“Go on! We gave you the money, didn’t we?’ Jayden and Kayleigh pushed Ria up against the wall. ‘We want this party to go with a bang. You’d better get them – or else!’
In that moment, the decision had been very easy to make. If Ria did what they asked, they would leave her alone, for once. But now she stood facing the shop, clutching the envelope of notes in her hand, she was no longer so sure.
“PROFESSOR PEPPER’S FIREWORK FACTORY” read a faded sign above the door. Then a smaller sign below announced:
No Children or Animals allowed!
The windows were caked with dust, and it looked dark and deserted beyond. She looked up and down the quiet side street near the estate where she lived. Was the shop even open?
There was only one way to find out.
Ria pushed the door open, which dragged across the old floorboards. ‘Hello’? she said, her voice echoing. It sounded like she was in an empty warehouse, not a shop. No-one replied and no light came on. At first there was only darkness and silence in reply.
Then, in the distant gloom, a light began to appear. More of a spark than a light, rising out of the shadows, that began to fizz and burn, growing and growing, until with her heart in her mouth, Ria realised that it was a .........