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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57. Chapter 56

Eloise had requested some privacy for looking into Adele’s soul, she’d listed a bunch of reasons, but Johnathon had stopped listening after the third. He didn’t care about how her vision worked, he only cared about if it worked.

Desperate to distract himself, Johnathon diverted to wandering through the small selection of shops and cafes the hospital played host to. He got himself a coffee and a newspaper, sat down, and began to read. Non-Soul related conflicts didn’t concern him, and so didn’t interest him, but in that day and age Souls took up most of the headlines anyway. He took a particular interest in an article on page forty-eight, ‘How to spot a Soul’. It was hilariously vague. According to the journalist who wrote it, anyone who wasn’t interested in modern technology and who spent a lot of time in parks was most certainly a Wild Soul. She also claimed you could spot a Songbird based on what sort of music the said person listens to. There were a few concerning areas surrounding the complexion of a Dark Soul’s skin...but aside from that it was all complete nonsense. He felt like ripping out the article on pages thirty to thirty-two, about the ‘Hunter of the Year Award’ going to some bloke named Christopher Freekorpe. There was a picture of him in the article, accepting the award, his pregnant wife was in the background. Well Johnathon thought at least we have that in common.

“...Johnathon?” At the sound of his name, Johnathon’s head shot up. His eyes were met with those belonging to none other than Felicity Yung, who had a four year old girl at her side, tugging endlessly on her arm.

“Felicity? What are you doing here?” His surprise made him blind to the blatantly obvious.

“Eloise called and told me everything.” She explained, “How are you holding up?”

“I’m managing.” Johnathon nodded stiffly, not wanting to go on about the matter.

“I see…” Felicity trailed off awkwardly, “Well, I have to go and find Eloise, could you look after Angelica for me? Just for half an hour.”

“You want me to look after your daughter?” Johnathon checked, not sure if he was hearing her correctly.

“Yes, why not? After all, it will be good practise for when you have one of your own to take care of.” Felicity’s enthusiasm and optimism was so obviously fake that Johnathon agreed just to put an end to it. So Felicity left as quickly as she’d came, leaving Angelica in Johnathon’s pale hands. Fortunately, Angelica seemed prepared, and she got out a colouring book and some pencils from a backpack she’d been carrying. Unfortunately, she was a very chatty four year old.

“Are you here because you’re ill?” She asked Johnathon, out of sheer curiosity rather than concern.

“No, I’m here because my wife is ill, or at least we think she is.” Johnathon broke it down for her, leaving out any specific details.

“Is that why I’m here?” Angelica guessed, looking up from her scribbles to meet is gaze.

“Sort of.” Johnathon sighed, unsure of how to answer her question. She was there because Felicity was there, who was there because Eloise was there, who was there because he was there, and he was there because Adele was there...but she wouldn’t understand all of that if he tried to explain it to her young mind. Luckily, a new song began to play through the muffled speakers, and Angelica’s attention was shifted.

“I love this song!” She squealed, drumming her little fingers against her book. “At home, mummy doesn’t let me listen to music too much, she says it’s bad for me. I can’t control it like she can, I’m too young...but one day I’ll be able to do all the things she can with her voice, one day I’ll be just like her.” Johnathon listened to Angelica’s dreams with an odd form of enticed joy. He wondered if his own child would look up to him in the same way Angelica looked up to her mother, and if so, what he or she would look up to. He’d hardly expect his child to admire his kill count, but his ability to change his life around did have some inspirational lessons attached to it.

“What about your dad? What do you think of him?” Johnathon pressed her for more information that he could possibly learn from.

“He’s really brave.” Angelica grinned proudly, “I don’t see him a lot, because he’s always away from home, but when he does come back to me I never want him to leave. He’s part of the es-be-el.” Angelica struggled to pronounce SPL, the Soul Protection League. They were a small group of varied Souls who tracked down dangerous hunters and other threats to Souls, and eliminated them. Eloise had hated the idea at first, but after the number of slayings started to rise up, she agreed to it, on the condition that only five people per Soul race were allowed to join.

“That is a very brave job.” Johnathon agreed, “My dad had a job like that as well.”

“Was he a Soul?”

“No, but he was very brave.” Johnathon assured her, his thoughts drifting to his late father. He hadn’t thought about his parents in years, they were such a distant memory that they’d become sort of a legend to him.

“Oh.” Angelica returned to her colouring after that, and they didn’t really engage in another proper conversation until Felicity returned.

From the second Johnathon saw her he knew something was wrong. Her expression resembled the one she’d had when she was about to sing at Gael’s birthday party all those years ago. She seemed so nervous...so insecure, and the way she tried to hide it was so pathetic is was almost pitiful.

“Ah, Johnathon, thanks for looking after her for me. Did you have a nice time my angel?” She diverted her speech to Angelica at the end, which was clearly a tactical move to try and stop him from talking.

“Yeah.” Angelica shrugged, shoving her drawing back in her bag.

“What did Eloise have to say?” Felicity’s shoulders sunk as she heard Johnathon’s voice. She looked at him, plastering a fake grin over her face.

“A whole bunch of things I didn’t really understand...shall we go Angelica?” And with that, they were gone. Johnathon, unsatisfied and now even more certain that there was trouble looming, decided to get up and investigate for himself.

He didn’t find Eloise in the hospital ward, nor the waiting room, nor the cafe. In fact, he couldn’t find her anywhere, it was as if she’d disappeared off the face of the earth. Johnathon knew better than to assume that she’d simply left the hospital or gone for a walk, if he couldn’t find her in the most obvious places, then she didn’t want to be found. He was marching down yet another corridor when he finally heard her voice, coming from within a supply cupboard.

“...I just don’t know what to do Peter. I’m so used to seeing right and wrong, but this, this is neither, I feel so blind.”

“Let Johnathon and Adele decide, it’s their child.” Peter tried to aid her. By now Johnathon’s ear was against the door.

“They’re bound to come to me for advice! What do I say then?” Eloise sounded more frustrated than ever, she was normally so calm and collected.

“The truth.” Peter stated blatantly, “You look them both in the eye and lay it out flat. Adele’s body is too unevolved to handle the birth of a Dark Soul crossbreed, and if she makes it to labour she will most likely die in the process. You just have to tell them straight, it’s Adele or the baby.”

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