"I don't like the way he's looking at me."
"You're not meant to, that's Jeffrey Dahmer. You know, Milwaukee Cannibal, murderer, necrophiliac, raging homosexual? Theory, supported by evidence, he thinks you're cute."
"I'd rather he didn't."
"That's why I'm here. You can't die here anyway, otherwise I'd be dead a million times over."
"No. But you saw what I was doing earlier?"
"With the Nazi?"
"Yep. It's something I can have over him, in my head at least. Not too fond of the gays, by all accounts, but not much issue with me. It took a while, I've been having these dreams almost every night since I was ten. Dahmer doesn't generally notice me for some reason, but the others do. Not like that, thankfully. Genghis has stabbed me maybe twenty times, Cochrane is a decent friend, though he's recent, so I weathered much of it alone."
Dahmer began to approach them.
"Hey, Connor. Who's the new one?"
"Under my protection, Jeffrey, so don't even think about it."
"He's pretty cute, huh?"
Elder McKinley just ignored him and pulled Price along by the arm.
"Sorry, was he flirting with me?"
"He flirts with anyone. Not even of age either. I was too young for him the first time I was here, which is why he doesn't go for me. He was a role model, of sorts. He was one of the first people I met who was gay and positive about it. I think he sees me as a younger version of him, which suits me alright in some ways. Obviously, not the messed up part, but. I remember it broke my heart that the only gay person I'd met was like that, but I realised, even if he hadn't done what he did, he'd still be here according to Heavenly Father's teachings. My first crisis of faith and I was only ten."
"That sucks. My first dream was when I was five. I stole a donut and blamed my brother. He was three, so I doubt anyone really believed me."
As they passed the assorted demons, most called out "Hey, Adam, how's it going?"
McKinley replied to all of them "Not bad, Lily." "Been worse, Cody."
"Why do they call you Adam?"
"Because Luc does."
"Lucifer. Satan. The Big Boss."
"You're friends with him?"
"I have been here every night for nearly ten years. Everyone here knows me. I was basically adopted by a serial killer and the Devil when I was a kid. Gosh knows they were better to me than my parents. They didn't force me into gay cure therapy, for one. They kept Adolf off me for a while, until I got myself sorted. Genghis obviously doesn't care, he was an army man and that is a whole thing in itself. Cochrane came just before I turned fourteen. I was small and angry then, and he was understanding. Once he came, I was more comfortable leaving Jeffrey behind."
"Why does Satan call you Adam?"
"Have you heard of a book called Good Omens?"
"No? Is it Mormon approved?"
"Nope." He popped the 'p'.
"It's by Gaiman and Pratchett, it's about the Apocalypse and the people caught up in it. I read it in the school library, couldn't take it home, so I would sneak it off the shelf and read as many chapters as I could. There's an angel and a demon and the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse and the Antichrist. His name is Adam Young, so after Luc informally took me in, they started calling me that. I think it's also a riff on the fact that the first guy I fell for was called Steve. The whole Adam and Steve thing is old and it gets old. C'mon, I'll help you petition Luc to go back."
As they approached Satan's seat, Kevin's stomach began to twist.
"Hey, Luc, can we come up?" McKinley called.
"Adam! I was wondering when you'd call on me. And who's this? Our latest resident!"
"He's one of my boys, Luc, in my District."
"One of yours? How many is that now?"
"Ten. Me and Thomas, Church and Michaels, Davis and Neeley, Schrader and Zelder and now Price and Cunningham. Cunningham's a good kid, real potential to be a prophet. Thomas and Church are doing well, Davis and Schrader are finally getting themselves together. Thomas still hasn't run out of Poptarts, though gosh knows how he's doing it."
"Well, if you can't miracle a few things, what's the point?"
McKinley barked out a laugh.
"Thanks, Luc. Spares me his complaints when he runs out and realises he can't get them in Uganda."
"I miss your hair, Adam, the way it was."
"Too long and bright red?"
"It suited you. This is rubbish!"
He tousled McKinley's hair.
"Mom made me dye it."
He looked sheepish, then put on an exaggerated female voice.
"'Red hair makes you look like a Spawn of Satan, Connor. It's too long, Connor, you look like a girl. You have to look like a proper young Mormon. It's bad enough that you're-'"
He broke off.
"I mean, she wasn't to know that I was close to being a Spawn of Satan. I looked like a good little Aryan. No wonder a certain guy started to like me. No good Mormon mother expects her child to befriend the monsters in his dreams."
"We're not monsters! Not really anyway."
"I know, Luc. We need to go back soon, I've got paperwork. You know I'll be here tonight. Well, tomorrow morning's more likely, but I will come back to you all. Does anyone else need to see me urgently?"
"Ali wants to see you, but I can ask him to wait."
"What does he need?"
"Won't tell me. Knowing him, he's angsting about his boyfriend."
"I'm not the Gay Advice Bureau. Tell him I'll be by when I'm here. Price, time to go home."
Price woke up at the bus stop to people talking.
"Oh, thank goodness, you're awake."
He noticed a hand extended to him and his eyes travelled up the arm to the face. Elder McKinley. Oh dear.
"You had the Hell Dream, didn't you? Was I in it?"
"Come on Price, let's get back to the Mission Hut."
McKinley grabbed his arm firmly, the same way he did in the dream, and propelled him back towards District 9. When they got there, rather than put Price in his own room, McKinley took him into his. Poptarts wasn't there, thankfully.
Price did so.
"Were we having the same dream?"
"You.. dyed your hair, when you were young. Everyone called you Adam."
"Gosh, McKinley, it was all really weird."
McKinley smirked, his eyes going dark.
"Yes, it was a bit. But then again, families often are, aren't they?"