The Kill Order

The Kill Order Imagery

"Man, she was pretty. Leaning back against a huge granite boulder that seemed as if it had been placed there by a decorating giant, she held a thick book in her lap. She turned a page, her green eyes following the words. She was wearing a black T-shirt and a pair of worn jeans, sneakers that looked a hundred years old. Her short blond hair shifted in the wind, and she appeared the very definition of peace and comfort. Like she belonged in the world that had existed before everything was scorched" (12)

The first image Mark and the narrator describe in detail is the image of Trina reading by the creek in the morning. Trina's beauty and peace, coupled with the early morning nature and calm, provide a solid first image of paradise and the ideal. This, in effect, is what Mark and his friends are striving for in the rest of the story: peace, beauty, and loved ones. This image is also functions as a sad contrast to the death and disaster that follow immediately after Mark hopes that it will be a perfect day.

"Bodies litter the floor, naked and burned. Screams and cries of pain pierce his eardrums and echo off the walls. People are limping about, arms outstretched, their clothes on fire and their faces half melted like wax. Blood everywhere. And an impossible surge of heat washes through the air, like they're inside an oven" (46)

Mark and Trina have their first glimpse at the broken world when they accidentally step near the train platform for their subtrans. They are horribly scarred by what they see: a bloody image of people being burned by the sun flares. This image sets up the environment of the world in which Mark and his friends now live. It is the precursor for - and a constant reminder of - how broken and in pain the world is.

"He caught movement through the flames and followed it as a man stepped into view and approached him. When he was within a few feet, he stopped, and Mark's eyes traced a path from his booted feet, up his denim-clad legs, his tight plaid shirt, to his face, which was hideously scarred, almost inhuman. It made Mark want to look away, but he didn't let himself. He matched gazes with the disfigured stranger, staring into those piercing, wounded eyes. The man had no hair. And he had no ears" (125)

Before meeting Jedidiah himself, Mark is warned by Deedee about "the man with no ears." This haunting warning makes the arrival of Jedidiah and the description of his horribly scarred face even more frightening. Jedidiah's image is, indeed, meant to be startling and frightening. His appearances reflects who he has become as a result of the sun flares and the Flare virus. It reflects his wounded and crazed character. His lack of ears is also symbolic of how he will not - and can no longer - listen to reason.

"It was as if a mental hospital had released all its patients. There was no order to the madness that Mark witnessed below him. Here he saw a girl lying flat on her back, screaming at no one. There he saw three women beating two men who'd been tied together, back to back. In another spot, people were dancing and drinking some kind of black liquid out of a pot that boiled over a makeshift fire pit. Others were running around in circles, still others stumbling about as if drunk" (243)

Mark and Alec see horrific scenes of the Flare-infected victims running around down in the suburbs of Asheville. These passages and images are the first extended descriptions of what the Flare does to people, and so they are also informative in that way. Furthermore, they provide a spatial view of the entire community of Asheville. Mark and Alec understand that this "party" is what they will have to go through to save their friends.