An Affair of the Mind
Part 1 – The Murderous Affair
Written by Sarah Markham-Hall
Based Off the Personal Diaries of Sarah Markham
I’ve always said a good story starts at the beginning, and the best story anyone can ever write is that of their own. My name is Sarah. I started writing when I was 12 years old. Remember those stupid Nsync fanfiction novels of the 90s? Yes, that was my afternoon hobby. After the Nsync craze faded, I went to writing about love affairs and mass murders. I ask the same question – how do you go from writing fanfiction to murder? I do not have the answer to that for you. I stopped writing fiction when I was 16 though because no fictional novel could ever compare to that of my life.
As anyone who has followed me throughout the years knows, I have tried for over 13 years to write Part 1 of a novel I have been calling Affair of the Mind. Maybe if I hadn’t spent the past 13 years trying to finish this novel, my writings would have become the next Twilight or Harry Potter craze, but I guess my dreams of becoming an actual author died the minute Affair of the Mind began.
So what is Affair of the Mind you ask? It’s my life. Whether it’s true or not is not for me to decide for you. You can create your own assumption. It was real for me. I will state right here and right now that this novel is my recollection of events and no one else’s. It is my story. I ask that you make no judgements based on anyone’s character until the final words of Part 3 are read (yes this is a series), but then again you are the reader and you can come to your own conclusions.
So why has it taken me 13 years to write this and why am I just now finishing it?
I made a promise, and I have broken a lot of promises throughout the past 13 years, but this is one I intend on keeping.
This story is not about revenge and there is no good guy vs bad guy. It’s just simply a story that at some point I need to finally finish and be done with it.
The following is the Prologue to Part 1. If you wish to read any further, you must sign up for membership.
Please Note: The following contains content not suitable for those under the age of 16. The following contains material including but not limited to profound language, sexually explicit content and violent subject matters. Reader discretion is advised!
Also Note: The following events and details are based off the recollection, imagination and personal diaries of Sarah Markham-Hall and may or may not represent the true sequence or occurrence of events depicted. Names and locations have been changed/altered to protect the privacy of those involved. No one was harmed or hurt in anyway in the writing of this story.
I walked up the circle driveway that surrounded the home of the Lenox family. Their turquoise trimmed house had become all too familiar to me over the past couple of months, and staring at the a-framed home at 2am in the morning casted an eerie darkness over the scene. As I approached the front door, the blood stained hand prints started to became visible. My heart beat faster and faster as the only thoughts passing through my mind were ‘did he finally kill himself?’ My heart sunk deep into my chest at the mere thought of me opening the door to find the man I was madly in love with lying dead inside.
“Justin!” I yelled panicky as I approached the door to notice it already jarred open. I took a deep breath as I pushed the door open all the way. “Justin!” I repeated as I noticed his limp body and deep blood shot brown eyes staring back at me as I entered. Sitting in front of me was a scene I never once imaged I would encounter. A man I once called a cold hearted demon was sitting in front of me with tears pouring down his eyes as he trembled back and forth on the hard tile floor of the hallway. His clothes were torn and blood covered nearly every inch of his Abercrombie & Fitch shirt. In his right hand he had clinched a blood stained knife.
“What the hell happened?” I asked almost breathlessly as I realized that this time the blood stains were not coming from his own self-inflicted wounds.
“I killed him,” he whispered underneath his breaths in between sobs.
“You killed who?” I asked sitting down next to him.
“I fucking killed him, Ann,” he said lifting his head up as his red blood shot eyes stared back at me.
“Justin, what are you talking about? Where did all this blood come from?” I asked as the fear of what he was about to say suddenly settled in.
“I killed Michael,” he whispered still clenching the knife in his hand as the tears fell down his face.
“What do you mean you killed Michael?”
“I fucking killed him, Ann!” he shouted as he started breathing heavier. “I sliced this knife right through his throat! Maybe next time he’ll learn not to fuck with my emotions!”
“What?” I still questioned trying to put the pieces of what he was saying together in my head. “You killed Michael,” I repeated more for my clarification than his.
“That’s right. I killed him. I just killed him,” he said as his voice suddenly became calmer. He continued to clinch the blood stained knife in his hand.
“Okay,” I said repeatedly. “Um, okay. Should we call the police?” I asked not sure how I was supposed to act or respond.
“The police?” he questioned with a laugh. “Yes Ann Mathews, let’s go to the police and tell them I committed murder. I’ll just go sit in a jail cell for the rest of my life. How about that?” he laughed sarcastically.
“You didn’t mean to kill him did you? I mean it was an accident right? Or maybe it was self-defense? He did threaten you and James earlier,” I said trying to convince myself more than him that the death of Michael Heart was not done in cold blood.
“No, it was cold hearted murder,” he said in a stern tone as he finally pulled himself up off the cold hard tile floor of the hallway.
“Murder,” I whispered. “Okay, um, okay so where’s the body?”
“The body was taken care of,” he said nonchalantly as the tears stopped flowing and his cold demeanor returned to his voice.
“Okay, so we just clean you up and no one will ever know. Yeah, that’s what we’ll do,” I said nervously as I got up as well off the floor. “Give me the knife. I’ll take care of it,” I said reaching for the knife.
“No!” he yelled pulling away from me. “I don’t trust you!”
“Your secret is safe with me, Justin. I won’t tell anybody about what happened,” I said as my hands suddenly began to shake.
“And how can I be certain of that, Ms. Mathews? I mean after all you did tell Tom Lenal my deepest darkest secret,” he said turning towards me as he pushed me into the wall of the hallway with the knife still clinched in his right wrist.
“This is totally different,” I said.
“How is this different, Ann? How do you expect me to trust you with a secret of this magnitude if you couldn’t even keep it under wraps that I gave Danny Henderson that disease,” he said putting his face closer to mine.
“Justin, I promise I won’t tell anybody about this! I won’t tell anybody!” I repeated. “Just give me the knife, and we’ll clean this mess up,” I said putting my hand out in front of me in hopes he would snap out of it and put the knife into it.
“I don’t trust you!” he repeated as he moved his body inches from mine.
“What are you going to do Justin?”
“I’m going to do what needs to be done,” he said. “There is far too much at stake now. Too many lives could be ruined. I really am sorry, Ann, this is the only way,” he said putting his left hand on my neck line as he pushed my body further against the wall with the weight of his.
“Please, Justin, Stop!” I screamed in between breaths. “Please!”
“I’m sorry, Ann,” he said holding the knife up against my throat. “And I really thought we were getting close too,” he sighed as he started pushing the knife into my esophagus.
I screamed in a cold sweat as a shot up in the cold cot that had been my bed for the past week. “It was only a dream,” I sighed under my breath as I wondered what more of a nightmare was: being killed by the hands of Justin Lenox or being locked up in the Kingston Juvenile Detention Center for a crime I didn’t commit. I wiped the sleep from my eyes and looked over at my bunk mate, Britney, sleeping peacefully as I tried to shake the feeling of complete and utter fear out of me. “It was just a dream,” I repeated to myself.
If only being locked up in an eight by eight foot jail cell was also only a dream. The jail cell I currently sat in was equipped with two cots and a window about six feet up the wall with black thick bars crisscrossing over it. A glimmer of light shown through the bars, and I knew at any moment it would be time to awake. I had no way of knowing what time it truly was. All my personal belongings were removed from my position the minute I entered the Kingston Juvenile Facility, including my watch and phone. I was stripped of everything I owned and forced into wearing their dark gray sweat pants and grey t-shirt that read “Kingston Juvenile Hall” on it. Time didn’t exist in a place like this.
I had never felt so alone in my life, and maybe this alone time was what I needed. Maybe I need the time to just sit here in solitude while I went over and over in my mind the events that had landed me here. My life played back in my mind like a movie going in slow motion. How did a once innocent, straight A student end up in Juvenile Hall? How could I have been so wrong? How could I have let this come down to this? And the question that laid heaviest on my mind was, “what do I do now?”
I guess I had all the time in the world to think of the consequences of my actions. In all out honestly, it wasn’t Tom, Sean, James, Timothy or even really Justin who got me here. I had a choice, and maybe I had chosen the wrong one.
“Ann!” James screamed. “Go home!”
The images flashed in my mind of that night. That warm spring night in late March when my entire life changed. It was the events of that night and those that followed that had landed me here in juvenile hall. Maybe had I of taken different actions that night I wouldn’t have ended up in an eight by eight foot cell.
“Just go home, Ann! Timothy and I will take care of this. You don’t need to be an accessory to murder!” James instructed.
“No,” I repeated standing there watching my best friend break down as the blood still stained the inside of his hands. “I want to help.”
“Ann, are you sure? Because if we get caught, you will go to jail for murder! You do comprehend what that means right?”
It may have been a split second decision but I fully comprehended what it meant, and before I knew it I was telling James and Timothy to go. “Just go James! Get rid of the evidence. I got him,” I said running over to Justin and wrapping him in my arms. I had never seen Justin so weak in the entire five months I had known him. The once powerful, cold hearted, stubborn bastard I called my best friend had finally broken.
“I didn’t mean to do it,” he kept repeating as he sat there shaking in my arms.
“It’s okay, Justin. I promise you, it’s going to be okay.”
But was it going to be okay? I thought. I wasn’t sure if it was the three of them I hated the most or myself. Should I hate the three who dragged me into this mess, or should I hate myself for breaking that promise to Justin, because it was my fault it would never be okay again. As my mind wondered to the night of March 23, 2003, the 6am speaker box announcing wakeup time went off like it had every morning for the past seven days.
My next court hearing wasn’t for another week so no matter if I liked it or not I was stuck in this prison for at least another seven days. This particular day began like every other day with being awoken by the voice of a speaker box at six am sharp. I was usually awoken hours before then due to the sound of the train crossing the train tracks at three am in the morning. After the speaker box goes off and the guards arrive outside the doors, the inmates are split into two groups. One group hits the showers first and the other heads to the cafeteria for breakfast. If you’re lucky, you’ll get to shower first because if you get stuck eating it’s just more time you have to hold your bladder in.
After we eat and shower, we are then taken to what is known as school in here. That goes on until around lunchtime. The food in here is horrible. I would advise anyone in here not to eat the pancakes they serve for breakfast. They do not look nor taste like pancakes. For lunch it’s always the same thing, a peanut butter and jelly sandwich. I don’t think I shall ever eat another PB&J sandwich again. Dinner is always left up for chance. At least there is one thing to get excited about until you find out its meatloaf, and then you just want to go to bed. In the middle of the afternoon when school time is over, they do let you outside in a fenced off area to get some exercise. The girls like to play basketball. I think I’m becoming fairly good at it to be honest. After dinner, it’s just writing, coloring, talking, and resting in the break room outside our cells. Lights usually go out around 9 unless you are on your best behavior and get TV privileges. Then you can stay up till 10.
My normal routine on this particular day was interrupted during “school time” by Peggy, one of the detention office guards, coming to tell me I had a visitor. “It’s a visitor from the state,” she said escorting me into the cafeteria where most inmates meet with their court appointed attorneys.
As I walked in the door, I realized right then I should have seen this coming. “Right a visitor from the state. Do you lie to everyone that you work for the state,” I said walking up to Justin.
“I do work for the state,” Justin smiled back at me.
“Right,” I laughed in discuss. “So what security guard are you fucking right now? I am sure your credentials as a school teacher for the deaf did not get you in here on a non-visiting day,” I said.
“Hm, money is power isn’t it?” he replied cockily.
“You know you have some nerve showing your face here. I never recalled jail being a part of our agreement!” I exclaimed.
“Yes, you are right. Things have gotten a little out of hand,” he said motioning for me to sit down.
“Out of hand? Excuse me! I’m in juvenile hall! How can you say that’s a little out of hand! That’s way out of hand!” I yelled at him as I sat across from him at one of the lunch tables.
“Look none of this was supposed to happen,” he said calmly.
“Right!” I laughed shaking my head in disbelief. “Don’t play your bullshit game with me. I know for a damn fact James wanted me behind bars. He never liked me in the first place. So he used me as a distraction to cover up the real crime of your guys bullshit games!”
“Ann …,” Justin started to say.
“No, Justin! I am tired of it! I have been nothing but loyal to you guys. I turned my back on people I considered friends to play some stupid cat and mouse game. I gave up everything for you and this is how you thank me?” I said in anger.
“Look, I am being honest when I say this wasn’t supposed to happen!” he repeated. “And none of this would have happened had you not gotten Sean involved,” he said.
“Oh, so it’s my fault I’m behind bars then? Right?” I questioned with an eye roll.
“Ann, we gave you the role to play! We handed it to you on a silver platter. All you had to do was follow the script and we all would have been okay, but instead you decided to play some hero. So in a way, yes it is your fault you are in this eight by eight foot cell right now!” Justin yelled back.
“I can’t believe you!” I said in disbelief. “Look, everyone may think I am some crazy chick right now, but trust me if I am going down for this I sure as hell am taking you both with me!”
“No one is going down for anything!” Justin said motioning for me to keep my voice down. “That’s why I came here today. If you do exactly as I say, you will walk away from all of this scott-free as well as the rest of us,” he stated.
“I am so done following your orders Lenox!” I exclaimed.
“Ann, listen to me! If you don’t want to spend the rest of your young adult life behind bars, you will do exactly as I say.”
“Why? Why should I believe that you are actually going to try and help me when it’s your fault I am in here in the first place?”
“Because you getting out of here also guarantees my freedom. That’s why!”
“What if I told you I don’t think you deserve freedom anymore? You deserve to go down for everything you have done!”
“Okay, fair enough. You’re angry and you have every right to be, but I know in the back of your mind you know I am right. Because if you don’t do exactly what I am about to tell you to do, you will go down for a crime you didn’t commit. So no matter what your feelings are for me or James right now, you will do exactly as I say or you might as well get use to sitting in that eight by eight foot cell for a really long time …”
Members can read the rest of Part 1 by clicking here