Are we living in a narrow viewpoint of reality, or is this all there is? One can go mad, trying to dig too deep into the big questions. You can be labelled a conspiracy nut for thinking outside of the box. Understandably so as we cannot comprehend what we do not understand. Don’t go looking too close, or you’ll stand out, and they are watching.
Secrets of the Universe is March’s short story that brings you into a sci-fi conspiracy about where the secrets of the universe reside. It is loosely tied to the previous story, Behind You.
Secrets of the Universe
I was never much of a conspiracy fan, that’s probably why this is a difficult thing for me to share. I’ve been called straight-laced, level-headed, and head-on-my-shoulder type of a person. My good friend Craig is into aliens, government cover-ups, and interdimensional vampires. Not me. Maybe Craig’s rambles prepared me for comprehending what I saw. He would tell me all about the documentaries he watched on the Internet and show me “proof” videos of actual alien spiritual encounters. It was all bogus. The quality of those video productions was evident that they were setup. Anyone can go to a supermarket and buy a rubber mask to look like an alien. Craig would get pissed off any time I counted his beliefs. Then, we’d smoke a joint after class, and everything would be good again. After graduation, everyone kind of went their own way. That’s typical. Craig left town too, just like I did. Not everyone leaves though, there’s that one kid who locked himself in his house, thinking that some dimensional beings were chasing him. I don’t think he will ever leave his hometown. Strange guy. He always did have the hots for Jane, who also left our town. I, too, moved away. If I wanted to make something of myself, I knew that I had to go to college, get some sort of certificate, and start working. See? Level-headed.
Okay, so, not to bore you with my past, but that’s just to let you know that I don’t spend all day playing with crystals and listening to the late-night history channel. I work at a small pub during the evening while going to school for architectural design. That is where things changed. One of my instructors is a bit of a spaz. One day, in the evening, he was giving me some extra lessons on the drafting software we were using, and that’s when I got to know his inner workings. Roger McCulloch is his name. The building had a half-a-second outage, just enough to surge the power on the computer, and we had to restart it. He muttered that they were interfering with it.
Of course, I had to ask, “who are they?”
Man, let me tell you, that was a mistake. Roger unloaded all of his theories onto me. He told me that they controlled civilization. The astral beings that were directly connected to our government, working in uniform, to suppress the conscious state of humankind. They don’t do this in one giant bang like we see in the movies, apparently. The cosmic ones have been creating a trickle effect of information to brainwashing us for hundreds of years. The subtle changes are more difficult to notice. Their methods have included false idols through religious teachings, government policies, clever marketing tactics through the media, and servants camouflaged as our world leaders. All these means have secret embedded codes that transcribe messages of obedience, projecting into our subconscious and rewiring our very thoughts.
Roger’s eyes were wide wild as spit flew from his mouth with each word he said. I’d never see my instructor like this before. He grabbed me by the shoulder and held it firmly. A part of me wanted to swat his arm, but I was frozen with disbelief. He was always a bit of a spaz, but this was eccentric.
He leaned closer to me and said, “this is valuable knowledge. You have to keep it to yourself and only share to those who need to know.”
For some reason, I thought it was good to keep humouring him – maybe in the spirits of Craig. Man, I miss him. I replied, “why are you telling me?”
“You think differently, kid. I can see it in the questions you ask in class, and the assignments you hand in. You’re different.”
“And what am I supposed to do with this… knowledge?” I smiled while asking the question I couldn’t believe that I was playing along with this nonsense. Just like old times with my friend.
“You don’t believe me,” Roger said, taking his hand back. He said, “I don’t blame you…” That’s when he went on another tangent, claiming that I was brainwashed from birth and couldn’t possibly know. It wasn’t my fault, nor my parents’ fault. These astral beings are ancient and far more sophisticated than us mere humans. They are using us as some sort of test animals. Their end goal remains a mystery, but once you start to see the subtle clues, the thin fabric of reality begins to fall apart all around you. The construct of our society is only bound by a flimsy membrane like a cloak of illusion, trying to keep us contained.
At that point, I just wanted to go home. Clearly, I wasn’t going to get any more learning done about the drafting software. I was better off searching for some of the answers online rather than listen to Roger McCulloch.
“That still doesn’t answer my question,” I said. In the back of my head, I kept smacking myself for humouring Roger, when I know I could have just ended it there.
“To step out of the box,” Roger said with a smile. “Shift yourself from one of the sheep and see the world for a really is.”
“And how do I do that,” I asked.
“Just look at the signs,” Roger said. “The astral beings’ encryptions are there… the window into realism. They are engraved on the back of them. Everywhere. Cameras. Cell phones. Newspapers. Everything we’ve made has the engraving.”
“On the back of signs?”
“That’s a good place to start.”
After that, Roger and I went back to him instructing, and me learning. I was surprised that’s where it ended. I’ve dealt with conspiracy nuts – thanks to Craig – and knew once they started, they couldn’t stop talking. Roger did. It was relieving. Maybe it has to do with old age or professionalism, and I caught him on an off day. Either way, the evening continued as normal, and I went home.
The next day was when things changed. For some reason, I couldn’t stop thinking about what Roger said. I was waiting for the bus, having a smoke. I was the only one out this early in the AM. The transit was a complete mess to get to school, but I was determined to learn. Sometimes it got here too early, other times it got here late. Today was one of the late days. My mind started to wander to Roger’s words about encryptions while I stared at the bus stop sign. The words, just look at the signs, were on repeat. I did look at that sign. Finishing the smoke, I went around to the back and leaned up, trying to see anything. Nope, just the slab of metal. Maybe a part of me wanted to believe because of how certain Roger sounded, and how certain Craig always seemed. I kept staring. There had to be something. That’s what I thought, and I guess I was right. I spotted something at the corner of the back of the sign. It looked like a scratch, or maybe as the light reflecting on the surface emphasized the texture of the metal. No…, this scratch was different. It was intentional.
This part of my story is probably where all reinforcement I made about being level-headed is going to go out the door. Anyways, I checked my backpack on the ground and hopped onto the pole, climbing up just so I could get a closer look. Bus stop signs aren’t very tall, but I wanted to get really really close. I was about an inch from the nick and saw far more than I could have ever expected. The scratch was maybe a fingernail’s width but was intricately designed. The more I stared at it, the scratch began to mutate, with parts of it phasing out of reality like someone took an eraser to it. As parts of the scratch faded, new, strange alphabets I had never seen before appeared from the centre, moving outward. Lines, shapes, and I think circuit boards. I don’t know. The closer I looked, they continued to float outward. I didn’t blink, staring into the scratch.
The core of the space continued to expand, and I could see more circuitry, then an array of colourful particles. The depth of the core continued onward, with more wiring, colours, and shapes going on forever. My naked eye couldn’t see any more, a magnifying glass was needed to see how many designs were embedded into that small space.
The scratch was certainly strange, and I hopped off the poll, knowing I couldn’t see any more. Roger was right about that, there was something on the back of the signs. I snagged my backpack and spotted a person – no, it wasn’t quite a person – standing about fifteen feet from me. Well, it was hovering, not standing. It didn’t wear clothes, nor did it have skin. Not even the light from the sky reflected on it like other objects in the area. This being was coexisting in our space without being bound by the physical laws that make it. That makes me sound like a crackpot, hey? Seriously, it was all grey and had millions of tiny little particles moving up and down its form, all held together by the translucent outer layer.
The loud sound of a vehicle exhaust erupted and caused me to jump. Looking over, I saw the bus had just stopped in front of me. The being was gone. I rubbed my eyes, trying to get some clarity into what I saw. None of it added up.
The bus ride to school was also abnormal. My phone didn’t seem to react to my fingers. I tried to check the social media apps, check the news, even check my email, and nothing. There was only a strange overlay of the same alien alphabet that I saw on that bus sign scratch, expanding outward from the screen as new shapes appeared. I’m still not sure if I became consciously aware of the subtle imagery that was all around our reality, or if that scratch activated something in my brain. Maybe I accidentally took some psychedelics. Not that I ever have, but I couldn’t think of any solid reasoning for what I was seeing.
I didn’t want to freak out and cause a scene, and I needed answers. Roger. Man, that bus ride felt like an eternity, watching those shapes fly around the screen of my phone. I even saw them on the ads on the bus, moving along the ad frames. Craig would not believe this. Finally, the bus ride did come to an end, and I got off at the regular stop. Two men in black suits were there. They had shades on, slicked back hair, and briefcases. Strange. I kept walking once I got off the bus, assuming that they were going to take the transit. Instead, they began to follow me. It started to freak me out, and I took a different route to school. The two men kept following. I entered the lobby of the tower where my school was, took the elevator to the floor below the school, and then used the stairs to get the correct level. I hoped my little manoeuvre would shake them from me. It worked.
Once I got into class, I sat down, breathing heavily, feeling sweat all along my back. I had classic jimmy-leg for the whole session, watching as Roger instructed the class. I checked my phone, it was still strange. Occasionally I would look over the classroom door to see if the men in black were there. No, they were gone. No strange floating particle-people either. My heart raced. I needed more answers.
The class eventually ended, and I managed to corner Roger before he left for lunch. This time, my eyes were wide, and I was spitting saliva, grabbing hold of his shoulder. I rambled on about the scratch on the back of the bus stop sign, seeing the ever-spiralling inward designs of the alien language. I checked if we were alone, then told him about the floating particle being, the men in black, and asked him if he saw any of this.
Roger smiled at me.
“What?” I asked.
“You did look.”
“What did that bus sign do to me?”
“You saw the truth,” Roger said. “You got a glimpse into the secrets of the universe. Now that your consciousness is expanded, you can see parts of the world for what it really is.”
“And what is that?”
“A fabricated construct, created by those who wish to contain us, limiting our true potential.”
“What true potential? And the government is working with them? Are those men in black going to come back?”
Roger shook his head. “More mysteries of life. I wish I could answer these for you, but I too only got a glimpse into the secrets.”
“Can I go back to the bus stop, it will tell me more, right?”
“Don’t do it,” Roger said sternly. “You got away lucky.”
“What you mean?” I asked, letting go of Roger’s shoulder.
“Too much knowledge raises their attention. You saw the astral being. You saw the government men. That was a warning. Imagine if you found out more, what they would do if you. If you recall, I said these are sophisticated beings that have been doing this for centuries.”
“Then why would they have their secret out in the open like that?”
“I couldn’t tell you. Maybe it is part of their experiment. Maybe it is a flaw in the technology. All I know is that once I got a glimpse into the true reality, they wanted me to stay away. I did.”
“Now, you just hold onto this information?”
Roger shrugged. “At least I’m not living in a lie and are aware of them. I can only share with those that are willing to think differently. I know you presumed me to be a bit of a nutcase. I don’t blame you. Imagine if I tried to tell the world, what they would think?”
Roger was right. Craig was right. Whatever these beings had planned with humanity had been long in initiation before I was born. Whatever their purpose is remains a mystery. The glimpse that I got from the encoded message on the back of that bus stop sign was all I could think about. Eventually, the strange alien alphabet overlay that I saw on everything dissipated. I guess it had something to do with my consciousness narrowing again. I don’t know. The men in black never came back. The strange astral being did not return. I never looked at the bus stop sign again. I told Craig. He laughed at me. I guess he stopped smoking weed while in college and cleaned himself up. Now I’m the crazy one.
These astral beings are complex and powerful. They knew instantly once I got a glimpse into the secrets of the universe. My human brain can’t even comprehend what they are trying to do. Still, I am tempted to go back to that bus stop sign – or any sign – and see more about what makes up the real universe. The mystery gnaws at the back of my mind, wanting to know else is out there. I want to know more about their agenda, what really exists beyond this fabrication, and why we are even here to begin with. There are so many questions for humanity. Then, the façade sinks back in, and I need to pay bills, finish school, and not be put into the nuthouse. So, I keep my head down, not rocking the boat, and stay level-headed.