It was mid-August. Sam Puckett, dressed in her ratty old Girly Cow pajamas, lied face-down on her couch, not wanting to do anything but lie around and sweat on this boiling afternoon. She was alone in her bungalow home, aside from her mother lazily doing the exact same thing she was in her own bed. The doorbell rang, and Sam, not wanting to answer it, called her mom. After a few seconds, her mom didn't come, and the doorbell rang again. She wasn't surprised. However lazy she seemed to be, her mother was ten times it. Sam got up grumpily, and groggily answered the door. She peered around, but nobody was there. Stupid ten year olds, playing their damn pranks, she thought. She was about to slam the door, when all of a sudden, something huge soared through the front door. Sam shut her eyes and screamed, before opening them and seeing it was a large snowy owl, carrying what seemed to be an envelope in its talons. She stared at the gigantic bird, agape.

"MOM! COME, QUICK! THERE'S AN OWL IN THE HOUSE!" She yelled, frightened. At these words, her mom seemed to have sprinted to the living room, and calmly walked over to the owl, now perched on top of the television, stroked the side of its beak affectionately, and tried to take the letter from its talons. But the owl clung onto the letter for dear life, and got up, flew over to Sam, crouched in the corner, terrified and dropped the letter in her lap. The owl then perched itself back on the T.V., cooing at her mother.

Sam promptly picked up the envelope. It was thick and heavy, made of yellow parchment, and written in emerald-green ink on the front, read,

Ms. S. Puckett

The Living Room

Rainier Beach Valley

Seattle

Washington

Turning the envelope over, her hand trembling, Sam saw a purple wax seal bearing a coat of arms; a tiger, a phoenix, a weasel and a serpent surrounding the two letters SI. She looked up at her mother, confused, but her mother had an ecstatic look on her face.

"You got in?" She almost squealed, happily. "Oh, thank God! I thought it would never happen!"

"Got in...? Got in to what?" Sam asked, more baffled than ever. She couldn't remember the last time she saw her mom this excited.

"Just...just stay here. And don't open that letter until I tell you its okay. I've got to call Mrs. Benson," She said, practically skipping out of the room.

Calling Mrs. Benson? Sam scowled. Since when was her mom friends with crazy Mrs. Benson? She looked down at the envelope in her hand. What could be in this letter to make her mom so joyful?

Her attention was suddenly drawn back to the owl perched on top of the T.V., who hooted suddenly, and somehow, Sam got the impression that the owl was hungry.

"You uh...," She said, feeling absolutely ridiculous talking to a bird. "You hungry?" The bird lifted its beak up and down, as if to nod, and Sam stared at it, wide-eyed. "How are you understanding me?" She asked it, shocked. The bird shrugged its tiny shoulders, then got up and flew over to the kitchen. Not saying anything, mostly because she couldn't find any words in the daze of her confusion, she promptly looked through the pantry for something to feed this owl. What do owls eat?

"HEY MOM," Sam called, her voice echoing through the small bungalow. "CAN I FEED THIS BIRD SOME DORITOS?"

"CHECK THE TOP DRAWER ON THE VERY LEFT, BEHIND THE MOSQUITO REPELLENT," Her mom called back. Curiously, Sam opened the drawer, pushed aside a couple of bottles of repellent and sure enough, there sat a can with a stuck-on label reading OWL FOOD. She wondered why she had never even noticed it before. Taking the lid off and reaching in, she dropped a handful onto the counter, and the bird graciously dug in. She joined him, and began working on that bag of Doritos. After a few minutes of eating in silence, Sam's mom entered the kitchen, and said to the owl, "Thank you, Gizmo, you may go," in a voice that was very unlike her usual voice. The owl affectionately pecked her finger, then hopped over to Sam, rubbed her head against Sam's orange, Dorito-cheese covered hand. It disappeared out the kitchen window, a dot of orange still present underneath its temple, clearly noticable against its snowy white feathers as its flew away.

"Mom..." Sam asked, uneasily. "What's going on? Who was that owl, and what's in-"

"Don't worry, Sam," Her mother silenced her. Somehow her mom began to sound extremely responsible. "I'll explain everything at Mrs. Benson's house. Carly and Spencer should be there already, so get dressed and get in the car, we've got to hurry."

Sorry, Sam and her mom are a little OOC in this one...

But next chapter should explain everything. :)