The Loop Newspaper - Tehachapi's Online Community News & Entertainment Guide

Valley of Light: A Loop Serial Story

The TALE: Tehachapi Art, Literature and Entertainment

Series: The Serial | Story 3

May 25, 2019

Part 1

The valley, surrounded by mountains and hillsides, sits high above the desert to the east and above a large fertile valley to the west. A vibrant community lives here. Mysteries live here.

There is a mystery of lights in the night skies. Julia stands at her kitchen sink looking out the window into the darkness. She watches a small red dot first zoom across the sky, then stop suddenly and hover for over a minute. Then it moves at an impossible speed totally out of sight before she can blink her eyes.

Lylah lays in her bed most nights, watching bright white light pulse from the top of Bear Mountain. It sometimes runs back and forth from left to right, and then back to pulsing.

Her husband Bill, a grumpy disbeliever, changed his mind the night he sat on their deck fighting insomnia. He watched as a bright white ball of light tumbled down the hillside, breaking into a myriad of tiny rolling dancing lights near his property, and then passed right by the deck.

The desert has its own mysteries to the east, but it is oldtimer, desert rat Ralph Rigata who swears that the Indian petroglyph pictures in local mountain caves move at night, rearranging themselves and their stories on the rock cave walls.

Steve leaves for work at 7 a.m. each morning. His wife Becky kisses him goodbye without knowing exactly where he is going or what he is working on. His work is secret. He works for the government. He returns at 6 p.m. every evening.

Where does he go?

What secrets does he keep?

There are schools and churches and businesses ... teaching, shopping, cooking, lawns to mow, gardens to weed. Regular vibrant lives being lived in this town. But around the edges are mysteries.

Should they be left alone or explored?

If explored, what will change?

Anything? Everything?

From local news today:

“News of two hikers on the Pacific Coast Trail have rattled this community today.

“After one of the hikers stumbled, spraining his ankle, the two ran behind schedule and continued their hike toward town in darkness last night.

“At a rather precarious turn on the trail, one hiker has been found dead and the other refuses or can’t speak to give details of the tragedy.

“Details, if any, are not being shared with local police as the FBI made an incredibly fast appearance at the scene and is also setting up a command station in town. We will report as more information is available.”

Part 2, by E. M. Young

[Picking up the story from the paragraph beginning: “Steve leaves for work at 7 a.m. each morning. His wife, Becky, kisses him goodbye without knowing exactly where he is going or what he is working on. His work is secret ... Where does he go? What secrets does he keep?]

The problem is that Steve talks in his sleep. And Becky is a light sleeper. Steve is often restless in his sleep, too. Sometimes what Steve blurts out in the quiet of the night puts an end to Becky’s rest and is largely responsible for her chronic insomnia. But she can’t admit that to her well-meaning friends or even to her concerned doctor.

What does Steve mean when he says big doors on the side of some mountain open up and he flies in? Didn’t he leave the driveway in his old pickup? Where has he gone? Which mountain? We’re surrounded by them. And just how far inside does he travel? What big elevators going way down? To where and on what fast trains?

One night he bolted straight up in bed and announced, still asleep, that he is NOT working with THOSE ones! Those little ones smell bad and the way they read his thoughts unnerves him. He likes working with the ones who look more like us. Look more...?!

Another night Becky was more curious than startled when Steve softly murmured in her ear that the Earth looked so small and beautiful and vulnerable from where he was observing it. And in the next breath apologized that he got caught trying to bring home the little souvenir for her. “Captain was real angry I even attempted to put it in my pocket. Maybe another time, dear.”

By first light in the valley, Becky was typically already up and brewing the morning coffee. And mulling over whatever was the night’s “report” from her sleeping husband. Was he just a vivid dreamer like the ones she’s read about in the ladies’ magazines at her hairdresser? Or were his dreams truly the troubled outbursts of a person under chains of silence and daily experiences of other worldliness she could hardly imagine might be true?

She dare not ask and add to Steve’s stress. Well, at least not yet. But things were surely coming to a boiling point with the new baby now well on the way.


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