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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31. Chapter 30

Johnathon and Adele continued to meet up. Sometimes for stories, sometimes for other activities. Johnathon told no-one, not even Erebus, of their relationship, worried about how people might react. Johnathon changed from an unstoppable guiltless force, into a close to normal person.

2nd December 1972:

“Why did I have to do the grocery shopping too? Why couldn’t I have stayed at home?” Erebus groaned. He and Johnathon were both heading back home after a quick trip to the store for some supplies.

“Because I’m not some slave, you have to pull your weight too,” Johnathon grumbled, “We should both do an equal share of work, that’s fair enough, isn’t it?”

“You sound like Eloise…” Erebus failed to answer Johnathon’s question. Johnathon rolled his eyes, and sped up his pace. The morning was cold, and the icy wind didn’t help, neither did the fact he’d left his gloves at home. His freezing fingers gripped onto the thin plastic that dug into them painfully, and his teeth chattered against each other without his permission. He was having a bad enough morning as it was without having to listen to Erebus moan.

They rounded the corner to their house and came up to the door, with his free hand, Erebus unlocked it, and they stepped inside. Johnathon made it all the way to the kitchen and placed the bags down on the side before he noticed that he and Erebus were not alone. Noticing a dark figure in the corner of his eye, he turned around sharply, and saw…Eloise.

“How did you get in here?” Erebus asked her grumpily, not in the mood for a surprise visit.

“Nice to see you too,” Eloise remarked, “And Chloe picked the lock for me”. As she spoke she gestured to the sly brunette standing with her arms across her chest in the corner.

“What are you doing here?” Johnathon quizzed her, confused.

“I came to check up on you both,” Eloise, “You’ve been suspiciously quiet over the past couple of years”.

“Paranoid much?” Erebus sighed, fetching himself a drink.

“When it comes to you Erebus, no level of caution is too excessive.” Chloe joined the conversation. Erebus muttered something under his breath, and walked out of the kitchen, heading up to his room. Chloe followed after him, not allowing him to have the last word. Johnathon began unpacking the groceries, acting as though Eloise were not in the room.

“You’ve changed” Eloise suddenly spoke up, walking over to him.

“Is it my hair? I’ve cut it a little shorter.” Johnathon joked, filling the fridge.

“Your Soul…it’s a lighter shade” Eloise observed.

“It’s not dark anymore?” Johnathon checked.

“Oh no, it’s dark alright…it’s just a little lighter than the last time I saw you” Eloise corrected him. Adele, Johnathon automatically thought. She’d been helping him, and it had worked, he was improving. Though he knew there was no chance of a way to not be a Dark Soul, it was good to know there was a way to be less dark. Adele would be pleased when he told her. A small smile spread across his lips. “Has something changed? Have you been doing anything differently?” Eloise wanted to get to the bottom of it.

“No,” Johnathon tried to sway her off the topic, “Maybe I’m just maturing”. Eloise took his decoy, and gave him a hand unpacking.

“I didn’t just come here today to check up on you,” she announced, “I also came to invite you to a New Year’s Eve party. I’m the host, and everyone will be there. I would like you to be there, and Erebus. I have a few matters to settle.”

“It’s not going to be like that ASNM thing is it?” Johnathon was already reluctant to go.

“It will be a party Johnathon. There'll be music, and dancing, and drinking…you’ll have fun I promise. You could bring a date if you like.” Johnathon’s eyes widened at the mention of romance.

“A date? Why would I bring a date?” He tried to play dumb.

“You need to get out more Johnathon, and that’s coming from me. How about Chloe? I might let you borrow her for one night.” Eloise was, thankfully, clueless about Adele.

“No thank you, Chloe is a friend at the very most,” Johnathon turned down her proposition, “I could bring someone though, maybe a nice little normal girl…”

“Someone who is normal?” Eloise cut him off, “Are you serious? Johnathon, it is fine to have quick little relationships like Erebus does, but I proper romance with a normal, it would never end well. Do you really think you could take her to a party full of Souls and not spill all our secrets? And even if she could be trusted, how would people react? There would be a riot, especially with the hunter threat becoming more and more real every day. It wouldn’t be safe for her, you’d snap her neck at the end of your first argument. It would be wrong, very wrong indeed.” Eloise finished her rant, and Johnathon was gobsmacked. He’s suspected people would not approve of his relationship with Adele, but Eloise had reacted dramatically at the slightest mention of him dating a normal. If she, of all people, could not see his side of the argument, who would?

“Relax, Eloise. It was just a suggestion.” Johnathon tried to act careless. It worked. Eloise’s shoulders sank back down, and she smiled with relief.

“Good. I have enough problems right now without having to worry about any of that. For now, we need to keep relationships strictly Soul-to-Soul, we can’t risk the hunters infiltrating us.” Eloise was clearly going through a stressful time, it showed in her tone, expression, and general demeanour.

Muffled shouting could be heard coming from upstairs, as Chloe and Erebus began to argue. A few seconds later a SMASH joined the mix.

“That doesn’t sound too good” Eloise bit her lip.

“It’s probably the vase,” Johnathon guessed, “Which wouldn’t be so bad…except the vase is in my room.” And with that, he flashed up the stairs.

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