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Opulence This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine.

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I’ve been watching him for days now. When he leaves his house to go to school, I’m the one carefully tailing him, switching cars every day to make myself look less suspicious. If he ever sneaks out of his second-story room, I’ll be the one silently watching from a nearby tree. In class when he turns, feeling eyes on the back of his head, I’m the one who sent the hair on the back of his neck up on end. I am the girl whose shadow is always slightly overlapping his.

Being assigned to watch him almost makes me
feel like I’m not a stalker. Though I’m only 17, I’m a full-fledged member of the organization known as O.P.U.L.E.N.C.E. I’ve been with them since the ­tender age of five. It’s my home. Being an orphan, my office is also my permanent residence, the couch a fold-out bed. There are many others like me: no family. A lot of us are loners and haven’t chosen this route for ourselves.

I’m a tracker. I have been for years and some might say that I am the best at not being the best. In other words, I’m great at being invisible. Or at not being noticed. It’s not as hard as the others in the organization think. Being young and female is good, since most we track are young. Seeing me around younger people – my age, actually – doesn’t raise alarm bells. It helps that I’m cute. With a small frame, light hazel eyes, and short blond hair that curls under my chin, I don’t appear threatening. Of course, my ­organization-funded training doesn’t back that theory.

Soon I won’t be tracking down others with the power. They are finally going to give me an apprentice. After years of mastering everything I’ve been taught, they see my potential. That’s not to say I know everything. Even with my extended life I won’t be able to learn all the things I want to. If only this annoying boy would show the signs. It’s been almost a week. If he doesn’t show soon, they’ll reassign me. That much longer until I get my apprentice.

So here I am, sipping a latté and waiting for the Target to leave for school. I have been put in all of his classes in case something happens there, though I graduated high school years ago. Private tutors sped things up. With no family or personal ties, I had lots of time to devote to my studies. Martial arts black belts. Twelve languages, not including English. Everything a girl needs for a serious career in the agency. Such positions of power are not handed out easily. You must prove yourself many times over.

The Target and I have never spoken, but I know a lot about him. His file told me some, but after watching him for only a few days, I feel confident in saying that I know things no one else does. Not just the obvious, either. He resents his father and is protective of his mother, which makes me suspect the father is less than faithful. He smiles often but doesn’t make a lot of eye contact. He usually only speaks when spoken to. Although he has many friends, he isn’t close with any of them. The Target is observant, a watcher. This leads me to believe we would get along if he shows any promise.

I look down at my watch, then back at his house a few blocks away. The Target is late, which means I’ll be late too. Today my ride is a shiny black sports car, not out of place in this suburb full of midlife-crisis men. I turn on the engine impatiently. I’m fiddling with the radio when I hear something. I don’t feel any immediate danger, and I know to trust those feelings. But I ­also know that something is off.

Just as I am about to get out of the car and pretend to look in the trunk, the passenger door opens. I look up in surprise as the Target slides into the seat next to me. I grin, quite pleased by this turn of events. This is definitely a good sign. Perhaps intuition is strong in him. That would be good for my apprentice to have, complementary. I could handle having to deal with that.

“Hello, Lenna. Why have you been following me for a week now?” the Target asks lightly, conversationally, his first words ever said in my direction.

Ah, one of my many aliases. The organization set it up so that whenever I’m on a case, I get a new name, past, and present. It’s very powerful. The organization can basically do anything it needs; it has people everywhere imaginable. I’m just one of many, though there aren’t that many at the top, as I am. They don’t trust many to be trackers. Or to be apprentices. All of the full members have the power, though we control others to get things done.

My smile deepens as I say in my authoritative, professional voice, “My real name is Jade. I am a witch of the moon and a tracker for the organization known as O.P.U.L.E.N.C.E. You are also a witch. We would like to formally welcome you into the organization as my apprentice. Here is my card for verification.”

Jade Wordsworth
Tracker for O.P.U.L.E.N.C.E
Official Political Understanding Lending ­Everyone ­Navigation for Co-Existing Ethereals
Office hours: 8 a.m.-3 p.m. Mon-Sat
Phone: 555-5555
Proud league of witches of the sun and moon.
Worldwide.

“What do you mean ‘moon and sun’? Or ‘tracker’?” he asks, still looking at my card like it’s going to ­disappear.

“Types of magic. Moon is all about spells, the sun is more potion-based, though each type of witchcraft involves the other somehow. As a tracker, I find people like you and I bring them to O.P.U.L.E.N.C.E. Every witch must register, train, and become a member by law. In fact, the organization is like a government targeted toward witches,” I explain with a smile, loving the fact that this time I get to teach the newbie.

“Magic? Seriously?” he asks, eyes wide, meeting mine. They are large, yellow, and catlike.

I click a button on my left, automatically locking the doors. I put the car into drive, pulling out onto the road. As an afterthought I add as a courtesy, “I think you had better come with me.” .

This work has been published in the Teen Ink monthly print magazine. This piece has been published in Teen Ink’s monthly print magazine.




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melinda13 said...
Jan. 10, 2009 at 4:27 am
That was so cool! I loved it. great job!
 
TLKxx3 said...
Jan. 10, 2009 at 1:05 am
wonderful.
but the context is a little hard to understand.
great job, though.
 
abbystrub said...
Jan. 9, 2009 at 1:12 am
What a great story! The entire piece left out just enough to make me want to keep reading, but there were enough details, subtle or not, that it wasn't frustrating at all. If that wasn't enough - a Michigander! I can never find any. Proud to live in the same stare, Victoria. Excellent job.
 
2539R.S.girl said...
Jan. 8, 2009 at 9:30 pm
this story was awesome! it would be so cool if you made it into a book. best short story ive read in forever!
 
cyprianna said...
Jan. 6, 2009 at 7:53 pm
This was amazing I think you should continue writing and tell more of the story.
 
destinee said...
Jan. 6, 2009 at 4:35 pm
The boy seems a tad bit gullible. I mean, a card and he's in? The idea is good, but it's a bit too abrupt. The beginning is going at a nice pace, but you might need to add more description for when he comes in the car.
 
beatnik said...
Jan. 6, 2009 at 2:08 am
The idea's creative. But I think the writing slaughtered any hope of a good story.
 
sunlily@midnight said...
Jan. 4, 2009 at 8:37 am
i love your idea. very imaginative and i hope you write more. the conversation between your characters could use a tid bit of work though. im sorry to say that i dont know exactly whats missing but its something. i dont enjoy repeating the opinions of others, but ti is a it choppy,. keep up the good work though!
 
Loquacious Soliloquies. said...
Jan. 4, 2009 at 6:43 am
A job well done. I'll be honest, I wasn't very fond of this piece, and found it to be a bit silly. But overall the writing was good and you did a fine job of drawing people in. A few things I noticed. "I’m a tracker. I have been for years and some might say that I am the best at not being the best. In other words, I’m great at being invisible." I didn't really get this sentence, in fact I didn't find it to make any sense at all. How does "being the best at not bein... (more »)
 
hugz94 said...
Jan. 2, 2009 at 6:08 pm
it's good... but in some parts it's choppy, and sometimes it didn't leave me wanting more. But I love the material and you built up a great character. I think if you make it into a book it would be really great. :)
 
Kaitlynn said...
Dec. 31, 2008 at 3:22 am
I think you did a great job Victoria! The commenter before me said that it was hard to believe.....that's why it's called fiction. And I didn't think it was choppy at all. Loved it
:D
 
Yoda1515 said...
Dec. 28, 2008 at 7:29 am
eh, it wasnt to bad i guess. i cant say it left me wanting more but it was good writing all in all
 
tiny angel in love said...
Dec. 25, 2008 at 11:56 am
I love this! I can't wait to read more!
 
Carrie said...
Dec. 24, 2008 at 1:47 pm
I like it. It's wierd and not usually the style of writing I'd pick, but it's really addictive. I don't think it would have worked if you'd done it any other way so good choice.
The ending feels a bit rushed to me. I would've described his eyes more - use a simile, a metephor, GO CRAZY!!!! I supose the character seems like someone who doesn't do much desciption so I can see from that point of view. Loving the idea, though. WRITE MORE. :P
 
Word Angel said...
Dec. 24, 2008 at 5:39 am
That is a great story. I olove withches and warlocks and fantasy so that 100 points, but it is also sort of like a spy/ future type of story so 60 points! AWESOME STORY! PLEASE WRITE MORE!
 
soul_writer said...
Dec. 23, 2008 at 10:59 pm
I thought the idea was really good, but no offense your characters were slightly boring, not Jade so much as the boy... but Jade could also have a lot more depth to her.
 
darknesschic said...
Dec. 23, 2008 at 3:56 am
its was really good and plz dont listen or let the frist two comments bother you the are false anyway it was very well run through flowed well went at a good pace not to slow or fast was just right it also was nice how you described your caracters and how u didnt tell what O.P.U.L.E.N.C.E was intel later it left me wondering also nice si fi fantasy edge i really like that stuff and it would be a good book starter or baser and this is comming from a girl who plans on being an aouthor when she gro... (more »)
 
Iz said...
Dec. 21, 2008 at 4:26 am
This story is sooo good! I would buy it in a heartbeat if it was at Borders or Vromans!
 
dedeem said...
Dec. 20, 2008 at 12:38 am
The great thing about writting from your heart is what u know or ur ideas or ur observation on the world. and if anybody has a problem with that they just obviousley* DON't get u :) good job nice story
 
MEANgirl/NICEgirl said...
Dec. 19, 2008 at 11:04 pm
it was really good i liked it keep reading and dont let anyone put you down :)
 
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