By Puja Chopade, age 10, Madison, AL
Olivia opened the door to the closet and there, sitting on the floor, was a locked chest. The chest had arrived the day before in the mail and had been stored in the closet, for it was thought that if there were valuables sitting in the room unprotected, they might get stolen. Only Olivia knew where the key was, but she didn’t know that inside the chest was a letter that would change her life.
I know that you are having a tough school year, but this baby owl needs your help. She has been fighting for her life recently. I know of only a few people that have a heart as loving as yours. Please take care of Amelia for me. She is a baby saw-whet owl, and loves to eat worms.
Good Luck, Aunt Margaret
Olivia rummaged through the chest, but she found no sign of a baby saw-whet owl named Amelia that loves to eat worms. Still her hopes were high that Amelia was in the chest. As the last flicker of hope inside her started to fade away, she touched something wet and slimy. Fresh owl dung!! That had to mean that Amelia was in there. When she tried dangling a worm from the edge of the chest, she heard a quiet peeping sound. Trying to move all the Styrofoam in the chest to the side, she caught one of her fingers between 2 metal bars. She struggled to free her finger, and the metal bars finally broke.
As she stomped out of the room in frustration, a baby saw-whet owl flew onto the bed, but Olivia was already out of sight.
“Honey, what’s wrong?” said Flora, Olivia’s mom.
“It’s just that useless chest. Aunt Margaret said there would be an owl inside.” Olivia burst into tears. “But there isn’t!” she finished.
“Let’s go look again” said Flora.
They opened the door to find feathers everywhere. Olivia’s pillows were torn, and her blankets were nipped.
“Before we look for the owl, you better clean up your room. It’s a hot mess. No wonder you didn’t find that owl,” Flora said crossly, before hurrying out of the room, taking care not to get feathers on her dress.
Olivia started at her bed scooping feathers into the trashcan. Soon the trashcan was filled to the brim, but there were still more feathers to be cleaned. She was about to empty the trashcan, when there was a knock at the door.
“May I come in?” it was her best friend Clara. Olivia had forgotten all about the playdate they had planned together.
“Umm… sure” Olivia replied hesitantly.
Clara stepped in. “So, is spring cleaning going on?” she asked.
“Um… no, it was just a little accident,” Olivia said.
“I see,” said Clara, eyeing the feathers scattered all across the room. “Need some help?” Clara offered.
“Yeah, can you help clean my room?” replied Olivia. In no time, half the room was cleaned.
“There, now only your bed is left!” said Clara, as she scooped a ball of feathers from under the covers.
“Thank you so much Clara!” Olivia half screamed to Clara.
“Oh no problem,” Clara said reaching for the trashcan.
“NO!” Olivia screamed, “Don’t throw Amelia away.”
“Out of all these feathers how can you tell that one of these feathers was the one you named—” Peep Peep a chirping noise interrupted Clara.
“You found my owl,” said Olivia, breaking the silence.
“Aww it’s so cute, and to think, I was about to throw it away,” Clara cooed. Olivia carefully took the owl and put it in her parrot’s old cage.
“Now to finish cleaning my room,” said Olivia. The excitement made cleaning fun, as Olivia and Clara chatted about the events leading up to finding Amelia.
As you probably know, time flies by when you’re having fun. “I have to go now, see you later Olivia,” said Clara.
Flora came up to check on the progress, “You found the owl!! It’s so cute!! And you and Clara even cleaned your room!! Wait till dad hears about this.”
At 6:00 Olivia’s dad came home, to hear the surprising news. “We will have to go shopping pronto,” said Olivia’s Dad.
At the store, “Ok. Premium Owl bed – check, Premium Baby Owl Feed – check, Sterling Silver bird cage – check, Baby Owl toys – check, Premium baby owl formula – check, Baby owl nest – check, Ultimate cage cleaner – check, Owl medical kit – check,” said Olivia’s dad.
“That will be $120.34,” said the cashier.
“That’s a lot of money for one little owl!” Olivia’s dad remarked grimly, as he paid the bill.
Olivia’s dad took her to Watercress County Preschool to pick up Olivia’s two younger sisters, Lily and Cassondra. When Lily saw the owl she said, “It cute, but no gooder than Peanut, me’s kitty.”
When Cassondra saw the owl she said, “Me puppy better than he.”
When Peanut saw Amelia she hissed “I’m better than you, and you better not try to steal Lily’s attention from me.” Of course that’s just the way stuck up Siamese kittens react to new pets.
When Fluffie saw Amelia she barked at it curiously, the way an Australian silky terrier pup greets a new friend. Amelia got frightened by all the “welcomes” the pets gave her and flew to the far corner of her cage.
That night, Olivia had a peculiar dream. It was about a big wild bird carrying Amelia far away from Olivia’s house, until the bird and Amelia could not be seen. Most of Olivia’s dreams came true and Olivia was afraid that this dream, or rather nightmare, would come true as well. For the rest of the week Olivia kept a tight watch for big birds that could potentially carry Amelia off, as the dream had prophesized.
One day it happened. A big bird had carried Amelia off when Olivia was at school. Clara had seen it all, but did not recognize the owl to be Amelia. Every day after school Olivia would check and see that Amelia was there, but on March 1st, when Olivia checked, Amelia was nowhere to be seen. Olivia was grief-stricken and asked her parents if they had taken Amelia to the vet for a check-up. All the while her hope was draining. Olivia had endured so much emotion that she barely noticed she had a new text message.
You won’t believe what I saw. I saw a cute little owl being carried away by a big bird. It flew too fast for me to recognize the bird, but it reminded me of Amelia. The owl was so cute and tiny, it just blew me away. Sorry you missed it.
Your Best Friend, Clara
“Oh no, my dream came true,” sobbed Olivia.
Flora, hearing all the commotion came upstairs. “What’s wrong?” she asked.
“Amelia..is..gone!” Olivia said through sobs.
“Everything happens for a good reason, honey. I’m sorry, but maybe Amelia at least provided a meal for another starving bird,” said Flora soothingly.
Olivia shuddered to think about it. “Amelia..got..eaten?” Olivia managed to say.
“I don’t know honey, but she might have,” Flora said quietly.
Olivia was so upset she didn’t sleep at all that night. However hard she tried to sleep she couldn’t. She kept hearing a high pitched too-too-too. It reminded her of an owl call, and it reminded her of her sad loss of Amelia. She sobbed till midnight, only stopping to hear the calls. Too-too-too… too-too-too…too-too-too…too-too-too. Then she heard, too-too-too… too-too-too… swoosh-swoosh… creak…creak. A bird had perched on the flimsy tree outside her window.
Olivia threw off the covers to take a look, and there sitting on a branch was the same big bird from Olivia’s dream, with cute little Amelia nestled between its feet. Olivia looked more closely to identify the big bird, when she realized the truth. Aunt Margaret must have found Amelia after she was hurt from falling out of her nest. Aunt Margaret didn’t have time to take care of Amelia with her tight schedule. So she sent Amelia in an old chest to Olivia.
When Olivia received Amelia, Amelia became homesick and called for her mother. The big bird from Olivia’s dream was Amelia’s mother and she took Amelia back to her nest with the other owlets. So Amelia didn’t get stolen, but instead she got reunited with her family. Still, Olivia was curious to see the other owlets (Amelia’s siblings). She grabbed a camera and followed the big bird to a nest in Olivia’s dad’s old barn. Though her heart ached from the loss of Amelia, it warmed to the sight of the cute owlets. She knew she would never forget Amelia, but she took pictures of the owlets anyway just to share Amelia’s story with others.
The next morning, Amelia told the rest of her family what had happened. For once in her lifetime, Lily and Cassondra actually sat still and listened. Flora was so touched by the story that she posted everything on twitter. Amelia’s story touched many hearts but it also helped save a life. One year later, at the local animal shelter a baby owl had been rescued. Seeing Amelia’s story on twitter, the shelter staff asked Olivia if she could adopt the sick owlet. Olivia said yes, and using the unused supplies Olivia had bought for Amelia, she helped nurse the owl back to health. And, it so happened that the owlet that Olivia rescued, was none other than Skye, Amelia’s daughter.