On The Day, for reasons still unknown, people began changing. They went to sleep as their old selves and woke in their beds in different bodies: bodies that had belonged to other people. And each time they fall asleep, they wake as someone new. Set months later, “The Only Certainty” follows Derrick Gorton on an average day in this new world as he deals with food shortages, the semi-collapse of society, and how to finish his latest novel.
Here is an excerpt to give you a sample:
In those first hours, leaders from around the world asked in vain for people to remain calm; as if waking up in a different body was something normal, to be expected. But they were quickly drowned out by the theorists. Some claimed this had to be an act of a forgotten, mischievous god while others thought it was clearly the prelude to an alien invasion, and still others opted for it being some bizarre science experiment gone awry. Worse yet, nobody knew if this was a one-time event, or if it would keep happening every time people fell asleep. In those early hours the only thing obvious was that nobody had a clue.
And in this mass of confusion came the first video of The Change. Somewhere in Russia, a group of people had gathered together in an apartment to help each other stay awake. They were filming – the translator explained – last messages for their families. Then, in a corner, an old, frail woman fell asleep. They went to wake her only to see her skin become fluid and her body shrink even more. A few seconds later a young Chinese girl lay before them.
The camera whipped around to see several people running from the apartment. After about a minute of arguing between those who remained, the girl was shaken awake. She opened her eyes and talked to them, in Russian. According to the translators, this young Chinese girl knew everything the old, Russian woman had known.
For hours, Derrick and Carol watched the news and talked with her mother. But eventually, her mother’s phone died, and they were left alone. They sat on their couch watching the world end; holding each other and drinking cup after cup of coffee.