Two Sisters and a Mouse

Submitted into Contest #99 in response to: Write a story about characters going on a summer road trip.... view prompt


Coming of Age Fiction Teens & Young Adult

Constance leaned forward and rested her chin on the steering wheel. She had been driving for 8 hours straight now with 9 more hours to go and the day was starting to catch up with her. Nova reached forward to change the radio station. After scanning for something worth listening to for a few minutes and only hearing static, she settled on the only station that would come through clear enough to understand the lyrics.

“You know I literally hate country music, right?” Constance glanced over at Nova with an agitated look on her face and then moved her gaze back to the open road ahead.

“Well I don’t have any service and you don’t have any good music on your phone and everything else on this old junky stereo thing is static so I don’t know what to tell you.” 

Nova propped her bare feet on the dashboard as she turned to look out the window, the breeze whipping her hair in frantic motions around her face.

“You also know how much I hate having just one window down when I’m driving this fast. It messes with my ears.” Constance’s eyes stayed glued on the road as Nova jerked her head to the left.

“Well then roll your window down.” Nova jerked her head back to her window, lowering it even further. 

“We’ve been in this car for too long. I’m starting to resent bringing you with me.”

“I’m having a fantastic time.” Nova turned toward her, a fake smile beaming from ear to ear.

They were not the best of friends, but they got along as well as sisters normally did. They fought about petty issues and swore to never speak to one another again, only to make up an hour or two later. They stole each other's things claiming they were just borrowing them, knowing good and well that it was never going to be returned. 

“Where are we going anyway?” Nova had leaned her seat back and was now lying down with her eyes closed, her hair a mess behind her.

“On an adventure.”

“Does this adventure have a destination?” Nova now had her arm resting on her forehead blocking the sun from her eyes.

“Yes. Are you doing okay?” Constance reached over and moved Nova’s arm, pressing the back of her hand to her forehead to feel her temperature. Nova peeled her hand away.

“I’m fine. I just have a little headache. Chill out.”

Nova, only 17, had been diagnosed with stage three Leukemia 2 years prior and had undergone chemotherapy since. The treatments had slowly stripped away layers of Nova, but her sass had never wavered. 

They were waiting for her recent test results to find out the status of her remission, which had overwhelmed Constance so much that she had decided to run away, or take a road trip as she had told her parents. Though they were 5 years apart, Constance secretly felt closer to her sister than she would ever let on.

“Well if you need to stop just let me know. We have several days to get there and we are making great time.”

“Several days to get where? You still haven’t told me where we’re going.”


“For what? Why California?”

“To see a mouse. A very special mouse, actually.”

“A mouse? What the hell are you talking about?”

“Hey, don’t use that language young lady. And, yes. A mouse.”

Nova stared at Constance in utter confusion as she stared straight ahead.

“Are you trying to burn a hole in me?”

“A mouse? You cannot be serious. We are driving all the way to California for a mouse. We could have bought one in Cheyenne.”

“Mickey Mouse isn’t in Cheyenne and we aren’t buying him, we’re going to see him.”

She glanced over at Nova who had shot up from her seat, a stunned look on her face.

“You’re freaking lying.”

“Am freaking not.”

Though it was cliche and they both absolutely hated cliches (one of the few things they had in common), it had been their dream since they were kids to go to Disneyland. Wyoming was the least populated state in the country and, in their opinion, also the most boring. The top things to do in their hometown included visiting a steam engine, going to the movies, and checking out the local high school. 

“How did you even afford this?” Nova was still upright in her seat, straight as an arrow.

“I have a job, Nova. You know they pay me, right?”

“Well, jeez. This is really nice of you.” A tear was slowly making its way down Nova’s cheek.

“Oh god, don’t cry, please. This is supposed to be fun. I think we are tired and need to find a place to sleep.” She reached over and patted Nova’s leg. Nova smiled as she wiped the tear away.

“Yeah, you’re probably right.”

They took the next exit and checked into the GoodNite Inn around 6pm, grabbing sandwiches from a cold vending machine on the way to their room.

“Who are you most excited to meet?” Constance rolled over on her stomach, facing Nova who was lying on the twin bed across from her, her sandwich wrapper crumpled at her side.

“You know I love Ariel.”

“Yes, how could I forget? We only watched that movie five thousand times growing up.”

“Oh, whatever! We watched that dumb movie you loved just as much.” Nova tossed a pillow at her, which hit the bed and flopped onto the floor.

“Anastasia was not dumb. It was a cinematic masterpiece and you know it! Take that back.” She threw a pillow back at Nova, hitting her in the thigh.

“Home, love, family!” Nova rolled over and was now facing her, her arms outstretched as she serenaded her.

“See! I knew you loved that song. You sneaky liar.”

“I only liked that movie because I thought that guy Dimitri was hot.”

“You thought he was hot too?”

“Well duh. And he loved Anastasia. I always kind of wished I were her.” Nova was silent now, staring up at the yellowing popcorn ceiling, her arms crossed over her chest.

A long pause filled the room.

“I don’t think I’ll ever find love, not true love anyway.”

“Why would you say that?” Constance furrowed her brow. They never talked about love.

Another pause lingered in the air. Nova shuffled on her bed.

“Because it only exists in movies. Princes don’t fall in love with cancer patients, they fall in love with princesses. My hair isn’t long and beautiful, it’s falling out of my head. I’m not petite and cute, I'm thin and weak. And you can save a girl from a tower, but you can’t save her from dying of cancer.”

Constance didn’t know how to respond to that. They hadn’t talked much about the scary side of cancer because their family always tried to focus on the good things instead. The days Nova felt “okay” because it wasn’t a chemo day. The fact that she was losing her hair, but it wasn’t gone yet. Getting to do school from home now and not having to eat the terrible cafeteria lunch. They didn’t talk about dying, especially not Nova.

“Nova, you’re a fighter.”

“Fighting a battle that could kill me. One I’ve been fighting for 2 years. I’m tired, Con. What if I'm not getting better? What if my doctor says I'm not in remission and I have to keep doing this? How do I keep doing this?”

Nova reached to wipe the tears from her neck even though they had already started soaking the sheets beneath her. 

Constance slid off her bed and crawled onto Nova’s, grabbing her hand and resting their heads against one another.

“Remember when you were little and you didn’t think you could do a cartwheel and you were absolutely terrified? And then I showed you how to do it and helped hold your legs?”

She felt Nova’s head nodding against hers.

“Some things seem impossible and scary and then you do them. I have no doubt in my mind that you can do this, and if you’re scared, I'll hold your legs until you land on your feet again.”

They sat like that, their heads touching, small sniffles coming from Nova until the sun had set outside.



“Who are you most excited to see at Disneyland?”

She had always thought the answer to this question would be Minnie, her favorite character, a true classic. She was surprised when instead she replied, “You, Nova. I’m most excited to see you at Disneyland.”

June 23, 2021 01:51

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11:53 Jul 07, 2021

This is a really beautiful piece. Your characters were very teal for me. Great job!


Lauren Rice
02:34 Jul 08, 2021

Thank you very much!


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