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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60. Chapter 59

Adele was taken straight to hospital, Johnathon and Peter with her. There, she was handed over to the midwives, whilst Johnathon waited anxiously outside, joined by all the other leaders, who had all made an effort to be there for him at that difficult time.

Even though Adele was no where near him, Johnathon could still hear her cries in his mind. The way she’d yelped, the power of her scream...it overthrew him. He wanted so badly to make it stop, but he couldn’t. The memory of the car ride to the hospital haunted him the most. After weeks and weeks of Adele not moving from her bed, she had suddenly wriggling and squirming in pain, kicking anything close enough, and squeezing his hand with all her spare strength. He’d tried to talk to her, but it was like talking to a pet cat, though he continued to do it, no response was able to come out from her lips. He’d repeated the words ‘it will be okay’ over and over, but he’d said them more to himself than Adele. She just shouted and bawled for the whole journey, like a madwoman.

Now, sat in a private room at the hospital, Johnathon stared out into the distance, his mind replaying countless horrific moments for him to view and recall. He hadn’t moved much in the seven hours and thirty-eight minutes he’d been there, time was absent in his thoughts, it felt to him like seven very long and painful minutes.

He didn’t notice as a doctor opened the door and came towards him, and his eyes didn’t even flinch as he took the seat next to him. It was only when he cleared his throat that Johnathon finally realised the new entry to the room.

“Mr Ignes?” The doctor checked.

“That’s me.” Johnathon confirmed. The doctor smiled, relaxing her posture.

“Congratulations,” she cheered, “You are now the father to a beautiful baby boy.” Sighs escalated around the room in response to the announcement. “He’s in perfect health too, you have nothing to worry about.”

Johnathon felt a hand hit his back softly, as everyone crowded around to celebrate. The doctor passed around a photo. Johnathon smiled along, still slightly in shock, they all seemed to be talking at once. Dmitri. That was the boy’s name he and Adele had chosen, Raena for a girl, Dmitri for a boy. His son Dmitri was alive and well.

Then, as soon as the moment had begun, it ended. It ended with a new thought entering Johnathon’s mind ‘what about Adele?’ . At the same time as the thought invaded him, a nurse invaded the room, her face a lot more concerned than the doctor’s. The doctor stood up and walked over, and they talked in whispers in the corner of the room. Johnathon focused his eyes on them, his pulse quickening more and more by the minute. Soon after, the nurse walked over, her head bowed.

“Mr Ignes?” She repeated the same procedure as the doctor before her.

“That’s me.” Johnathon’s voice shook slightly as he spoke.

“I’m afraid that your wife, Adele Ignes, has passed away. He heart failed shortly after the birth of your son.” Sighs escalated around the room in response to that announcement too, but these were different, these were heavy. Both the doctor and the nurse left the room, it was just Johnathon and the other leaders.

“It killed her…” Johnathon shook his head vigorously, hate adding dagger-like qualities to his tone.

It is your son. It’s not even an it, it’s a he.”  Peter tried to sway him, reaching out his hand. Johnathon stared at the kind gesture, then swatted Peter’s arm away, pinning him to the wall. Cries exploded around the wall, but Johnathon didn’t care.

“You said you’d save her, you promised-”

“I promised I’d do everything I could, and I did,” Peter cut him off, “I’m sorry she’s gone, but no-one is no blame. Not you, not me, and least of all your son.” Johnathon leaned in closer, his posture showing only strength, his eyes showing only hatred.

Then, he let go.

Peter rushed to Eloise’s side, not wanting to take any chances. Johnathon slowly turned around to face them, tears creeping out of his face, making the already sweaty surface even damper. His pale skin had never been more red.

“You should go see him, maybe it will help?” Eloise suggested, now that Johnathon was calm enough to hear her advice. Johnathon looked away, mumbling a lot of things that essentially meant ‘no’.

“He really is quite something.” Felicity piped up, though her words meant nothing to Johnathon.

“I don’t want to see it. I never want to see it. Do you understand?” He spoke slowly and clearly, leaving nothing open to interpretation. Eloise sighed, and they all began to slowly walk away. They were at the door when a new voice spoke.

“Say the name.” Everyone, including Johnathon, turned around. Erebus stepped out of the shadows so that they could see him, Johnathon decided he must have snuck in when the doctors and nurses were leaving, and they were all distracted. “Say the name, Johnny boy. Say the name you and Adele chose for your son.”

“No, I can’t…” Johnathon shook his head.

“Yes you can, and yes you will.” Erebus approached him, “You will be a father to this boy Johnathon, and you’re going to start right now. Otherwise you never will, and we all know what can happen when you give a boy a second father.” Johnathon bowed his head, not able to meet Erebus’s gaze, “Go on, say it. It’s such a beautiful name after all.”

“Dmitri.” Johnathon blurted it out, “I don’t want to see my son Dmitri.”

“I understand,” Erebus patted him on the back, “Why don’t we go and have a little chat?”

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