“This is it,” said Loam, leaning over the guardrail. “They’re twitching.”

“Careful!” Moore said, grabbing a handful of trench coat and pulling Loam back. “You get too close, them scatterbrush’ll shoot a thorn or blast you with blisterspores.”

“I know that!” snapped Loam, shaking Moore off. “This ain’t my first scatterbrush race. I’ve just got a good feeling about this one.”

The eight scatterbrush seedlings, each germinated and planted within seconds of each other, lay on the starting line. Each had a colorful ribbon tied around its thorny stem, and a straight route ahead with smooth high walls that the seedlings couldn’t surmount. As Loam and Moore looked on, the yellow seedling tentatively pulled one of its taproots out of the Laysan Prime soil and tapped it on the ground, like a blind man feeling his way forward.

“This is it!” Loam hissed.

“I thought you bet on green?” Moore replied.

“Green’s in it to win it, I’m just glad to see some movement!”

As if on a prearranged signal, the other scatterbrush seedlings uprooted themselves, pulling themselves erect on foot-long taproots. They then began feverishly skittering to find a favorable spot to grow and spread further, toxic, spores. If they had not been on the racecourse, true to their name, they would have scattered, but the design of the track funneled them in a straight forward line.

“Go! Go green!” Loam whooped.

“Looks like it’s falling behind,” Moore drawled. “Hell, it looks to be taking root. I do declare that it may be getting ready to root itself right there on the racetrack.”

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