Pseudopod 412: Rule Of Five

by Eleanor Wood

“Rule Of Five” first appeared in Bete Noire in May 2012 and hasn’t yet been reprinted. “Obsessive compulsive disorder is far from the trivial, quirky condition it’s often made out to be. It’s a serious psychiatric disorder that can massively impact the lives of its sufferers. Through this story, I wanted to explore it in a psychological horror context whilst trying to convey the pressure and intensity of living with OCD.”

ELEANOR WOOD‘s stories have appeared in Bete Noire, Plasma Frequency, Bastion, and Crossed Genres, among others. She writes and eats liquorice from the south coast of England, where she lives with her husband, two marvellous dogs, and enough tropical fish tanks to charge an entry fee.. She blogs at Creative Panoply.

Your reader is Alasdair Stuart. Read what’s on his mind at The Man Of Words.


“Adam clicked the light off. He clicked it on again. Off again. On again, once more, and then, finally, off. Sighing, he closed his apartment door and turned the key before unlocking it, opening it just to check that the light was off (it always was, by the very nature of the Rule of Five), and closing and locking the door once more. He walked, in elongated steps, the five paces to the head of the stairs, and then trotted down them briskly, counting them in his mind. Fourteen steps, of course. There would always be fourteen, unless he failed to count them. But in that event, the number of steps would be the least of his worries.”