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

'Valley of Lights': A Loop serial story


October 26, 2019

Start at the beginning. For Part 1 click HERE

It is said all good things must come to an end. I want to thank those who contributed to our experiment with a newspaper serial that invited the community to contribute. It was a lot of fun seeing the original premise in the Valley of Light moving forward. Did the valley remind you of home? Have you yourself seen weird lights in the skies, in our mountains, in the desert? Have you found explanations for them? I’m sure our serial did not answer all those questions and possibly created new ones. Such is life, right? I could not resist the chance for one last contribution myself. And after you will find a thought provoking piece by one of our contributors. Food for thought is good…


The Valley of Lights does not relinquish its secrets easily. And answers are harder to come by than speculation. But little by little we have been able to worm out bits and pieces.

Steven left with his wife Becky. Left completely in the dead of night it seems. Left job and home. We have no word where they might be or if the baby has been born safely. There were some rumblings that Steve was seen up on the mountain with some of the others, near Leland’s.

Lyla and Bill keep eyes on their mountainside religiously each night, watching together now. But the lights have calmed, extinguished, and all is quiet.

The surviving hiker Leland has been suffering for a year now. Doctors know it’s a real illness, but from no known cause. And they also have diagnosed him with mental instability and paranoia as he seems to be seeing things at night. The intervention from his friends did not go well. I’m sure their intentions were good. But each of them will tell you a different story about that night. Leland is still sick and now the others don’t seem quite right themselves.

An interesting twist occurred with Ralph’s experience and the cave drawings. After watching the moving pictures where the bears on the wall move out of the cave and down the mountain, actual bears were spotted deep in the night making their way right through the middle of town, heading toward the desert canyons. Seems bears like juniper berries and a fresh crop was ripe and ready waiting for them. The cave drawings seemed to depict this migration. But that doesn’t explain how the drawings can move on the wall!

And Julia? She has been reported missing. Her husband notified authorities just this morning. “She took nothing. No car. Her cell phone sits on the kitchen counter, giving no clues.”

There was a big earthquake out in the desert a few weeks ago. Shook everything pretty good, even in the Valley of Lights. A full moon was experienced on September, Friday the 13th and now things seem too calm. Light changes in this area this time of year. The air cools. The winds pick up. And if you are awake between 3 and 4 a.m. in the early morning, look south. Let’s just say there is something looming. It only gets so far, then recedes with the dawn…

Valley of Lights, final epilogue

by Hank Rodgers

What IF culture, conflict and immigration were not simply about migrations of our own species out of Africa into the Mediterranean, Asia and Europe, and across the now vanished land bridge into the “New World?” What IF the need to leave one place for a better place were truly universal? What IF we are only now beginning to understand “universal?”

What IF our human “enlightenment,” after a millennium of dark tribal feudalism did not simply predict climbing mountains of progress, but rather only a future of alternating ascendance and regression, with light and darkness relative. What IF a tiny community newspaper in a picturesque little mountain town in California, The Loop, were to start a community “serial” tale, open to any and all local writers, that visualized that disturbing possibility, in chapters each of 500 words or less?

(I will leave you to ponder… l.e.c.)


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