A bubble of air moves to the surface and pops. Anderson raises his eyebrow at this.
“What’s that…?” he asks and leans over the hole.
“Just air escaping,” Sonia says, and adjusts in her seat. She’d let Anderson have the one actual chair and was sitting on a bucket inside the makeshift tent.
“But from what? How did air get down there?” Anderson says, and keeps his head over the hole. Nothing else happens to the surface, nothing much moves or shudders. “We’ve had no fish for hours, and then this…”
“I don’t know, it’s strange,” Sofia says.
“Hmm, okay. Well, maybe Charlie would have some idea,” Anderson muses and sits back in his chair. He picks back up the rod and casts it down into the hole in the ice, letting the weighted end carry the bait as far down as it will go.
“Yeah—he might,” Sofia responds, and she closes tighter the jacket she has on, tucking the front together so it covers her mouth.
“He takes so long at the bathroom,” Anderson says, and chuckles. “I mean, even you beat him back.”
Sofia let’s out a cold breath that comes out like cigar smoke. The wisp curls around in a spiral before dissipating. She shifts her feet against the ice.
“Yeah—I guess it was a big one.”
Anderson smirks but adds no more to the conversation. For a long time, unbroken by technology or talk or even the weather, they sit in silence.
Until something catches the line, and Anderson jolts forward and reels. “Big one,” he grunts as he pulls harder and harder upward, making the line sing with the speed it spins. At some point, though, it snaps, and he stumbles as the line floats away.
“Crap,” he mutters. “That thing must have been scaring away all the others too.”
Sophia is sitting up straight, ultra-straight, and only peers at the ice for a long batch of time.
Anderson tries to catch her eye. “You okay?” he asks, and it takes longer than it should for her to answer.
“Yeah…yeah, I’m fine,” she says, and snaps her head up, giving a small smile. “It just was surprising. Didn’t know something that big was down there.”
“Yeah—I wouldn’t have expected it either,” Anderson says. He lets loose a small whistle and Sophia chuckles.
“But it was cool, though,” he says. “Something that big? I bet Charlie would like to know about it too.”
“Yeah…I’m sure,” Sophia says.
“Where is he?” Anderson mutters. “He needs to get his ass over here. I’m going to go yell at him to poop faster.”
Sophia stands up, her eyes not meeting his. She has her hands tucked into her coat pockets. “I’ll come with you.”
“Okay, sure—we can yell in stereo,” Anderson says. He walks out of the tent, and Sophia follows quietly behind.
One last set of bubbles drift to the surface, popping at the top of the hole.