Where Ideas Grow

A blog for students of creative writing at York St John University


It has failed. 

Coming alive to the wrench of bleach-washed floors, my eyes travel to bandaged wrists, wrapped like presents. Above them, a baby blue sky, dotted with candy-floss white. Have I ever seen such a breathtaking view? Perhaps my eyes used to be blinkered like a horse, before. 

A nurse wheels steaming urns of tea and coffee into the ward. Her squeaky shoes smile at me from a leathery darkness. I smile back. 

“Tea or coffee, sir?” she questions, stitching a fake smile into the folds of her face. I see the needle machinations churn behind her eyes. A rigmarole. The same every morning. Such a farcical display of meaningless goodwill.

Eyeing my safety-pinned bandages, her eyes flutter away; flares of discomfort tremble. They try to remain hidden. 

She feels sorry for me. A waste. A waste of a life. 

How could I do such a thing when a Monet-painted sky greets me from the open window? Summer verdancy flutters in, stirring the curtains like restless wings. I sigh, reminding her to cast a smile back into her eyes for me.

 She represents hope. This will make me happy. This is the right thing for her to do, for me: a hare-brained patient struggling to cling onto the slippery tendrils of life. 

How does she evade the fall? How does she run from the slippery suckers? What’s her secret? I should ask her. She might coax my wrists, soothing me to unconsciousness. Dispensing like a pharmacist. I long for her invisible glue to reformat me. How much glue would she need to make a pretty portrait out of my fractured soul?

She places a lifeless styrofoam cup on the bedside cabinet, not wanting to touch my wounds. 

The cabinet is brown. Not fleshed. Formatted like a soldier. Heartless. 

My chance of fixing scars flies free – out the window, smothered by a hospital blanket of blue. 

She turns away. Done with me. On to the next.

Emma Wells

Emma is a mother and English teacher. She has poetry published with various literary journals and magazines. She writes flash fiction, short stories and novels. She is currently writing her fifth novel. 

Emma won Wingless Dreamer’s Bird Poetry Contest of 2022 with ‘Carbonito de Sophie’ and her short story entitled ‘Virginia Creeper’ was selected as a winning title by WriteFluence Singles Contest in 2021. 

Recently, she won Dipity Literary Magazine’s 2024 Best of the Net Nominations for Fiction with her short story entitled ‘The Voice of a Wildling’. 

Her poem ‘Rose-Tainted is the winner of the poetry category, Discourse Literary Journal, February 2024 Issue.

She has just been shortlisted for her flash fiction writing, ‘Agnes Richter’, by Anthology. 

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