The Birthday Race

The day before her birthday was a busy one. She prepared and packed three color-coded meals, dropped the cats at Sarah’s place, loaded her MicroMac with a day’s work, music, two books, one game, fresh batteries and Hypno 3.5, and napped for two hours. Then she put her gear on: the padded black bodysuit, the PowerPlus bracelets, two full jars of FrictionGone, and the new pair of Mars Jets she’d broken in the previous weekend.

She was ready.

The fence sank into the earth at midnight precisely. It was hard to be sure in the dark, but she estimated that about a hundred fifty of her rivals were sprinting toward the obelisk now, just as she was. Some – twins, probably – acted in tandem, one to reach the goal, the other to stop the lead racers.

Her months of training paid off. There was no one between her and the obelisk now. Three men tried to grab her from behind, but she slipped away.

She made it. The spire flashed, lighting her face in victory. It would be interesting to spend her birthday ruling a planet.

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