29. A Bird Attacks

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Heather loved the freedom of soaring high above the land and sea. She learned how to hang-glide from her boyfriend.

Initially, she was scared to death. The first time he took her up, she hung on for dear life. But by the end of that flight, she was hooked. Half a year later, she bought her own hang-glider.

Almost every weekend, she drove to Torrey Pines and leaped off the cliff. She could soar to La Jolla in less than five minutes. She liked to fly over the town. She would wave at kids pointing and looking up at her, and they would shout and wave back excitedly.

One day she was returning to the launch site when she noticed a red hawk rapidly approaching her. It briefly disappeared. Then she heard its claws ripping the wing's fabric. It flew off. But the next thing she knew, it was flying straight at her. She turned out of its way, but it dove at her again. She was scared.

She had to evade its attacks four times before she was able to land safely. Even after she landed, it circled overhead, as if daring her to fly again. What did I do to you, she wondered.

As she drove home, she found out that she had been lucky. The radio news reported that in Australia, a hang-glider had been attacked by not one, but two, eagles.

Maybe it was something in the air, Heather thought.


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