Sloosha’s Crossin’ An’ Ev’rythin’ After)
Zachary, a young boy, is traveling with his Pa and Adam. They camp by Sloosha’s Crossin’, and Zachary runs into Old Georgie in the woods. Old Georgie taunts the boy and turns into a bird. When Zachary chases the bird, it leads him to a camp full of Kona savages. The Kona get on their horses, and Zachary runs back towards camp. He trips and falls, and the Kona lose sight of him. They find his family’s camp, kill the father and enslaves the brother while he hides.
Zachary goes back to his village and tells them what happened, minus the hiding. He is a goat-herder of the Valley. He falls in love with a young girl named Jayjo, who becomes pregnant and has a miscarriage.
The god of the Valleysmen is named Sonmi. The villagers pray to her to heal their sick. When the Valleysmen die, their words are carved on icons and placed in the icon’ry. When he turned 14, Zachary spent the night in the icon’ry and became a man in the eyes of his tribe. Abbess, the village elder, tell him that Old Georgie wants his soul.
Once or twice a year in the village the Ship of the Prescients comes to trade. One year a Prescient woman named Meronym comes to live with Zachary’s family. She brings gifts to give away and makes observations about daily life in her journal. Zachary doesn’t trust her.
One day Meronym comes with him to herd goats, and Zachary’s girlfriend becomes jealous and breaks up with him. Zachary blames Meronym and vows to discover her secrets.
Meronym goes to the icon’ry with a Valleyman called Napes, and Zach follows them. Napes tells Meronym the story of his great-grandfather’s encounter with Old Georgie. When Napes leaves Meronym startles Zachary by calling out to him. Zachary accuses her of entering sacred grounds.
Back at the house, Zachary looks through Meronym’s things. He find an egg-shaped object, and it reveals a hologram of a girl. A man is asking her questions, and she is answering. Suddenly the hologram changes to a prescient man, who threatens Zach to never tell anyone about the egg. Throughout the next few, weeks, images of the hologram girl haunt Zachary.
When Zachary’s sister gets sick, he begs Meronym for medicine. She gives it to him, and he stops suspecting her.
Meronym wants to climb Mauna Kea, the mountain where Old Georgie is rumored to haunt. Zach goes with her as payment for his sister’s life. On the road, Meronym tells Zachary about the outside world and how all the cities are dead, killed by humanity’s greed for more stuff.
They reach the gate of the summit and climb over. Inside, there are many buildings filled with scientific equipment. In an observatory, Zachary asks Meronym who the girl in the hologram was. Meronym tells her it was Sonmi. She was human, and killed by people who feared her.
Zachary begins to hear voices telling him not to believe Meronym. They enter a building which houses a generator, and there is a body preserved inside. The body tells Zachary to kill Meronym before she brings ruin on the whole village with her intelligence.
Back outside, Zachary tries to kill Meronym and misses. Time stops, and Old Georgie appears. Zachary realizes he’s trying to kill the wrong person and goes after Old Georgie instead. He gets Meronym back to the village safely.
Eventually it is time for Meronym to go back to her ship. The villagers pack goods to trade and Meronym goes with them.
At the trading grounds, the Kona attack. Zachary is captured. When he wakes up, he is piled in a cart with other prisoners. The Kona are talking about raiding the Valley. The Kona pull the slaves out and tell them that they will be killed if they don’t obey.
That night Meronym, disguised as a Kona general, kills the warriors and rescues Zachary. In the morning, Meronym is speaking to her president through the egg. Duophysite asks Zachary to take Meronym to Ikat’s Finger. Meronym’s ship hasn’t been responding to transmissions.
On the way to Ikat’s Finger, Zachary sees his people enslaved by the Kona. They have emptied the village. Zachary kills the remaining sentinel, and they flee the town.
They spend the night in a cave, discussing the difference between savages and civilized. Zachary notices a peculiar birthmark below Meronym’s shoulder.
The next day, they are stopped by a platoon of Kona soldiers. Meronym, still wearing her stolen armor, pretends to be a general, giving them time to escape. They come to a bridge, and Zachary tells Meronym that Sonmi doesn’t want them to cross. They go underneath instead, and the bridge buckles under the weight of the Kona horsemen.
Meronym and Zachary reach the meeting place, and Meronym leaves with Duophysite.