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) -


35. Chapter 34

1st January 1973:

“Wake up Johnny boy!” Erebus’s voice was much more annoying than any alarm clock. As Johnathon wearily opened his eyes he tried to recall what had happened the night before. He remembered most of it clear as day, as if it were a nightmare he’d just woken up from, some if it was blurry, but all the important stuff was there.

He’d told them.

He’d come clean to everyone about his love life. For better or for worse, he’d told everyone the truth. They’d been empathetic, but firm in their opinion. They didn’t want Johnathon and Adele to be together. After that had become clear Johnathon had simply left, he’d given up on trying to persuade them. He’d taken the car and left everyone, including Erebus, behind him.

…So how come Erebus was in his room?

Jolting up from his bed, Johnathon’s eyes darted around the room, eventually finding Erebus, who was casually leaning on the doorframe.

“How did you get back here? I took the car” Johnathon got up out of bed, walking over to him.

“Lots of people have cars, all I had to do was pick one” Erebus smirked.

“What...? Why…? Wait. Did you call me Johnny boy?” Johnathon recalled his rude awakening.

“So what if I did?” Erebus shrugged.

“You never give anyone nicknames, least of all me” Johnathon pointed out, walking over and drawing the curtains back.

“Maybe I’ll start. Plus, your names so long and full of syllables, Johnny boy is so much easier to say” Erebus argued. Johnathon sighed, sensing Erebus’s agitated mood. He’d been with Erebus long enough to tell when he was just pretending to be careless.

“Listen, about last night…”

“It’s cool, don’t worry.” Erebus cut him off, “You got yourself a girl, that’s great. I always thought you should get out more.”

“So you’re not mad?” Johnathon checked, surprised at Erebus’s calm reaction.

“I am a little irritated that you didn’t tell me,” Erebus confessed, “But I understand why you did”.

“You’re being…unusually non-sensitive” Johnathon felt uneasy.

“Just because someone’s guiltless, doesn’t mean they’re heartless” Erebus grinned at him. It was hard to tell if he was being sarcastic or not.

After that, Erebus went back downstairs, whistling as he did so. Johnathon, uncomfortable walking around the house in his pyjamas, got dressed before following after him. He found Erebus frying some bacon and eggs (enough for two), still whistling. Fetching some juice from the fridge, Johnathon poured them both drinks, still worried about Erebus’s light mood. A few minutes later, Erebus was done, and plated up their breakfast. They didn’t talk whilst they ate, Johnathon was still distrusting of Erebus’s chirpy demeanor, and Erebus still hadn’t stopped whistling. The next noise that came wasn’t a voice, but the sound of a few sharp knocks at the door. Johnathon turned around, curious. Getting up from his seat, he walked over to the door, peeking through the keyhole. He sighed when he saw who it was, opening the door wide.

“Hello Eloise, Chloe.” He acknowledged them both.

“Hello Johnathon, can we come in?” Eloise’s smile was warm and true. Johnathon made way for them both, and they walked into the kitchen. Erebus stopped whistling when he saw them both.

“What’s all this about then?” He asked, standing up defensively.

“We came to talk to Johnathon, not you” Chloe informed him, not bothering to say it nicely.

“Listen.” Johnathon stole back the conversation, “We all know why you’re both her. You don’t want me and Adele to be together. You don’t approve, I don’t care, can’t we just call it even?” Johnathon suggested, tired of waiting for them to get to the point. Eloise and Chloe exchanged a look, both of them seemed anxious and uneasy.

“Whilst we both do disapprove of your relationship, that is not why we are here.” Eloise announced. Johnathon stood perfectly still, all his thoughts paused.

“Then why are you here?” Erebus was the one to ask the question. Chloe looked down at her feet, as if she felt pitiful towards Johnathon for some reason.

“You said Adele had curly ginger hair…?” She began.

“Yes” Johnathon nodded.

“…And big brown eyes?”

“Yes, she does” Johnathon confirmed, taking a seat. Eloise and Chloe sat down as well.

“I drove home with Erebus last night,” Chloe told him, “And on my way back to the car I heard a scream. I ran over to where it came from and I found her, on the ground, her attackers nowhere in sight. Her body was covered in bruises, as if she’d been hit over and over, and there was blood everywhere…it was horrific. She was unconscious, but alive. I took her to the hospital. I also took a picture, so you could see if it was her or not”. Johnathon could hardly believe what he was hearing as Chloe passed him over a photograph. He couldn’t bear to look at the image for longer than a few seconds.

Adele’s body was barely recognisable. Her usually pinkish skin was purple and black, like a sky at dusk. There were long cuts along her legs and arms, skilfully made so that none would be fatal, but painful. Her ginger hair was decorated with red highlights where she’d been thrown to the floor like a rag doll and landed in puddles of her own blood. Her entire body included white flakes from where she’d been scratched. There was not a single part of her that wasn’t purple, black, red, or brown.

Johnathon quickly handed the picture back over briskly.

“That’s her” he confirmed, his voice hoarse. Eloise’s face sank as her expression turned from nervous to sympathetic.

“We can take you to her if you like,” she offered.

“I would like that, thank you” Johnathon nodded. He followed Eloise and Chloe out into the car. Erebus stayed behind, telling Johnathon he probably needed some alone time, and his presence wouldn’t help. As he sat in the back seat Johnathon tilted himself so he was hidden from Eloise and Chloe, finally letting the tears fall. As they did, they chilled his skin, as though they were each individual phantoms of torment.

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