Guiltless

On the 11th of January 1937 Johnathon Ignes is born. He is a suitable weight, in good health...but different from all the other babies in the ward, because he is born immune to guilt. 2 years and 235 days later, worldwide war breaks out.
Sent away as an evacuee, Johnathon grows up away from his mother, and meets Erebus, a cheeky paperboy. Erebus too, has no guilt, and under his influence, Johnathon grows up into a monster.
This is the story of how that monster, became a leader.
- The prequel to 'Souls' (but will make sense if you haven't read it) -

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18. Chapter 17

The way she stood leaked confidence. She kept her back straight, and her hands held in front of her. She seemed to look at them both as though they were children and she was a teacher, her eyes were disappointed and tired, yet her overall expression was firm and alert. She was dressed simply, in basic blue trousers, a white top, and a red cardigan. She didn’t seem very old, around her mid-twenties perhaps. Older than Johnathon, but younger than Erebus. Her long blonde hair was tied back into a precise ponytail, and her only makeup was a light red lipstick. Upon first looking at her, you automatically assumed she was kind, good, and trusting, but to Johnathon and Erebus this wasn’t an appealing thing.

“Eloise? Really? After all this time, you’ve finally revealed yourself to us” Erebus stepped forward, standing tall.

“Yes, that I have,” she confirmed, “Now could you please release the man” she gestured to the struggling drunk Johnathon still had pinned to the wall. In response to this, Johnathon rose the man up high…then threw him across the alleyway him, a move which would surely have killed him when combined with his other injuries. Eloise barely reacted at Johnathon’s defiance, as if she had been expecting it, and didn’t care too much about the loss of one more life that night. “Hmm,” Eloise raised her eyebrows, “Well then, let me have a look at you”. She began to pace forward, so that she stood in front of the two boys. Then she looked at them, differently than before. The way her eyes met there’s was odd, they were looking directly at you, but her focus didn’t seem to be on you at all. They were…distant. After a few seconds, she smiled faintly. “Just as I thought” she sighed, seeming to be relieved, then she turned so she no longer stood in front of both of them, but more towards Erebus. Again, she stared distantly at him for a while, then broke eye contact abruptly. She inhaled and exhaled for a while afterwards, as if exhausted from her actions, before speaking. “No wonder they called you Erebus,” she murmured, “You are a bad boy, aren’t you?”

“What about me?” Johnathon was a little envious of the attention Erebus was receiving. Eloise turned to Johnathon, doing ‘the look’ for the third and final time. When she broke the gaze, she stood back, her eyes narrowed.

“Well, you’re parents named you Johnathon…”she muttered, taking a step backwards, facing away from them.

“Would you mind telling us what it is you just did?” Johnathon requested, tired of waiting for her to finish her analysis. Eloise turned sharply back towards them.

“Yes, of course. How rude of me, to simply barge into you both like that without permission first,” she apologised, “I just looked into your Souls”.

Johnathon and Erebus were both completely silent, completely still. Then Erebus burst out into laughter.

“I…ca..can’t actually believe that, that we were scared o-of…a nut-nutter like you” he chuckled, “‘See into our souls’, I bet you can barely tie your shoe laces!” Eloise scowled, insulted.

“It is all true, I assure you” she promised.

“Yeah right,” Erebus rolled his eyes, “Your claim, while entertaining, it completely mad”.

“No more mad than having no guilt,” Eloise argued, Erebus paused his laughter, and turned to look at her, wide eyed, “Or being stronger and faster than humanly possible”.

“How do you know about that?” Erebus interrogated her, his voice full of threats. Eloise didn’t even flinch as he glared at her.

“I can see it when I look at you” she answered plainly.

“Elaborate” Johnathon ordered, Eloise sighed.

“That is my gift, I can see into people’s Souls,” she explained, “As well as my inability to complete wrong actions, and a guarantee that my conclusions are always correct”.

“What does that have to do with us?” Erebus quizzed her.

“You two also both have gifts – if you can call them that. You were born with no guilt, and developed extra strength and speed as you grew” Eloise elaborated.

“Do you know why we have these ‘gifts’, is that what you claimed you would explain in the note you left two years ago?” Johnathon suddenly recalled the first time Eloise had come into their lives.

“I do, yes” Eloise nodded.

“Well tell us then” Erebus pushed her, frustrated. Eloise bit her lip, thinking about how to word her answer.

“As you both know, humans have evolved over billions of years. We are the next step in that evolution, we are Souls. I am the Just Soul, I can only do right, and can see all. You two are both Dark Souls, you have no guilt, you are stronger than homo sapiens, and faster too. The only other type I am currently aware of are Wild Souls, who have a link to the earth and nature so strong that they can take nutrients from the soil, and have strong pride and primeval instincts. As of yet there are only three types of Soul, but I have no doubt that more will emerge as time continues” Eloise spoke slowly and clearly, pausing occasionally to let the information sink in.

“So there are more people out there like us?” Johnathon was slightly stunned by the idea that his talents were more common than he thought.

“I’m afraid so” Eloise looked down at her feet, “But enough explaining.” She decided, “I need some information from you, starting with your birthdays”.

“11th of January 1937” Johnathon told her automatically. Erebus reluctantly did the same thereafter.

“5th of August 1926” he informed her, his tone resembling that of a stubborn child.

“You’re the oldest Dark Soul I’ve met then,” Eloise addressed Erebus, “I think you might be the first Dark Soul”. Erebus grinned slightly at this, as if the fact made him feel proud. “Well, we best get going” Eloise decided, walking off and gesturing for them to follow.

“Where are we going?” Johnathon asked her, not trusting her enough to leave Cantumville behind with no explanation.

“You two need to both meet Kris,” Eloise announced, “And I’m not done explaining just yet”.

Johnathon and Erebus looked at one another, then began to walk behind Eloise, following her not because they wanted to meet the man she spoke of, but because they were curious and craved more information.

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