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The Flashlight (Part Two) 2024

Part Two

By Rick Henry Christopher Published 2 months ago 8 min read

Here is the link to The Flashlight (Part One) for those of you who may have not read it yet.

The Flashlight (Part Two)

It's 6 a.m. on Tuesday morning. Isidoro Bellio has been awake for 20 minutes. He's dressed in his sweatsuit and running shoes ready to take his jog through his middle-class suburban neighborhood in Santa Ana, California.

Isidoro, age 35, lives the American Dream as he peeks into his 15-year-old daughter's bedroom before leaving. He thought, "She looks sweet and safe as she sleeps." He gulped down his water and left for his jog.

Stepping out onto the porch, Isidoro was struck by a strong gust of wind, causing him to lose balance. He fell, hit the ground, and blacked out.

When he woke he found himself back in the darkened, plywood box. Isidoro was experiencing flashbacks to the day that his daughter, Alexia, died. He began pounding his hands on the plywood surface yelling out, "Let me out of here! I need to see my daughter!"

"I want to see my daughter! I want to see my daughter!" Isidoro kept yelling when suddenly he heard a loud pounding on the top of the box. It sounded as if someone was hitting the box with a heavy chain repeatedly.

Then he felt a rocking motion. Back and forth, back and forth, it became more and more forceful and pronounced. Isidoro was aboard the sinking USS Partridge (AMS-31/YMS-437). The vessel was dangerously rocking and tilting. "I can't breathe! Help me, someone! I can't breathe!" Once again Isidoro blacked out as he felt the ocean water rising upon his body.

When he came to, he was once again lying in the quiet and dark solitude. His stomach was queasy, and his mouth was parched. His mind was hazy, and he wasn't sure where he was.

His left hand was tightly clenched. He tried opening his hand, but it must have been clenched for such a long time because his fingers felt like they were frozen shut. He wiggled each finger until he was able to slowly open his hand. Inside his hand was the flashlight locket he bought for his daughter when she was five years old.

He tried squeezing the plastic locket so it would light but the battery inside must have been weak. All he got was a dim flicker of light, and then it went out for good. This brought tears to his eyes as the light from the locket was the last hold he had of Lexi's existence, and now that was gone.

Suddenly, Isidoro felt movement. He heard wheels moving. He wondered if the plywood box was on some sort of cart being pushed to another area. When the movement stopped Isidoro could hear the muted sound of people talking. His mind became foggy, and he blacked out again.

When Isidoro woke up it was quiet again. He felt groggy as if he had been drugged. The back of his head felt like it had been banged up against a wall. He had such a sharp, throbbing pain. It was unbearable. Then in a flash, the pain subsided. It was odd but he felt at peace. A sort of happy feeling came over him. Similar to that feeling he'd get after drinking a beer on a lazy, sunny afternoon.

Isidoro’s mind drifted. He was cooling down from his 35-minute jog. He was now briskly walking Eastbound on 17th Street heading toward Lynnwood where he lived with his wife and daughter.

In his mind, Isidoro was going over the activities of the day. He planned to take a quick shower and dress casually for a nice afternoon with Lexi. Afterward, he intended to cook a scrambled eggs and bacon breakfast for the two of them. Isidoro's wife, Betty, was out of town, so he and Lexi were left to cook and clean for themselves. This was fine since Isidoro aspired to be a chef and loved cooking. However, he retired in 1951 at the age of 21 due to a severe brain injury he incurred while in the Navy. He was on the USS Partridge, which sank on February 2, 1951. As the ship tilted and began rapidly sinking, his body was forced across the cabin where he banged his head against a wall. His head split open, and he ended up in the hospital for several months.

When Isidoro made it back home he yelled out from the living room, "Get up out of bed, Lexi. I'm gonna take a shower, then cook us some breakfast." He walked over to her bedroom to wake her up. He froze with shock when he saw Lexi's body on the ground face down. It looked like a struggle. Her sheets were all twisted. He knelt next to her and shook her in hopes of waking her. But there was no response. He quickly ran to the kitchen and picked up the phone and dialed “0” for the operator. "Operator, please connect me to the police department! Something has happened. I think my daughter has been murdered!”

Within 10 minutes two police officers showed up at the house. Soon afterwards a team of crime scene investigators and a coroner arrived.

It was determined that there was no evidence of a crime. The coroner stated her death was due to suffocation. Not by choking or by any force. He explained that something happened while she was sleeping to cause her airway to become obstructed. The coroner called her death at 6:25 a.m. on Monday, June 28, 1965. A few minutes later an ambulance arrived to take Lexi's body to the coroner's office.

The adrenaline rushed through Isidoro's body, and his head was throbbing with pain. He was trapped inside the boarded-up plywood box, and he began shouting out, "No, no, please don't take her away! Don't take my baby from me. She can't, she can't leave!" Isidoro began sobbing quietly as he hit his fists against the floor of the plywood box. He kept pounding uncontrollably until his fists became raw and riddled with pain. "I just want to die," Isidoro faintly gasped as he passed out from the trauma of this experience.

The faint sound of voices surrounding him woke Isidoro. He couldn't understand what they were saying. But he heard someone mention his daughter Lexi's name. A different voice said something about the Korean War and the sinking ship. He realized they were talking about him.

Isidoro tried calling out to let them know he was inside the box, but no sound came from his voice. He tried banging on the floor of the box, but couldn’t move. He became full of fear thinking that he would never be rescued and would die inside the box.

The voices came within earshot and Isidoro could now clearly hear every word they were saying.

"His body was twitching as he went in and out of consciousness. He was yelling for his daughter," said one of the voices.

A softer, feminine voice responded, "Yes, his daughter, Alexia, experienced an epileptic seizure while sleeping. The muscles in her throat became stiff which blocked her windpipe causing her to suffocate to death."

There was a pause in the conversation. During this time Isidoro could hear what sounded like the movement of some sort of wheeled carts.

A husky deep voice spoke. "Mr. Bellio has been completely blind for almost a year now. His blindness was caused by an occipital lobe tumor which was diagnosed after he went blind." This shocked Isidoro. "I'm blind," he thought to himself, "Why? Why is this happening to me?"

The husky-voiced man continued talking, "The tumor has caused him to become delusional. A few days ago he was tapping out S.O.S. in Morse code on his bed." "Bed?" Isidoro was startled. He thought, "But I'm lying in a plywood box. I'm not on a bed."

"And he thinks he is lying inside a crated plywood box," the feminine voice stated. "When he first got here he was talking about how he had worked 16 days in a row then went hiking. Right away I knew he was delusional because he never worked. He retired at the age of 21. I don't think he realizes he is in the hospital."

Stunned by this revelation Isidoro did not know what to think. He was confused. "How can I be in the hospital when I've been in this plywood box?" Isidoro tried yelling out but nothing came out. He tried shaking his fists but was unable to move. "What's going on?" he thought.

Isidoro could hear the shuffling of paper then a man's voice spoke. "Mr. Bellio has been in this vegetative, comatose state now for 76 hours. He has shown no motor response to any of the tests we've done on him. At his advanced age, the possibility of him waking from this coma is less than 3%.”

Isidoro went into shock. His breath became shallow. He began to choke and stopped breathing, despite being on a ventilator.

The staff of nurses and doctors ran into Isidoro's room when they heard his monitor beeping. One of the doctors shouted out, "He's flatlined!"

The head doctor pressed the defibrillator paddles against his chest and sent an electrical shock to his heart. But nothing happened. His body did not respond. The doctor then opened his mouth to see if anything was obstructing his trachea. The muscles in his throat became rigid, when he went into shock, causing the blockage of the trachea. Like his daughter, Isidoro suffocated to death.

The doctor called his death at 7:15 p.m. on Wednesday, October 13, 2021. Today was his 91st birthday.

thrillerShort StoryPsychologicalMysteryHorror

About the Creator

Rick Henry Christopher

Writing is a distraction to fulfill my need for intellectual stimulus, emotional release, and soothing the bruises of the day.

The shattered pieces of life will not discourage me.

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Comments (6)

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  • The Invisible Writerabout a month ago

    Great job building the tension Rick very suspenseful. Well done my friend

  • Naveed 2 months ago

    I'm impressed!! Love it!🫶

  • Novel Allen2 months ago

    Ai, there I was ready for the apocalypse. He did live a long life though. So many trials of us human, every day is a blessing. Great story Rick.

  • Lamar Wiggins2 months ago

    I loved how you created a sense of chaotic delusion leading up to the reveal. My mind was going every which way just like Isidoro's. I just read part 1 and had to come straight to part 2. Wonderfully crafted story that messes with the head. 🤨

  • Powerfully poignant story, Rick. Incredible journey upon which you've taken us.

  • Tiffany Gordon 2 months ago

    WOW! This was phenomenal! I hope to see it become a screenplay one day! It is just that good. Who knows maybe it'll end up on Broadway! BRAVO Cousin Rick BRAVO! 👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾👏🏾

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