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Creatures of Habit

By Brefni O'Rourke

A mythology professor with OCD begins to shed his repetitive routines, but when monsters invade his gated community, he suspects his neurotic behaviors may actually be rituals intended to ward off an ancient supernatural force.

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0 Reviews | 111 pages | 1 week ago | Draft 2


Professor John Habit suffers from obsessive compulsive disorder (OCD). It's been years since a home invasion left him with crippling anxieties which force him to overcompensate through a series of repetitive behaviors. On days when he's not teaching comparative mythology, John is engaged in group therapy led by Dr. Solomon Montag.

With three of his best research assistants having recently gone missing, John retreats even further within his neurotic routines. Obsessing over home security despite living within a gated community, he leads a neighborhood watch group with fellow group therapy members, and loyal friends, Walt, Virgil, and Nick.

John realizes his OCD is not getting better, if anything he's developing more “rituals.” He confronts Montag, only to be prescribed a new medication. When Dr. Cassandra Littleton moves in across the street, she sees the bizarre habits he's a slave to, the relentless security protocols he's put in place that have imprisoned him and offers a new course of therapy.

John is immediately taken with Cassandra and does not take his new meds. That night, on patrol, John encounters an ominous intruder in a Jackal Mask which shakes him to his core. He accepts Cassandra's offer and begins his first session of cognitive hypnotherapy.

After reliving the trauma of the home invasion while under hypnosis, John oversleeps the next morning and is late for an important meeting which upends his morning routine abruptly. That night, a mysterious horned creature invades the community and kidnaps his friend Nick.

John immediately accuses the Nomadz gang, a Latino-Native American crime outfit based in the neighboring trailer park of Stony Creek, but Detective Sam Haines is not so sure. The abductions are clearly a message to John, as each involves someone he knows, and includes a Native American artifact left at the scene. John investigates on his own and finds strange markings on trees behind the community, that correlate to the artifacts, and suggest black magic rituals.

As John continues on with Cassandra's therapy, he sheds more of his behaviors, and each night, seemingly in correspondence to his steps toward recovery, a new animal-like Creature appears to kidnap one of his friends. The eye of suspicion lands squarely on John.

John suspects that he is responsible, in that his habits are really rituals based in the supernatural to ward off the encroaching evil. Cassandra urges him not to give in to irrational fears and remain strong. John must find the courage to continue on with his recovery and confront the strange creatures in his midst in order to solve the mystery of the kidnappings and rescue his students and friends.

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