The Number 22

Chapter 4

Even though I had decided there was nothing to worry about anymore, I decided to still go to the bookstore and find out who wrote the book. I thought I was finally free...but, unbeknownst to me at the time, the terror was only just beginning.

"Why, Twilight Sparkle! I ain't seen you in weeks! Where ya been, girl? Usually, you're the first one in when the new issue of Magic Monthly comes in."

"Oh, I've been...busy. But, don't worry, Mr. Bookworm. I'm still your number one customer! Speaking of which, my friend Rarity bought me a book the other day for my birthday. I was wondering if you could look it up on your computer and find out some information on the author."

"Well, sure thing! Let me just get the old machine started."

Turns out old Mr. Bookworm didn't know a whole lot about computers, being raised in the early 50's and all. It took him ten minutes to get it turned on and another seven to find the book-searching site. How he managed to keep a computer in his shop up until that point is beyond me.

"Okay, Ms. Twilight. If you'll tell me the name of the author, I'll type 'er in and see what comes up."

I never did hear Mr. Bookworm the first time. I was too busy staring at his clock. I noticed that his clock read 2:22.



"You were starin' into space, girl. Something wrong?"

"Oh...Oh, no! Nothing's wrong!...Nothing at all."

"Well, in that case, could you tell me the name of the author?"

"Oh, sure. The name is Topsy Kretts."

"Okay...I'm also gonna need to see the book. Ya know, just in case the name itself doesn't pull up anything."

You know, it was funny. When I handed him the book, I realized that that was the first time I had parted with it since I started reading it. The memories of me being pulled to it still lingered in my mind, but I reminded myself that I had had nothing to worry about all along. While he typed the name in, I stared back at the clock. The time was now 2:24. I figured it was just a coincidence. I looked around the store, observing the fine job Mr. Bookworm did in keeping the place clean. However, while he may have always kept the floors swept and the windows washed, he never found time to dust the shelves. The books looked ancient, unlike the books in my library. I can't believe Rarity actually came in here, being the type of mare she is.

"Well, Twilight, I'm sorry to tell you this but..."

"But what?"

"Well, this Topsy Kretts didn't write anything before or after this book."

"Well, what about the book's credits? Who helped publish it?"

"Actually, that's another thing that's interesting. The book was self-written, self-published, and self-released. It doesn't even show that there were any copies made of it...which, of course, is ridiculous. I mean, who do you know of that would only make one copy of a book and put it out for public sale?"

Once again, I was distracted by something. This time, it was his bookshelves. I had counted them several times over while he was pulling up Kretts' profile, but it was only now that I realized that I had come up with the same amount each time: 22.

"Um, Mr. Bookworm?...I'm sorry, but...I have to go!"

"Oh, well,...okay then."

I turned my back to him, prepared to run out of there as fast as possible. I knew where I was headed. To the library, where I could do some research, one of the things I did best, to hopefully shed some light on my situation. However, before I started running, I was stopped in my tracks by Mr. Bookworm's voice.

"Hey, wait a minute! Hold up, Ms. Sparkle!"

"Huh?...W-What is it, Mr. Bookworm?"

" almost forgot your book!"

As he pushed across the counter to me, I felt like just walking away. Leaving the book in his care...and letting him deal with it. But, just like the other night, something was pulling me to go retrieve it. As I drew closer and closer to it, tears began to form in my eyes. Why was I crying? I had no control over my body, that's why! I was being forced to retrieve something that was causing me nothing but trouble. I had never experienced anything so unusual in my life. After eventually reaching the counter, I, still in tears, picked up the book.

"Well, good-bye, Twilight! Have a nice day."

"That's easy for you to say," I muttered.

Chapter 4

The Curse Begins

As my life went on, everything about me was going as it should have been...except my mind. I would still go about my daily routines, helping Orlando and doing my research...but all I was thinking about was that number...22. Did it really pose such a threat that it caused the Italian Blonde's father to kill himself and his wife? I had to find out...but I didn't know how. I thought about who I could go to...who might be able to help me. I finally decided on Orlando. But, unfortunately, when I told him, the only thing that interested him was the place where the Italian Blonde killed himself. He wanted me to take him to his apartment. I had no choice but to do as he wanted...Orlando could be very persuasive.

I knew why he wanted to go...He wanted to make love with me there. See, Orlando had certain...turn-ons. When he felt he was in danger or if he was in a place that is or once was dangerous, like the scene of a violent death,...he enjoyed it...sexually. Now, I definitely wasn't complaining about any of that. However, as our bodies touched under the bright white color of the room,...something hit me. It was as if the spirit of the Italian Blonde was lingering in there and had sent a spiritual message to my mind. What he had said to me about the was all so clear.

"It's this number!...Twenty-two!..."

"This number is everywhere!..."

"Driver's licenses, pages of books, even my name! It was in the words that I spoke, the pieces of music I played...Everything!..."

It was clear what I had to do...I had to check everything. When I got home later that night, I immediately got to work. I checked my name (my actual name)...It had 22 letters. I checked my birthday...The numbers added up to 22. I even checked the number of windows in my house. Guess what?...There were 22 of them. I knew then that, whatever had happened to the Italian Blonde's dad...and then him...was now happening to me.

After finishing the chapter, I put down the book and started staring at the wall. For about an hour, I just sat there...staring. I'm glad Spike was gone to Canterlot that week or he would've thought I'd gone off my rocker. But...then again...I had in a way...I re-read the chapter a couple of times and always came up with the same conclusion: this book was meant for me. I finally got the strength and will to get up and go down to the main room. However, I didn't stay gone long. I came back up to my room with a quill and notebook. I immediately got to work.

"Okay...My name: Twilight Mary Ann Sparkle...That adds up to 22!...Okay, okay!...My birthday: February 2nd...Oh my gosh...February 2nd! The second day of the second month! Two and two beside each other are 22!...That just windows..."

Some relief came over me when I found out I only had five...However...the curse wasn't gonna give up that easily. When I looked closer, I found out that four of my windows split into four sections each and my 5th window was just one by itself.

"Let's see...4x4=16...16+1=17...Hmm...That still doesn't equal 22."

But the curse wasn't always so simple. It wanted me to think to truly experience its inner horrors.

"...BUT...I originally had 5 windows! And 17+5 equals...22..."

I couldn't believe it, but, whatever the Italian Blonde had, I now had. And it wasn't going any easier on me than it was him...I wondered how long it would take before the curse led me to doing what he did...killing himself.

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