McTeague • The Octopus: A Story of California
The OctopusFrank Norris
The night had shut down again. For a moment the silence was profound, unbroken.
Then, faint and prolonged, across the levels of the ranch, he heard the engine whistling for Booneville. Again and again, at rapid intervals in its flying course, it whistled for road crossings, for sharp curves, for trestles; ominous notes, hoarse, bellowing, ringing with the accents of menace and defiance; and abruptly Presley saw again, in his imagination, the galloping monster, the terror of steel and steam, with its single eye, cyclopean, red, shooting from horizon to horizon; but saw it now as the symbol of a vast power, huge, terrible, flinging the echo of its thunder over all the reaches of the valley, leaving blood and destruction in its path; the leviathan, with tentacles of steel clutching into the soil, the soul-less Force, the iron-hearted Power, the monster, the Colossus, the Octopus.