I love owls. I don't know why. I just... do. I guess it all started a couple years back. A new movie was coming out, "Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole", and I was psyched to see it. I remember, one day, before the movie came out, I was in the library of my middle school, looking for a good book to read. Then, something caught my eye: the book series that the movie was based on. Excited, I grabbed the first book of the series, and read it within a week. I fell in love with the series, and by the time I saw the movie, I couldn't control the excitement that was pumping through my veins. It was beautiful, astounding, and over all, inspiring. Ever since then, I've been obsessed with owls. 

No one really fully understands my love for owls. My sister thinks it's ridiculous, though my parents see it as a good thing. All my friends at school are confused as to why I love owls, and tease me about being overly obsessed with them, but they're still the greatest friends I could have ever asked for. To be honest, I'm still not sure as to why I love owls. I guess I was just an owl lover waiting to happen... I'll always love owls.

Now, my love for owls has turned into an undying trust for them, especially one I call Shard. I love Shard with all my heart, and I trust him with my life. I met Shard about two months ago. I was at my boyfriend's house with my sister. My boyfriend's sisters and brothers were outside with us, and we were just hanging out, and messing around with one another. That day was a garbage day, which basically meant people threw out piles of stuff they didn't want, or need, and somebody else would come along, and scrounge it up. Well, my boyfriend's sisters, brothers, and my sister were doing just that. They were digging through piles of stuff all around the neighborhood. I, on the other hand, didn't want to dig through junk. I saw it as unnecessary, and dirty. So, I stayed at the house, and waited for them to return. And when they did, my heart soared.

They were carrying a white, plastic owl turned to a dirty pale brown color by dirt. Its beak was cracked, a piece of it dangling precariously, and one of its eyes were missing. Moss was growing out of a crack by the owl's talons, a dirty, green, and brown sprout. But I fell in love with it immediately. My boyfriend's eldest sister gave it to me, and I felt the weight of dirt inside the owl. I stared at its broken, and dirty face, and smiled. I thanked them for it, and brought it home with me. I showed my parents, and I begged them to let me keep it. After finally getting their permission, I put the owl in the garage to let my mom clean it up with bleach to get rid of the moss. 

After a long week of bleach, and molding the owl a new beak, and eye, I was finally allowed to paint it. For a few days, I left it alone, leaving on my desk in a position that made the owl face my while I slept. I felt comfort when I looked at the owl. I'm not sure why, but I was comforted by it, despite its grotesque appearance. I love this owl. I began painting him. Its upper feathers were a deep, chocolate brown color streaked with black. His face was a pretty, burnt sienna color with a white brow above his eyes, and near his neat, black beak. Under his chin was a white beard of feathers, and under that, his belly was a nice tawny color with ripples of pale, chocolate brown. His eyes were a comforting, yellow-orange color, and seemed to hold a light of their own in them. I love this owl, this owl I named Shard.

I kept Shard on my desk beside my bed, and I would always look at him, and smile when I saw his comforting gaze on me. He was cute, his eyes always on me with his head tilted to the side just a bit. I liked to think that he kept me safe from nightmares, like a dreamcatcher. He would always be there when I walked into the room, his eyes on me, and his head always tilted to one side. Shard was with me during both good days, and bad days, always with that comforting glow in his plastic eyes.

About two weeks ago, I moved to a new apartment, which I wasn't happy with. I used to live just down the street from my boyfriend's house, and I used to see him almost every day. Now, I'm just trying to get used to seeing him only at school. Shard sits on my desk, facing me, always keeping an eye on me. If it wasn't for him, I would be a wreck by now. 

I got used to the apartment, despite it being small. My room is a bit more spacious than the room back at the house. I like it, except for one thing. One night, at about 12:06 a.m. I heard a noise coming from outside. I'm not sure what it was. Perhaps a bush rustling, but I couldn't bring myself to look outside. I'm very paranoid.

If I'm in a dark room by myself, my eyes, and my mind play tricks on me, and make me think that there's something in the room, or there's a voice talking to me. I didn't want to look outside, scared of what I would see, or what I think I would see. After about a minute, it stopped. I brushed it off, finished what I was doing, and went to bed.

About two nights later, I was in my sister's room when the noise came again. My sister looked at me, and asked if I heard that. I said yes. She jumped up, and looked outside. Scared for her, I almost shouted at her, telling her to get away from the window. She looked at me, and said that there was nothing outside. After a moment, she stepped away from the window. We looked at each other for a moment before my sister finally said that to her, it sounded like a grocery cart on the sidewalk, or the street. I couldn't believe her. If it was a grocery cart, we would definitely see somebody outside. And why would somebody go grocery shopping at midnight, and then take the cart home with them? If it was somebody homeless, we would know. The apartment complex is small. My sister and I had already explored everything; there were no signs of a homeless person. Again, I ignored, and went to sleep just fine. Or so I thought.

The next night, at 12:06, the sound came again. My sister rushed into my room, and looked at me before rushing to my window to look outside. I told her to get out, to which she exclaimed, "There's nobody outside!" I ignored her, and forced her out of my room so I could go back to sleep. For the next two nights, at exactly 12:06 a.m. the sound came, and went. I ignored it as usual until I noticed something on the third night. I looked at my phone. 12:06 had rolled around, and the noise came again. But this time, it was louder. I covered my head with my pillow until it stopped. The fourth night came around. Again the noise came, louder than before. Now, I was beginning to wonder if someone really was out there. I gazed at the ceiling until it stopped before finally rolling over, and going to sleep.

Fifth night. It came again, louder than the previous nights. It sounded as if it was right by my window. I looked at the window until it stopped. By now, I was starting to get scared. I tried to tell myself it was just my paranoia, but I could have sworn that the noise wasn't a grocery cart. Instead, it sounded more like... like bones rattling against one another. I buried myself under the covers, and faced the wall, hoping it would go away. The noise stopped. Then, just as I was about to go to sleep. I felt a presence behind me, like somebody was in the room. It felt like it was right by my window. I tried to ignore it, telling myself I was just paranoid. But it got stronger, and stronger until it was right by my bed. I could feel eyes on me. My heart was pounding against my bed. I rolled over, and faced the ceiling, not even daring to look at the window. Finally, whatever it was went away, and I dared to look in that direction. Nothing was there. But there was something peculiar. Shard wasn't where I left him. I left him on the edge of my desk, facing me as usual. Instead, he had moved over a bit, and he wasn't looking at me, but rather the wall next to me, where I felt the presence. I stared at Shard for a while, feeling a bit unnerved. I rolled over, and I tried to fall asleep easily, but that night's sleep wasn't good.

The next day, I was in a good mood. Everything was great. I played a video game with my sister. I got some homework done, and I went to the park with my boyfriend. I was happy. When I got home that evening, I was working on my computer, doing some homework. Shard was next to me. I glanced at him, and noticed something off about him. I looked at his eyes. They were shining. They were reflecting the light coming from my laptop. Paint doesn't shine; it doesn't reflect light. Not sure what to do, I reached out my head, and touched the top of Shard's head. It felt soft, almost like real feathers. I stared at Shard for the longest time, unsure of what to do. I closed my laptop, and decided to go to bed early.

During the middle of the night, I woke up. I looked at the time on my phone. 12:06 a.m. I looked at my window. Would the noise start? I just stared at my phone, waiting for it to happen. And it did, but it was quiet, as if it was far away. I blinked. Perhaps I was just paranoid. Shrugging, I rolled over, and went to bed. Then, there was a bang, like a body against the wall... and it was coming from my window. I opened my eyes, but I dared not look at the window. I heard a scraping noise, like claws on the wall.

Then, another bang, this time directly on the window. I looked at the window, and heard another noise, a hand rubbing against the window. I looked at Shard. He wasn't facing me. In fact, he was on the opposite side of my desk, and he was facing the window, and his eyes were narrowed. I looked at the window as I heard the snip-snip of scissors. My heart was pounding. I couldn't move. I was paralyzed with fear.

Someone was trying to get into my room. Thoughts began rushing into my head, thoughts of somebody coming in here, and stabbing me in my sleep, and then slaughtering my family. I didn't know what to do. When I finally gained control of myself, the noise had vanished.

I thought about jumping up, and looking at my window, but I was too scared. What if someone was out there? After a moment, I finally worked up the courage to look out the window. My blood ran cold. The screen of my window was tattered, and fluttering in the wind as it hung on by one corner. I ran back to bed, and prayed that no one would come in. Basically, I worried myself to sleep. 

The next day, I sat up, and immediately looked at Shard. He was looking at me, but was still near the window. He stood perfectly still, as if he was just a statue, but his eyes reflected the morning's light, and his plastic feathers looked real. Dazed, I walked over to him, and sat on my knees so I was eye level with the owl. I looked directly into his amber eyes, and he seemed to meet my eyes. "Shard," I whispered, "do you know what's going on?" The owl just sat there, unmoving, unblinking, as if he was still made of plastic. I stroked his feathers, and felt the familiar comfort wash over me. I wondered if I should tell my parents about Shard, or the noises. But they would just think I'm crazy. Instead, I just told them about my broken window screen. My dad said that he would fix it later... and by later, he means in a few days. 

That night, I stayed up until the time came. 12:06 a.m. Nothing happened. Not a noise; not even the wind sounded. A minute passed. 12:07 a.m. There was a long, tearing noise. It was my window screen being ripped off. I sat up in my bed, and stared at the window. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Shard's head swivel toward the window, and narrow his eyes. Quiet. Then... click... My window unlocked. I could hear the wind picking up outside, the bushes rustling in the gustiness. I stared into the shadows of my room, and did my best to not let my paranoia get the better of me. But I still saw moving shadows in my room.

Wait... my mind wasn't playing tricks on me. There definitely was something in the room. In front of my window, I could see the dark silhouette of a tall human. Fear engulfed me. I couldn't move for the life of me. I could just stare in profound horror as it made its way toward me, the air filling with what sounded like a hundred whispers. My mind went blank at that point. I had no idea what to think. Suddenly, there was a flash of dark brown in the darkness, and a flutter of feathers. I don't remember anything else that happened because I blacked out at that point.

The next day, I woke up and I was filled with relief. I'm not sure why I was relieved. I just was. My room seemed brighter. The air felt clearer. I smiled. I turned my head to look at my window. Not a drop of dread passed through me, just happiness as seeing the sunbeams slant through the blinds. I looked over at Shard. He was on the edge of the desk, close to me. His eyes reflecting the slanting sunlight, and his feathers seemed ruffled as if he had been fighting. I smiled, and watched as the light disappeared from Shard's eyes, and the fluffiness of his feathers turned to slick plastic. But he still watched me, with that cute tilt to his head.

I'm not exactly sure what happened that night. But somehow, I knew that Shard had saved me. He protected me from that entity or whatever it was. Shard saved me.

He's by my side right now, his orange eyes curious as to what I'm doing. As I look at him now, I swear... he's got a slight smile on his face.