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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3. Chapter 2

“Mine is a family of three” Penny informed the two boys as they came up to the farm, “Me, my husband Adam, and our daughter Sally. Sally is twelve, so quite a bit older than you both, but she’s very excited to meet you, she’ll be like your big sister.”

“I have a sister back home” Peter announced, “Her names Danielle. She’s over twenty, and doesn’t live with us anymore, because she’s an adult now. She still visits though, from time to time”.

“She sounds lovely” Penny smiled, “Our Sally is a very nice girl, extremely independent, I just love her to bits!” Johnathon wasn’t really listening to their conversation, mainly because he was an only child, he had no sisters or brothers, just his mum and his dad. Then his dad went off to fight, and it was just him and his mum for a short while.

Johnathon was sitting down by the fireplace, watching the flames dart up and down, entertained by their dancing.

“Come away from there Johnathon! You’ll hurt yourself” his mother pulled him away, placing him up on the table, “It’s dinner time now anyway”. She got out some simple food and placed it in front of him, helping him as he ate, much to his pleasure. Johnathon loved the attention he got from his mother.

“I’m home!” A new figure entered, placing his hat on the coat stand.

“There’s a letter for you on the table Lenard” Margret called out to him, “It came this morning”. Lenard Ignes entered the main room, picking up the letter which had the words ‘private’ written on it in red ink.

“This can’t be good” he shook his head.

“Oh just open it will you? Stop your moaning” Margret snapped, dapping a damp cloth over Johnathon’s mouth to wipe away the food that had not reached his tongue. Lenard did as his wife said, removing the letter from the envelope, reading it through.

As he read it, his expression darkened. Margret stood up, and noticed his dismal face.

“What is it?” She asked.

“I’ve been called in to the army” Lenard announced, “I’m to go and fight in the war”.

“Welcome!” Penny exclaimed as they stepped through the doorway, interrupting Johnathon’s thoughts, “Adam? Sally? I’m back with the evacuees.” Soon two other people appeared in the room. One of them was a cheery man, dressed in fabrics decorated in soil, the other was a brunette girl who seemed tired, yet excited.

“Let’s have a look at them then” the man stepped forward, shaking Peter’s hand, and then Johnathon’s after.

“This is Peter Groper, and Johnathon Ignes” Penny introduced them both.

“Nice to meet you, my names Adam Dew” he brushed off some of the dirt from his clothing as he spoke.

“And I’m Sally Dew” the girl spoke from the corner where she’d placed her safe, “It’s nice to meet you both”.

“You’ll both be sleeping in Sally’s room, there’s a spare bed and a sofa in there, you two can decide between you who gets which.” Penny told them, clambering up the stairs and placing their bags down in the first room they came to. Once alone, Peter turned to Johnathon.

“I’ll sleep on the sofa, you can have the bed” he offered.

“Thank you” Johnathon took his bag and brought it closer to the bed.

“Aren’t you going to argue with me?” Peter checked, confused.

“Why? I want the bed” Johnathon reminded him.

“I know but it’s polite to offer to take the sofa” Peter explained.

“But you offered…”

“That shouldn’t stop you from offering” Peter interrupted him, shaking his head and giving in. “You sure are a weird one Johnathon”. Johnathon turned to glare at him, but Peter had his back to the bed, so did not see the look Johnathon sent his way.

Just then, Sally came up to the room, taking a seat on her bed.

“Oh good, you two have decided, I thought I might’ve had to” she sighed, pulling out a small notebook from a draw.

“What’s that?” Peter asked.

“My diary” Sally admitted, “It’s a good thing you two can’t properly read yet, otherwise I’d have this book under lock and key.”

“I’m learning to read” Peter told her, “And how to spell”.

“Well then, it won’t be long until I’ll have to buy a padlock, will it?” Sally joked, causing Peter to let out an irritating chuckle. “What about you Johnathon? What are you good at?” Johnathon just shrugged, avoiding eye contact.

“He’s really strong, like freakishly strong. He picked up both my bag and his, and didn’t seem to struggle at all” Peter replied on Johnathon’s behalf, a hint of disgust in his voice.

“Well that is quite impressive” Sally murmured, assuming Peter had exaggerated, “We’ll have to put you to work on the farm”. Johnathon blocked out the sound of their conversation after that, curling up on the bed and trying to get some more sleep.

“You look after your mother for me Johnathon” Lenard knelt down beside his son.

“I will” Johnathon promised him.

"Come home soon" Margret hugged him.

“I will” Lenard assured her, but something Johnathon didn’t recognise lingered in his tone. After saying this he kissed his wife on the cheek, picked up his case, and left.

“Well Johnathon, it’s just you and me now” Margret sighed.

“You and me” Johnathon copied her.

Laying on the cold, hard mattress, wriggling around as he tried to get to sleep, Johnathon thought of his mother’s face when she had spoken to him that day. It was sad, concerned, and maybe even a little heartbroken. And that was with her son at her side. Johnathon wandered what her expression was now he was gone too. It would undoubtedly be lonely, and other emotions would leak into her aged face. Johnathon didn’t feel unhappy over the hurt his departure may have caused his mother, but he did feel unhappy over the fact that they were apart.

He nuzzled his pillow, and began to drift off to sleep, allowing a few rogue tears to fall onto his pillow as he did so.

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