Noah enters a small coffee shop in Detroit. The door is unlocked but the sign says closed. No one is in the main room and most of the baked items have been put away. Finally, a young dark haired male enters the room from the back behind the counter.
"I noticed. Are you Elijah?" Noah moves to a small table closest to the counter, picking a seat and settles in as he watches the man.
"Yes." Elijah tosses a rag on the counter, not stepping out from behind the counter. "Do I know you?"
Noah smiles. "Not yet. I'm Noah, from a different story. Dawn wanted me to come chat with you for this blog post."
"Oh right. Well, nice to meet you Noah." Joining him at the table, Elijah shakes his hand before sitting down. He looks a little uncomfortable and tired. "What are we supposed to talk about?"
"Something that happened before you died and became umm you know, what you are."
"Oh." He looks down at the table, his hands fold together underneath as if he is trying to hide the nervousness he feels over the topic.
Sensing the tension, Noah waits for a moment as he tries to come up with the best way to approach the topic he has been given. After some thought, he offers the question that seems least expected. "So... You're gay, right?"
Caught off guard, Elijah blinks and looks around the room to make sure they are alone before answering. "Yeah... why? Are you?"
"Of course. I mean, Dawn created us after all." He chuckles but the mood doesn't stay light for long as he brings out another question. "Does anyone else know you are?"
"Now? Yeah, they do. I kind of had to tell them after I almost slept with a guy I had just met. I had to confess to it." This got a slight smile from Elijah. It is short lived as he continues speaking, "before when I was alive, I did tell my parents. I was only 12 and probably should have waited because they responded even worse than the angels in the confession group."
Noah got up and went over to the one container of coffee that hasn't been put away yet. He fills two cups, bringing them back to the table with a few packs of sugar and hands a cup to Elijah. "Parents. I know the feeling. My mom didn't care but my dad was pissed when he actually found out."
"Thanks." He sips the coffee. "Both my parents were upset. They sent me to counselors, church officials and even considered sending me away to a place that claimed it could turn me straight."
"Sounds a bit harsh."
"And they were actually considering allowing electroshock treatment." Elijah pauses before trying to explain further. "Electroshock is when they..."
"I know what it is. I control electricity and have a degree in physics. What did you do?" He winced as he sipped the already cooling coffee.
Elijah looks away, absently stirring a spoon in the half drank cup of coffee. "I figured I was screwed anyways, so I did whatever and whoever I wanted. Finally, when I was fourteen I got tired of the therapists and my parents constant trying to change me so I snuck away and went home with a guy."
Noah watched him intently, trying not to stare too much, as he listens.
"I was mad and just planned to have sex with him a few times, then I'd go back home but when we went to a bar after he let me use a fake ID, that changed. There was this really hot guy there that everyone seemed to want. No one thought I stood a chance so I took the challenge and tried to get him to sleep with me." Pausing, Elijah picks at a pack of sugar, pretending to read the label.
"Did you succeed?"
Elijah nods. "Yeah, though I would rather not say what I did to convince him. But eventually he had sex with me. I was tired after, so he let me sleep in one of the small side rooms they had. When I woke up, the door was locked and I couldn't get out."
"What do you mean? What happened?" He couldn't drink the coffee anymore and he couldn't look away either.
"It turned out the man I had convinced to use me ran a prostitution ring. They forced me to take part. I tried to escape but there were too many of them." Elijah doesn't look up at Noah. He is still playing with the sugar packet and eventually tears it open, spilling the sugar onto the table. "It was several months before the police raid and I finally saw my family again. I died a couple years later."
"Wow." Noah isn't sure what else to say. He hadn't quite expected the discussion to go to such a dark place. "Does anyone know about all this in your story?"
He shakes his head. "No. No one really knows. Well, one knows some of the details since he manages the group but other than that I haven't told anyone yet. It's not easy to talk about and most of them wouldn't understand. The others are having a hard enough time with the whole being gay part."
Moving his chair, Noah put his arm around Elijah. He rubs his back as Elijah rests his head on his shoulder. "Thanks for telling me. You've obviously been through a lot. But things are better now aren't they?"
"They are better. Thanks for listening."