"We need you to keep sleeping," the officer said, not looking at me.
"What? You want me to go to sleep?"
"No, stay in your chair. Do not get up."
"Did you say you wanted me to sleep?" I asked again.
"Stay in your chair," he repeated, looking at the door instead of me. "Someone will be here for you shortly."
A few hours earlier they had pulled me over, took me from my car, and drove me to the station, without telling me why I was being detained, only giving me orders to do this, do that, go here, or go there. I asked them if my car would be taken care of. They ignored me.
Eventually another man arrived and beckoned the officer out in hushed tones. "I'm sorry we can't tell you much about your situation and what you're going through. Even I was only given partial details on a need-to-know basis. We only ask that you listen for now. If you feel hungry or thristy, let us know, and we will provide you with what you need."
With that he left the room and someone else entered. Apparently they were going through some rehearsed routine, where each person was only given limited information to say.
"While we appreciate what you have done and are doing," the new woman said. "We can't let you jeopardize what we have."
I wasn't sure if I could talk but asked anyway, "Did I do something wrong?"
The woman held up her hand, "Please, no interruptions. But no, we are trying to prevent you from doing something wrong."
I wanted to ask what they thought I was going to do, but was afraid I'd get in trouble for interrupting again.
"We are trying to build a life here. While not all of us are happy, we can't let you throw everything away, whether intentionally or not. I'm sorry we can't answer all your questions. We're afraid we've gone too far already, but we have to ask you to understand that what we do must be done for our own self-preservation. I'm going to call in someone else now. Unfortunately she won't answer all your questions either, but we do want to make it clear that we have good reasons for doing everything we do."
Nodding briefly, she walked out and was replaced by another woman dressed in similar business attire.
"There are other candidates like you," she said. "We can't let you contact one another. We will actively try to prevent you from meeting them. I'm sorry we can't tell you why, but please forgive us for trying, and we would appreciate it if you do not resist our efforts. There are also many researchers and experts on your condition that we can't allow you to meet. Please understand if we try to limit your access to seemingly unrelated people or places - it is in the interest of us all. There are certain ideas we fear would send you into dangerous territory, thinking about things that may jeopardize our world, so we must also apologize beforehand for limiting your access to those ideas.
"You have done things with consequences that you do not realize, and we have to limit the effects of what you do, based on our own risk assessments. I'm sorry I can't get into deeper details on that either. I'm calling in our final colleague to give you parting instructions before we let you get out of here. We do appreciate your time."
She left and another man entered.
"What we want you to do is to go about your life as you have always done, before we brought you here. Do what you always do. But do remember there will be times when you encounter difficulties that appear unreasonable. We ask that you not fight too hard against them. We are trying to keep your life stable. Those difficulties are there for a reason and if you continue to fight them, do understand that we have a lot of resources at our disposal. Please stay on the sidewalk we have laid out for you, for all our sakes. I do understand you have many questions, but we just need you to understand there is more going on than what you realize, and we may be forced to intervene in your life to save all of us."
I left the station kind of dazed, trying to go over everything that was said to me in my head. They refused to give me any written instructions. I didn't know what was going to happen if I forgot their orders.
I found my car outside. The key was in the ignition, just where I left it when I was taken in. I suppose nobody was going to try to steal a car outside a police station.
I drove off unsure what I was supposed to do now. Would I be exceeding my limits for continuing my day? I started second-guessing all my actions and wondering if I was being followed.
The traffic lights seemed to be turning green just as I reached them, not requiring me to stop, no matter where I went. "That's kind of freaky," I thought. My day was ruined though. There wasn't much time left now but to go home and sleep.
I wondered if I had time to go to a grocery store or if they would judge that off limits. The traffic light for turning into the grocery store was red, the one for home was green. I waited for the lights to change for what seemed like an unusually long time. Just when it seemed like everyone around me was losing patience waiting for the light, it changed and I pulled into the grocery store parking lot.
The lot was packed, which was surprising considering how few people usually came at this time of day. I circled the lot a few times without finding a spot. Other cars were circling too, or waiting for a spot to open up. I was tempted to park illegally and run in for a quick shopping trip, but just then, a patrol car drove by. I was afraid to look at the driver.
"Was this the way it was going to be?" I thought. "Was this going to be their way of telling me to go home?"
I drove to the parking lot exit. The light was green, and every light was green for the remainder of my trip home.
I put some leftovers in the microwave and turned on my computer while waiting for dinner to heat up. My internet was down. Just as my dinner finished heating, the power went out.