"You Never Forget Your First," by Darren Sleep

After an owl call goes wrong, Darren Sleep finds his calling in You Never Forget Your First, an homage to night owlers and their quarry.

“At the edge of my vision came two eyes out of the darkness flanked by outstretched wings, at chest-height. I had no idea what sort of winged devilry was barrelling toward me, nor had I any idea what to do about it. Fortunately, my legs recognized the threat to my upper body that my brain couldn’t and – understanding that their survival depended on the rest of me – they simply collapsed, allowing my weight to carry me to the wet, muddy ground.”

Next Chapter: "Seeing Spots: Notes from the Underground," by Matthew Bettelheim