Philippe Durieux's Strange Holiday


What if the world did not follow the path of evolution, but another one? Philippe Durieux, a literature teacher at the Sorbonne University of Paris, is about to find it out.

For having profaned, a sacred tree, Philippe is sent to the past in Theseus time, whom he meets.

Theseus is on his way to Athens to meet Aegeus, the king, to be recognized by him as his son. On the way, Philippe and Theseus will meet Procrustes the deadly innkeeper and Philippe will witnesses the purification of the young hero for the crimes he committed (even though, his victims all deserved to die).

In Athens Philippe and Theseus meet Aegeus and Medea, the fearful queen. While, Theseus does not yet reveal his true identity, the king is suspicious of him and the queen manage to guesses who, he really is. Medea had borne a son from Aegeus, Medus, whom she wants to see him becoming the next king of Athens, and sees Theseus as a potential rival. 
The king sends him to Marathon to capture a terrible bull that terrorizes the region. In the meantime, Philippe remains in the royal palace as a guest, where he meets Xanthippe, a mysterious woman from whom he found himself terribly attracted to.

After many more adventures, Philippe learns about the true meaning of his coming in this world and what this universe really is. Facing many enemies, Philippe will have to find a way back to his own time. And he must face another bigger threat: an irresistible ascend toward light followed by a certain death.

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  • Publication Date: September 25, 2015
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My vision of the world that I created for this story


I created the concept of Spirit / Time.


The world is a cycle. First there is an egg, left by the previous King of the World (also named the Primordial Man or Primordial Being), who went to the tenth level of Heaven to become the new Supreme Ruler. In this Egg the next King of the World is settling in.

Before His birth, the spirit of the King is forming the new world in which he will be borne, live until his death.

All along his life, the King of the World is regressing and with him, the five races of men that roam upon the Earth during four ages: The Ages of Gold, Silver, Bronze and Iron. Each race of men lives in the age which bears the same name, except for the Men of Bronze and The Hero who share the third Age. 

The first race is the Men of Gold. They are nearing perfection, almost in a state of Buddha-hood. They are shapeless pure spirits. They regress into men, titans and gods. 

They will give birth to the Men of Silver. They have shape, their mind is of a god and their body is of a titan. They regress into animals (the god aspect which will, itself, regress into the plain animal), and, from it hermaphrodite initial gender, into men and women. From being immortal, they become mortal, they will learn about cold and heat, sleepiness, thirst and hunger, then war. 

They will give birth to the Men of Bronze. They live in matriarchal societies, and practice magic, but they need tools to do so (such as a wand). They use their magic to connect to the divine, but regress into rituals and black magic. 

They give birth to the Race of the Hero. Theseus belongs to this race. They are patriarchal; strength is their mean of life, not the muscles, but energy, they draw from within. They use it to achieve extraordinary feats to reach the divine, but they regress into domination and endless wars.

They give birth to the Men of Iron: us. We are religious, superstitious and industrious. We develop art and technology. We regress into materialism. Greed and pride are the two means that drive us, especially at the end of our age. We eat all the natural resources from Mother Nature to satisfy our insatiable voracity. We live in the tyranny of mercantilism where a man must pay to pretend being free. We are submitted to the dictatorship of moderation and the politically correctness, where any expression of exuberance and aggressiveness are banished from good moral, and buried deep within ourselves, creating a dangerous unbalance. 

This is the time when the King of the World incarnates himself as the last prophet or the Buddha Maitreya. He judges us, rewards us accordingly to our behavior in this life, and put an end to this world. He then goes to the tenth level of Heaven replacing his predecessor, who Himself reach a higher level beyond our reach. The cycle ends, earth shrink back to the size of an egg and wait for the next King of the World who will start a new cycle. 

How do we regress?

The regression process works by a gradual decrease of our level of consciousness, translating into a frame of mind that is narrowing its perception of the universe. In another word, if in the beginning, the world seems simple and small, it gradually becomes bigger and more complex as confusion, lack of faith, and lack of confidence grow in us.

You have to imagine a vast ocean that covers all of Earth. This sea, I call it the level of consciousness. In the beginning, it covers the whole Earth surface with no land. The spirit is fluid, man is under absolute knowledge and wisdom. But then, the ocean level start to lower as the level of consciousness gradually shrinks. Few islands of ignorance begin to emerge here and there. In the beginning, being tiny, and sparse, they gradually grow in size and increase in number. toward the end, there are only lake, small river or tiny enclosed sea. The end of the cycle should be a dry desert with no water left.

But the process is not homogeneous. Regression is faster in areas with a strong economic development. Where there is economic growth, our mind become strongly preoccupied with, mainly, the satisfaction of our greed and our pride, forgetting that all the religions consider them as great sins. But, materialism is not concerned by this.


Time does not exist. It’s before all a system of measurement that we put in place to compensate the growing confusion of our mind. It is related to the motion of things and the actions of beings in an irreversible way. It is because everything moves in this universe from the infinitely small to the infinitely big that time is. If the electrons would stop their motion around their atomic nucleus, or the planets around their sun, don’t you think time would stop? The future does not exist yet and can only be guessed, even predictions can be changed. The past does not exist anymore, just in our memories and is finally forgotten. As for the traces it leaves, it’s the result of collisions or the action of beings and it will finally disappear. Only the present is real.



The legend of Theseus is my prime source, of course. But my imagination played a big part. However, the regression theory is not a creation of mine. I heard it from someone, who studied Hinduism, and told me about it. It talks about the four Ages of regression and its main source is 'The Vedas'. The Greek religion tells of five races of men, I mentioned above, that inhabited the earth. In their Popol Vuh, the Mayas tell about four races of men, that inhabited our world, one after another, but it does not mention any regression. I also got inspired by the Theogony from Hesiod, the Republic from Plato, a book that mention the regression of the state. Then for the rest, I looked into so many of these alternate theories such as the ‘Hollow Earth, the King of the World and the kingdom of Agartha, the myth of the Giants who lived in the past, the legend of the Mount Meru.

Read a chapter 


Chapter 1

At last summer! It was about time. Winter, like a disappointed lover, did not seem to want to leave France. It cast its wrath, inflicting on the south of the country storm upon storm and endless torrential rain on the north. Temperatures were crazy, going up and down far beyond the seasonal norms. But are any seasons left to work properly in this world, with all this unbalanced weather?

Philippe Durieux doesn't care. He walks happily toward the Sorbonne, where he teaches. Approaching a public garden, he can smell the freshness of the surrounding trees’ leaves; that same smell found in forests still full of humidity. The recent rains at the beginning of the week have kept the springtime freshness for a little while longer.

Philippe thinks about his holiday vacation. This year, the same as every year, he will go to Greece. But this time, he decided, it will be out of the tourist-beaten paths.

It is true that he knows Greece quite well; he visited the country for the first time at the age of ten with his father: “To show you something other than on TV” his father told him. There, he introduced him to Greek mythology. He told him about legends and tales that still haunt the country: its heroes and half gods - Jason, Heracles, Theseus, and so many others. After that, young Philippe fell in love with them, dreaming about them, creating stories of being among them.

In a lecture hall of the great Parisian university, Philippe teaches his last session of the year. The hall is not very crowded, but everyone listens with great care, taking notes meticulously.

“… To conclude, I will say that the relationship between Theseus, the legendary hero, the Minotaur’s victor, and Theseus the historic king is mostly this evolution from a turbulent and passionate youth toward an age of reason and wisdom. A concept not specific to Greece and that many other mythologies share. The Mediterranean world is also full... Yes … I see a raised hand over there. Go ahead, miss.”

“You said, the historical Theseus, as if he really existed, but are there any forms of proof of his existence?”

“Of course, not. Maybe I anticipate a bit… It’s only a matter of time before his existence is proven. After all, everyone thought that Troy was a mythical place until the city was discovered by Heinrich Schliemann at the very same spot that Homer mentioned.

You know, when an event occurs, as long as people remember it, it is called history. Then, when they start forgetting about it, it becomes a legend. I believe Theseus was a king who truly existed, but he's only remembered in the legends about him. There were, of course, more attractive exaggerations of his life like the extraordinary feats...”

Philippe glances at his watch.

“… of his youth, and there was the king Theseus, full of wisdom, who ruled Athens. Well, that’s it for today! This concludes our year term. And I want to thank all of you for attending my classes so faithfully. I wish you good luck for your coming exams, a very nice holiday, and hope to see you next year.”

In the big corridor just outside of his classroom, Philippe talks with a small group of students. A young woman approaches. She stops a short distance away. She is tall with long blond hair, likely bleached, and held in a ponytail, with a long, thin face, straight nose and blue eyes. She wears bright red lipstick to highlight her thin lips. With erect, rigid posture, and a serious expression on her face, she is dressed with a suit, and a classic blouse. Her look is of a stereotyped librarian or secretary right out of the 1950’s. Philippe notices her. He exchanges a few more words with his students, and then leaves them to approach her.

“Miss Fuller, when will you stop bothering me during my lessons with your brash questions?”

“What do you mean by brash questions? Because I doubt about the existence of a legendary man? Never! Otherwise, as usual, your course was great.”

“Nice to hear. But I cannot help noticing that every year there are fewer and fewer students. People don’t care about ancient legends anymore. They prefer science, where there are more, opportunities...”

“Yes, I know the old song. By the way, what are you doing tonight?”

“What? You forgot? I have dinner with a charming lady.”

“Ah, it’s tonight? Where?”

“I was thinking Greek.”

“I prefer Italian.”

“Then let’s go eat Chinese.”


Philippe gives up.

“OK! Japanese. Eight o’clock?”

After dinner, Philippe and Claire Fuller go to her large and tidy studio apartment. The furniture is a mix of older, inherited pieces from her paternal grandmother and the more modern build-it-yourself type.

After a session of favorite bed exercises, the two lovers rest in each others’ arms.

“What are you doing for the holiday?”

“I go to Greece.”

“Again to Greece!? For the two years that we’ve been together, it’ll be the third time that you go there. Why don’t you take me to Italy? Or Thailand? I heard it’s a nice country.”

“For the two years that we’ve known each other, you keep telling me that you’ll split with your Serge, but you are still with him. So, where is he now? Another trip to meet a customer?”

“You know how he is: when I talk about splitting with him, he collapses in tears and threatens to kill himself. I don’t want him dead because of me.”

“That’s bullshit, and you know it. You don’t even live together.”

“Because, I don’t want to”

“Maybe, but in the meantime, we’ve ended up in this awkward situation. I am not going to wait for you forever. This year, I go to Greece by myself. Who knows, next year, when you have made up your mind, we can go to Italy or Thailand.”

“Yes darling, I am already dreaming about our Vietnam holidays.” Claire drifts into sleep.

“You mean Thailand?”

“Hum... yeah...”

The truth is that Claire is not in a hurry to leave her Serge. For the three years that they have been together, he always remained faithful to her. And he loves and respects her, unlike Philippe, who cannot stop himself from sleeping with female strangers and friends.

Neither is Philippe in a big hurry to see her leave Serge. Philippe likes his bachelor’s life. He likes women too much to have only one. And if he pushes Claire to leave her man, it’s because he knows perfectly well that she is the type of woman who doesn't like to be rushed and will drag out the separation as long as possible. Her family background, which includes a father who is a powerful company CEO but who gives in to all her whims, has made her quite stubborn.

At thirty-four years old, Philippe is a confirmed womanizer. He likes all types: blond, brunette, auburn, from all nationalities, exotic or not. As long as they are pretty, he will go for it. And Thailand is a country that he could not care less to visit. Except maybe, for the pretty Thai women that he might meet there. And in every case like this, he would have to go alone.

In no way, he is going to bring anyone with him to Greece. Being there is his favorite moment, where he can find himself, his dear heroes and his gods again. There, all the magic returns. He can spend hours meditating in the middle of Delphi, Athens or Sparta’s ruins. He always finds a treasure of ideas for his future courses. To put it short, he goes to Greece to restore himself, as his father used to say.

His father. When he thinks about him, there are waves of different -- sometimes conflicting -- emotions in his mind, always with a touch of nostalgia.

Looking like a hippie straight out of the sixties, which, in fact, was the case, Leopold Durieux was a nice, romantic man, a touch mystical. He was a history and geography teacher of a high school in the city of Quimper.

Leopold first believed in evolution, but rejected the theory quickly, finding in it, too many conflicting ideas, and too many uncertainties related to the proofs gathered. With time, he radicalized his opinion, crudely accusing Darwin of being the first of a long lineage of idiots who brought down humanity to what it had become.

Leopold also rejected religion. Not god himself at first, but rather official or officious religious organizations, which like to impose themselves as the middle man between god and man. As time was going on, he began having doubt about the Judeo-Christian god’s nature, and asked himself this fundamental question: what sort of god is that, a god who claims to be the god of all men, but is elitist to a point of having some chosen people? A god who prefer to be feared rather than loved? A god who is jealous? It was especially these two notions of fear and jealousy that made him doubt the most. Aren’t they supposed to be the devil’s attributes? And what is the Devil, if not God’s dark side? From this assumption, he became polytheist. The gods, indeed, can be as harsh as Yahweh is, but at least they allow their believers to tolerate people with other faiths, contrary to the monotheist believers. He finally developed a theory arguing that man, far from having evolved, had simply regressed.

He drew this concept from a mixture of religions of Greek and Hindu origins, claiming that humanity was made of five successive races of men living across four ages. They were Men of Gold, Silver, Bronze, Heroes and finally Men of Iron, the present race being the last. Each race lived in the age bearing the same name, except for the third and fourth races sharing the Bronze Age.

Like the metals from which they got their names, each age was lacking in quality. At first, from a time aspect, each age, within which the race flourished, was reduced by half the duration of the previous one. Then, they were diminished from a spiritual aspect: Men were first Buddha, then gods, sorcerers, heroes and finally men.

The first time his father told him about his theory, young Philippe was very impressed. That was during their first trip to Greece. Three years later, his father took him there again to visit the Ionian Islands. There, Leopold explained the legend of each isle. This was to be their last trip together.

On their journey back, they had taken the bus home from the airport. That evening, the night was strangely quiet. The huge thunderstorm, forecast by Météo France, did not give the usual warning signs of strong wind with sounds of distant, approaching thunder.

Philippe and his father where hurrying back home by foot from the bus stop. Arriving at the house, they felt a tickling of static electricity surrounding them, starting on their fingertips and the tips of their toes, heading along their arms and legs to the rest of the body. A powerful lighting struck Leopold, killing him instantly. Rain poured down in a torrent.

Philippe had a very hard time recovering from his mourning of this unexpected death. To see his father dying was a shock that left him seriously traumatized. He developed a deep hatred toward the gods, holding them responsible for the loss of his father. For a very long time he resented them.

For his mother, too, it was a terrible shock. Anne-Marie Durieux, born with the name Le Guelec, was a pure bred from French Brittany. She came from a die-hard Catholic family of fishermen: her father, her five brothers, her two grandfathers and every uncle except for one who was a post office employee. Yet, she did not like this life and did not want to end up like her two sisters, married to fishermen. What she liked most was painting. She had spent a great deal of time on the sea coast painting, especially boats. She loved it. It was easy for her. They were so far away, without detail, floating on the horizon. Her parents drummed into her that she had better learn useful things, like sewing, washing and ironing laundry, or cooking. In short, she should get ready to be married. But she was not discouraged.

Her brothers and sisters kept on criticizing her pictures: they were too vague, too inaccurate, continually making fun of her. But for her, her siblings were just ignorant fools who understood nothing about art. Her sisters would spend all their time on homely chores, wiping the kids clean, while her brothers would spend their time at the pub getting drunk.

She felt like a misunderstood artist, waiting for her time of glory to come, when she could finally retaliate, humiliate them with her success. When she turned eighteen, after she earned her baccalaureate, she left for Paris, trying her luck at the “Beaux-Arts” school.

She was rejected: “Not enough talent” she was made to understand. So this was the end of her great illusion. By pride, she refused to go back home, and found a job as a waitress at the Flores, a well renowned café in the Saint-Germain area.

In May of 1968, she joined that great wind of freedom that was blowing across the world. It was in a demonstration march that she met Leopold Durieux, a freshly titular geography and history teacher, working at the Jacques Decour high school in the north of the city. He had come there to express his disgust with this rotten society.

They loved each other, became engaged, and married without their parents’ consent, in a spirit of pure rebellion. Both parents were in fact relieved when they learned the news.

When she became pregnant, Anne-Marie expressed a wish to return to Quimper, her own birth town. Leopold asked for a transfer, got it approved easily, and the couple settled down there.

Philippe was born and raised in Quimper. With time, his mother was becoming increasingly pious.

After Leopold’s death, Anne-Marie had no choice but to get back on her feet, and fast. Emerging from being a house wife, she found a job as a receptionist in a hotel near the Quimper main train station. There she met Sylvain Gondain, a frequent hotel customer who would eventually become Philippe’s step-father, when the boy was fourteen, a year after his father’s death.

With time, they moved to Paris where Sylvain lived. He did the strenuous job of chartered accountant as a free-lancer, frequently traveling all around France and across Europe. Sylvain was a sweet, caring man, and extremely rational. Even though, he had been single all his life, Sylvain decided he would try to raise his step son and managed quite well.

Under his step father’s guidance, Philippe started out on a new solid basis in life, and ended up forgetting all about his gods and heroes. He also helped the boy to get over his continuing sorrow, explaining to him that if he survived the lightning strike, it was because his father was taller than he was, and lightning always strikes the highest point. “It’s mathematical” he would say.

Thinking about the past, with Claire, by his side sound asleep, Philippe finally slips into his dream world.