October was in the chair, so it was chilly that evening, and the leaves were red and orange and tumbled from the trees that circled the grove.
–Neil Gaiman - October in the chair
This is a story in a story, in a book of stories. Welcome to meta-ness :)
The story opens with the 12 months meeting up. And October is this meeting’s chair, hence the title. The months talk a little among themselves, and then begin what seems to be their tradition of telling each other stories. Only they’ve already heard what September begins to tell them, and then it is June’s turn. But then comes the main story, October’s one. A story about a boy, the youngest, the Runt, in the family, and his older brothers who bully him. So he decides to run away, maybe as far as the sea. But along the way he rests near an abandoned house, and that night he meets another boy. A boy called Dearly, a boy who can’t read his other name any more.
You already know the boys full name right? Yup, it is Dearly Departed. He is a ghost. But Runt doesn’t mind that, and together they spend the night playing, climbing trees, and generally having a good time. But if Runt wants to stay… well, he’d have to die wouldn’t he?
I think this is my favourite story of the collection so far. Although to be fair, they are such different stories it is almost unfair to compare them. This is creepy and atmospheric. And told in such a wonderfully sparse, yet almost innocent manner. Whereas A study in emerald was wordier, and obviously a poem is more poetical :)
So, first week over and done with, and so far so good!