For a moment Winston was alone in the cell then O’Brien came in.
‘You asked me once,’ said O’Brien, ‘what was in Room 101. I told you that you knew the answer already. Everyone knows it. The thing that is in Room 101 is the worst thing in the world.’
Then the door opened again, a guard arrived carrying something made of wire and placed it on the far table. Because of the position in which O’Brien was standing. Winston could not see what the thing was.
‘The worst thing in the world,’ said O’Brien, ‘varies from individual to individual. It may be burial alive, or death by fire… or fifty other deaths…”
O’Brien moved so Winston had a better view of the thing on the table. It was an oblong wire cage with a handle on top for carrying. Fixed to the front of it was something that looked like a fencing mask, with the concave side outwards.
Although it was three or four metres away from him, he could see that the cage was divided length ways into two compartments, and that there was some kind of creature in each, and he realised they were rats.