At the back of Tyler's mind, the thought of Leah pushing him towards the water made him swallow hard. He glanced at the fish Nate had caught and thrown at him and took another step forward, setting the fish down. It seemed easy enough. Like hunting underwater.
"Maybe I could try catching a fish." He said slowly, quietly. If he was lucky, maybe Nate wouldn't hear him.
Nate had been striding through the water, trying to match the current and not scare the fish. When he heard Tyler, he stopped mid throw—missing his mark completely—and looked at him. His smile returned. “Ah, so you decided to accept my challenge…” he laughed just like those villains in the kid cartoons. Mwahahaha. Then he docked at land and stepped forward to hand Tyler the spear.
Tyler swallowed hard again. He hadn't actually meant for Nate to hear what he had said, but he stepped forward anyway. He swallowed again as he glanced at the water. It didn't seem quite as easy now that he closer to the water, looking at the fish dart and swim under the surface.
Nate took the fish catching position. “Don’t worry, I won’t judge. I probably won’t laugh either—I mean, you saw me fail a few times,” he encouraged. “Just remember, you have to predict their movements and aim where the will be. Don’t move against the current. Go with it.” Nate continued his coaching until he had run out of things to say.
"Yeah, I know about that bit." Tyler said nervously. He kept watching the fish as they swam around. He followed them with his sharp green eyes, watching the patterns they made as they swam. He slowly bent down and started to pull off his hiking boots.
Again, Nate found himself wishing he had a seat simply because he wanted to be on the edge of it. No, it’s better this way. I must be ready to catch the fish, should he fling it on me without warning. Nate crouched, resembling a football player ready to defend the line of scrimmage.
He kept watching the fish as he slowly and carefully stepped into the water, feeling the water wrap around his feet. He kept his eyes on the fish, watching them swim around. He held the spear staff up, watching one fish in particular as it wriggled around in the water. He held his breath, holding it at the ready. The fish swam on almost lazily, unaware of the impending doom that hung over it's head.
Aim where it's going to be, aim where it's going to be....
Tyler thrust downwards, aiming carefully.
He missed, leaning forward too far. His feet started to slide. His mouth opened in a silent gasp. He flailed his arms, trying to regain his balance. This just made him fall backwards, splashing down into the water.
It was excruciatingly difficult, but Nate didn’t laugh. Still crouching, he had buried his face in his hands—hoping to god that Tyler wouldn’t see his enormous smile and strained facial muscles from holding it back. After using every fiber of his being to calm down and gain a straight face, Nate withdrew his hands and said, “Very nice form. It was an admirable attempt, to be sure. Try again.”
Tyler silently stood up. He gripped the staff tightly in his hands, face flushing. He glared at the fish. They seemed to laugh at him as they darted off. He stared hard at another fish, taking a deep breath as he picked a new target. This time, he stood there longer as he readied himself to stab downwards. He took deep breath after deep breath, watching the fish, following it with his eyes. He stood still, carefully watching the pattern it made as it swam.
Then, he struck. He stabbed at it, releasing the breath he had been holding.
Aaaand he missed again. This time though, he didn't fall.
((I’ll be getting off for the night in about ten minutes, just so you know. Oh, and while I’m here, I’d like to say that this has been hilarious.))
Nate cupped his hands around his mouth and shouted, “You’re doing great! Keep at it. You’ll succeed—I know you’ll be triumphant. You’re smarter than these fish!” After this new attempt at encouragement, he added, “C’mon, you’ve transformed a con-artist into a cheerleader. Don’t make me do this for nothing!”
((Aw, it'll be a shame when you go. I've enjoyed it.))
Tyler pressed his lips together harder, gripping the staff tighter. He bit the inside of his cheek, taking a few steps forward in the water, being careful to move slowly and carefully so he didn't fall again. He set his eyes on a new fish, watching the spot where it would be swimming.
Please...Please just let me catch you...
He stabbed down, closing his eyes closed for an instant. He didn't expect to actually catch one, perhaps only to graze past him. But he gasped a little as he felt the knife end of the staff thrust through the wriggling creature. He fell down into the water out of sheer surprise, still clutching the staff an the newly caught fish.
((Okay, I’m really done now. Until later today, I bid you farewell!))
For a split second, Nate was speechless. “You…did it,” he finally said. Then the wave of realization hit and along came the proud excitement. He grinned, “What was that you told me a few minutes ago? Oh yeah—something about how you were never good at fishing. Well, YOU DID IT. You caught a fish.” He stood up to his full height and applauded his friend. Yes, after this fishing adventure, he really did consider Tyler to be his friend. “Good job. You’ve earned my uttermost respect,” he got back into his fish catching position. “Now it’s my turn to catch a fish.”
]Tyler slowly and carefully stood up. His hair was starting to come undone from his ponytail, black strands falling in front of his face. He looked down at the fish on the end of the spear with shock and disbelief, blinking furiously.
"I caught it?" He mumbled dazedly to himself. He stared at the scaly creature impaled on the end of the staff. He looked back up at Nate. Nate was standing at the ready, crouching with his hands held out. Tyler blinked again. After a moment, he carefully pulled the fish free of the spear. He aimed carefully, gripping it tightly in his hand. Then, he flung it.
Tyler had aimed the fish quite well, flinging it right into Nate’s arms. It had almost slipped through his fingers, but he had somehow managed to clamp his fingers on its tail. Nate was about to smile at his success—but everything went downhill from there. The fish squirmed violently, twisting and turning and covering Nate in its slime. He walked backwards, trying to control the fish, but it still it slipped out of his grasp. He tried his best to get a firm grip, as it flapped from hand to hand as though it was a juggling ball. Finally, it was grounded and a discombobulated Nate chased after it. It wasn’t long until he gave up; simply allowing the fish to flop around on land until it died. He straightened and cleared his throat; it was his turn to be embarrassed.
"Sorry. Should've aimed better." Tyler apologized quietly, reaching to tie his hair back into it's pony tail. He stepped up out of the water, feet squishing a little as he dripped onto dry land. He started to walk towards Nate, holding his staff out towards him.
((I'm starting to believe the others have dropped out of this...))
Nate shook his head. “Uh, no, you aimed perfectly. They’re just…more agile then I had anticipated.” He took his staff and glanced at the fish they had caught. “You think that’s enough?”
"For now." Tyler said with a solemn nod. "If we need more, we can catch more later." He started to tug his hiking boots back on, brushing back a strand of black hair. He grabbed one of the knives in his belt, eyeing the fish that had been caught. "You know how to clean a fish?" He asked, bending to pick one of the slippery creatures up.
Nate tried to squeeze the access water out of his clothes. When Tyler asked if he knew how to clean a fish, he froze. He had completely forgotten about that. “That depends,” he said, “exactly how similar is a fish to a squirrel?” As an initiation test, they had made him leave the city, kill a few squirrels with a rock, and clean them himself with no prior knowledge of how it’s done. The first two were massacred, but the third turned out okay. He made them eat all three—after convincing them it was a cut up hotdog. They weren’t too happy when they found out they had consumed the small intestines and such.
"Not very similar. I've cleaned both." Tyler sat down on the ground, holding the fish in one hand and the knife in the other. He deftly slid the knife into the fish's silvery belly, slicing it open and yanking the organs out in one smooth move.
Nate nodded. He’d figured as much. “I would observe you and try for myself, but…I’d probably butcher it,” he said, visualizing how he would fail. “Scratch that. I would decimate it.”