This is an important and timely question explored in the highly acclaimed spiritual novel, SNOOZE: A STORY OF AWAKENING, winner of the 2015 National Indie Excellence Award for New Age Fiction.
Written with young adult and young-at-heart readers in mind, SNOOZE further proved its literary merit by being selected as a 2016 Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Finalist in the Young Adult-Coming of Age category and receiving an Honorable Mention in the 2014 Beach Book Festival Prize competition in the General Fiction category.
You’re invited to join—either with eyes or ears—Max Diver, a.k.a. “Snooze,” along the razor’s edge of a quest to rescue his astronaut father from a fate stranger than death in the exotic, perilous Otherworld of sleep.
This inspiring tale interweaves a plethora of paranormal and metaphysical subjects, from Bigfoot and enlightenment to the Loch Ness Monster and time travel via the Bermuda Triangle.
In her review of SNOOZE published in INDIE SHAMAN Magazine, June Kent had this to say about what she described as “superlative fiction”: “Engrossing, entertaining and occasionally humorous, SNOOZE also takes a look at a wide range of subjects including levitation, telepathy, lucid dreaming, spirit animals, parallel universes and shamanic-like journeying, giving a wide range of information effortlessly absorbed as you enjoy the story as well as much food for thought.”
Naturally, your generous review would be greatly appreciated even if you simply enjoy the full text now being presented on this blog and numerous podcast platforms. Keep in mind that paperback and ebook versions are for sale. A complimentary online version is also available for your reading pleasure.
SNOOZE: A STORY OF AWAKENING
By Sol Luckman
That Friday, the last day before Christmas break, in celebration of the holidays, there were no afternoon classes and everybody was enjoying a glorified post-lunch recess until school let out at three.
Max, who had endured the dreaded parent-principal conference (which led nowhere and decided nothing) earlier in the week, was still waiting for his father to have a chat with Dr. Morrow and deliver his verdict on his son’s mental condition.
In the meantime, Max and Tuesday were seated at their usual sidewalk spot discussing subjects well beyond the general purview of sixth grade. “Want an orange?” she asked. “I’ve got one in my bag we could split.”
“No thanks. I’m not hungry.”
“So tell me again exactly what you saw in your dream,” she said, excitedly popping an Altoid in her mouth and offering the tin to Max.
“It was some kind of vortex,” he said, accepting a peppermint absentmindedly while attempting to articulate the intense imagery of his recent dream in which his father—and apparently, an older version of himself—disappeared into the eye of a hurricane. “It was like a gigantic whirlwind. Some kind of … portal.”
“You mean like a dimensional doorway—a stargate?”
“Yeah. Like a wormhole leading somewhere else.”
“I guess. It was actually kind of terrifying. You know, Tuesday, I never realized you had a tattoo.”
Her grass-stained corduroys had slid up her calf to reveal a small, beautifully intricate mermaid, with hair like twisted Celtic knots and ornate scales like ancient armor, just above the inside of her ankle. “My mom gave it to me. Because of my middle name.”
“Serena. As in ‘siren.’”
“You mean like a police siren?”
“No, dummy. Like the mermaids who trapped Odysseus.”
“The Greek sailor?”
“One and the same.”
“Your mom gave you that?”
“She’s an ink artist. Among other things.”
“It’s really good. I mean, if you like that sort of thing.”
“You don’t like it?”
“That’s not what I meant. I really do like it. I just had never thought about tattoos much.”
“We come from different worlds, don’t we?”
“In some ways.”
“So what did you look like?”
“At eighteen. In your dream.”
“Oh. I … I was wearing an old gray sweatshirt with ‘Maroon University’ in maroon letters on it.”
“Seriously? That’s an Ivy League school. And it’s at the top of my list of colleges. They let you design your own curriculum.”
“That would suit you well.”
“It would suit you well, too.”
“Hey, Woo-woo! Get up off your butt and come play some hoops with the boys! Or would you rather just sit there like a sissy?”
The protective bubble created by Max and Tuesday’s conversation burst as Doug Biggins walked right through it into their shared airspace. “Don’t you want to play, Woo? We need another sacrificial lamb for the opposing team.”
Despite his brawn, athletic prowess and perfectly groomed blond hair, Doug was far from stupid. For a bully, he had a surprisingly big vocabulary—and was an expert at getting under one’s skin.
“I think I’ll pass,” said Max.
“Pass what? Gas? That’s called flatulence,” said Doug.
“Piss off, Doug,” said Tuesday.
“Or you’ll do what, little miss four-eyes? Hit me with a sonnet?”
“Leave her out of this,” said Max.
“Or you’ll do what? I’d love to see what Woo-woo Maxwell could do to me.”
Here was yet another occasion, eerily similar to his disastrous interview with Ms. Bridgewater, when Max clearly grasped, in no uncertain terms, the polarized choice being presented to him.
Either he could kowtow to Doug’s superior strength and say nothing, which might save his hide while merely damaging his pride; or he could throw caution to the winds and stand up for himself and his friend, the devil be damned. “Hold my glasses,” he told Tuesday, removing them and handing them to her.
“Put aside this masculine ego crap, Max. It’s not worth it. He’s going to cream you!”
“Masculine ego? Obviously, you never knew my mother.”
Sensing a fight brewing, a crowd of children—distorted and out of focus owing to Max’s myopia—had stopped playing and gathered like murmuring vultures along the sidewalk.
Doug stood nearly six feet tall and once had actually dunked a basketball, which made him a living legend at JFK, where he ruled the playground with a heart of stone and an iron fist. “Get him, Doug!” someone yelled.
Max went down on the grass like an autumn leaf with one punch (which he hardly saw coming) to the left eye and bridge of the nose—at which point the crowd erupted in guttural urgings like drunken bettors at a prize fight.
“Is that all you’ve got, Woo?” said Doug, towering over him. “I’ve seen punching bags offer more resistance!” He kicked his fallen opponent’s ribs with the toe of his sneaker. “Get your puny ass up and fight me!”
With his good (so to speak) eye, Max watched dazedly as an orange struck Doug, though not hard enough to faze him, on the side of the head just above the ear. “Get away from him!” yelled Tuesday, who must have thrown the orange.
“I’ll deal with you later, four-eyes,” Doug snarled at her.
Max had never been in physical combat before. After the initial shock of being punched and kicked, like diving into arctic water, everything went sort of numb. In fact, he temporarily passed out.
During his unconscious state, it dawned on him that the primal, ferric taste on his tongue was blood. In his mind’s eye, he touched his left nostril and saw the glistening red on his fingertips. There it was—his own blood, pressed right out of his membranes.
Perhaps it was the blood, or the shock of seeing it, that pushed Max’s sleeping self over the edge. Somehow he found himself standing again. He had the distinct impression he was sleepwalking. Sensing another drubbing, the crowd went wild with hooting and hollering.
As Doug approached like a heavyweight intent on delivering a knockout, the world suddenly slowed down. With crystal clear vision, Max found himself watching everything in super slow motion, as he sometimes did—accidentally, as it were—in his nighttime dreams.
During the time it took Doug to rear back and propel his fist forward, Max was able to compose himself. He didn’t technically move, except to breathe deeply with his diaphragm, as the same vaguely luminous body he sometimes moved about in while dreaming seemed to step out of his skin and deflect Doug’s blow with a forearm.
The alarmed look on the bully’s face was priceless. Max’s Dreambody—a term he would learn years later—proceeded to strike him, at lightning speed, multiple times like a black belt: under the chin, in the collarbone, across the back of the head, in the ribcage, in the abdomen.
Doug went down on both knees, wheezing with the wind knocked out of him and defeated for the first time in his life. Max’s Dreambody stepped back into his own astonished skin and mysteriously disappeared from his sight—which straightaway reverted to blurry as he became wide awake.
Just like that, the fight was over. Apparently, nobody except Max had seen anything. Rather, they had watched as Doug tossed backward and forward like a ragdoll, then doubled over and collapsed to the ground.
Doug’s actions were so bizarre and exaggerated many of those assembled thought he was goofing around and merely pantomiming a fight—especially since Max was just standing there playing the spectator with the rest of them.
“You really are a freak!” Doug, obviously in pain, managed to gasp.
It took a minute for the reality of the situation to sink in on a collective level. Then, somebody went in search of Mr. Lipton, the science teacher, who was supposedly supervising the playground.
“You okay, Max?” asked Tuesday, stanching his bleeding nose with tissues from her backpack.
“I’ll be fine.”
“You look terrible.”
“It’s nothing. Really.”
“Here. Put these on,” she said, sliding Max’s glasses onto his sore face.
“That was incredible, Max.”
“What was incredible?”
“You know what was incredible.”
“You mean you saw that?”
“I don’t know what I saw. I saw something, that’s all I know. And it was pretty incredible.”
“What are you doing?”
“Getting you the heck away from these savages.” Tuesday had scooped up Max’s backpack with her own and grabbed him by the arm and was resolutely leading him away from the school grounds.
“But school isn’t out yet, Tuesday.”
“It’s out for us.”
“Where are you taking me?”
“Home. I think it’s time you met my mom.”
Copyright © Sol Luckman. All Rights Reserved.
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ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Sol Luckman is a pioneering ink and acrylic painter whose work has been featured on mainstream book covers, the fast-paced trading game BAZAAR, and at least one tattoo on a female leg last sighted in Australia.
Sol is also an acclaimed author of fiction, nonfiction, and humor. His books include the international bestselling CONSCIOUS HEALING, which you can read free online, and its popular sequel, POTENTIATE YOUR DNA, available in English and Spanish.
Sol’s popular book of humor and satire, THE ANGEL’S DICTIONARY: A SPIRITED GLOSSARY FOR THE LITTLE DEVIL IN YOU, received the 2017 National Indie Excellence Award for Humor and was selected as a Finalist in the Humor category of both the 2018 International Book Awards and the 2018 Best Book Awards.