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

May 1, 2008
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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.

“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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This article has 875 comments. Post your own now!

TwiLigHt_#1 said...
Dec. 9, 2008 at 12:52 am
I think this is unbelievably good. I totally agree with nekuxshiki. This is totally the beginning of a novel. When you publish, I'll be the first to buy!
OpenMinded said...
Dec. 8, 2008 at 11:38 pm
It is well written and brings the reader in, but also has a few faults. The characters seem a bit...surreal. The way the boy responds to magic is questionable. At that age, or any age actually, the most likely answer would be disbelief and a chuckle, not instant faith becaue of a card. I can make those too, and so can you, theirnot facts, just paper. Also her blending in because she is attractive doesn't seem to fit. That would seem like men would notice her a bit more, and make it a little more... (more »)
seventeen said...
Nov. 27, 2008 at 6:06 pm
crafty organization name
littlemisssunshine said...
Nov. 26, 2008 at 8:23 am
please please please write another chapter! this should be a book!!! I LOVE IT!!!! u r amazing! write summor chapters and then i think u shud send this to a publisher it is a great story idea that id defiantly buy if it were a book!
fangs,fangsalot said...
Nov. 24, 2008 at 12:45 am
Great story! I think that you have what it takes to get published. But I have one problem; How the heck does all that info fit on one card? I would understand if it was more than one side, but it doesn't say that, does it? In other words: THIS IS AWESOME!
Ayesha said...
Nov. 20, 2008 at 4:07 pm
SILLY!!!! You could do better!
alese said...
Nov. 12, 2008 at 8:26 pm
lbdarling: WHO DO U THINK U ARE TO SAY THIS ISN'T GOOD ENOUGH! fact: u sound bitter, just because u probably arent as good as this author doesn't mean u go around bad talkin their work.... this story has been #1 for some time so it obviously deserves it...
lbdarling said...
Oct. 26, 2008 at 6:45 pm
This story is good, but it's not good enough to be number one.
bookworm013 said...
Oct. 24, 2008 at 11:07 pm
AWESOME! Write a seqel or something, PLEASE!
DE#81 said...
Oct. 22, 2008 at 4:49 pm
This was a very creative story it kept me wanting more and more. You have a lot of potential as a very successful writer. This could be the beginning of a great book and it really should be the beginning of one. The theme doesn’t fit very well though CIA and witches don’t really go together at all. The beginning was the best part I think though, I pulled me in and that’s what kept me reading it.
PunkPrincess said...
Oct. 16, 2008 at 2:34 pm
3 words: I WANT MORE!!! needless to say...i loved it!
Molly1992 said...
Oct. 13, 2008 at 6:09 pm
Woah! Another awesome story! You should seriously write a book!
yourfellowteen-inker said...
Oct. 12, 2008 at 9:51 pm
This was a truly amazing and creative story. I also loved your other story. Both could definitely turn into a wonderful and suspenseful book. You definitely have potential as an author. I loved it! Keep on writing!
Emily said...
Oct. 9, 2008 at 12:49 pm
You have a cute plotline going, if not a bit too cliche, and your grammar could be improved. Do remember that in dialogue ("Hi," said she) the words after the dialogue symbolizng the speaker is always lowercased, with the exception of the speaker's name.
riya m said...
Oct. 7, 2008 at 7:58 pm
wow. ur really good. keep writing. u really pulled me into the story. both of them. great job.
Cierra H. said...
Oct. 6, 2008 at 7:20 pm
Carolina, I totally know what you mean! I wrote a new short story in hopes that it does half as well as Opulence has! Victoria, you should be very proud of yourself. All these comments, AND #1 for a LONG while now! Good for you!
awesome said...
Oct. 6, 2008 at 10:26 am
Awesome!!!!!!! i have to read more, it's brilliant....i'm dying for what happenz nexT!!!!!! ure a great writer
Carolina said...
Sept. 28, 2008 at 2:54 am
Jeez, you have more comments than I've ever seen on Teen Ink. Very impressive! Good job! I wish my story, Inspired, got as many votes as yours does!
northcvball10 said...
Sept. 28, 2008 at 2:40 am
This was a very interesting story. You need to write more of it and make it even more detailed and interesting. Good start, I am looking forward to more.
Luna666 said...
Sept. 26, 2008 at 10:57 pm
GREAT!! it waz really kwl!!
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