They settled on ice cream first, both choosing a large cone with brightly coloured toppings which Lesley reluctantly agreed to. She knew they’d be even more hyperactive than ever with all of that sugar inside them, and there’s no way she’d ever pay those prices, but as the treat was on the house she went along with it.
Both boys, typically, ended up wearing most of their ice cream all over their faces, but they didn’t care! And once they’d eaten all they could, Lesley passed them baby wipes to clean themselves up a bit before they ventured out into the park. She also insisted they both fill their water bottles up and keep drinking, as the sun was hot and baking down on them, with little in the way of shelter.
“Ok lads, which ride first? You choose.”
They didn’t even need to think about their decision for a second…it had to be the biggest, fastest ride in the whole park, and they both shouted together gleefully “T-Rex! Please, please can we go on the T-Rex?”
“Of course you can, let’s go and find it. There’s probably going to be a bit of a queue, as that’s the newest and most popular ride.” Lesley glanced at the pocket guide the teller had given to her with their wristband, and the began steering the two boys in the right direction, heading for the middle of the park. Once they got there, she began having a few doubts – it really was enormous! And from what she could see, the capsules were moving at terrific speeds through the air. It was too late to change her mind now, she knew she’d have two tantrums on her hands if she tried, but she really hoped them young boys would be ok on such a frightening ride.
Both Tom and Jack were in awe, standing at the foot of the ride and looking directly up to where they could see other visitors being thrown around in the air, so fast that it just looked like a blur.
“Wow” was all Tom could manage.
“Awesome! Come on, lets line up” squeaked Jack.
“Are you both sure you’ll be ok?” Lesley was as nervous as the boys were excited.
“Yes Mum, honestly, we’re not babies you know!” Jack rolled his eyes in exasperation at his Mum, and then he and Tom joined the pack of the long queue, which Lesley took up her position at the side of the safety barrier, where she could keep an eye on them.
In the queue, Jack and Tom were stood directly behind a family group – it looked like a dad, two young boys who must have been only just tall enough to ride, and a teenage girl, who was probably a year or two older than Lucy Jack thought. They were chatting amongst themselves, and the boys didn’t take much notice of them, although the girl was whining a bit at how long they’d been waiting and that she wasn’t bothered about the stupid ride anyway, typical teenager.
As they reached the front of the queue, an assistant asked the two young boys from the group in front to stand next to a height chart, so she could be sure they were tall enough to ride safely. Much to their relief, and as Jack had suspected, they just about scraped in. Satisfied, she led them over to the first empty compartment.
“Ok boys, you climb in here first and I’ll get you strapped in, then – dad? – can join you.” It was then she noticed the older girl standing with them. “Oh, are you all together? I’m sorry, but we can only fit three in each pod.”
The Dad looked around at the girl “Up to you Ellie, do you want to ride with one of the boys and I’ll sit with the other, or would you prefer to go on your own?”
Ellie thought for a moment, and then sulkily replied “I’ll wait, they’ll only mess about otherwise. You go with them Dad, I’ll get in the next one.”
“Ok love, if you’re sure? See you at the other end…don’t get too scared now!” He chuckled, causing his teenage daughter to roll her eyes at him.
Once the pod had been secured and sent on it’s way, the attendant turned her attention back to the queue, and this time to Ellie and then Jack and Tom who were bouncing around behind her in eager anticipation.
“Are you two boys not with anybody? I know you’re tall enough to ride, but it really would be better if you had an adult with you, just in case.”
The boys looked crestfallen, sure they were about to be sent back out of the queue to Lesley, and they knew she hadn’t bought herself a wristband so wouldn’t be allowed to ride with them anyway.
Jack nodded. “We’re with my Mum, but she’s just watching. Please let us go on, we’ve waited aaaaaaages!” And he sounded like he was about to cry as he said it.
This had tugged at the heartstrings of Ellie, who was waiting patiently at the side ready to be seated herself. She hadn’t wanted to ride with her brothers as she knew how annoying they could be, but didn’t want these two boys to miss out either. They both looked a bit older, and hopefully less silly she thought.
“Erm, ‘xcuse me. You said each pod takes three yeah? Well I don’t mind these boys sitting in with me, if that’s ok? Means I’m not on my own, and they get to have a go too.”
The boys were both absolutely delighted, and whilst Jack managed to resist the urge to kiss this strange girl who had come to their rescue, Tom couldn’t resist giving her a quick hug…and then looking away embarrassed. “Thank you” they both said huskily, and seeing that the attendant had agreed and was happy with the arrangement, they clambered into the compartment and allowed her to strap them in, before Ellie climbed in afterwards.
“You lads aren’t going to be sick on me or anything, are you?” She teased, and both looked horrified a the thought. They’d just eaten ice cream, after all, so they really hoped not! Seeing their faces, she giggled. “Don’t worry, I’m only winding you up. Hang on tight though, this is supposed to be a really fast ride! I hope so anyway…”
With a sudden jolt, they were off, catapulted along the track at an alarming speed, causing all three of them to scream out in delight. They were buffeted from side to side, thrown in all different directions and even spun around until the boys looked green, although fortunately neither was actually sick. And then, with a metallic clunk, the carriage shuddered to a halt and the music stopped. Bravely peering over the side, Ellie realised they were at the very top of the highest peak on the ride. She’d been watching it the whole time they’d been queuing, and none of the other pods had stopped there. Uh-oh, she had a really bad feeling about this.4
Audio Version of Chapter