A Frightening Encounter

Darkness surrounded him. It wrapped him in shadows of anonymity as he waited for her. She would be here soon, he knew. She always walked past this particular point each night. He had watched her for several days in a row. Never revealing his presence. Never interacting with her. Just watching. Waiting for an opportunity.

The nearest light source lost the battle with the darkness several feet from his position. Here was deep cover. His dark clothing blended perfectly. He stilled his movements to avoid any notice and waited for her. The slow breaths he took were quiet and deliberate.

Her footsteps approached. He measured her progress by the regular rhythmic impacts of hard soles on pavement.  50 feet, 30 feet, 20…almost time now. Her shadow grew towards him as she passed the light source. It merged with his own cloaking shadow as his muscles tensed.

He reached into his pocket and withdrew the metal object there. It did not betray his presence in the dark by glinting. The light source was simply too weak here. He lowered himself to one knee, crouching as she neared. She did not see him.

He raised his hands to her, holding the metal object before her in a gesture of offering. “Will you marry me?” he blurted.

She unleashed a startled scream and kicked hard at him, once, twice, and again. He crumpled to the ground and she continued kicking him and shouting for help. Finally, she stopped, took a few steps back and peered at him intently. She pulled her cell phone out and activated the flashlight app.

“Gary?” she asked. “What are you doing out here?”

“Making a mistake with a marriage proposal.” he groaned.

What’s the thing you’re most scared to do? What would it take to get you to do it?

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