Prior to Juniper Jones being born on Wednesday, May 6th, 1998, her father had met a mysterious woman in a bar late one night, and after a few compliments from both parties sex had been had. The woman, who was a goddess in disguise, admired Jasper Jones’ obsession with all things dark and gloomy. He just liked her because she was hot, and somewhat mysterious. Three months after the sex, Juniper Jones was dropped on the doorstep of her father’s house. Her mother disappeared like a shadow in bright light, and as Jasper Jones answered the phantom knock at the door he looked down and swore. It appeared that after three months of trying to dismiss that stupid, stupid dream-like incident, everything that had happened was real. That strange, dark woman he’d met at the bar had not, in fact, been joking when she’d said he’d have a child soon. Maybe she hadn’t been joking when she said she’d been watching him either. Jasper swore again and carried the baby inside. The name card inside the baby’s carrier announced her name was Juniper, and two kunai were tucked in next to the little girl.
Jasper Jones was not the ideal father. He lived with his sister in Vinemont, Alabama, and the relationship they shared was more than a little incestuous. They considered one another to be married partners, and it had been in a moment of ‘marital’ anger that Jasper had gone off and slept with another woman, which was how Juniper came to be. His sister was furious to discover this, and she left her brother for a whole year, during which time Jasper tried his hardest to look after Juniper, with varying levels of success. To his delight, Juniper didn’t seem to cry at all, but she did sleep heavily, sometimes to the point that it worried him. By the time his sister returned (her name was Adelaide), Juniper Jones was crawling and attempting to pull herself up onto furniture.
The following early years of Juniper Jones’ life were uneventful. She learnt how to talk, she began walking, and she never found out that her mother and father were really her father and aunt. She was enrolled at the local school for pre-k, but she was pulled out after a week, following complaints from the teachers that she was unresponsive and didn’t engage with other students. The following year she was enrolled in kindergarten, and there were similar complaints, but after a few months Juniper began warming to the other students. This late start for Juniper’s social life meant she was an outcast right from the beginning, which she happily carried through her schooling years. It wasn’t as if she was too interested in her classmates anyway; they were all so boring.
Adelaide was worried that, at the tender age of nine, Juniper was creating a negative social image for herself by only ever wearing black and avoiding her classmates in the playground (a teacher had called to inform Adelaide of her “daughter’s” behaviour). Adelaide began pressuring Juniper to be better; to be more social and to try harder in class and wear happier colours. When Juniper failed to meet Adelaide’s growing list of criteria, she would be locked in the dark cellar for a night, or sometimes two. Jasper didn’t object to his sister’s actions, because he assumed that, as a woman, she knew more about raising children than he did. Unfortunately for Adelaide, her method of punishment was seen by Juniper as a sweet prize. She loved the darkness, and sometimes she even managed to move the darkness around her, or make it into little shapes that she could hold. When she told her father this he brushed it off as her imagination being overactive, but Juniper Jones was certain that she had magic powers.
At eleven, Adelaide pulled Juniper out of school on the premise that she would be home-schooled from now on, but it was merely a plot to keep the dark girl away from society. Each night now, Adelaide would whisper to Jasper that his daughter was possessed, and he slowly began to believe her. Her love of shadows and dark colours and her voluntary exclusion from society only further convinced her father and aunt that there was something wrong with her. Juniper Jones, contrarily, felt right at home in the cellar she was now permanently kept in, where her eyes adjusted so she could see perfectly clearly. At the age of twelve, Juniper Jones was taken to a church and left there for a day, with instructions from Adelaide to the priest to fix what was wrong with the girl.
The parish priest was kind enough, but Juniper didn’t like him. It might have been the incense. First, the priest threw holy water at Juniper. Then he showed her the Holy Sacrament. Then he commanded the supposed demon in Juniper to be silent in the name of Jesus. For the rest of the time, he muttered, and sometimes shouted, commandments for the demon to obey, and Juniper sat there quietly, playing with the hem of her dress. At the end of the day, the priest forced Juniper Jones into prayer and then sent her home with the assurance that she had been rid of her demon, and she would be able to avoid all further contact with demons if she professed her Catholic faith devoutly. As she wandered back home, Juniper Jones laughed to herself and wondered why her life was so strange. It could only get stranger.
As Juniper rounded the corner to her street, she was confronted by an old woman who could be aptly described as a hag. She asked Juniper for some change, but as the girl had been taught not to talk to strangers she politely said she had none, and went on her way. Once Juniper’s back was towards the woman, the hag transformed into a harpy and attacked, clawing at Juniper’s legs. With a cry, Juniper fell to the ground and looked frantically towards what the woman had become. She was so confused, but she had little time to comprehend the situation because the monster was very obviously trying to kill her. Juniper Jones tried batting away the monster’s attacks, and she succeeded to the point where she was able to stand up and start running away. Since she was already on her street there wasn’t far to run, but by the time she reached her home her clothes were shredded and there were numerous deep gashes along her limbs. Juniper slammed her front door shut and managed to catch one of the harpy’s wings, but the monster was otherwise unharmed and escaped.
When Adelaide came home in the evening, she found Juniper passed out from blood loss on the kitchen floor. The demigod was rushed to hospital, and nursed back to health by some very concerned nurses who continually questioned her parents about what had happened. Once Juniper Jones was healed, the police came and questioned her and her parents. After they had heard about the exorcism, her living conditions in the cellar and the monster attack (although they believed that the monster was just a figment of Juniper’s imagination, and she had really been attacked by a crazed hobo), they decided that her parents had been neglectful towards her and she should be moved into foster care. Four months later, Juniper Jones was taken to Montgomery, where she was adopted by a more forgiving family.
Within her first few months in her new foster home, Juniper Jones felt as though something was a little… off, one would say, about the way her new family acted. They treated her with caution, like some day she might explode and shroud their lives with eternal darkness. Three weeks after her thirteenth birthday, Juniper discovered that this was because they feared the inevitable. Juniper was outside, talking with her older foster sibling, when a hellhound attacked them. Her foster sibling, a sweet girl named Emily, whipped out her hair clip and started attacked the beast with it, skilfully working slashes across its hide. Juniper Jones, meanwhile, was trying to make bullets from the shadows, but she was so nervous she only could manage a few shadow petals. Emily finished off the beast and Juniper finally registered that the hairclip had changed into a sword. The foster sister, upon seeing Juniper’s shadowy petals, grabbed her by the arm and pulled her inside, where she started yelling for her mother. “Mum! Mum! She’s like me! Mum!” They found Amity in the kitchen, peeling carrots for dinner. Emily explained what had just happened, and Juniper Jones sat down at the dining table and watched the glances that came her way. It didn’t take long before Amity came and sat down with Juniper and explained to her what was happening.
Emily was a demigod, a daughter of Zeus, and she had been dealing with monster attacks since she was eleven; five years now. She spent every summer at a camp in Long Island, which Juniper Jones thought was an awfully long way to go for camp, but Amity explained it was just for demigods. She also explained that she was clear-sighted, and could see all the monsters that attacked the home. Emily swore to the Gods that she would train Juniper to be a better demigod, and she did. Almost every afternoon, Emily took Juniper outside and taught her how to defend against monsters, and fight them as well. Each year the duo was attacked twice, sometimes thrice, by an assortment of monsters, including: harpies, hellhounds, flesh-eating sheep, Cyclopes, pit scorpions and telekhines. Using a spare sword and her powers, Juniper Jones helped defeat the monsters with Emily and only ever sustained minor injuries.
It seemed perfect, but when Juniper Jones was sixteen and Emily nineteen, the latter decided to move away from home. Amity cried when Emily left, and she made the executive decision that now her daughter was gone, Juniper Jones would be better off at camp, where she was unlikely to be attacked. They made the plane trip together, Juniper and Amity, and once they landed they took a cab to Long Island, all without any untimely interruptions by monsters. At the archway to camp, Juniper Jones said goodbye to her foster mother and boldly entered camp in her dark garb. Within the day, Juniper was claimed by her mother, Nyx, and was given weapons to use in camp.