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
Max crashed—and crashed hard. Not to put too fine a point on it, but physically and otherwise, he basically imploded.
Overnight, as the season switched from Indian summer to late fall and the rain splattered down outside, he was overcome by a wicked combination of cold and flu that might have been diagnosed, (from a purely psychological standpoint) as a bad case of burnout.
For the better part of twenty-four hours, shaking until his teeth chattered, he wrestled with a fever of nearly a hundred and two. Wondering how it was possible to feel so cold while being so hot, he managed to locate and put on wool socks, sweatpants, and his Maroon University sweatshirt.
Still freezing, he piled his blankets and a sleeping bag he unearthed from Raul’s pyramid of belongings on top of him—until, shivering in his bed like a wet leaf on the branch, he sweated through his clothes and was forced to change into dry ones.
Never had Max felt so alone, so orphaned, than while suffering—beginning in the early morning after his trip to Rockport—through multiple rounds of vomiting and diarrhea.
Contemplating, between rushed trips to the bathroom, the picture of his parents on his desk, he succumbed to self-pity and wished aloud to himself—raving in his feverish solitude like a madman—that he was living someone, anyone else’s life but his own.
By that rain-soaked Friday evening, with the help of Ibuprofen and Pepto Bismol, his fever and nausea showed signs of subsiding—just in time for his sinuses to explode in what felt like a cloudburst in its own right.
His headache, even with painkiller, was almost unbearable. The worst part, however, was the seemingly endless exodus of mucous (often accompanied by violent fits of sneezing) that required so much nose-blowing his trashcan soon overflowed with tissues and his nose turned raw from wiping.
On top of everything, the fever blister on his lower lip had ballooned to a painful, pustular monstrosity with no indication of going away anytime soon.
Max endured another dark stretch when he realized, in a double-barreled epiphany, that he had nothing to put on the fever blister to help it feel better and no one to pick up something either.
Under normal circumstances, he could have counted on Tuesday’s help. But even if she wasn’t in Manhattan with her boyfriend for the weekend, there was no way Max could have reached out to her—especially after the way he had treated her.
In his mind’s eye, he replayed their argument multiple times, trying desperately with his wounded ego to justify his behavior. But the more he did so, the more it became obvious he was at fault for ruining their friendship.
More than anything else, he felt embarrassed. Deeply, thoroughly ashamed. This type of emotion, which through various subtle channels connected to his suppressed guilt at being unable to save his father, wasn’t something Max was willing to process consciously—not yet anyway. So he did his best to ignore it.
Saturday saw the rain finally let up as the headache followed suit and the coughing began. Fortunately, he was able to locate some cough drops. He drank lots of water to rehydrate and flush his system, but the only thing he managed to eat with his hair-trigger stomach was a piece of dry toast.
Left alone in Chatterton House, which uncharacteristically was as quiet as a cloister, he attempted to get in some studying—but with the intense sinus pressure, he found it impossible to maintain his train of thought.
In the evening, after one last failed crack at reading his organic chemistry textbook, he tucked himself in bed while experiencing unrelenting existential loneliness, feeling rather like an astronaut traversing the vast reaches of space in an otherwise unmanned spaceship.
In this state of physical, mental and emotional exhaustion, his defenses lowered, sleep wrapped him up and took him down deeper than he had permitted himself to go in years.
Like a rock, down to the silent bottom of sleep he sank. And then, suddenly not feeling so heavy, it was as if he was swimming uphill, strange as that may sound, and he realized he was actually flying.
A nearly indescribable exhilaration—one he had felt many times before—gripped him as, glancing back, he saw his silver cord reminiscent of a kite line disappear into the distance as he zoomed like a bottle rocket across the sky.
He soared high above an ocean dotted with whitecaps, traversed a lovely green country of hills and fields, then, reaching the coast again, sped at a much lower altitude along spectacular basalt cliffs half shrouded in mist.
The area began to look increasingly familiar as the honeycomb cliffs seemed to funnel themselves into a road or bridge thrust with tremendous force far out into the sea. There it was: the Giant’s Causeway.
He glided above it so close he could feel the icy sea spray on his face. He marveled at the Causeway’s massiveness and perfectly geometric construction, before sailing up to the cliffs high above, where another familiar sight—or site—greeted him.
Yellow security ropes demarcated an archeological dig, in the center of which was a tomb dug out of solid rock. Staring at its uncovered entrance yawning like a stone mouth, Max vividly recalled visiting this place once before in a dream … and retrieving Tuesday’s bracelet from inside.
There were no workers or vehicles anywhere nearby. He touched down just outside the tomb’s entrance. The earth was cold under his toes. He realized he was barefoot.
Not only that—but his feet were blue, he noted, staring at them wonderingly. They weren’t blue from the chill; they were simply blue … and they perfectly matched his hands, which seemed to glow slightly, emitting enough light to see by, as he cautiously entered the tomb.
Inside, on a stone slab jutting out from the wall, a pale form lay positioned on its side, its back to him. The form, which even in the dim light could be clearly identified as humanoid, appeared to be naked. Its skin was greenish, rather corpselike, though there were no burial clothes to be seen.
Approaching slowly, not knowing what to expect but expecting whatever it was to be unpleasant, he touched the form’s shoulder. His intention was to roll it over gently onto its back to get a better look at it.
But there was no need—it rolled over all by itself! As it did, it opened its eyes wide and gasped for air, as if it had been drowning. The figure was Max himself—down to the ugly fever blister on his lower lip!
“Please!” the figure managed to utter, enigmatically, in his consuming weakness, staring up impotently from the stone slab.
“Why did you call me?” Max asked, staring down at … himself.
“Because I can’t do this alone. I need your help!”
“If I help you, will you help me?”
“How can I help you? I can’t even help myself.”
“I am yourself.”
“Max, we need to talk. But not right now. Allow me to give you something that can help … bring us together. I was born with it.”
“What is it?”
“It is this,” said the blue Max, removing a thin object from his pocket and placing it in the pale Max’s palm. Lightweight, it felt hard yet brittle, like organic plastic, and was nearly invisible in the dimness. “If you choose, you can be born with it, too.”
“But I was already born.”
“Where I come from, time is no excuse.”
“Wait! Where are you going?”
“Hello? Anybody in there? Wake up, Max! It’s just a scary dream!”
Popping bolt upright, Max opened his eyes to find a pair of bloodshot, frightfully large eyes uncomfortably close to his. Instinctively protecting himself by pushing away the eyes, he sat up and looked around the room wildly, half expecting to see a blue version of himself slipping out the door.
Instead, Raul, sporting a luau shirt along with a three-day tan and European razor stubble, was lying spread-eagled on his back where he had landed when Max pushed him. “Bloody hell, Max. Is that any way to greet an old friend fresh in from Key West?”
“Sorry, Raul. What just happened?”
“What happened is that you were having a nightmare. I tried to wake you—and you cold-cocked me!”
“I’m really sorry. I didn’t mean to. Are you okay?”
“Yes. I’m bloody okay. Or I will be. What’s that?”
“That disgusting object in your hand. It looks like—well, I won’t say what it looks like.”
Realizing what he was holding, Max had a moment of being confronted by something so bizarre that, though he certainly knew the name for it, he couldn’t immediately locate it in the word cloud inside his head.
He turned the object over and over, examining it from different angles as the name came to him in increments, one letter at a time. C. A. U. L. Without question, it looked like the genuine article.
But how his caul came to be there was anybody’s guess. He had intentionally left it with his Aunt Nadine in Florida—and he had intended to leave it, along with everything it stood for, there for good.
Copyright © Sol Luckman. All Rights Reserved.
Introducing Sol Luckman’s new visionary novel, CALI THE DESTROYER. Learn about the single most censored story in the history of the human race—and why it matters today.
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.