“Jesus, that’s brutal,” Mark winces as the screen shows the contestants battling their way to the finish line.
“It isn’t supposed to be easy,” Dr. Lindon replies, jotting notes and sparing a glance at the screen.
“Who’ve you got pegged to win it?” Mark asks.
Dr. Lindon sets his pen down and removes his glasses, “Anyone’s game really. There’s a good mix of strength, agility, and cleverness out there.”
“What about this one?” Mark points to a female dodging a cactus and leaping across a dry creek bed.
“She’ll never make it.”
“Why do you say that? She looks like she’s doing pretty well. I’d say she’s on track to take it.”
Dr. Lindon presses a series of keys on the computer pad and the video feed flips to a blacklight filter. “That is why. She took an unfortunate route.”
On the screen, the woman is running toward a crevice that will take her up a short mesa placing her just shy of the finish line. In the darkness of the crevice unseen to the woman but perfectly visible on screen are thousands of waiting bodies— tiny and deadly.
“What are those?” Mark asks.
“Brown bark scorpions. One of two deadly species. As I said, she’ll never make it.”
(c) Katrina Hayes