Occasionally, merely for the pleasure of being cruel, we put unoffending Frenchmen on the rack with questions framed in the incomprehensible jargon of their native language, and while they writhed, we impaled them, we peppered them, we scarified them, with their own vile verbs and participles.
He acted like a libertine of Europe with a genteel Southern propriety-and had all the morals of an emotionless psychopath. The two former masked the latter, like leaves covering a snare. You didn't notice the steel jaws until they were impaled in your flesh, and by then it was already far too late to run.
You were impaled? (Delphine) You know the worst part about impalement? You don't die immediately. You hang on bleeding and aching as the spike works its way slowly through your body until it pierces some major organ. Pray to the gods you worship that you never know what that feels like. (Jericho)
Kayn began to speak as if she were reading his obituary. 'I can see the paper now; it would read something like this; Kevin Smith was a wonderful boy so smart and good looking but a little clumsy. Had he simply tied up his shoes he would have never tripped down the stairs and found himself impaled on a janitor's broom. Remember kids; tie your shoes; safety first.' (The Children of Ankh series)
What do you know of sacrifice? Need I tell you of York's dead... of Sandal Castle? My brother did survive the battle, his first. He was seventeen and he entreated them to spare his life. They cut his throat. Their heads were then impaled on York's Micklegate Bar to please the House of Lancaster, to please a harlot and a madman. She had my father's head crowned with straw and she left a spike between the two... That one, she said, was for York's other son.
Sharon Kay Penman
St John had been sitting in the back garden twizzling a pencil, on the end of which a russet deposit was impaled, which had been left on the lawn by Marmaduke, next door's ginger cat. His father had wandered in to the garden and seen St John mesmerised by the twirling mahogany baton. 'What are you doing son?' he asked. 'Toasting a witch', St John replied.
St John Morris
Olga noticed Mirium looking at her blankly. 'Don't you pray?' she asked. 'Pray?' Mirium shook her head. 'I don't understand - ' 'Prayers! Oh, yes, I forgot. Didn't dear Roland say that on the other side everybody is pagan? You all worship some dead god on a stick, impaled or something disgusting, and pray in English, ' she said with relish.
And, for one- ten thousandth of a second, all of it fell away, the despair and grief and anger and pain and hunger, and the old Ben Parish rose from the dead. The eyes that impaled. The smile that slayed. In another moment, he would fade, slide back into the new Ben, the one called Zombie, and I understood something I hadn't before: He was dead, the object of my schoolgirl desires, just as the schoolgirl who desired him was dead.
Trying to exhaust himself, Vaughan devised an endless almanac of terrifying wounds and insane collisions: The lungs of elderly men punctured by door-handles; the chests of young women impaled on steering-columns; the cheek of handsome youths torn on the chromium latches of quarter-lights. To Vaughan, these wounds formed the key to a new sexuality, born from a perverse technology. The images of these wounds hung in the gallery of his mind, like exhibits in the museum of a slaughterhouse.
J. G. Ballard
They made a major mistake, " he blurted out, "the dumb bastards, when they didn't start by killing you first." "Benjamin Thomas Parish, that was the sweetest and most bizarre compliment anyone's ever given me." I kissed him on the cheek. He kissed me on the mouth. "You know, " I whispered, "a year ago, I would have sold my soul for that." He shook his head. "Not worth it." And, for one-ten thousandth of a second, all of it fell away, the despair and grief and anger and pain and hunger, and the old Ben Parish rose from the dead. The eyes that impaled. The smile that slayed. In another moment, he would fade, slide back into the new Ben, the one called Zombie, and I understood something I hadn't before: He was dead, the object of my schoolgirl desires, just as the schoolgirl who desired him was dead.
Two weeks ago, Aaron and Isaac, I learned your mother Laura has breast cancer. My heart feels impaled. These words, so useless and feeble. Laura is only thirty-five years old. Her next birthday will be in only three days. I write this letter to you, my sons, with the hope that one day in the future you will read it and understand what happened to our family. Together, your mother and I have created and nurtured an unbreakable bond that has transformed us into an unlikely team. A Chicano from El Paso, Texas. A Jew from Concord, Massachusetts. I want you to know your mother. She has given me hope when I have felt none; she has offered me kindness when I have been consumed by bitterness. I believe I have taught her how to be tough and savvy and how to achieve what you want around obstacles and naysayers. Our hope is that the therapies we are discussing with her doctors will defeat her cancer. But a great and ominous void has suddenly engulfed us at the beginning of our life as a family. This void suffocates me.