Hearing the odd sound, feeling their compartment shudder to a halt and noticing the worried expression on the older girls face, Tom quickly asked “What’s the matter Ellie, why have we stopped?”
“I’m not sure mate, but I don’t think we’re supposed to have. I think something’s wrong.”
She craned her neck again to look over the side, noticing lots of movement around the base of the ride, quite a crowd was forming and there were people in high viz jackets running around. Whatever was going on, it didn’t look good at all. And she began to worry about her own predicament.
“It looks like something’s gone wrong with the ride. Oh I hope they get it going again soon.” Ellie nervously bit her lip and shifted around in her seat, glancing around at the two boys and realising that they were starting to worry because she was.
“Are you ok Ellie?” Jack was concerned, if this girl who was almost an adult was frightened, then maybe things really were bad?
“What? Oh, yeah, yeah, it’s nothing. Don’t worry, I’m sure it will be sorted soon and we’ll be zooming back down to the ground again. They’re probably just trying to make it more exciting for us, that’s all.”
The boys weren’t convinced, her smile was a bit too forced and she really did seem agitated, but they didn’t want to make a fuss. 10 minutes or so had passed, the ride still wasn’t moving and Ellie was looking more and more unhappy with each passing second. Then, from nowhere, a loud voice boomed around them.
“This is a safety announcement for passengers riding the T-Rex ride. A mechanical breakdown has resulted in a number of carriages remaining suspended on the ride. Our engineers are working to resolve this situation as quickly and safely as possible. If you are currently on-board, please remain seated and listen out for further announcements. Dinoland would like to apologise for the inconvenience caused.”
Ellie groaned loudly and again shifted in her seat, looking even more worried now. This really wasn’t supposed to happen, and she knew that if they didn’t get back down to the ground soon she was going to have a MAJOR problem.
“What is it Ellie?” This time Tom was looking at her in concern. “It sounded like they’re trying to fix it real soon, so why’re you sad?”
Blushing a little as she spoke, Ellie explained her predicament. “Oh boys, I’ve got a problem, and it’s getting really bad. You know when we set off I said I hoped it was a really fast ride? Yeah, well I didn’t just mean that I wanted it to go fast – I really meant that I wanted it to be over fast, because I kinda needed the toilet. Only, now, I don’t just kinda need to go, I really REALLY need to go. I needed to when we were in the line, but didn’t want to lose out place. Now I wish I’d just gone…if I had, I wouldn’t be stuck up here worrying about peeing in my pants. Ooh, I hope they hurry up, this is really really bad.”
Both boys were amazed by what they’d just heard, surely 13 year olds didn’t have to worry about having an accident? They’d just wait until they got to the toilet, surely?
“Hey, I know Ellie, how about we try to distract you? I know when I really need to go, it helps me to forget about it for a while if I talk about or do something else.”
“Hmm, anything’s worth a try I guess. Right now it’s all I can think about. Go on then Jack, tell me about you and your family, and then you Tom. Then I’ll tell you all about mine. Hopefully by the time we’ve finished, the ride will be fixed and we will be back down on the ground.”
For over half an hour they chatted easily about their families, with Ellie telling them all about her ‘annoying’ little brothers who they’d seen in the queue, Jack musing about Lucy and his Mum, and Tom talking about his life at home and the cousins he played with who lived down the street from them. The distraction seemed to work, as Ellie didn’t once mention her need to use the toilet, although both boys noticed her subconsciously shifting in her seat and even occasionally brushing a hand against her legs.
Jack didn’t say anything, but he was also beginning to regret skipping the earlier bathroom break now – the water his Mum had made him drink had quickly made it’s way through him, and whilst he wasn’t yet desperate to go he knew it wouldn’t be long before he found himself as uncomfortable as Ellie appeared to be. Oh well, he thought, at least she had some company now, even if she didn’t realise it.
Having ran out of family anecdotes, the three sat in silence for a short time, until the air was again punctured by the harsh sound of the loudhailer from below.
“This is a safety announcement. A resolution to the malfunction on the T-Rex ride has been identified and a repair is currently being carried out. We anticipate the ride will be fully operational again within 30 minutes, and will begin evacuating passengers to the ground as soon as it is safe to do so. Thank you for your patience.”
Ellie practically sobbed when she heard this, she doubted whether she could last another 10 minuted, never mind 30! Oh how she regretted the large Coke she’d ordered with lunch. She couldn’t wet herself, she was 13 for God’s sake, she just couldn’t! “AAARRRGGGHHHHH! Hurry up damnit, I need to peeeeeee!”
The boys looked worried again, and Jack was secretly worrying about his own ability to ‘hold it’ until they were rescued. Trying desperately to distract both himself and Ellie, he began telling jokes, most of which were pretty lame but did make everybody smile, and more importantly kept their minds of more pressing matters. Then he had a burst of inspiration, and remembering the joke which Tom had found so hilarious in the car, he quickly recited it out loud.
Tom was soon giggling again, but Ellie’s reaction was just like Tom’s had been in the car – it was the first time she’d heard the joke, and she roared with laughter, holding her sides as tears of mirth rolled down her cheeks. Jack was delighted to have made her laugh so much, it wasn’t often that you could impress somebody so much older than you, after all.
And then, suddenly, Ellie stopped laughing. Her face set in a look of abject horror, and she burst into tears.3
Audio Version of Chapter