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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67. Chapter 66

As promised, Erebus began destroying any links Dmitri had to his mother, and with them, any links Johnathon had to his wife. He burnt down her first home, and destroyed the office where she worked. Helen returned home one day to find Richard’s stabbed body on the dining table, his blood staining the tablecloth...the next morning her corpse was found bruised floating the river. Furthermore, but some ‘coincidence’ of all the places in Dustwood the rebels chose to attack the school Adele went to as a girl. It was heartbreaking for Johnathon, but with his son growing up, he had to put on a brave front and take each day as it came. He did, of course, try to fight back against Erebus’s antics. He offered to buy Bethany and her husband Ryan a house far away, hiding a tactical move under a kind gesture. There, they even had a child. Dmitri too was kept safe by his father, who helped him grow up into a young boy. In later 2003, Dmitri finally unlocked his other gifts. Johnathon found him running around the house causing dents when he bashed into the walls. Life wasn’t happy, but it was liveable.

16/05/2005:

“Dad! Dad help me.” Dmitri yelled from upstairs, his voice screeching out through the walls of the houseboat. In a flash, Johnathon was there, and when he saw the scene inside Dmitri’s bedroom, he sighed. Dmitri had Angelica pinned to the wall, her arm firmly held in his strong hold.

“What are you two up to?” He groaned, it was the fourth time that hour that he’d caught them fighting. Felicity was out running errands, and Angelica was around to ‘play’ with Dmitri. It had seemed like a nice idea, but all they’d done so far was argue.

“She said she’d throw my coat out the window!” Dmitri claimed.

“Yeah, because you said you’d use my lipgloss to make ‘pink snot’.” Angelica added, struggling uselessly against his hold.

“I was being creative-

“You were being gross.”

“Dmitri let her go.” Johnathon instructed. Dmitri paused, before doing as his father said. Angelica shook out her arms, shooting a glare in Dmitri’s direction.

“Next time I’ll just hypnotise you into letting me go.” Angelica warned, but Dmitri just laughed.

“You can’t do that sort of stuff yet, besides, I’m resistant.” He reminded her.

Partially resistant.” Angelica corrected him, “And I can hypnotise people, I’m just not allowed, I’m still too young to learn how to control it.”

“Both of you are being ridiculous.” Johnathon cut into the conversation, already tired of their bickering. “Why can’t you just play nicely?”

“I don’t play with toddlers.” Angelica grumbled.

“Well you act like a two year old!” Dmitri yelled. Johnathon couldn’t help but smile, Dmitri did have a point… Angelica, despite the adorable exterior, was a stubborn and difficult child. The one person who ever seemed to get her to do anything was Felicity, but Felicity led a busy life, especially with her husband away all the time, so Angelica was often handed over to Johnathon during the week. Unfortunately, the presence of Dmitri seemed to make Angelica’s stubborn side even stronger. Together, they spent ninety percent of their time together fighting, and the other ten percent pushing eachothers buttons in the build up to a fight. It was hard to tell at times which of them was five, and which of them was ten.

“I can’t believe you’re so-”

“I wish that you’d-”

“You’re such a-”

The argument continued to take place, but Johnathon had lost interest. He’d already had to intervene at numerous points in the past couple of hours, and he was so tired of it he no longer felt like trying to stop their bickering. After all, give them another then minutes and they’d be at it again. Instead, he let them tire themselves out through their yelling, the sharp and repetitive shouts drilling into his head as he did so. Fortunately, after a few minutes or so the doorbell rang, and Johnathon was rescued.

“That’ll be Felicity, come on Angelica.” He cut between them, leading her back downstairs. Dmitri ran ahead of them, feeling an overwhelming desire to be at the door first, simply so he could be the one to open it. A wish that Johnathon, having no recollection of what a child’s mind was like, could not at all understand.

“Um...dad,” Dmitri called out to him from the front door, “It’s not Felicity.”

“What? Then who-oh.” Johnathon froze as he saw who had come to visit.

Disgruntled, with running mascara, shaking hands, a quivering lip, and a crying baby girl in her arms, stood Bethany.

“Bethany? I-uh, what are you, um, what are you, well,  doing here?”

“J-Johnathon I d-don’t have much t-t-time.” Bethany got to the point, inviting herself inside as she stepped onboard. “He f-found us, he, well, it all happened so fast, oh Ryan...he killed Ryan!” Bethany stumbled onto the sofa, too traumatised to stand. Johnathon grew more and more concerned by the minute, Ryan was Bethany’s husband...was he dead? “Y-You’ve got t-to help me, please, he’s c-coming after me.”

“Who is coming after you Bethany?” Johnathon tried to make sense of what was going on.

“The man!” She yelled, “The man with the blue eyes you tried to protect us from when...w-when you gave us t-the house, oh, you did that to keep us s-save d-didn’t you?” Bethany was beginning to understand what was going on, “Y-You’re like him, aren’t you?” Johnathon nodded, and Bethany let out a small yelp. She was so shaken that it was impossible to understand what she was thinking.

“Bethany, listen to me. The man after you is angry at me and he’s trying to get to me through you. If you stay here I can keep you safe, you and-erm…”

“Jasmine.” Bethany told him, gesturing to the child in her arms, “Her name is Jasmine.”

“Yes, well, if you stay here you’ll be safe. You can go upstairs and shower, I’ll boil the kettle, and we’ll sort all this out. Don’t worry, just stay calm and you’ll get through this.” Johnathon tried to help her relax, Bethany was no use in the state she was.

“No, no I can’t…” Bethany shook her head violently, “He’s after me, not her. I doubt he even knows she exists. I’m putting her at risk…”

“I don’t understand-”

“Jasmine!” Bethany cut him off, “He doesn’t know about Jasmine.  If Jasmine is with me then she’s in danger.”

“Yes, well, that’s true I suppose, but still-”

“But nothing!” Bethany cried out once more, “I can’t put her at risk...Johnathon, you can look after her, can’t you? You could raise her, keep her safe...stop him from k-k-killing her.”

“What are you suggesting?” Johnathon had a very bad feeling over Bethany’s new ideas.

“Let me go, but take her in. Save her, please, for me, just save her.” Bethany begged.

“Bethany, I can’t...you’ll be as good as dead if I do.” Johnathon argued.

“I’m dead anyway!” Bethany wailed, “At least this way I know she’ll be safe.” Johnathon was torn. Logic and nature told him to go with Bethany’s plan, but the idea of losing another one of Adele’s relatives made his heart swell. “Please Johnathon…” Bethany continued to plead with him, “I want to be with Jasmine, of course I do, but- well, I want to be with Ryan too.” Johnathon met Bethany’s eyes and recognised the look. He’d been through the same thing when Adele died, a longing to die and be rejoined with her, but also a knowledge of the overwhelmingly important responsibility to care for his child. He’d chosen life, but Bethany’s circumstance was different, both wishes could be obtained through her death.

“At least try to stay alive.” He gave in, taking Jasmine from her.

“I will.” Bethany promised, getting up and heading out towards the door, “Could you do one last thing for me Johnathon? Don’t tell Jasmine about all this, tell her me and Ryan died in a car crash, peacefully with one another. Don’t tell her about this blue eyed man, or how I chose death for her, just tell her that me and her father loved her very much, and that we loved each other very much too.”

“I will.” Johnathon nodded, looking away as Bethany turned and left, focusing on the beautiful brown-eyed baby in his arms instead.

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