“She’s impossible to live with. She barely makes eye contact with me. Do you know how difficult it is to have a conversation with someone who won’t look at you? No, I guess you wouldn’t.”

I heard his voice as I poured my first cup of coffee.

“I suppose she’s a good person and all. She helps everyone. Everyone else, that is. She’s a demanding perfectionist with me, though. Did I tell you about the mouse?”

I froze. Lex was talking about me.

“Okay, get this. I’m sitting there on the couch, relaxing after a really rough day, and Connie comes running into the room carrying on about a mouse that ran through the kitchen. Yes, you heard me, a mouse. Just one of those little field mice. She wanted me to take care of it! I asked what she meant by ‘take care of it,’ like to keep it as a pet or something? I thought that was pretty funny. Apparently, she didn’t. She claimed it was my job, and I needed to kill it quickly. Then she added something about it being in my nature! She basically called me a killer, a murderer. Harsh.”

No, he definitely was not a killer of mice.

“When I refused, she got all huffy about it. Said something about me not earning my keep. Then, get this, she went and did it herself! She’s the killer.”

It wasn’t as dramatic as Lex was making it out to be. I’d gotten a few mouse traps and set them up around the kitchen. I wasn’t freaking out about it. He was right. It was just a tiny field mouse. But where there’s one, there’s more, and since I was serving food, the health inspector would be coming around. There couldn’t be mice, or their droppings, in the kitchen. The little thing had to go.

It only took one night, and the next day I checked the traps. The poor guy was stuck to the glue and trying desperately to get free. I knew better than to look, but couldn’t help myself. My empathy kicked in, and I felt sorry for the wretched thing and begged Lex, again, to just take care of it. Put it out of its misery. Instead, rather than stepping up and being helpful, or attempting to carry his own weight, he refused to do anything. So I had no choice.

“She put it in the trash!”

Yup, he was right. I threw the whole contraption away. The poor mouse died in the trash can. I wanted to set him free, but Joe convinced me, rightly so, that he would only come back. And most likely bring his friends and family, assuming they weren’t already there. Plus, it was unlikely I could get his little foot unstuck without harming him further.

It was business, but it changed my relationship with Lex right then and there. His presence was already uncomfortable, what with the talking and everything. That still took some getting used to. Then, after refusing to help with the one little thing that he could easily have taken care of, I felt I was truly on my own.

“While that was pretty bad, there’s more. I’m not allowed on the kitchen table and she won’t let me scratch the sofa. I can’t walk on the countertops. She’s so controlling. No! You know what she is? She’s an ass-.”

“Lex!” I yelled his name as I flung the backdoor wide open. A little grey cat startled at my sudden appearance and then darted away, glancing back once before scrambling under the fence.

 

CONTINUE HERE

 

“You ran her off! Now what am I supposed to do? A guy’s got needs, you know.”

I sputtered. My mouth was open, and I wanted to retort, but my brain froze. I made a few incoherent grunts, then threw up my hands as I turned my back on Lex and his disgusting needs.

My coffee was cooling, and I took a long sip as I sat at the kitchen table, trying to calm down. This room of the old house had been one of my favorites from day one. The sunny yellow walls were a bit faded, but the trim was still a crisp, glossy white. A long wooden table ran down the center of the room, providing additional counter space when needed and a comfortable place to sit otherwise. The refrigerator, dishwasher, and stove were bright red and looked like something from the 1950s. Actually, they were modern, high-quality appliances.

Recently, my friends and I traveled from our home in Charleston to Detroit. We attended a conference designed to bring together intuitives, seers, psychics and mediums from around the world. That trip proved to be life-changing. Through a series of otherworldly events, set into motion centuries ago, I ultimately inherited this house from the previous owner. It was shocking, to say the least. I didn’t know her, wasn’t related to her, and really didn’t like her. Yet here I sat, sipping coffee in the kitchen of what was now my own late 1800s Queen Anne-style house in a sleepy suburb of Detroit. My best friends, Tawny and Samantha, and my adult children, still lived in Charleston. All I had to keep me company was the ghost of my husband.

And of course, I’d also inherited Lex, the talking daemon cat.

The coffee worked its magic, and my blood pressure and perspective returned to normal. Joe floated in and sat across from me. He was the last piece of the puzzle. His presence grounded me.

“Did you hear all that?” I waved my hand towards the back door.

He nodded.

“He’s so gross.”

Joe nodded again.

“He’s a daemon stuck in the body of a cat, Connie. He’s probably exactly how he’s supposed to be. It can’t be easy for him.”

He was right. Lex had been an invaluable asset when the original owner of the home died. He was sure and steady, guiding all of us through the many adventures the recently haunted house threw at us. He always had answers, and we always seemed to have questions.

And he was patient with each one of us. At first, Tawny hated him. We couldn’t figure out why, and assumed she simply didn’t like cats. Then he started talking. After a few nervous break-downs and frantic scrambles to get away from him, we realized he was a lot more than just a cat. Tawny had sensed it from the beginning.

Once she fully understood what he was, she explained a daemon is not the same thing as a demon and that Lex was neither good nor bad. He just was. And really, when you think about it, he’s no different from any of us. We’re all a combination of good and bad. The challenging part of Lex was, and still is, the talking part. There’s just something about seeing a cat’s mouth move and words come out. I’m not sure I’ll ever fully be okay with it.

“You’re right, Joe. He needs to vent, too. And he doesn’t have anyone other than us for company. I see how he must feel. It hurts nothing for him to have friends outside of the house. I’ll apologize.”

“Now’s your chance.” Joe motioned towards the door.

Lex was leaning against the doorjamb, one back leg sticking straight up, leaving all his bits and pieces on full display. He sat up slowly when he saw me looking at him. He shook his entire body and small grey and white hairs flew in all directions, drifting through the air and eventually settling on the recently swept kitchen floor.

Despite my irritation, I still intended to follow through with the apology, but I didn’t get the chance.

Locking eyes with me, Lex casually sauntered away. Before he left the room, he muttered the name he started to call me earlier.

“Assassin.”