The Holocene Pax - Chapter 1

"Oi, wake up."

"Ugh, whazzat... I'm up, I'm up, stop poking me."

"... You don't look very up. You haven't even opened your eyes yet."

"They feel really heavy, and kinda hurt, give me a minute, ok?"

"I suppose. Take however much time you need, I guess I'm not in any rush."

"... Hey, I just realized this. Who are you? Where am I, this bed I'm in is much too warm."

"You may address me as Don, for now. And I apologize about the temperature, you're probably going to feel a bit hot for quite a while."

"Ok Don, I'm Matt. Uhm, is there a reason my eyes feel so heavy? I'm trying to open them and I can't seem to, and it's starting to freak me out."

"Don't worry too much, it's your body trying to sort itself out. Your pupils have been extremely dilated for the past half day, and are trying to regain their shape."

"Half day! The hell- how long have I been asleep? And what do you mean, 'shape'?"

"Tell me, Matt, what is the last thing you remember?"

"Uh, I was on my way to class and I was feeling pretty sick. I think I called a friend to come help me to the infirmary. It's pretty fuzzy."

"Ah, good, you remember making the call. You've been in a sleeping or sleepwalking state for three full days now, and a little change."


"Please stop hyperventilating, the doctor will have my head if you pass out again."


"Good, just keep slowing it down like that. Let me explain the situation to you a little more scientifically. Your body is currently in the next-to-last stage of Oreamnos' Redefinition, a very special condition."

"Is it fatal?"

"Not at all, the worst that can usually happen is some brain damage. Because you can remember your name, it is highly unlikely that you will have any negative side effects."

"Brain damage? What kind of condition is this?"

"Well... truth to be told, it's not going to sound very scientific. Please trust me when I say that this is absolutely true, and you'll be able to verify it yourself once your eyes are back. You're condition is caused by a cohabitation of souls."

"You're telling me I'm possessed. Really."

"No no, possession would mean that you wouldn't be able to remember your name. Cohabitation is more like... butter on toast. The original bread is mostly unchanged, but the end result is much better. Oreamnos' is a good condition to have, nothing like possession."

"You've got to be crazy. You're trying to explain this voodoo crap by comparing me to toast?"

"Sorry, I'm hungry, it was a bad example. Unfortunately, I don't think there's a good example, most people have to see to believe. In the meantime, can you feel your legs and feet?"

"... Yeah, they're both kinda cramped. And really warm."

"Touch your leg with your hand, tell me what you feel."

"Ooookay, I feel... my leg. Thick wooly pants, much more wintery than is appropriate for this-"


"Why the hell is this wool attached to my leg?"

"I'm afraid that's not wool, that's your leg hair."

"Dude, it's an inch long and thicker than the hair on my head. What the hell?"

"Might want to check that. Touch your head."

"Is my hair... curlier than usual? And I grew a bear in three days? And..."

"Don't cut your finger on that."

"The hell do I have horns? What kind of sick joke is this?"

"No joke, Matt. Those are your horns, and that hair on your head and legs is all yours too. Don't worry too much, the horns won't be there for long, and the hair will recede."

"Yeah, like I'm going to believe that I've turned into a faun overnight. Ha ha. Stop jerking my chain."

"They say seeing is believing. Open your eyes, boy."

Matt peeled his eyes open, wincing at the intensity of the lights overhead. He was in a long, well-lit room, in one of a dozen beds lining the wall. There was a small table between each bed, pushed up against the wall, with an odd collection of hospital equipment on each one.

"I am over here, Matt."

Matt turned his eyes to the foot of his bed. Sitting beside his feet was a silver-haired man, sitting in a chair with an old book in his hand. Intense yellow eyes bore down on Matt's face, appraising him as he sat up.

"What is this place?"

"First things first. Look at your legs, use the mirror beside you."

Matt lifted the covers to see that he was naked. Not necessarily indecent, because his privates were covered by a couple inches of thick brown fur, but naked nonetheless. The fur extended all the way down his legs to his toes, which seemed to be unusually dry and stiff. Matt hesitantly poked his big toe, and swallowed when he realized that it was as hard as a rock.

"Your feet are already reverting to their original form. Give it an hour and you'll be back to your fleshy pink self." Don leaned over and grabbed a small square mirror from the table. "Here, you need to see your eyes. Brace yourself for a shock though."

Matt looked into the mirror with great reluctance. Sure enough, he had grown a full beard, something he had never even considered before, and two dangerous-looking horns were arching up from the top of his head. But the most alarming thing was his eyes.

"What. The. Fuck. Are my pupils... rectangular?"

"Pretty close. Allows you to see more in your peripheral vision, and also see better at night. You should be glad."

"I look like the devil!"

"Yeah, a lot of newcomers feel that way." Don leaned back in his chair and regarded Matt. "Your generation is simultaneously the most accepting of these transformations and also the most adamantly unwilling to admit the reality of the situation."

"This kind of crap is the stuff of fairy tales, not exactly the kind of thing a sane person would accept at face value!"

"And yet there you are, the spitting image of Pan himself." Don put his book down on the bed and gestured with both of his hands. "Try not to look at it as a fairy tale, but more like an aspect of theology impacting you directly. You're a practicing Christian, if I recall correctly?"

The intensity of Don's gaze pushed Matt back. "Uh, yeah, I go to church every so often."

"Do you know the story of Legion?"

"The one with the demons? There was a legion of demons or something possessing a man, and they were driven into a herd of pigs?"

"Yes. That story clearly illustrates a very simple fact: a body can house multiple souls, just like a brain can hold multiple minds. However, unlike the possessed or schizophrenic, you are a healthy individual: I would save that you're incredibly healthy, now that you have a second soul animating your body."

"Incredibly healthy? I've been asleep for three days, that doesn't sound healthy."

"That was a sorting period. The body is as the soul tells it to be: for the past month, your body has been getting conflicting messages from your souls. Now that your souls have established a harmony, your body has twice the power going to it, and you will be much more than you have been in the past."

"I feel tired again trying to wrap my head around what you just said."

"It's fine. Get some rest, I'll explain more when you're ready."

"Thanks, I guess."

Next Chapter

And that was the opening chapter. I am going to try to tell this story using a different perspective than I usually employ, so please bear with me! :)