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There was always twelve, or some portion of twelve. If there wasn’t twelve, there was six, and if there wasn’t six, then there would be three. Twelve was luck and accident, fate and fatality. From the dozen eggs he bought from the market that morning to the numbers on his clock, there was never anything important in his life that did not relate back to twelve.

Except one.

Perhaps, spanning it out, there were two or three, or if he was to go far enough then that one would be related to twelve simply for being related to himself, but there was only one time when he didn’t have the watch; he’d had one life before all this, and after he ruined it, it would have been over.

From the moment he ran his hand over the crystal face, the twelve numbers had leaped out and intertwined themselves with his fate and his life. At the time, he hadn’t realized exactly what it was; all he knew was that it was beautiful. The delicate black hands spun and spun and spun, keeping perfect time. There never seemed to be a need for repair or polish, and the springs stayed wound forevermore. At the time, it was the most beautiful thing on Earth. It was not the curse he saw of it now.