Jack, Tom and Sam were the first to emerge from the toilets, all chattering excitedly about the amazing movie they were about to watch, with Lesley emerging from the ladies only a moment afterwards, rubbing her hands with antibacterial gel which she then passed to the boys. Finally, a much happier looking Ben was shepherded out by his Dad, looking quite comical in Elllie’s long, black hoodie which fell well below his knees, being fashionably oversized on her as it was.
Feeling the slightest twinge from her own bladder, Ellie had briefly considered nipping in to the loo herself, but had been too easily distracted by her phone, and before she knew it everybody else was there, seemingly ready to go.
“Everybody ready?” Lesley asked, proffering the gel to Graham, who gladly accepted and then made a point of rubbing a liberal about into Ben’s hands, despite his protestations .
As the boys cheered and Graham nodded in agreement, Ellie didn’t want to delay everybody, knowing she’d had plenty of chance to go. Besides, it was only a niggle, she’d be absolutely fine until later. Clambering laboriously to her feet, she dusted off Lucy’s leggings and then fell into line behind the rest of the group, still holding her phone up close to her face as she hurriedly said goodbye to the friends she’d been chatting too, almost walking into several passers-by as a result.
“Ellie! Look where you’re going for goodness sake, honestly can’t you tear yourself away from that thing for one afternoon?” Graham admonished gently, although his tone was goodnatured. In truth, Ellie had barely looked at her phone all day, so he couldn’t complain too much.
“Sorry Dad, I’m putting it away now. Everything’s boring anyway. Ooh, can we get some snacks to take in with us?” Shoving her phone away, she’d noticed a snack shack right next to the cinema entrance, and despite having eaten barely an hour ago, like a typical teenager she was already starting to feel peckish, as well as incredibly thirsty for some reason.
“I swear you’ve got hollow legs! But I guess it’s not a trip to the cinema without some goodies, is it? Go on then, all of you, choose something each and we can all share.”
“My treat this time.” Lesley shouted loudly over the din of 5 very excited children, all clamouring to be the first to order their treats from the beleaguered looking assistant who was serving. “And no arguments Graham, I absolutely insist after you wouldn’t let me pay for dinner! Choose a snack and a drink each, but hurry up otherwise we’re going to miss the start.”
The 4 boys had chosen a bag of sweets each, meaning there would be plenty to share between the group, along with a carton of milkshake. Ellie went for the more traditional popcorn, a mix of sweet and salted to suit everybody’s tastes, along with another large coke, which she drank deeply from as soon as it was handed to her, sating her thirst at least momentarily, before thanking Lesley for the unexpected treat.
“You’re very welcome sweetie” Lesley smiled, although her expression faltered a little as the assistant confirmed the amount of the bill. Theme park prices were never cheap, and cinema treats always proved costly too, but apparently cinemas inside theme parks were even worse! Settling up, Lesley thought to herself that she hoped these were the nicest tasing sweets in the world, and even if they were she still wasn’t convinced that they would be value for money. Ah well, it was a one-off treat, so she really didn’t mind too much.
Carrying their bounty between them, the group made their way into the 4D cinema, taking seats close to the front which for some reason the other visitors had left vacant in favour of those further back. They were amongst the last to enter, with the opening credits beginning to roll only a couple of minutes later.
Immediately they were thrown into a fully immersive experience like nothing they’d never even imagined, the film seeming to come to life with incredible sound effects, vibrations, temperature changes and even realistic wind and rain effects – which would explain why the front row had been left empty!
The kids all shrieked and laughed as they were thrown about in their seats, feeling just like like they were characters in the film, and even Lesley and Graham were completely enraptured, having never experienced anything quite like this.
Completely transfixed, it was almost an hour later when Ellie suddenly became aware of an intense pain in her stomach, and realised that she’d been putting off a growing need to go for a wee. All of the Coke she’d drank with lunch was catching up with her, and glancing down she noticed that her cup was empty again now too. She hadn’t meant to drink it all, and certainly not that quickly! Thinking back, the last time she had ‘been’ was when she’d been stuck on that first ride and had met Jack and Tom, which was hours ago now. She knew that she should have gone before the start of the film, but now she’d just have to wait.
Discreetly crossing her legs without either Lesley or her Dad noticing, she returned her attentions to the big screen, and allowed herself to be drawn back into the story.1
Audio Version of Chapter