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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75. Chapter 74

‘What could possibly go wrong?’, well apparently, a lot. The donations went by practically unnoticed, silenced by the uproar caused by the rebel attacks. As for Angelica, she took on the role with all her might, but was shot down by her people. They wanted a mature adult to lead them, not a teenager. They refused to listen to Angelica’s advice, and it tore her apart inside. She begged Eloise to find someone else, but Eloise remained firm, she was sure Angelica would soon be accepted. In response to this Angelica began to neglect her duties, wanting Eloise to see just how rubbish she could be, in hopes that would get her to choose a new leader, someone the Songbirds believe in. Eloise didn’t fall for it though, leaving the Songbirds with a reluctant leader, and the rebels with more power than ever before.

17/08/2016:

“Yes...yes, I know- I’ll try, but I can’t promise anything.” Johnathon spoke into the phone, shaking his head as he did so.

“I know it seems like a long shot Johnathon, but maybe she’ll listen to you.” Eloise’s voice came through from the other end, “Angelica’s known you from a very young age after all...perhaps Dmitri could also talk to her?”

“Dmitri and Angelica have an...interesting relationship, I’m pretty sure if he tried to talk to her she’d hypnotise him into leaving her alone.” Johnathon sighed.

“Well, just think about it. Anyway, I’m sure Angelica will come around one day.” Eloise brought the conversation to an ending.

“I’ll see you soon, I’m hosting ASNM this year.”

“Of course, I’ll be there. Goodbye for now.” The line at last went dead and Johnathon placed his phone down on the table, walking over to sit down on the sofa. It had been a long and strenuous phone call about everything from rebel attacks and hunter activity, to how on earth they were going to get Angelica to take her job seriously. It was remarkable how much the blonde-haired girl with those big blue eyes had changed, once innocent and sweet, compliant to everyone else’s needs, Angelica now neglected the world around her. She’d bleached her hair grey, taken up smoking, and spent her evenings out clubbing rather than attending key political meetings. She did all this things in the hope that one day Eloise might change her mind, and choose a leader the Songbirds believed in, but Eloise was just as stubborn. It was just a shame innocent people were getting caught in the crossfire.

“Was that Eloise?” Dmitri was suddenly at his side, Jasmine next to him.

“Yes.” Johnathon nodded.

“...Was it about Angelica again?” Dmitri winced, sitting down. Johnathon bit his lip, thinking about what to do next.

“Jasmine, how about you go upstairs and read for a minute or so whilst we have a little chat?” He asked, his eyes pleading with his niece.

“Okay…” Jasmine grumbled, going back up the stairs, though she clearly wasn’t too pleased about it, “But just remember, I’m twelve now, I’m not some baby!” Johnathon (once Jasmine was safely out of earshot), chuckled lightly.

“I remember when you were like that…” He smiled at Dmitri, who too started laughing after that.

“So do I.” He agreed, then he was silent for a few moments, looking away from his father and to the floor. Johnathon, not blind to this behaviour, placed his arm over his son’s shoulder.

“What’s bothering you?” He asked him. Dmitri looked up, drumming his fingers against his knee.

“It’s just-well...everybody’s changing. Jasmine’s becoming a teenager, Angelica’s become this rebellious stranger, even you’re acting differently...more tired.” Dmitri worded his troubles carefully, as if he was worried they would spawn out of his mouth if he didn’t.

“I’m seventy-nine, I think I’ve earnt the right to be tired!” Johnathon joked, trying to lighten the mood, “Besides, change isn’t always a bad thing, change can save the world.”

“Will I change?” Dmitri looked him directly in the eye.

“Of course,” Johnathon smiled faintly, “You’ll change and grow into an incredible man.”

“B-but, how?” Dmitri delved deeper into the topic, hungry for more answers. Johnathon saw this in his eyes, and knew what he had to say...what he could at last say, and know it would go to good use.

Son, if you ever remember anything I tell you, remember this: It is not where we are born, who were are born with, or what gifts we may have since birth that shape us as people. In fact, how we come to the world means nothing unless you give it the power to. What really matters is who we meet in life, and who we spend our time in this world with. That is how we grow, that is how we learn, and above all, that is how we can change.”

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