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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10. Chapter 9

In a flash they were both outside the house, their backs against the cold stone wall. They couldn’t run further, or else Mr and Mrs Blake would surely see them (or some glimpse of them) as they sprinted past. They were trapped.

“Do you trust me?” Johnathon heard Erebus whisper in his ear.

“Yes” Johnathon honestly replied. He felt a light breeze on his right cheek, and when he turned, Erebus was gone. Panic automatically infiltrated his six year old mind. Where was Erebus? Had he abandoned him? What was he supposed to do now? As the couple neared closer Johnathon even considered handing himself in. Then he heard a sound up above him.

“Up here!” Erebus called. Johnathon’s eyes shot upwards, and he jumped, Erebus was on the roof.

“How?” Johnathon asked, a little bit frightened.

“Just jump, put all your strength into it” Erebus urged him.

Johnathon began to sweat, on one hand he didn’t want Erebus to think he was a coward, but on the other he was absolutely terrified. He shut his eyes, taking a deep breath in. He lifted himself up off the ground, using every gram of strength inside him, and a few seconds later he felt his feet land with a ‘thud’. Only this time the surface was different, less firm, and more uneven. Johnathon slowly peaked his left eye open… and sighed in relief, he had landed successfully on the rooftop of the house.

“Good job” Erebus patted his back, coming up behind him.

“Did I really just do that?” Johnathon murmured, stunned into disbelief. He took a timidly small step forward, and gazed over the edge, gobsmacked. They were at least eight meters high above the ground. He could still see Mr and Mrs Blake approaching, but they looked like black specs in the moonlit streets, even Mrs Blake seemed pun from up on the roof. “I just jumped up onto a roof” Johnathon replied to his own question, beginning to chuckle slightly.

“Shh” Erebus quickly hushed him, “They might still be able to hear us”.

Johnathon shut his lips and suppressed his laughs, but he still couldn’t help but smile, he felt weightless in his gleeful shock. It was as if he had just realised that he could do anything, be anyone, and never have to care about how he turned out in the end. His eyes followed the Blake’s as they entered their house.

“I bet one minute before we hear Mrs Blake cry out” Erebus challenged Johnathon.

“I bet thirty seconds, she’ll want to go upstairs and rest those gigantic legs of hers!” Johnathon laughed. Both of the boys leaned close to the edge of the roof, so they stood directly over the door, counting the seconds in their heads as they did this. After a small while, a large scream emitted from the upstairs bedroom of the house.

“Fred! Fred, we’ve been robbed, the bedrooms a tip, almost all our cash is gone…Fred? Fred where are you?” Mrs Blake’s panicked voice vibrated through the walls. Johnathon and Erebus heard her feet stampede down the stairs.

“My aunt’s necklace is gone!” Mr Blake suddenly realised, “She left me that in her will…”

“What about all our money?” Mrs Blake cut him off.

Johnathon zoned out of their conversation, already bored. He rested his back against the roof, and looking up to the stars. Erebus did the same, lying down beside him. Staring at the constellations, they both seemed to inhale and exhale in unison, letting the pace of their hearts slow gradually. Johnathon began to wonder what life would be like if every day was like that day, and what an incredible life that would be.

“I don’t want today to end” he confessed to Erebus.

“You’ll have plenty of birthdays, don’t worry” Erebus assured him incorrectly.

“No, I mean I want every day to be full of adventure and excitement, just like this evening was” Johnathon corrected him. There was silence for a few seconds, then Erebus spoke.

“Maybe it can?” he suggested.

“Do you really think someone like Penny or Sally would help me rob people?” Johnathon rolled his eyes, turning on his side so that he and Erebus were facing each other. Erebus too, rolled over onto his shoulder.

“Of course not!” He snickered, “I was talking about you and me, spending more time together perhaps…? I don’t know, I just think we should stick together.” Erebus explained.

“I think that too,” Johnathon agreed, “We’re the same.” Erebus smiled at this, as if he almost felt relief at the response he received. “Plus, I need a dad, and you said you’d be my new dad, didn’t you?” Johnathon added.

“I did, didn’t I?” Erebus recalled, “And I will, I promise”. This time it was Johnathon’s turn to smile.

Johnathon’s eyelids began to flutter, in all the action the night had brought him, he’d forgotten how tired he was. Instead of getting up and rushing back home, and thus ending the amazing day willingly, he began to drift to sleep on the rooftop. Erebus watched him, slightly intrigued, and a few minutes later, when Johnathon fell asleep, he slung him over his shoulder, and took him home. Whilst in the bedroom, he returned Sally’s diary to her bedside, and left the room with happy thoughts about how to approach her from then onwards. Before he jumped out of the window, he looked back to Johnathon one last time, and his lip curved, he felt a sort of pride from the fact that Johnathon was now six, and that made him feel…powerful. 

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