1985: Chapter 2

Gregory was in the field again. Running with his sister, playing some game that he had long ago forgotten.  The world seemed to be in ruin; England was no longer how it seemed in his history books from school.  This did not seem like some majestic place fit for royalty; it had been torn apart by the munitions of war. The fighting seemed to never end, and when he and his sister were in bed, he could overhear his parents concern about the constant dwindling supply of food and other basic staples.  A few years later, his mother disappeared like so many others. He could not pinpoint the exact date (or even the exact date that he lived in now, you could never trust anything official, but he was confident that the year was now 1985). He only knew that one day he no longer had a mother.  After his father vanished in a similar manner, he stopped thinking about what happened to his parents; the disappearances became so common that it stopped being a mystery.

After the loss of his parents, Gregory thought that he had become emotionless. But when his sister was taken, he was full of rage.  He remembered fighting when they came to take her to the orphanage; why couldn’t they take him? When would he see her? When they wouldn’t tell him, he fought so hard that looking back, he couldn’t understand how they didn’t kill him. While he certainly received a good beating, the real damage was to his emotional well being.

Had he been a different type of person, he would have simply given in to the propaganda, and forgotten all about his beloved sister (some days it was hard to remember her name, let alone her face), but despite being an inner party member, buried in parades and slogans, community activities, and preparations for Hate Week, Gregory would never forget, or forgive what the party had taken from him. After his family was gone, a part of him longed to be made an unperson as well; forgotten, completely erased. But even in its early days, The Party understood the value of isolating people from each other, of breaking a man rather than simply killing him, and of course killing love for all things, except for Big Brother.

1985: Chapter 1

He could not believe how loudly the fools were chanting. Of course he was chanting too, but it was only to convince his comrades, the thought police, and anyone else that might be watching. He came to the Clover Leaf Cafe hoping to find a dissenter, but instead he found a group of broken idiots believing in a false idol. Their devotion went beyond belief; they loved Big Brother.

At this moment, Gregory was certain of two things: that at least one of these men had recently revolted, and that the Party never tolerated any dissension, no matter how small. Those that did not believe in the Party were not simply executed or erased, at least not immediately; first they had to be broken, reprogrammed to love Big Brother, and to believe that Oceania was at war with East Asia, and that it had always been at war with East Asia. It did not matter that as little as two weeks ago East Asia was Oceania’s only ally – The Party demanded complete obedience and anything it did or said must be gospel.

While the cruel officers of the aptly named Ministry of Love were experts in the torture and breaking of others, Gregory knew something that they did not: one that was freshly broken still carried hate for Big Brother in his heart. The human brain did not allow one to forget their enemies so quickly; in these circumstances love and hate are separated by very thin lines. He knew that at least one of these men could easily be swayed back to the Brotherhood, to revolution, and to hatred of Big Brother, just as easily as he had been broken. But he had to act fast.

Gregory had been observing the cafe for some time. He had to be cautious, arriving and leaving from different paths, not being too routine a visitor, and making sure that it did not interfere with his Party duties – like the endless hikes, committee meetings, and his favourite, preparations for Hate Week. He had noticed a new face in the crowd; perhaps this was his best lead. But first, he had to learn more about this man. His name, where he lived, and most importantly, what led him to believe that he could fight against the Party itself?

Gregory’s position as an Inner Party member within the Ministry of Love allowed him access to a great deal of information, but he had to be careful not to raise any suspicions. No one was above the watchful eye of the Thought Police. Even those in the Inner Party could be taken away in the middle of the night, only to be forgotten by their comrades, lest they want to share the same fate. After all, the Party built its power on fear, paranoia and misinformation. Gregory knew that he had to be vigilant. He knew all too well what happened to dissenters who were taken away. The torture, the breaking, the reprogramming. Gregory knew that above all else, he must be patient. Overthrowing Big Brother would not happen overnight – if at all.