The Branches of Morality

The Branches of Morality

by Joanna Mackintosh.
Curious, though I stand here alone in the dark, why the world appears so much calmer, quieter, slower, in the shadows. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be found, but rather that I didn’t want ‘it’ to find me. There is no victory to be sought in admitting the truth, only a cold, unforgiving certainty that does not falter. Such certainties cannot be coerced or bought with bright jewels and lavish promises, but linger like careless words in the back of the mind. Words I’d wish to forget, but haunt me like stray cobwebs catching on the branches of morality. The candle begins to flicker, casting dull but poignant reminders of light on the walls of the room. In an almost juvenile reaction to its presence I turn away, the subtle dancing of warm amber reminds me too much of the vibrancy of life. It burns, as though I had hung my very soul over that flame, and I’m waiting for the familiar smell of burned flesh to signal my fate. Like a child, devoid of reasoned reactions I snuff out the little light and plummet the room once more into a well of darkness. There is much to be said for the absence of sensory information. Such useless data serves only to stimulate the mind into periods of make believe fantasy. I can ill afford those wasteful periods. Even in the black that engulfs me, I can hear the jingling of the keys from the corridor outside. Like a torment they tease me, a small but significant reminder of what is yet to come. I instantly cover my ears, pressing down on them so hard my wrists begin to ache with the strain. Deep from inside my own consciousness I hear my own voice shouting at me “The chase is on” and I know that it will not be long before those tormenting keys are outside the dark sanctity of the room. My heart beats stronger thanit has ever done before. For one ironic moment I feel more alive than I ever. My envy grows for the one in the room next to mine. My chase is almost at an end. I would sell my soul to have one more hour in the darkness. One more hour to slow down the endless ticking of the wardens clock. My mother always whispered ‘tempus fugit’ dear. Though I cannot remember my crime, I feel the last grains of sand slip through my fingers. Such a cruel reality, the passage of time. It sneaks upon us like wolves in the forest of our lives. The youth of our naivety, so unforgiving, so careless with the precious moments and seconds we waste talking to people that don’t matter, caring for those who do not care, and then, here I am. Here in this row of perpetual death, waiting in line like animals in an abattoir, waiting for the moment that I am caught, caught by time, drawing my last breath from my last second. Time waits for no one my mother used to say, the chase is finally up.
My favourite genre to write is horror/science fiction, therefore i have an avid interest in anything that provokes thought or shocks in one way or another. After watching a documentary about inmates on death row i decided to try and write about how it would feel to be that situation and the thoughts that must travel round the mind whilst awaiting your fate. I am currently working on a novel which was originally due to be published in 2013, unfortunately my publishers folded, so i am now working on extending the novel and making some final touches before i attempt to place it with a publisher again. I also love writing poetry, and try to write a little something poetic every day. The one thing that has greatly improved my writing is my membership to the Forwords Writing Group, this group is based in my home town of Forres, Scotland and has a great many talented writers that are invaluable at giving feedback and support. If there is one thing that a writer really needs to have, its a second pair of eyes, and of course a quiet room in which to write!

One of my favourite authors has always been Stephen King. I love the way he dramatises his characters and the way he describes the situations they find themselves in.


My husband and i have three beautiful children, and they are an inspiration to us both. I am lucky to have been blessed with a very supportive and nurturing family who don’t mind when mum disappears for a few hours to write! I love everything creative, including music, film and art. My hope in the future is to write better, good enough to be recognized by people who would want to have a copy of my work on their desk or in their library at home. The ultimate for me would be having a novel or short story turned into film, but as long as i have the opportunity to write, i will always be happy.

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