Winston wondered when they would shoot him. O’Brien had said;’ Everything depends on yourself,” but he knew that there was no conscious act by which he could bring it nearer.
It might be ten minutes hence, or ten years. They might keep him for years in solitary confinement, they might send him to a labour-camp, they might release him for a while, as they sometimes did.
It was perfectly possible that before he was shot the whole drama of his arrest and interrogation would be enacted all over again. The one certain thing was that death never came at an expected moment.
The tradition — the unspoken tradition: somehow you knew it, though you never heard it said — was that they shot you from behind; always in the back of the head, without warning, as you walked down a corridor from cell to cell.
One day — but ‘one day’ was not the right expression; just as probably it was in the middle of the night.
Winston imagined he was walking down the corridor, waiting for the bullet. He knew that it was coming in another moment. Everything was settled, smoothed out, reconciled.