"Would you like me to fetch him now Sir?" the voice stirs O'Brien to reality; he looks at the man beside him.
"Ah yes, yes bring him here," O'Brien says. The man nods, turns and leaves the room. O'Brien sighs, he takes the glasses from his face and rubs his eyes encouragingly. He's in one of the more discreet levels of the ministry, one few have ever seen, but many know exists. It's a bright room, much like the cells of the ministry, it is completely bare, not even a telescreen within. Especially not a telescreen. O'Brien replaces the glasses on the bridge of his nose and looks at his clock, twenty-three forty-five.
O'Brien feels a strong swelling of pain in his stomach and leans against the wall for support.
"…It's you... and it's me…" a voice.
O'Brien feels ill, today is the last of days to be witnessed by Winston. Everything has an expiry date.
"…It's love…" the voice whispers.
Since O'Brien first watched and studied Winston he was intrigued. Never before has O'Brien come across a party member so passionate about the truth.
Winston's mind is astonishing! So much intelligence, O'Brien wishes he can just talk with Winston one more time. It's a wasted hope. O'Brien hasn't seen a mind like Winston's since…
"…Our purpose…it's you and it's me…life…it's love…" the voice echoes in O'Brien's mind.
O'Brien's hands start shaking. O'Brien clasps them together but the shaking doesn't stop.
O'Brien takes a deep breath and repeats a chant.
"War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength, War is Peace, Freedom is Slavery, Ignorance is Strength," what the words are or what they imply has no meaning to O'Brien, just the concentration on talking calms him. He stops shaking. O'Brien feels a strong surge of gratitude that there are no telescreens in the room.
O'Brien again looks to his clock. Twenty-three fifty dread and panic rise inside O'Brien. Five minutes, five more minutes until the door will open and Winston will be dragged through, pushed and spread out against the wall, a shot will be fired and that once beautiful intelligence of Winston's will be no more. O'Brien will force himself to watch, he has already destroyed the mind, all that is left is the scattered ashes of a once bright flame.
It is a test of will, he has to show them that he doesn't care, he has to show them that he can do it. No matter how much Winston is like…
O'Brien has to prove the only person he loves is Big Brother.
"They got me a long time ago," O'Brien had said that to Winston.
"Michael," O'Brien can't stop himself from saying that name. He hasn't spoken it in many years. When O'Brien was young he didn't care about Big Brother or the party or life for that matter. Michael changed all that. Michael was bright, passionate and understanding. They fell in love almost at once. Michael represented everything desirable in the world, he questioned everything and took a great deal of pleasure pondering the meaning of their existence. O'Brien had known nothing until he met Michael. When they were together, bodiesintertwined, two souls as one,nothing else mattered, there was no party, Big Brother did not exist and they believed in whatever they wanted to believe. Michael believed in individuality, democracy, privacy, education, free speech and hygiene. O'Brien believed in Michael. After they were together Michael would hold him and talk to him for hours about life and what its meaning is or what it should be.
They were of course discovered and taken to the ministry of love. They had made O'Brien an offer for him to join the ministry; they said he had great potential as an inner party member. He had taken the offer without hesitation. He had to do only one thing to regain the party's trust. They took O'Brien to a bright room and gave him a gun. Michael stood up against the wall his arms and legs spread out. To gain the love of BB, O'Brien had to shoot his lover, and he did, after he heard Michael whisper so only O'Brien would hear him.
"I know now, what the meaning of life is, it's you and it's me, it's love, our purpose is to love,"
Those words stuck with O'Brien, they haunted him, he tried to ignore them but they were always there.
The door opens and O'Brien's gut seems to turn over. Men enter dragging Winston with them. Winston would probably walk in willingly, but the men seem intent on amplifying the situation. They push him against the wall and spread his arms and legs.
The men stand back. They look at O'Brien, they are waiting for orders. O'Brien's throat is dry, his palms are slick with perspiration, he feels light headed and queasy.
Perhaps Winston didn't have to die; perhaps O'Brien wouldn't have to kill him. O'Brien could take him, hide him. They could hide together and talk, about Big Brother, about Michael, about the meaning of life.
O'Brien's taking too long to decide. The men are waiting, they're looking at him. O'Brien has to do something or they'll know, they'll know that he loves, O'Brien can't love anyone but Big Brother.
Time's run out, O'Brien must act. Winston turns his head to look at O'Brien at the side of the room.
Winston falls to the floor leaving a colourful splatter on the wall.
It's over, it's done. No more Winston, no more Michael. No more.
"Clean this mess up," O'Brien says and leaves.
He goes straight to his office, he doesn't feel like sleeping anymore. O'Brien flips a switch and the telescreen turns off. O'Brien moves to his desk and opens his draw. He pulls out a leather bound book, the book O'Brien knows Winston wrote for him. He flips to a new page. O'Brien looks again to his clock, a new day. He picks up a pen, he writes,
January 1st 1985
I know now, what the meaning of life is, it's you and it's me, it's love, our purpose is to love.