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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71. Chapter 70

Dmitri loved school, and did his best to get involved in everything, from athletics to public speaking... he not only did it all, but he excelled at it all. As for Johnathon, he enjoyed the quiet time he got whilst his children were at school, and used the seven hours to focus on his leadership duties, which were growing. As Souls grew, more and more people turned to their leaders for support. Felicity decided to hold a secret gathering, a rally for all Songbirds to attend if they wanted, and she enlisted the other leaders to help her, Johnathon included.

05/01/2012:

Johnathon Ignes could take an armed man down using just his bare hands, or survive a dangerous near-death experience, he could even withstand a natural disaster...but when it came to electrical equipment, he was hopeless. Which was why Felicity had made a very wrong choice in entrusting him with setting up the speakers. A rainbow of wires sat at his feet as he fiddled around trying to figure out which one went where, and which switch actually turned the whole thing on.

“Need a hand?” Angelica knelt down beside him.

“Yes, thank you.” Johnathon confessed, inching back to let her fix his mess. Angelica was no longer a child, but a sixteen year old girl following in her mother’s footsteps at a gradual and calm pace. Her preppy style, completed by her blonde plaits and checkered clothing, lit up any room she walked into, and her enthusiasm was undoubtable. She hoped to one day play a part in Soul politics, not necessarily as a leader, but as a less stressful role. Most of all she wanted to travel, to see the world. She wouldn’t be able to do so freely as a leader, but as a campaigner she’d be allowed to go wherever she pleased. She spoke french, spanish, italian, russian… she spoke any language she could find the time to learn. She was a free-spirited young adult, bursting with anticipation for the life that lay ahead of her, and Felicity was ready to support her every step of the way. Angelica was ready to fly.

“There, all done.” She stood up, examining her handy work. “Come on, mum’s speech will begin in a few minutes, I’ll show you where to go.”

Angelica led him through the growing crowd and around to the edge of the clearing, before pointing directly in front of them to where the other leaders we’re gathered.

“They’re over there.” She smiled, placing her hands behind her back as she waited for him to take the hint and walk over.

“Actually, I’m fine just here.” Johnathon assured her. It wasn’t that he did not want to spend time with them, but the fact that he’d rather not spend time with them at a rally. Outside of negotiations he often found it hard to fit in with the group.

“Well if you change your mind you know where to go.” Angelica shrugged, rushing off to join her mother on stage. They’d chosen a clearing to hold the event as it was an inconspicuous location, and with hunters everywhere, they had to be careful. It was also a large space able to fit anyone who wanted to come, as well as a beautiful one. The trees were so tall their leaves touched the stars, and a smell of moss hung in the air, the grass crunched beneath the feet of those who walked along it, outlined with a thin layer of winter frost. Thought it was cold out that night, the atmosphere made it seem warm.

“Welcome, welcome everyone, to what I hope to be the first of many songbird rallies.” Felicity took to the stage, speaking out to the crowd, her voice echoing around the open space. “I know the last thirty odd years haven’t been easy for us, but it’s incredible to see so many of you here tonight ready to campaign for change. Looking back, I am amazed by the progress we have made. We haven’t just survived, we’ve thrived. When Eloise first found me all I knew was that when I sang people got hurt, but now I know so so much more. As a community we’ve come together to explore our gifts, and we’ve both mastered and developed them. We can focus our attacks, we can edit the affects of our attacks, and we can control our attacks.” Applause rose up, and Felicity waited patiently for it to die down again. “As people we have grown, it seems like just yesterday I was a confused teenager, but now look at me. I have an incredible job, a loving husband, and the most beautiful daughter in the world-” Felicity paused once more, this time to regain herself after tears began to brim in her eyes, “Right now, I am happy. In a world where people are out to kill me, and I cannot be myself in front of my neighbours, I have still managed to find happiness, and I know that I am not alone in this. For those of you who are yet to settle and find this impossible joy, I urge you not to give up, it will come to you in time. All you need to do is open your heart up to the possibility of happiness, and it will come to you. You will not reach the light at the end of the tunnel by simply standing still. Which is why I am still moving, alongside my advisors I am working to improve our community further, so who knows what will come next? Maybe in a couple of years I will stand in front of you in a public space, with no fear of hunters inside me? I have hope in my open heart, and I predict that this hope will attract a positive future. So today I urge all of you to get those feet moving to reach that light at the end of the tunnel, open up your hearts, and our future will be bright.” More applause sounded, and once that too was gone, Felicity went to go mingle with the other guests. Her speech had clearly been a success.

Johnathon was well aware that he should go and join the crowd, but that fact meant nothing to him at that point in time. He just stood there, taking a moment to pause his busy life, and think about his own light. Had he found it, or was he yet to reach it? He felt each breath as it made it’s way in and out of his body, smelling the musky smells that lingered in the air, listening to the leaves rustling in the trees...confusion hit him as he realised what he was hearing, the reason? There was no wind. Not even a breeze moved through the trees that night, and yet there was definitely a rustling sound echoing through the clearing. Johnathon turned around a few seconds late to prevent what had already started. The rustling was replaced with the sound of bold, brave cries escalating from the mouths of the hunters, who were rushing out armed into the open space.

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