The men did not wait for me to draw the short straw. That I had been born a woman was short straw enough. They stood solemn around the starboard deck and rued as I lightened their load. Down they cast barrels of dates, nuts, goats, soap, money and other cargo, and my body. I slipped under the waves. Their faces were distorted from beneath. Then I saw a Munchian scream, through the water, engulf all their miens, just before I went into the mouth of a great, horrendous whale.
Through fever, my first thought was that the whale was pregnant with me, and then surprise that I had come to this without even a prelude of disorientation or fear. But I had been so lost already at the outset of my voyage that now I felt a deep calm. Unconsciousness caressed me. All was wet-dark in the silk of her gullet. I floated under delirium. I relaxed into her womb, now and then rising to be conscious of a sound like the groan of ice shelves breaking but smoother and more comforting, and with woe. Then she bore me forth with her through the waters at a leviathan speed.
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