The siren | F. Scott Fitzgerald (1922)

Hakuyō Fuchikami, Rushing Train, Manchuria, 1930


“The siren soared again, closer at hand, and then, with no anticipatory roar and clamour, a dark and sinuous body curved into view against the shadows far down the high-banked track, and with no sound but the rush of the cleft wind and the clock like tick of the rails, moved towards the bridge - it was an electric train. Above the engine two vivid blurs of blue light formed incessantly a radiant crackling bar between them, which, like a spluttering flame in a lamp beside a corpse, lit for an instant the successive rows of trees and caused Gloria to draw back instinctively to the far side of the road. The light was tepid - the temperature of warm blood… The clicking blended suddenly with itself in a rush of even sound, and then, elongating in sombre elasticity, the thing roared blindly by her and thundered onto the bridge, racing the lurid shaft of fire it cast into the solemn river alongside. Then it contracted swiftly, sucking in its sound until it left only a reverberant echo, which died upon the farther bank.”


F. Scott Fitzgerald, The Beautiful and Damned, 1922


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