My name is Jacob Stormwell, and this is the story of how I became The CASA Crusader.
My parents abused me until I was 9 years old, when the CASA Crusader saved me. Since then, I always looked up to him, even though some kids didn’t believe in him. My fourth-grade teacher believed me though, and he helped me through the struggle of moving through foster homes until I finally moved home with my Aunt Cindy.
As I got older, I wondered if maybe I had thought him up to make myself feel safe. I didn’t think about it too often through high school and college, but when I started my first job as a seventh-grade English teacher, my fourth-grade teacher paid me a visit to congratulate me. What came next was the biggest surprise of my life.
As we visited together, I noticed he was itching to tell me something, so I urged him to spill the beans. He leaned in close and spoke in a low voice, “Do you remember the CASA Crusader who saved you from your home in fourth grade?”
I was confused; at this point I was certain I had made up the CASA Crusader, but I answered, “yes?” anyway.
He dug through the messenger bag he had brought with him and found a little metal case that he handed to me. I opened it to find a strangely shaped pen.
“I remember this; this was your special pen from all those years ago!”
“Go ahead, hold it.”
I picked it up without hesitation, but I wondered why he asked about The CASA Crusader.
The pen lit up at the top and chirped at me. I suddenly felt a wave of energy run through my body, and I had to stand. All of a sudden, I felt materials begin to form around my whole body, and I couldn’t believe my eyes when I looked at my reflection in the window.
There was The CASA Crusader staring right back at me. I had on a blue suit, with red arm and leg bracers, belt, mask, and cape.
A laugh escaped my mouth as I stared at my transformation. I looked at my old friend for an explanation.
“It’s your turn now. You have what it takes to be the hero.”
“I-it was you?”
He only smiled.
He shook my hand and disappeared without another word.
I looked at the pen that chirped again. It began to move by itself and I had to tighten my grip so that it didn’t fall out of my hand.
“Man, are you alive?” The pen seemed to be sentient, as it chirped, answering me. “Let’s see what you can do.” I walked over to my desk and created a frame around a picture of my aunt and me from when I first came home with her. The frame became solid, and the pen chirped excitedly. It began to move again, and I followed the direction it pulled me. I pointed it straight up and I suddenly was surrounded in a glowing done of protection.
“This is amazing, Pen. Or, should I give you a name? My teacher didn’t tell me anything about you… what about…Stylus? Yeah, that sounds good.” I smiled, and Stylus chirped assent.
All of a sudden, Stylus jumped out of my hand and rolled underneath my new desk.
“Dude, what are you doing?” I got on my knees and tried to reach under, but my hand was too big. I stood up and carefully lifted the desk, but as I did, it felt weightless. “This desk is so light!” I exclaimed. Stylus chirped again. It rolled towards me and I picked it up. “Did you give me super strength?!” I asked in amazement and Stylus vibrated. “I guess that’s a yes,” I chuckled. “Let’s find out what else you can do,” I said confidently pointing it at a textbook across the room. I hit a button on the side of Stylus and it used telekinesis to pick the book up. I walked over to it and waved my hand underneath and above it.
“No strings attached!”
The book fell down again as I pressed the button a second time.
“Stylus, you and I are going to save so many kids. I wonder how my teacher knew about me, though.” I scrunched my eyebrows together and thought but couldn’t figure it out. “I guess I have to pay close attention to my students.” As soon as I said that, I heard all of them, at one time. It hurt my head at first, but eventually, one by one, the voices of the children I heard disappeared until only one was left; a little girl crying for someone to rescue her. I looked at Stylus as it blinked repeatedly. I nodded.
“Take me to the kid.” As soon as I said it, I was immediately yanked in the direction the crying child was in.
The little girl’s name was Elizabeth, and she extended her arms towards me, with one hand holding her teddy bear, as Stylus surrounded us in a dome of safety. I got down on one knee and assured her that everything would be okay. I let her hold onto Stylus, and she examined him with great interest. The glow lit her face up and Stylus chirped, causing a smile to form on her lips. She wiped the tears from her cheeks and gave the pen back. I then had a brilliant idea and began to draw out a pen similar to Stylus. My creation became material and I gave it to Elizabeth.
“Use this pen to write down how you feel and give it to your CASA hero, so they can help you. This pen can be a beacon of hope for you.” The pen started to glow at the end.
“Thank you for saving me, CASA Crusader!”
After that day, I swore I would save any and all children from the same life I experienced as a child. I became a hero, chosen by fate, for the purpose of saving children from harmful environments; and when people ask who I am, I tell them with a smile on my face,
“I’m The CASA Crusader, and I’m here to save you!”