— Brina is keelhauled. —
Brina didn’t remember what keelhauling was, but she decided she didn’t want to know.
Many of the ship’s crew stared at their feet while others dragged her to the bow.
“Do you think this a good idea?” she heard Devlin say to Brindley. “Suppose she dies? She probably will!”
“Then we won’t be docking in Tasman.”
“She’s only a woman!”
“Shut up Devlin. Do it now!”
The crewmen lowered Brina over the bow by the length of rope attached to her wrists while another sailor guided the other length of rope to the stern. He worked it under the moving ship’s hull and pulled it taught.
“Ready!” he yelled from the stern.
Six men lowered Brina to the crashing bow-waves, while three others hauled on the stern rope. Her feet touched the cold water, so she began to take deep breaths, taking her last a moment before her head went under. After that, she understood little of what happened, except that the sea battered her against the barnacle-studded planks of the hull and her lungs began to scream with the agony of asphyxiation. She held on as long as she could, feeling her chest convulse with its primitive urge to breath. The last thing she saw was a patch of light in the bottle-blue water behind her thrashing legs.
“You’re a lucky bitch!” a male voice said. “The Captain wouldn’t have revived anyone else but you!”