The Kill Order

The Kill Order Metaphors and Similes

Simile: "Mark was just about to try for the button again when they reached the trees. He slapped his left hand back on the weapon and gripped it as hard as he could. He curled into a ball and squeezed his eyes shut. The top branches of the tallest pine slammed into his body as the Berg swung him into it. Needles poked his skin and the spiky points of tree limbs snagged his clothes and scratched his face. They were like skeleton hands trying to claw him free, pull him to his death. Every inch of his body seemed scraped by something" (31)

Mark is trying to get on to the Berg to join Alec, but first he is dangling from the grappling hook and gets pushed into the trees. He describes the branches as "skeleton hands," showing how close to death he is at this moment. The way the trees are almost personified is also a forerunner of the ways half-dead, insane, Flare-infected people will try to claw at Mark and his friends to try to kill them. It is as though nature, through the horrific sun flares and more, has turned against humanity.

Simile: "Mark...knew if he dreamed it would only get worse. He was scared of being scared. He drifted off despite his efforts. Sleep came over him like cold, crashing waves" (100)

Throughout the story, Mark gets flashback dreams when he sleeps. This is because he has so much trauma about the days when the sun flares struck and afflicted the world. Ironically, he describes sleep crashing over him as though it were "waves," and not warm waves either but "cold" ones. Sleep should be a relief from the heat of Mark's world and the desperate high-energy situations of his life, but instead they are so traumatic it is almost as though they were "drowning" him.

Simile: "The man sat forward with elbows on knees, hands clenched together, his entire visage appearing as if it might melt and drip onto the floor" (166)

When Mark and Alec find the old man Anton in the underground bunker grieving, they note how old he looks and how distraught he is. They describe his face as though it were melting. Although Anton's face is not actually melting, his droopiness and dreariness reflects the pain and depression inside of him. Furthermore, it is a reference to the way the sun flares melted so many things and people, even people's faces and bodies.

Metaphor: "His face was grave and long and wrinkled more than it should have been. His eyes were dark caverns that the light seemed unable to penetrate" (166)

Mark compares the old man Anton's eyes to caverns. Anton's eyes are not actually caverns, dark caves, or black holes in mountainsides, but they are so dark and hollow that Mark uses this imagery to describe them. Anton's deep and hollow eyes are a reflection of the darkness that he has seen, and the pain that is now inside of him as he sees all the evil things going on around him.

Simile: "The looks on the faces all around him were changing. That blank indifference was clearing. Eyes were narrowing, foreheads furrowing, lips curling up in slight snarls. A couple of women actually hissed at them, and a kid gnashed his teeth like some wild animal" (268)

Alec and Mark go to the suburbs of Asheville to save their friends, and find many infected people standing in their way. Alec threatens to shoot the people, who are not currently moving. At this, the insane people start to become violent. Mark immediately realizes that they are like animals. He compares even a child to a wild animal–that is how bad the Flare's effects are.