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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26. Chapter 25

“There is no need to tie her down, not with three Dark Souls in the room,” Erebus decided as Johnathon lay the girl’s limp body down on a chair, “But we should gag her somehow, in case she tries to sing again”.

“I’ll fetch a cloth” Chloe agreed, flashing off to go find one. They’d returned back from the party, Rebecca was tending to Gael, and Tao was tending to Hannah, leaving the three Dark Souls, Eloise, and Kris to deal with the girl.

“Let me look at her” Eloise moved forward, kneeling down and giving her the look.

“What are you seeing?” Johnathon asked her, impatiently drumming his fingers on the nearby table.

“I’m not sure…it’s blurry. I think her singing has temporarily damaged my vision. But it’s different from anything I’ve ever seen before…it’s new.” Eloise tried to get a clearer picture.

“What do you mean?” Chloe re-appeared, tying the cloth around the girl’s mouth.

“I think she is a new type of Soul” Eloise announced. The whole room fell silent, all eyes fell to the girl. She seemed so harmless, lying unconscious in the seat, yet she was such a great danger. No-one spoke for a while after that, as they waited for her to wake up, eventually her eyelids began to flutter.

Once her eyes opened she jolted, taken aback by the change in scenery. Her first action was to try and remove the gag, but Chloe grabbed her wrists.

“Don’t. Even. Think about it.” Chloe warned her, looking her directly in the eye, “There are three people in this room who are stronger and faster than you at their weakest. I’m Chloe, you’ve already met Johnathon, and that man in the corner staring at you is called Erebus. Don’t try to run, don’t make any sudden movements, just sit still and do as we tell you, okay?” The girl nodded timidly, scared by Chloe’s rough tone. Chloe walked away, releasing her hands.

“We don’t want to hurt you” Eloise approached her, her tone softer.

“Speak for yourself.” Erebus muttered, Chloe jabbed him in the ribs with her elbow, “What? I still have a headache after her performance” Erebus whispered back to her. Eloise rolled her eyes, taking a moment to regain formality.

“My name is Eloise, and I can see into people’s Souls. I know that sounds a little silly right now but it will all make sense in due time, I promise you. I’m going to remove your gag now, but you mustn’t sing, you don’t want to give any of those three a reason to hurt you”. The girl nodded, agreeing to the terms. Eloise took the cloth off her mouth, and the girl relaxed, as if this action brought her comfort. “What is your name?” Eloise started with asking some basic questions.

“Felicity Yung” the girl replied, her voice shaky and hoarse.

“How old are you Felicity?” Eloise continued to speak calmly to maintain rationality in the otherwise manic situation.

“Eighteen” Felicity responded automatically.

“Okay, now Felicity I know you probably don’t know the answer to this question, but I need to ask it anyway, what did you do to everyone back there at the party?” Eloise moved away from the pleasantries, and onto the serious questions.

“I don’t know,” Felicity shook her head, starting to cry again, “I can’t control it. Every time I sing I get inside people, I don’t know how, it just happens.”

“It’s happened before, hasn’t it?” Johnathon spoke up, “I overheard you back at the party, you said something about the last time you sang.” As he walked up to her Felicity shrunk back, obviously intimidated by him after his attack on her.

“It didn’t always used to be like that. I used to love singing, and people were fine listening to me perform. But ever since I turned eighteen a few weeks ago it has been different, that’s when it all started”. Felicity explained.

“I see” Eloise bit her lip, trying to piece together the information. “Felicity, you and I should have a little talk in private. I have a lot to explain to you.” Eloise’s unspoken instructions were received, and everyone else cleared from the room. Kris went to find Rebecca and Gael, Chloe and Erebus both went to get a drink, but Johnathon just waited outside the door, fiddling with various ornaments to fill the time. He did this not because he was curious for more information, but because he couldn’t think of anything else to do. He stood there for at least an hour before Eloise and Felicity re-appeared. Felicity avoided him when she came through the door, not meeting his eyes and quickly walking away. Johnathon was about to go and find Erebus when Eloise spoke.

“Johnathon, could I have a word?” Johnathon turned around, slightly shocked at her request, but he obliged, and followed her into the room.

“What was it you wanted?” He got to the point, not in the mood for small talk.

“It seems I was right, Felicity is a new type of Soul. A type which use their voice to hypnotise people, sending them into a senseless state where they can feel nothing, see nothing, hear nothing, and…well you get the picture. I’m calling them Songbird Souls. We need to get to work straight away trying to find more, before other accidents occur. Hunters are everywhere Johnathon, they may stay hidden just as we do but they are still deadly, the last thing we need is a new race ruining all our security and putting us at risk. I’ll send Chloe off in a few days with re-enforcements, you and Erebus could join her if you like.” Eloise informed him, her tone alert and business-like.

“That’s fine…is that all?” Johnathon sensed there was more Eloise wanted to say.

“Actually, no.” Eloise grimaced, “Take a seat,” Johnathon did as she told him, and she retrieved a piece of paper and a pen, “There is something unusual about the Songbird occurrence. You see, I was the first ever Soul, born in 1922. Dark Souls came next, starting with Erebus in 1926.” She paused to draw two labels on the page, on labelled ‘Just’ and the other labelled ‘Dark’, “After that we had Wild Souls, starting with Kris in 1930.” She added a ‘wild’ label underneath the ‘Dark’ one, “And now, we have the Songbirds. Whether Felicity is the first or not is unclear, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were older ones than her. It seems to me like Dark and Wild combined to make Songbird. A Songbird soul has the instinct of a Wild Soul, with the destruction of a Dark Soul.” She drew a ‘Songbird’ label beneath the ‘Wild’ label. “I don’t think Souls are random occurrences, I think our skills combine to create each new race. What is next is as of yet uncertain, it will probably combine the ability Songbirds have to subconsciously learn about people in order to infiltrate their minds and the strong urges of Wild Souls. What that will create, I cannot predict. All we can do is wait and see. Any questions?”

“Just one, why are you telling me all this?” Johnathon appreciated the information but did not see why he in particular needed it.

“I think one day you’ll do great things with this information,” Eloise shrugged, “Or maybe just great things in general”.

At that point in time, Johnathon almost laughed at her words. At that point in time, he did not believe her at all. At that point in time, all he saw in himself was a killer. At that point in time, Johnathon was guiltless.

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