Conspire | Teen Ink


September 17, 2010
By Shelly-T GOLD, Romeoville, Illinois
Shelly-T GOLD, Romeoville, Illinois
13 articles 0 photos 71 comments

Under the cover of night I am like a swift and sly animal, dodging predators left and right, and pouncing upon prey all the while. It gives me that sort of feeling that comes only when you know that death or life could be lurking around the corner. No one ever sees me; the darkness blinds them like thick black drapes. It is to my advantage. It is best that they not see what I do. If they did it would be a danger to them, and to me. I wish I had wings. Then I could fly through the night, and then become part of it as I fly above the city. Down here, the night isn’t so pleasant. It is muggy from puddles lining the street, and coated in a skin of dirt. Graffiti is like wounds against the brick in the alleys, and litter is scattered all over the ground. The smoke and pollutants are wolves, snaking into every bend. But at least the dumpster gives me someplace to hide as a man comes into view. I listen to his feet against the ground. Scuff, scuff, scuff. Then, he is gone. I free myself slowly, stealthily, and continue on my mission. I have never failed one night in my whole career. This won’t be my first.

Sometimes I wonder why I even do this. Every night takes me closer and closer to the end of my life. Why do I waste the dwindling years doing this? But then a thought strikes me like a razor sharp arrow. What is my alternative? Live in a box in the alley like every other homeless person in the city? Beg on the highway? Hitchhike? I have no alternative. And besides. I like my life…Or at least I think I do.

I have been part of Conspire for years now. And I have lived well, or at least better than I deserve. Becoming part of Conspire requires only one simple trade: your life. You give your life to Conspire, and in return, you receive a place to live, food to eat, clothes to wear—everything. When I was first invited, I snatched up the offer eagerly. It was my one-way ticket back to life. And this is what the deal is: You must steal by night, and if you do not bring anything, you lose everything.

Now the shadows are getting long as the daylight creeps into the far reaches of the sky. I hurry. I have to get to the institution. That is my assignment for the night, and it still hasn’t been achieved. Breaking in isn’t the hardest part; Conspire has many secret entrances to all the places we work with. But they don’t know it. No one knows about Conspire.

Once I reach the institution, I remember the code and let myself inside. It is dark and cold, but my eyes are darker. That’s what I most from Conspire say—once you join Conspire, your eyes darken. I do not know if that is exactly true, but I do know that my eyes never take very long to adjust to the bitter blackness of the secret passageways anymore.

The strangest thing about Conspire is that there is no leader. No one makes the rules. They have always existed. No one tells anyone what to do. We take our own assignments. It is good; it is freedom. But all of us are bound into Conspire by our lives; we cling to the chains that hold us down, even though they cause us immeasurable pain.

I locate the codes and put them inside of my pocket. I chuckle at the institution for not protecting their files well. I hacked the password in ten minutes flat. And their safe—it was simple. Last week when I broke in, I solved the lock combination on the first try. We would eat the institution out of house and home soon, like an unknown virus. Deadly, but stealthy.

I am back at Conspire by five AM. Several others have already returned, and are talking about their day’s finds. I slap mine down on the desk.

“It was easy,” I say. They raise their eyebrows. I am always an excellent hunter. Unlike some. Those who don’t bring anything lose everything.

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