There was a thirteenth month.
Not that he was ever invited. It had been agreed, long ago and by some common consent, that he would stay away. It was best for all, it was thought. Especially for the young ‘uns.
‘He's trouble,’ said December, rough and old, his beard of twigs. ‘Mark my words. Best kept away. Hmph.’
‘Oh, yes, pet,’ said September, a thin, skittish woman in a pale blue dress. Her arms, covered in silver bracelets, always seemed too thin, somehow.
October grunted. He rarely spoke. June and July giggled in the corner and whispered, their shoulders bare and shaking as they gossiped. They were young and silly, easily offended
‘You know, he might come this year,’ said February. He blew smoke across the room, white tendrils in the sunlight. Eleven faces turned to him. He shrugged and stubbed out his cigar.
‘What? What’s that?’ said December.
‘I heard rumours. He might come, is all.’
April smiled. January slapped her hand.
‘And how would he know where to come?’ asked December. ‘Pah. Rubbish!’
February nodded, just once.
‘He could,’ said November. ‘If he wanted. You think he couldn't? The House of the Meeting of the Months – that’s what this place is. Don’t forget the old names. And he is a –‘
‘He’s not,’ said March. ‘He left, long ago.’
October clicked his tongue.
‘You see?’ said December. ‘Trouble. Even when he’s not here he’s upsetting the order and the young ‘uns and … and things.’
‘You’re so right, darling,’ cooed September.
They were silent, those who had come to the House. Outside a bird sang. Outside a car raced.
‘In my land,’ said August, placing an empty glass of scotch on the table, ‘I heard whispers. That he is moving. That he’s back.’
‘And what land is that, love?’ asked September, smiling, showing teeth. She winked at April. Her bracelets jingled as she moved.
‘Don’t patronize me…’ said August.
‘Oh, I’m just having a bit of fun,’ said September, holding up her hands in mock surrender. ‘You have a very nice land, so full of … well, whatever the weather’s like in August.’
‘You know full well what August is like,’ said January. ‘Intolerable woman.’
‘Well, you are.’
‘And what is January?’ spat September. ‘Blandness and new nothings! Oh, yes! Very nice, I don’t think.’
‘Quiet!’ said October in a voice of smoke and iced. The room was silent.
‘He’s here,’ he said, and he turned away, bored.
The door knocker sounded, once, twice. June whimpered. February laughed.
‘So he’s really here,’ said March. ‘He’s still alive, after all.’
Outside, someone scuffed their feet.
‘Hmph!’ said December. ‘Thinks he can just –‘
‘You have to open the door,’ said someone, and afterwards no one could quite say who. ‘You know the rules. He found the House. That gives him the right. He has to come in. The right of entrance. You know that.’
There was the just the slightest of pauses.
'Yes,’ said December. ‘Yes.’
'Yes,’ said December. ‘Yes.’
Even he would never question this. Some rules change, can be questioned, can be broken. Some do not, cannot, must not. He grasped the handle, a well polished brass, turned golden by years – by centuries - of use. The door swung open. The man stepped in.
There is a thirteenth month.
For some there always has been.
Other writers in the chain:
Ralph Pines - http://ralfast.wordpress.com (link to post)
SRHowen - http://srhowen1.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
areteus - http://lurkingmusings.wordpress.com/ (link to post)
angyl78 - http://jelyzabeth.wordpress.com/ (link to post)
Amanda R.: http://www.twoamericansinchina.com/ (link to post)
randi.lee - http://emotionalnovel.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
ConnieBDowell - http://bookechoes.com/ (link to post)
writingismypassion - http://charityfaye.blogspot.com/ (link to post)
Briony-zisaya - http://fantasywriterwannabe.blogspot.com/
Kewii - http://kellyneeson.blogspot.com/
katci13 - http://www.krystalsquared.net/