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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24. Chapter 23

Johnathon had never been a very patient man. He wanted things do be done when he wanted them to be, he loathed queuing, no matter what for, and found it difficult to simply ‘just sit’ and wait for news to come. Even less patient was Erebus, who muttered under his breath and drummed his fingers to pass the time, though no-one could comprehend his whispers, they were obviously pessimistic and spiteful words. Chloe on the other hand, sat still with her hands in her lap, gazing out into space. Occasionally she would check for the time, or get up to stretch her legs, but these actions were not due to impatience.

After half an hour, Johnathon couldn’t take it anymore. He left the silent tension of the living room and began to explore the house. He’d never really been anywhere except the guest rooms and the central living space, but there was a lot more to see. Not wanting to go outside, Johnathon walked down a small long corridor. Opening one of the doors, he looked in to an untidy bedroom, cluttered with clothing, and decorated with house plants. He realised that this was a corridor full of well used bedrooms, most likely inhabited by Kris and his family. He was about to turn around and go somewhere else, when he heard muffled voices coming from inside one of the rooms. Approaching quietly, he placed his ear close to the door.

“…it was so humiliating, why did you make me do it?” A female was speaking, her voice upset and angry. It sounded a bit like Hannah…or Rebecca maybe.

“It had to be believable, we have to sell this story” Johnathon recognised the second voice as Kris’s, meaning the female’s was probably Rebecca’s.

“Why am I even doing this? I don’t owe you anything” Rebecca wailed, sounding torn.

“You may not be the birth mother, but Clarissa has agreed to let me keep the child, you’ll raise it with me, you’ll be its mother” Kris broke it down for her. A smile curved the end of Johnathon’s lips. The pregnancy was false, Kris had been seeing another girl, and Rebecca had to pretend she was the one carrying the child.

“I felt like such an idiot standing there with my hand on my flat stomach…” Rebecca trailed off.

“I’d be surprised if you didn’t,” Kris remarked, “But we have to think of the greater effects. We have a reputation to uphold, this baby could destroy all the respect we’ve built up over the years. Clarissa won’t have an abortion, this is our only option. Please Rebecca, I’m sorry, but we have to think of the future, not the past”.

“Your wondering eye has cost us greatly,” Rebecca snapped, “This is all your fault!”

“I know, I know, believe me, I know,” Kris sighed, “But we will get through this. I will close down the camp to outsiders, it will just be our close family left. We’ll say we want some privacy, they’ll understand. Then, once the baby is born, Clarissa will hand it over and you will raise him or her as your own. It will be like it never happened, I promise”.

“Pretending to be pregnant is embarrassing,” Rebecca moaned, “But the damage to my pride that would be caused if people found out my husband was unfaithful would be worse. I agree to help you , and I will sell the story, I will even treat the child with all the kindness I would if it were mine own. After all, it is not responsible for your mistakes. But I will never, ever trust you again Kris…you have lost me forever”. Johnathon flashed out of the way when Rebecca stormed out of the room, hiding in the shadows. Once she was gone, he moved out of the corridor, chuckling quietly as he did so.

He found his way back to the living room, where Erebus and Chloe were still sitting silently. He sat down in between them, and a few minutes or so later, Eloise entered the room. As soon as she came through the door Erebus stood up, keen to see what she had discovered. Johnathon too rose from his seat and walked over, and Chloe followed soon after.

“We didn’t find out too much,” Eloise admitted, “But we think we’ve found the source of your immortality”.

“What? What is it?” Erebus urged her.

“Have you ever heard of mitosis? It’s a type of cell division used to replicate cells, it’s the reason we all grow. Your blood cells seem to use mitosis to replicate, creating a constant new supply of red blood cells, meaning your blood flow is infinite. This will ensure age is not the cause of your death, but a bullet or dagger will kill you all the same. This process slows down your blood flow, making your skin paler in colour. I can see when l look at you that you will stop aging due to this also, but we don’t know why just yet.” Eloise explained. Johnathon wasn’t much of a scientist, but he sort of understood what Eloise was saying. “We also think that this change occurs at around the age of thirty.”

“So I’ll be thirty for the rest of my life?” Erebus checked.

“Yes, and very pale too.” Eloise confirmed.

“I can’t believe I’m going to live forever…” Chloe trailed off, as if it had sudden hit her how real the situation was.

“There is a way out,” Eloise reminded them, “There are many ways to die that do not involve old age, all you need to do is choose one”.

Kris and Hannah entered after that, their false smiles plastered all over their faces as if nothing were wrong and everything were right. Johnathon couldn’t help but smirk at their little act, he half wanting to blurt out the truth, but a more dominant half of him wanted to watch how it would play out.

“I’m glad that’s all sorted” Kris closed the matter of immortality, ready to re-open a different topic, “I have one last announcement. Rebecca and I would both appreciate some privacy for the duration of the pregnancy, we want to be in company without family and no-one else. I hope you’ll understand.” They were murmurs of acceptance across the room in response. “Thank you,” Kris bowed his head, “I hope to see you all soon after, when we’ll have a new addition to our family”.

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