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!

KCayla said...
Oct. 26, 2011 at 6:02 am
I liked the agency part ,but when it got to the part of witchcraft I got confused. If you do continue to write this story, which I think you should, in my opinion, leave out the witchcraft thing. Stick with the main topic of the story. :D
jpbooker said...
Oct. 15, 2011 at 9:27 am

ok this is a great and interesting story but it has become like angry birds what i mean by that is it has been number one for a year or more now and its getting rediculous. 


Inkfan replied...
Oct. 17, 2011 at 8:58 pm

That's exactly what I was about to post.  

It's like the singers and song-writers who get awards every years...GIVE SOMEONE ELSE A CHANCE!  

It isn't even that great!

Victor_Hagar said...
Oct. 15, 2011 at 12:25 am
Woah, this sucked. I don't want to get you down, but are you thirteen, and experiencing a minor hormonal imbalance? This felt like a slew of unorganized ideas shat into an open jaw of generic spread. This may be the most commented story in the fiction section but it is certainly not the best. Don't be discouraged though. Reorder your thoughts; pick a topic that's easier to start with; focus on how people truly act and react; and build a plot that lasts longer than 2,400 words. Limiting so... (more »)
Victor_Hagar replied...
Oct. 15, 2011 at 12:33 am
And how in the name of Jesus did this get published in the magazine!?!
CaeCae97 replied...
Oct. 16, 2011 at 9:21 pm
Why are you being so rude? I thought it was rather good, to say the least.
Victor_Hagar replied...
Oct. 21, 2011 at 7:35 pm
You know, you're right; I am being a little rude. But I don't do it out of spite, but out of critique, because if everybody said, "Gee willikers your story is really good," then the author wouldn't get anything out of it. This is TeenInk, we've got to help each other, not pat each other on the back when we write total poop.
Naomi518 replied...
Oct. 26, 2011 at 9:38 pm
I totally understand that you're tring to help this author out, but don't you think asking "are you thirteen, and experiencing a minor hormonal imbalance?" is just a tad rude? you can say you didn't like it, without the name-calling.
harrypotter143 replied...
Oct. 28, 2011 at 12:46 pm
i get that you're trying to be constructive with your critisism, but it was really rude how you stated it. i thought it was a good story. a little confusing, yes, and it couldve been a bit more clearer, but you dont have to be so mean. the author was young, so they probably didnt have much writing experience.
burgerman said...
Oct. 9, 2011 at 7:27 pm
Sorry, but the ending kind of ruined it for me. You describe this boy as shy and awkward, then he confronts Jade--a stranger. It doesn't fit. The witch-thing came out of nowhere and doesn't fit "opulence." I think you should rewrite the ending, because everything else was amazing. Try to reinvent O.P.U.L.E.N.C.E. This was a good idea.
prettylittlewriter said...
Oct. 9, 2011 at 6:10 pm
You really know how to write! Hope you continue.
minischnauzergirl said...
Oct. 5, 2011 at 2:53 pm

I really enjoyed the entire suspence-like theme to the story.  It had an effect like we were learning about a mystery organization and learning about a part, in the form of a member, of O.P.U.L.E.N.C.E. as well.  Very well tied together in the mystery aspect, but there were some things that I didn't like as well.

As for the two things I didn't like; 1) What does O.P.U.L.E.N.C.E. stand for?  When speaking about a secret organization, it is important to be vague, but not t... (more »)

Victor_Hagar replied...
Oct. 15, 2011 at 12:26 am
lol, double post.. :D
ZookTheGnome said...
Oct. 4, 2011 at 8:08 pm

Very interesting storyline. Reminds me of a mix of Harry Potter and the Dresden Files. Might have to show my sister this. She has a liking for the modern wizard sort of stories.

Hope to hear more soon!

L.A.colors said...
Oct. 4, 2011 at 7:18 pm
im very sorry to say that while this peice has a good reputation, i hav to give my opinion.....the sun and the moon are too over used differences so when you use them as agencies i think it take away from the story....and i would add a bit more detail....i would rather be shown a story not told it....other than that your story as it is developing now is good dont hold any ill will against me.....this is just helpful critism from another viewpoint
ButterflyKiss said...
Oct. 4, 2011 at 7:13 pm

Oh NOW it makes sense. You have no idea how creeped out I was at the beginning! I was thinking "Is this some crazy ex girlfriend who just can't let go? What the? Stalker!"


But now, it all makes sense. :) Great story. I give you, my child... a 5/5!


I was wondering... since you seem like a skilled writer... if you could check out my story Innocence? Maybe read and review? :)

averagexauthor said...
Oct. 4, 2011 at 5:58 pm
Amazing(: It's very original, and well-written.! Luv This.!<3
Socsisshea said...
Oct. 1, 2011 at 5:28 pm
I REALLY like this. I mean I REALLY REALLY like this :). I'm new here could you maybe check out my stories?
Joiinu replied...
Oct. 3, 2011 at 8:43 pm
This is amazing :DDD
Phoena said...
Sept. 29, 2011 at 6:13 pm

this is REALLY good.

please write the story.

i will DEFINITELY read it

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