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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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Tweedle Dee said...
Sept. 24, 2008 at 8:52 pm:
great story!!! didnt like the whole witch thing, but if you had made it anything other that a witch, it would have been one of the best stories in a long time. was like a chapter or intro, hope to see a novel!!!
 
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xrthomx said...
Sept. 22, 2008 at 3:13 am:
Written extremely well..but the whole witch thing sort turned me off. The beginning was...amazing and made me want to continue reading (which is always good). But then you mentioned witch and in my head I'm like: *sigh*, another cliche fantasy meets action book.
 
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artofthedeath said...
Sept. 20, 2008 at 7:54 pm:
Well, I thought it was really good. This isn't a work of someone without experience. Beyond that, the art gives you power, a power that all young writers own. The piece was great and thriving; something we don't see too much of anymore. I liked it.
 
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inkstain said...
Sept. 19, 2008 at 9:24 pm:
Very intriguing. I'm reminded of this story whenever I feel someone's eyes on me ;D
 
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Veggie Girl said...
Sept. 18, 2008 at 8:17 pm:
The thing I liked most was that you didn't give away too much detail, or feel the need to explain things too far. Very good! Loved it.
 
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EMERSON said...
Sept. 14, 2008 at 12:47 am:
this story rox and i do have to agrre with the person before me i am itersted and opulance mean lavish and ect...
 
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gttaloveme said...
Sept. 7, 2008 at 9:43 pm:
twilightony for one thing the covert thing is obvioiusly because they're witches.. its not like they can broadcast it.. drrrrr... and look up opulence does not mean rich it means lavish and ample.. this story is flippin sweet....
 
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Bella Cullen said...
Sept. 7, 2008 at 8:56 pm:
Needs work, you have good ideas, but this is not a short story, it is more of a chapter. Don't give up, just give your ideas more to work with. This is definately more of a first chapter or intro to a novel. I hope you take this and really put yourself into it and turn it into a novel, because it definately has potential. ~CNH
 
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alex said...
Sept. 7, 2008 at 7:56 pm:
Uhm Sorry, but some constructive critism. This is a bit like James Bond meets Harry Potter. The premise needs to be worked on to be made reliable. The writing is strong enough, but...
 
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twilightony said...
Sept. 6, 2008 at 11:15 pm:
I posted some really good feedback on this story, because I like the premise. But, for some constructive criticism, the theme doesn't really fit. If they're witches, why the whole covert-op thing? CIA mission-type things don't mix well with witches...and Opulence means rich. So I don't know where that fits in, either. If it wasn't for the witches, I think it'd be perfect. But it just doesn't fit.
 
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jediknight said...
Sept. 5, 2008 at 3:41 am:
I totally disagree with CanIBeHonest? and miawrites this story is awesome!! the character is soo not out of place bein a witch it makes total sense... i love it and the writer obviously has lots of talent! hope to read more soon..
 
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ImJustAKid said...
Sept. 1, 2008 at 9:59 pm:
ok. This uber good! its so just plainly awesome!!!
 
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CanIBeHonest? said...
Aug. 31, 2008 at 8:10 pm:
I actually didn't like it- mainly because of the witch twist. It may be because of my beliefs, but I still find it out of place.
 
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nonelse said...
Aug. 30, 2008 at 11:17 pm:
when's ur book coming out:) really, r u gonna write more? i think most others would agree with me that were falling off our seats waiting to read more.
 
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miawrites said...
Aug. 29, 2008 at 8:12 pm:
I do like your story. It has potential, and you have a good handle on language and grammar. Your writing is eloquent and even. But I don't consider this a short story. It's more like a chapter, which hopefully it is, so there's more. Your character sounds very impressive, but also unrealistic. Hopefully, if there's more (which there should be) she'll be explained a bit.
 
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twilightony said...
Aug. 28, 2008 at 9:01 pm:
This story is amazing. I have a story about vampires and witches; and excerpt of the beginning is currently at the number 10 spot on this Fiction list. I understand why you're number one...wow. Very good. I only wish I had more time to write. I can see you've spent a lot of time on this, very very good.
 
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InkWebber said...
Aug. 28, 2008 at 12:40 am:
WOW!! Amazing!! This is the kind of book that sucks people in2 it!
 
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miss.bliss1 said...
Aug. 27, 2008 at 4:05 pm:
WOW..WOW AND WOW! You are an amaaaaaazeing writer! I wish I could write like you.
 
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Rose said...
Aug. 25, 2008 at 1:40 am:
PLEASE tell me that this is the introduction, or first chapter, to a book. The first paragraph was soooo sketchy, and a very intriguing idea to start off with. This is the sort of thing that you get the impression you will keep learning new things as the storyline progresses. I wouldn't mind reading a book with this premise...
 
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SecretAdmirer said...
Aug. 15, 2008 at 6:01 am:
GREAT! U are an amazing author and i look forward to seeing one of your boooks on a shelf in Barnes and Nobles. Maybe you will have an autograph signing.
 
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