I sat staring at the Director of Processing, E-meter cans in my hands, trying to comprehend what he was saying to me.
"From now on," he said to me in the blank-faced, unblinking eyes and monotone voice of all good Scientology auditors, "you will be confined to your room. A guard will be posted outside your room at all times. You are not to leave your room for any reason. Your meals will be brought up to you. Do you understand?"
I was dumbfounded. I was being punished. But for what?
I looked up at him. "What did I do wrong?" I stammered.
But he wouldn't tell me. "This is for the security of the Org (organization)," he responded. "That is all I can tell you. Now, you may go."
From nowhere, a young girl appeared at my side.
"Dana," commanded the D of P (Director of Processing), "Will you please escort Ms. Wakefield to her room. Now."
I was dismissed.
I sat on my bed, trying to understand.
At first, I dared to hope.
"Over the rainbow," I thought. "They're going to send me over the rainbow." This was the term used to refer to the secret location of our founder L. Ron Hubbard. No one except for a few higher-ups knew where he and his personal staff were located. It was a tightly kept secret.
"They're going to send me over the rainbow because I've been having trouble with my auditing (Scientology counseling)." It was rumored that sometimes difficult preclears were sent "over the rainbow" to have their cases straightened out by Hubbard's assistant, David Mayo, or even perhaps by Hubbard himself.
I walked to the door of my room, testing. A young man was seated on the floor next to my door. He looked up at me threateningly. I retreated back to my bed.
As promised, my meals appeared on schedule.
The days passed. Slowly my hope began to fade. I seemed to have been forgotten by the world.
One night, I looked outside my room, and saw that my guard had fallen asleep. I slipped out of the room and crept down the hall to the stairway at the end of the hall. I walked down the stairs and let myself outside.
It was a clear night with an almost full moon. I began to walk through the silent neighborhood east of the Org. Several blocks away I found a small shelter by the bay with seats overlooking the black water.
I sat and looked out over the water, trying to think. For some reason, my mind refused to cooperate. I had the sensation of trying to work through thick mud. What was I to do? Where was I to go?
A few blocks away was the Org, my safety. Here, outside, was the dangerous "wog" world. As I later tried to explain to people outside Scientology, I was like a two year old child. I was incapable of leaving home. They owned my soul. The ties binding me to the Org, though invisible, were more powerful than any physical bond could have been. I was in a trap more powerful than any cage with iron bars and a lock. Mentally I belonged to them.
Slowly I began to walk back to the Org. I opened the door and returned quietly to my room. The guard was still sleeping. Not knowing what else to do, I went to bed.
The days passed.
One night, three people from the Guardian's Office came to my room. They told me to pack.
"Tomorrow," they told me, "you will be taken to the airport. You are to fly anywhere out of the state of Florida. You will not be able to return here. You are to stay out of any Scientology center wherever you go."
I was in shock. I understood what it meant. I was being offloaded. I started to cry. I begged them to change their minds, but it was useless. The orders had come from above.
My shock turned to anger. They couldn't just get rid of me like this. For twelve years I had given them everything I had. My time. My money. I had slaved for them. They couldn't just throw me out.
But I knew they could.
I had seen it happen to plenty of others.
My vain hopes of going over the rainbow were completely dashed. I tried to think after they had left my room. Offloaded. But why?
Slowly, I understood.
It was the Swiss woman.
A week earlier, a Swiss woman who was on the same advanced levels as I was, had thrown herself off the breakwater by the Org and drowned. It had been in the papers and when it was discovered that she was a Scientologist, it had caused embarrassment for the Org.
It was well known that I was doing poorly with my auditing. I had been having terrible nightmares and waking up screaming in the middle of the night. During the day I wasn't doing much better.
I was an embarrassment to the Org, and as I was always complaining about my auditing I set a bad example for the other preclears, some of whom had paid hundreds of thousands of dollars to be here.
I understood. The Swiss woman. They were afraid I was going to commit suicide too. I had practically said so in my auditing.
So I packed.
The next morning I was taken to Tampa International Airport in a van, under guard. They asked me where I wanted to go.
Still in shock and feeling like I was living a bad dream, I answered reluctantly, "Madison, Wisconsin." Where my parents lived. I had no place else to go.
The flight passed like a dream. My guard sat beside me. I looked down at the snowy, February fields of Wisconsin. It was all too much to comprehend.
For twelve years, there had ceased to be life outside of Scientology for me.
At that point, death would have been preferable to exile. Actually, I anticipated death. For it was well rumored in Scientology that to leave with an incomplete level of auditing could result in death within twelve days.
I got off the plane and my guard disappeared. I looked around for my parents whom I had called from Florida to let them know I was coming. I didn't see them.
Suddenly, I was alone and adrift in the wog world.
The thought filled me with terror.