Short Story: The Dating Game

Find the candle! One of three instructions Johnathon received in a single text from a girl he had never met. He didn’t even know her name yet here he was, sitting at a candlelit table on a secluded beach; the stars shining above him and the tide edging closer to where he sat.

       A shadow emerged into the light; its figure perfect. Wanting to make a good impression, Johnathon went to help the mysterious woman into her chair. Bang! His knee knocked on the table; he was nervous!

        ‘I’ll cut straight to the point,’ the woman said once they were seated. Her voice was mysterious. Her words drifted toward him like a gentle breeze.

        ‘That’s a unique first liner.’

      Johnathon would know. He was a regular at the dating game. Completely hopeless at it too.

       ‘You have to earn an introduction. To achieve it you have until the candle burns out to guess my greatest fear.’

       ‘Your greatest fear?’

        This had to be set up! Strange dating experiences were not uncommon to him, however, this one was truly a first. The challenge captivated him, as did the woman who looked stunning in the flickering candlelight; her brown hair dancing gently with the breeze and her green eyes sparkling in unison with the stars.

        ‘Any clues?’

        ‘I like a man who is, observant.’

        ‘Something to do with this location?’

        ‘Very good!’ Her smile was infatuating.

        ‘The dark, an ironic connection to the candle burning out.’

        ‘It is not the dark.’ She admired the way his mind processed the situation.

        The woman flinched as the ocean water tickled her feet.

        ‘The sand!’

          Johnathon instantly regretted his answer. The pressure was getting to him. The candle was burning quickly; now half melted.

          ‘What scares people at the beach?’ he pondered aloud.

        Water levels were rising fast making the woman uncomfortable. Something told Johnathon her fear was about to strike.

        ‘Is it to do with the water?’

        ‘What about the water?’ The woman squirmed in her seat.

       Water now crept along the table; the candle almost a pile of melted wax. Johnathon could sense that it had been timed to perfection. How did it all tie together?

        ‘Swimming in water?’

        ‘Not quite!’

         She threatened to leave; the opportunity to see this woman again was slipping through his fingers. What do people fear about water?

        ‘People fear what they can’t see.’ Johnathon observed her rise from her chair, fear evident in her eyes. The water threatened to eliminate all hope.

        ‘Deep, murky water!’ He blurted out desperately.

        ‘Impressive!’ suddenly desperate, ‘Now let’s get out of here!’

         He grabbed her hand and guided her towards the sandy shore.  Free from the clutches of the rising tide, she extended out her hand.

        ‘I am Elizabeth.’ Smiling, Johnathon reciprocated the movement and shook her hand

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