The Origins of the Crimson Angel

A six-year-old girl sat in her grandparents' house, playing with her stuffed animals. Her three-month-old sister lay on the rug next to her, making sweet little baby noises. Their grandfather, Kendall Sharpe, sat in his armchair watching, a smile on his wrinkled face.

"Amelia," he called to the older granddaughter. "Come here and sit on my lap. I have something for you." He held out his arm, and Amelia sat on her knee, snuggling against his wool sweater her grandmother knitted for him.

"What is it Grandpa?" she asked, looking up with her dark blue eyes into his similarly coloured ones. Her grandfather sat her on the arm of the chair, and stood to walk to his desk, where he opened a drawer, and pulled out a shoebox. He sat back on the chair, and handed the box to Amelia, who set it on her lap, waiting for him to tell her when to open it.

"I have something to share with you, Amelia," he said, looking around the room to be sure no-one was listening. Baby Eleanor wouldn't understand, and their grandmother, Sandra, was not in the room. He leaned in close to Amelia's face, and spoke in a low voice.

"You know the town's superhero?" he asked.

"Yes!" Amelia said excitedly. "He's called the Red Devil, and I've seen him fly around saving people! He even saved Mommy once!"

"That's right," Mr. Sharpe nodded. "Do you want to know his secret identity?" Amelia's blue eyes went wide.

"Oh, no, Grandpa!" she said. "I know superheros need to keep their identities secret!"

"I'm sure he won't mind if I told you," Grandpa chuckled. "He's me." Amelia gasped.

"You're the Red Devil!" she gasped. "Grandpa, I don't believe you!"

"Why not? Grandpa asked, smiling.

"Because you're so old! You couldn't fly around town saving people all day! You take long naps!" Grandpa laughed out loud.

"I know; to prove it to you, open the box." He pointed to the cardboard box on Amelia's lap. She pulled the lid off, and took out its contents. It was a pair of white boots, with yellow stars on the side. Amelia gasped, recognising them as the Red Devil's.

"Grandpa!" she cried, smiling. "You're the Red Devil!"

"That's right," Grandpa said with a smile. "And when you turn seven, you can be the town's hero." Amelia's smile faded as she dropped the boots into the box.

"But Grandpa, that's your job," she said softly. "And I'll be seven in two months."

"I know; it won't be my job anymore," Grandpa replied solemnly. "I need to retire; I'm old, Amelia, and I can't do it anymore." Amelia nodded slowly.

"Remember the last time the Red Devil fought someone?"

"It was on the TV news," Amelia answered. "The Red Devil died. But you're still here, Grandpa."

"The villain I was fighting was an actor I hired to help my fake my death, so I could retire, and everyone would understand why the Red Devil was gone. Your great-great-grandmother did the same when he passed the boots onto me."

"Do I have to be called the 'Red Devil'?" she asked.

"No; what other name did you have in mind?"

"Maybe something… the 'Crimson Angel'."

"I like that name," Grandpa said approvingly. "Those boots are programmed to fit whoever wears them, so you won't grow out of them. And you can modify them however you need."

"Thank you, Grandpa," Amelia smiled, hugging his neck.

A few months after Amelia took the title of the town hero, her grandfather got very sick, and soon died. Amelia determined to continue fighting crime, for her grandfather. Then she was faced with the problem of her best friend, Cooper. Should she tell him? She trusted him enough; would telling a good friend as he be a risk? She decided to ask her father about it, and she knew exactly how to do it.

"Daddy," she said one night, as he tucked her into bed.

"Yes, Amelia?" Mr. Sharpe asked.

"If you were a superhero with a secret identity, would you tell your bestest friend, who you trusted more than most people?"

"I suppose I would, if I knew it would help in some way," her father answered. "Why?"

"Just curious. Uh… Andrea asked me that today, and I wanted to know what you thought."

The next day, a Saturday, Amelia and Cooper were playing in their tree house in the Sharpe's backyard.

"Coop," she said. "Guess what!"

"What?" Cooper asked, getting excited. Amelia always had cool secrets to share.

"Did you see the new superhero girl? The Crimson Angel?"

"I have seen her, why?"

"Because she's me!" Amelia exclaimed, pointing to herself. Cooper stared at her.

"Wow!" he cried. "Can I watch you fight crime?"

"Well, I-" Just then, a scream came from across the street. Amelia and Cooper turned to see a woman being robbed of her handbag. Amelia turned back to Cooper, smirking.

"Sure thing, Coop!" she shouted, pulling off her blue dress to reveal the pink super-suit of the Crimson Angel. She tied on her mask, jumped into the air, and activated the hover-soles, flying to the woman's rescue. Cooper watched, amazed, and vowed to himself to help the Crimson Angel. She was his hero!