Andy was the type of person who from a stranger’s perspective might seem like a twenty-something surfer from a small coastal town that had no real ambition in life. Those people who spouted things here and there about him being a beach bum with no future weren’t wrong. He did seem like those things, but the cover of the book was far from the truth.
The fact that people had no real expectations about him worked in Andy’s favour when he was growing up. For years when he was younger, he was always faced with people looking and speaking to him in a certain way – a superiority complex that he always secretly found entertaining.
On the rare occasions he went into the town itself, Andy knew himself well enough to know that he had no reason to waste energy on people who would literally stop in the street and whisper and point at him. They judged him while spreading ridiculous rumours but he never held it against them.
Everyone had an opinion on why he suddenly spent so much time hidden behind the gates of his home, just like his family always had. Andy supposed there was nothing else for people to do in a town where the local police were just the neighbourhood watch who decided to give themselves badges, and that still ran on dial-up internet and flip phones.
He didn’t own a car because there wasn’t really any point. Instead, he travelled everywhere by foot or a bicycle that had seen better days. He was nothing if not physically fit from the hike between the town and the converted boarding school he called home.
The school had no real place in the town, but his family had been responsible for it since it was established. No one seemed to know how long it had been there despite the plaque out the front literally said, ‘a few hundred years’. It just felt like it appeared overnight – one day it was just there, sitting secluded on top of a hill overlooking the ocean.
Andy had all the markers for someone who could get everything they ever wanted anywhere in the world, but instead, he stayed within the confines of what his family left him, apparently alone and with little interest in the things happening on Earth. But that was the catch – Andy didn’t have any interest in what was happening on Earth.
See, what the people of this small coastal town were unaware of, was that the boarding school was a cover for an ancient secret. It was something that the general public honestly probably wouldn’t believe…or maybe couldn’t believe after the generations of cover-ups from an elaborate organisation explicitly designed to keep this knowledge in the dark.
Andy had never lived on the compound alone. He had fifty trained personnel hailing from across the world as roommates. The parents the town knew to be his weren’t even related to him but assigned agents to make it look like there was some level of normalcy happening behind those gates.
Every fifty or so years, a person was born who carried a very rare gene that activated a bridge between worlds. Andy, the twenty-something surfer from a small coastal town with no ambition was one of the most important people in the universe because it ran in his blood.
This gateway connected Earth to seven planets that were essentially Earth’s siblings. Just like Earth, the other seven planets had an individual gateway located somewhere near a large natural energy source on their planet. Each gateway shared a link to the other planets, that is, all eight could open windows to each other.
Over time, the lore and memories began to get lost in the quickly changing worlds. Little was known about the gates and their histories, only what could be deciphered from old transcripts and the knowledge of the elders.
But Andy and the other seven other gatekeepers on the other planets had memories that didn’t belong to them but rather existed at the very core of who they were. A message carried through blood by the Creators that made a bond between their destiny in life and themselves.
The gates needed to be the most important thing in their lives. The gatekeepers and elders were privy to one piece of certainty: all of the planets were variations of the same circumstances, manufactured and left to evolve with or without influence from the Creators. Earth was an experiment. Humans were an experiment. Humanity was an experiment.
Imagine knowing that information from the moment you were born. The knowledge that had the potential to send people into existential crises if they found out. What was strange was that if he could, Andy would spend every second in the ocean. He had dreams that he, as a gatekeeper, wasn’t supposed to have. Ordinary people probably would’ve thought his dreams were a joke, completely laughable mundane wishes compared to the pretty remarkable life he was born into.
From the moment he came to consciousness he knew his place in this world. His entire life planned out in front of him until the day he took his last breath. But still, all he wanted was to be that kid who was reckless. You know those ones who would break bones and have cuts and bruises across their bodies from falling out of trees and climbing on roofs.
He wanted to work at a fast food restaurant a little too much so it hindered his public school homework, all so he could pretend to get a little freedom from his slightly absent parents. Someone who was grounded when they decided to spend that hard earned money using a fake ID to buy beer and drink it out by the train tracks late at night.
If circumstances were different, he would have gone to university and failed some subjects before stumbling his way to a career he wanted, or hell, was stuck in a dead end job waiting for the day his boss finally gave him a raise and after five years working for him might finally realise his name wasn’t Bob.
Instead, he was a glorified prisoner. Andy knew what he was doing was important, pivotal to the entire planet, and he did enjoy seeing the other planets and gatekeepers but, in the end, it left him wanting more. That’s why he always dreamed of mundane normality because he thought that was his only option if he wasn’t a gatekeeper. But there was such a vast universe of possibilities out there and he didn’t want to be confined anymore. He wanted to explore.
It was then that he realised, everyone assumed that these gateways were looking glasses into other worlds, but they must be called gateways for a reason. Andy decided to meditate on it, go to a deep state of higher consciousness holding onto his questions about the gateway tightly.
While blurred, he saw memories flash in his mind of a decorative wall they had always been aware of in the depths of the ocean. The wall was accessed through a tunnel underneath the compound. The trouble was, a hundred years ago the tunnel collapsed. But as the flashes continued, Andy realised he had to get to the wall because it wasn’t a wall but a door.
Not knowing what was behind it, he had to get there and knowing there was no way to access it from within the compound, Andy decided the ocean was the only access point. Actually swimming incredibly far in the ocean was going to be the easy part. Leaving without anyone seeing was going to be hard.
When he was younger Andy used to sneak out at night to sit in the ocean on a surfboard. He was genuinely surprised that the hole in the fence and the blind spot in the security system were still there when he climbed through just after midnight. Remembering like it was yesterday, he made his way down the rough path of the cliff, found his old board in the same place he left it ten years prior and didn’t hesitate before diving into the ocean.
There was a rock formation a decent way out, and Andy guessed that if there was another entrance to the room it would be from there. When he arrived and started feeling the outside he found a perfect oval about the size of his hand. He immediately placed his right hand in the carved space and it glowed a white beaming light before he suddenly found himself dry and standing in a control room that looked like the same technology as the gateway.
There were two glowing spheres on either side of the main computer console and like second nature Andy walked up and placed both hands on either sphere. Agonising pain shot through him but he couldn’t let go. When it ended, his body didn’t buckle underneath him, but instead he felt the strongest he ever had.
He now had complete clarity. Andy was actually all of the gatekeepers that came before him on Earth, in the sense that there hadn’t been any before him, the memories, the lore, the stories, all false. The gatekeepers weren’t just able to control the gateways, but all Creator technology because they were themselves, Creators. They were placed on the planets, hell the planets and humans themselves were created, grown from nothing with fake memories inserted, as a part of what was essentially an election process.
Of the eight gatekeepers – all of noble blood – whoever was able to make it to this station first, to be enlightened about who they really were, and regain themselves, would be crowned the new leader of the Creators. It was an elaborate test to determine who was of the soundest character and strongest mind.
Andy had just won. He was to take on a new leadership role as soon as he travelled to his home galaxy. Andy sat in the elaborate chair in the middle of the room which activated as soon as he touched it. With his mind opened a holographic map of star systems near and far while plotting a course for his new kingdom.
Launching his small spaceship from the ocean, Andy or rather King Jasper watched as Earth imploded in on itself, knowing the same was happening for the other seven planets. They never really existed, all the humans and lives an incredible self-aware illusion that was no longer needed.
By Naomi Eleanor