THE THIRD SIGN
Too Long; Didn't ReadIn the middle of the night, at New York, hundreds of thousands simultaneously awoke with a feeling of suffocation.
They struggled for breath as if they had suddenly been plunged into a steam bath.
The air was hot, heavy, and terribly oppressive.
The throwing open of windows brought no relief. The outer air was as stifling as that within.
It was so dark that, on looking out, one could not see his own doorsteps. The arc-lamps in the street flickered with an ineffective blue gleam which shed no illumination round about.
House lights, when turned on, looked like tiny candles inclosed in thick blue globes.
Frightened men and women stumbled around in the gloom of their chambers trying to dress themselves.
Cries and exclamations rang from room to room; children wailed; hysterical mothers ran wildly hither and thither, seeking their little ones. Many fainted, partly through terror and partly from the difficulty of breathing. Sick persons, seized with a terrible oppression of the chest, gasped, and never rose from their beds.