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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42. Chapter 41

When Johnathon woke up he found his arm was around Adele’s waist. The sunlight hit the cream curtains, turning the room yellow, and he felt as if he were in heaven. Adele was still fast asleep, and he didn’t want to wake her. He just held her close, inhaling her scent. Her curls spread out across the pillow, decorating it with ginger twirls, and contrasting with the small black strands that were scattered across the white material. The bed was small, but their bodies were so close it didn’t feel all that different. This was how Johnathon wanted every day to begin.

“Morning lovebirds” Erebus’s voice sounded from the entrance to the bedroom. Johnathon shot up, and saw him leaning against the wall in the doorway, a sour expression on his face. This woke Adele up, who gradually shifted in her position, stretching out, her eyes slowly opening. When she noticed Erebus, she leaned in closer to Johnathon.

“What are you doing here?” Johnathon growled at him, his mood ruined by his intrusion.

“I live here” Erebus reminded him, stepping inside the room. He walked around to the window, and opened up the curtains. “I do hope you slept well,” he said sarcastically, “I know I did, even if it wasn’t my choice”. Erebus shot a glare in Johnathon’s direction, referencing to the blow he’d received from him the day before.

“What do you expect me to do? Apologise?” Johnathon pointed out their guiltless nature to Erebus, as if he had forgotten.

“No.” Erebus rolled his eyes, sitting down beside the bed, “And I won’t either. What I want is my best friend back.”

“Your best friend?” Johnathon didn’t understand him.

“Yeah, black hair, creepy green eyes, pale skin…have you seen him anywhere?” Erebus reclined back in his seat, “We used to have so much fun together…”

“Get to the point Erebus” Johnathon cut him off.

“The point? There is no point! This is all completely pointless.” Erebus rose his voice, turning agitated and annoyed, “Why am I the only one who sees that? Johnathon, you and I are never going to stop feuding. You’ll always be mad at me for hurting your girl, I’ll always be mad at you for leaving me behind. Neither one of us will win, we’ll just waste our lives fighting. See? Pointless.”

“What do you mean by all this?” Johnathon still wanted more clarity on the motives of Erebus McKoy.

“I mean we need to figure things out before we get stuck in an unbreakable loop of hatred” Erebus announced, “We need to settle our differences, and move on.”

“Oh yeah? How are we supposed to do that?” Johnathon didn’t find the idea of forgiving Erebus very appealing.

“Well, I attacked your girlfriend, you knocked me out unconscious at the corner shop…how about we call it even?” Erebus suggested.

“Even? Those two events are on two different scales of evil Erebus!” Johnathon was beginning to act angry, “You nearly took an innocent human life…all I did was embarrass you a little”.

“It’s that negative, stubborn, and frankly, stupid attitude that will prohibit us from forming any kind of truce” Erebus sighed as if her were disappointed in Johnathon.

“I don’t want a truce.” Johnathon decided, “I’ll pack my bags and leave, it’ll be easier than negotiating with you. I’ll move in with Adele.” As he spoke Johnathon got out of bed, throwing on some clothes and getting ready, as if trying to provide some evidence to his plan. In seeing that he was serious, Erebus stepped forward.

“Don’t be ridiculous Johnathon, without me you’ll wilt like some pathetic flower,” he stood in front of the door, his hand outstretched, “You wouldn’t be half the man you are now without me…”

“No I would be twice the man I am now without you!” Johnathon exclaimed, tired of Erebus’s gloating. Placing his hand on his left temple, he took deep breaths, trying to calm down. “Every rotten thing I’ve done has been under your influence. It’s not my Dark Soul, it’s your Dark Soul. Don’t you understand? My soul is lighter without you. You were the one who put out the light at the end of my dark tunnel.”

“How very poetic,” Erebus tried to mock and insult him, “But we both know you're stronger by my side”.

“Strength does not make a man” Johnathon shook his head. Erebus, not knowing what to say next, just stared at him. The two boys stood tall, neither one of them willing to argue with the other, both of them certain they were correct. In the end, it was Adele who next spoke.

“Johnathon…I think you should stay here with Erebus” she voiced her opinion. Both men looked at her, shocked.

“What?” Johnathon couldn’t believe what he was hearing.

“I’ve listened to your stories, and I know what you’re like. No, Erebus isn’t the best influence on you, but he’s the closest thing you have to a family. You can’t lose what you have with him, it’s these sort of relationships that you have to cherish forever.” Adele explained.

“But…”

“Accept the truce.” Adele didn’t allow him to contradict her, “Call it even.” She paused, nodding her head as she thought her words over, “I think we just need to calm down and continue as normally as possible.”

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