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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68. Chapter 67

Bethany didn’t make it to the end of the week. Her body was found the next day, but they couldn’t identify it at first due to the bruises and scars. There were strong signs of struggle, meaning Bethany had kept her promise to Johnathon, and in return he kept his to her. Jasmine was raised with no knowledge over her mother’s murder, and treated as though she were Johnathon’s daughter, and not his niece. Dmitri too, treated her as a sister, opening his heart out wide to her from the moment he first looked into her eyes. Jasmine shared the brown eyes and auburn curls of her mother and aunt, and her beauty was undeniable, her heart too was pure through it’s adorable nativity. She was a bubbling ball of life, who touched all who met her.

17/04/2009:

Out of all Johnathon’s responsibilities, a long list that included leading, fighting, raising two children, and protecting Dustwood from Erebus, perhaps the most difficult and endless of them all was having to teach Dmitri. His son’s reluctance to learn made their lessons lengthy and dull. Dmitri longed to go to a normal school, but his young age and excited nature made it difficult for him to control his gifts, he flashed around the house without thinking about it, and it wasn’t safe to send him to school until he was old enough to control himself around other people. All Dmitri had to do was pick up an object too heavy for anyone else to lift, or run a little too fast on sports day, and Johnathon would be exposed. So, he was homeschooled, a decision that burdened both father and son.

“Dmitri? Dmitri, where are you?” Johnathon called out, trying to reach every corner of the house. Dmitri often hid when it was time for their next lesson, and he got better at it with each day, it was becoming near impossible to find him.

“Are you playing hide and seek?” Johnathon’s startled at the sound of Jasmine’s voice behind him.

“Not exactly.” Johnathon sighed, “I don’t think Dmitri realises that I don’t want to play.”

“Then I’ll play with him!” Jasmine giggled, rushing up towards the stairs. Johnathon easily caught up with her, and blocked her path.

“I think the game should end now.” He urged her, gently pushing her back over to the living room.

“Pleeease!” Jasmine whined, “I already know where he’s hiding.”

“Wait. What? Where is he?” Johnathon’s ears picked up.

“I can’t tell you, that would ruin the game.” Jasmine shook her head.

“The game is over, now tell me.” Johnathon made something up off the top of his head.

“If the game is over then you don’t need to find him anymore.” Jasmine pointed out, being too witty for her own good. Johnathon sighed, his face creasing, the conversation was draining the life out of him.

“I need to find Dmitri to tell him the name is over.” Johnathon gave it one last shot, Jasmine thought for a minute, biting her lip as she contemplated her next move.

“Okay, he’s hiding in my wardrobe.” She confessed, giggling a bit at the end before running off.

Now even more dreary than before, Johnathon headed up the stairs to find his son. Stepping inside Bethany’s room, he was met with an array of colour. Pink curtains parted to make way for the golden sun, which struck like a bolt across the calm cream (but stained) carpet. A dollhouse decorated with coloured chalk windows and murals sat in the corner, surrounded by a scattering of dolls, some of which were semi-nude. Posters and drawings were hanging loosely to the walls, held there only by atom-sized circles of blue-tack. Clothes were flung carelessly across the bed, a mixture of costumes, formal wear, and casual tops made up a second duvet.  A danger-zone of lego bricks was laid out to his left, creating a pathway of pain between himself and the wardrobe. Kicking the bricks to one side, Johnathon walked over, but as soon as he opened the doors of the wardrobe, a blur of his son passed by him. Dmitri, now hiding somewhere else, was being annoying persistent. Slamming the doors back, Johnathon shook his head.

“You have to learn your times tables sometime, why not now?” Johnathon called out to him, but he received no reply in return. Tired of the games, Johnathon got to work. Diving under the bed, he slung his son under his shoulder, and began to carry him out of the room and down the stairs.

“Nooooo…” Dmitri whined, “How did you know where I was?”

“Jasmine’s room is small, there are only a few good hiding places.” Johnathon shrugged, carrying his son all the way into his study and sitting him down. Dmitri folded his arms across his chest grumpily, staring down at his toes and muttering to himself under his breath. “Why do you hate our lessons so much? I try to make them as enjoyable as possible.” Johnathon quizzed him whilst he got out some paper and pens.

“Why can’t I go to normal school? Jasmine gets to go to pre-school like all the other children, why not me too?” Dmitri begged, standing up so he could place his elbows on his father’s desk.

“You want to go to pre-school?” Johnathon chuckled, taking everything his son said light-heartedly. He’d heard the same argument many times before.

“No I want to go to normal school, like the other boys my age. I see them in the park, having fun, but I just sit alone. I have no friends because I don’t go to school to make them. You’re ruining my life by keeping me here.” Dmitri sighed dramatically, flinging himself back into his seat.

“I might just be saving your life by keeping you here. I’ve told you before and I’ll tell you again, you’re not like the other boys, you’re gifted, and some people would hurt you if they knew that. Until you’re old enough to understand that, and to be able to control your gifts, you’ll have to put up with me teaching you.” Johnathon laid it all out to him for what felt like the hundredth time. He’d spend hours in the past trying to explain to Dmitri why he was different from the other boys his age, but it always seemed to go in one ear and out the other.

“I’m ready now!” Dmitri kicked his legs up and down under the table in frustration, “I can control it, and I do understand.” Johnathon rolled his eyes, took all the instruments off his desk, and lifted it up so Dmitri could see underneath it.

“Really? Because the dent you caused from all that kicking begs to differ.” He pointed to the smooth dip as he spoke, and Dmitri hung his head in disappointment. “One day I’m sure you’ll get the hang of it, but until then, you’re stuck with me.” Johnathon placed the desk back and set it all up again, handing Dmitri over a worksheet, deciding thereafter to leave him in peace for a little while. On his way out of the study Johnathon couldn’t help but hear his son whisper to himself.

“Some days I wish I was normal.”

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