The Number 22

Chapter 5

February 4

KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!

"Twilight, hey! It's Rainbow Dash! I was wondering if I could borrow My Life: Spitfire's View. She's gonna be in town today and I wanna have something for her to sign!...Twilight?"

CRRRRREEEEEEAAAAKKKKKKK

"Leave me alone...I don't want visitors right now."

"Aw, come on, Twilight. Fluttershy's usually the one who keeps to herself, not you. I'll just be a minute-"

"NO!...I mean...I just wanna be alone..."

With that said, I slammed the door in one of my closest friends face's, leaving her dumbfounded and confused...and also, knowing her, angry.

"Twilight! You open this door right now! I just wanted to borrow a book! I mean, come on, this is a library after all! The whole purpose of them even existing is to borrow books!...Don't make me break the door down!"

Finally, after she gave up and left, not wanting to cause a ruckus with breaking the local library's door down, I relaxed a little bit. It's not like I was trying to push her away from my friendship...It's just that...I didn't want the curse to get her, too. I couldn't live with myself if any one of my friends, or any resident of Ponyville for that matter, got cursed with what I had. Speaking of which, it had gotten worse. I came to find out that, just like the Italian Blonde, the number was everywhere. It was in the amount of words I spoke in sentences, so I stopped speaking. It was on the clock every time I checked to see what time it was, so I threw it out. It was even on the bar code on the back of a bag of Hay Chips I was getting ready to eat, so I ordered pizza. I had even been up all night pacing, trying to discover a logical explanation for all of this. But none of my books had the answer...They did, however, have page numbers that were divisible by 22.

"Okay, okay, get it together. You can handle this, Twilight. You just have to...try and relax.....BUT I CAN'T! This book is deceiving me, pulling me into its little trap! It wants me to read on!..."

It's true. I stopped at Chapter 4 the night before and didn't read anymore. I knew that the more I pulled myself into it, the more horrifying the situation would become...and the more paranoid I would get. Eventually, I would start pushing away other ponies besides my five best friends...That's when it hit me. I never did call Mrs. Cake back...and she had said she was going on vacation immediately after that day...the day it all began.

"Oh, great! Not only I am dealing with a possibly supernatural book, but I'm also in some hot water with Mrs. Cake! Oh, could this day get any worse?!"

I read in many books and saw in many movies that that was one of the worst things you could say when your life was taking a turn for the worst...but it was too late.

SLAM!

"TWILIGHT SPARKLE!!"

It turns out that Mrs. Cake was going on a one-day only vacation...and now she was back, just as mad as she was after the Christmas party.

"Where have you been, young lady?! I have been trying to call you ever since the day you left work without telling me!"

I then realized that I hadn't used my phone since that day. What I couldn't understand was why I hadn't been hearing the phone ringing...Then it hit me. When I got home from the party, I noticed some ponies throwing something back and forth. I thought it was just a white football, so I didn't pay any attention to it...It was my phone. Turns out somepony brought alcohol to my party and started spreading it around behind my back. So, they were so drunk that they managed to break my phone...but they were sober enough to hide the remains from me. I hadn't seen my phone since then, so I hadn't even noticed.

"Mrs. Cake, please let me explain!..."

"No need, Ms. Sparkle! I can see what has to be done here!"

"And...And what might that be, ma'am?"

"I'm going to relieve you from working for me..."

"...Really? Well, that's not what I was expecting to hear at all-"

"...and signing you up to work at the post office!"

"Wait...What?! No!"

"Yes! I feel that some other form of community service will do you well. All you do is stay indoors and read books! You've got to get out, meet some new people...and the post office is just the place to do that!"

"But that means I'm gonna have to work with...(gulp)...Derpy Hooves..."

"Well, what's the problem with that?"

"Well, it's not that I don't like her. It's just...she goofs up a lot."

"Hmm...Then, I guess that'll prove more of a challenge for you."

I knew there was no arguing with that mare. Once she stated something, it was final. I used to think she could win an argument with a road sign...My theory was now proven.

SLAM!

"...Damn it, damn it, DAMN IT! I don't have time to work at the post office! My life is in danger! I have to get help!"

A couple of minutes later, I found myself on my bed, holding the book. I knew that it would just scare me more, but I had to find out more about the situation. Maybe, if the main character beat the curse somewhere in the book, I could too. Besides, I knew I had no choice, since the book had a tendency to pull me to it when it wanted me to read on.

Chapter 5

Counting the Days

As my life continued, so did the curse. I was beginning to see the number on road signs, count it in the pages of books, and even find it in the sentences I spoke. I decided to speak less to try and avoid it, but it still always found a way to get to me. Orlando wasn't helping out much. I tried to explain to him what I was going through, but he simply told me it was just my imagination...that I was being paranoid...Well, he was right about one thing: I was being paranoid...but for the right reason.

I knew I had to find out more about the number. I needed help from a professional...and I knew just the one: the town psychic. She was a mysterious medicine mare that lived in a little hut in the middle of the nearby forest. The town used to be afraid of her, but they eventually got used to her. Though, she still kept to herself.

KNOCK! KNOCK! KNOCK!

"Um, excuse me, ma'am? I was wondering if I could come in? I have something I need to ask you...It's very important! My life depends on it! Please, ma'am!...OPEN THE DOOR!..."

As I was on the verge of tears, the door opened, revealing her. She was dressed up in black and white robes from head to toe. She had a couple of piercings and a bone in her hair. She definitely was a sight to see. I won't say much about her...I think she'd like it better that way...She stared at me oddly at first, as if she was staring into my soul. But, eventually, her expression turned serious.

"I've been expecting you."

"Y-You have?"

"Yes...It's about the number 22, isn't it?"

"Yes!...How did you know?"

"I foresaw it during my meditation. The feeling it gave me sent a chill up my spine...It was a feeling of...pure evil..."

"Yes! I need to know about it!"

"Of course. Please, come inside."

I was about to go in...when it happened. Out of nowhere, she started clutching her chest and gasping for breath.

"NO!...EVIL CURSE, LEAVE ME BE!...IT'S NOT ME YOU WANT!...PLEASE?!!"

It didn't take long for her to hit the ground dead. I stood there, my mouth agape, unable to comprehend what just happened...It seemed the number wanted me to deal with this problem by myself...It wanted me to rise to the challenge.


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