In 640 Words, an obsession is born (StoryADay)

Barnes in later life when battling mental illness
Barnes in later life when battling mental illness (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Juniper Chadwell is dead.

I don’t know how else to say it, but I had no choice. Juniper is dead.

How did she die? No one knew how, since there was almost no one who was with her when she died. So how can they say that she died?

I don’t know how, but I swear that I’m going to get to the bottom of this mystery.

First, there were already fingers being pointed at several other teenagers and adults, with them being blamed for Juniper’s disappearance long before she was reported dead. Even her sister Lydia was blamed at one point. (To date, she still sits in prison.)

Second, everyone in the community is shocked at learning about the death of Juniper Chadwell, as if any of them had actually cared for the girl at all. I knew that there were some people who would go out of their way to make Juniper’s life miserable, from teasing and taunting to isolation and shame, even humiliation. If anyone cared about Juniper as they claimed to have done, they would have done more to help her instead of allowing her to wallow in her isolation.

(By the way, the claims that she had a mental illness were nothing more than an excuse born out of desperation to save face. If she really did have a mental illness as they claimed that she had, she should have gotten some help, not being allowed to wander around without supervision.)

Third, with everyone knowing about the secret house behind the houses next to the school, it would come as no surprise that a possible murderer would have been lurking in the area where Juniper was last seen. (Her jacket and bookbag were found in the largest house in that area.) With that in mind, I knew that what everyone imagined what happened to Juniper really did happen to her.

But I’m not going to get into that just yet.

Fourth, nobody bothered to call the police to report any activity behind the house, which I don’t understand. If that area was a notorious hangout for teenagers who cut school to drink, do drugs, and other terrifying things, then the police should have intervened and had the area shut down by now, maybe arresting anyone who went into that area.

With these four indisputable facts, I’m sure that we have our case.

That night, I found myself facing the TV watching as Juniper’s family wept for her, asking “Why didn’t anyone bother to find her“. I asked myself, “Stupid dumbass parents, why weren’t you watching her? What is wrong with you? Don’t you know that there are people in this world who prey on children with disabilities?

And the sad thing is, though, children with disabilities are 200 times more likely to be victims of abuse than nondisabled people.

So as far as I’m concerned, Juniper was a 14-year-old girl who was beaten down by life and ended up becoming a murder victim.

But that was only scratching the tip of the surface in this mystery.

What no one really knew about Juniper was that she must have suffered from the shame and humiliation of having such a sad life. I bet that she probably considered suicide at some point in her life. What would be the point of living if your life is terrible and there is no one out there who is willing to reach out and help you deal with your disability?

Despite the whole thing, I’m still obsessed with the life and death of Juniper Chadwell, much to the consternation of my other obsessions. I seemed to have forgotten about everything else when I first the story about Juniper. I knew that I would have to put my obsession with her to good use and solve the mystery of her murder.