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The husband and wife sat rigidly in the cold, hard chairs, staring

across the desk in front of them.

‘Mr and Mrs Goodman,’ began the cool voice of the doctor

opposite the couple, ‘I am sure you are both aware of the crisis

humans are facing on Earth.’

Mr and Mrs Goodman nodded as the doctor straightened his

wire spectacles. He was wearing a crisp, white lab coat which seemed

to blend in with the surrounding walls, intensifying the sterile feel of

the institute.

‘Unfortunately,’ the doctor continued unemotionally, ‘you have

conceived twin boys. Therefore it is necessary to make one of the

two an In-valid. The process is quite simple; we inject the child who

has the inferior genes with those that will self-destruct.’

‘You’re going to kill him?’ Asked Mrs Goodman weakly.

‘Oh no, not straight away. The genes will not cause his death until

his twentieth birthday. On that day, yes, he will die. Think of it as a

sacrifice for Mankind. Not only will the number of people on this

over-populated Earth decrease, but those with undesirable genes

will die eventually too.’

As soon as Isaac Goodman was born, he was destined to die; he was

an In-valid. Every day of his life, since he could remember, he had

been treated differently to his twin brother, Eugene, the shining star,

the one who would live a long and successful life. However, Isaac was

never bitter towards his brother. Eugene was, to Isaac, like a ladder

of success.

With Eugene’s help, he was going to achieve what everyone had

always said he could not do.

Isaac mounted the Creeper, a forever-moving spiral staircase that

led to Eugene’s room.

‘Are you sure you want to do this?’ Eugene asked as Isaac entered

the room.

‘Eugene, I have exactly one hundred and thirty-two days until I

turn twenty. In other words, one hundred and thirty-two days until

I die,’ Isaac said, ignoring his brother’s wince, ‘I have been training

for this for as long as people have been treating me like I’m less than


‘I know,’ sighed Eugene, ‘it’s just… I worry sometimes.’

‘It can’t go wrong. We’ve planned every detail.’

The Race

Niamh McCarthy