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
Halloween has come to be celebrated as a monumental costume party designed, it would seem, to satisfy society’s collective sweet tooth—but its origins are rather less mundane and more … paranormal.
Originally known as All Hallows’ Eve, this day and night preceding the traditional Christian feast of All Saints is actually pagan to the core, as Tuesday could have attested, with roots possibly in the Celtic festival of Samhain—when the veil between worlds was thought to be especially thin.
Perhaps this explains why so many pieces of the puzzle that was Max’s past, like so many rattling skeletons, chose Halloween to come spilling out of his life’s closet all in a jumble.
Or maybe he was “guided” that morning to grab a copy of The Daily Scooner, having just made plans to get together later that evening with Tuesday and watched her faux-fur rabbit costume—complete with a wicker Easter basket full of plastic eggs—bounce across the Quad to her next class.
Whatever the explanation, with thoughts still racing from Professor Icarus’s impromptu revelation about his mother, Max sat on the steps outside Olympia Hall and turned, for no obvious reason, to the Classifieds, where this ad immediately caught his eye:
Psychic? Test and improve your skills in pilot program. Report to Lumina Hall, Suite 386, Monday-Friday during normal business hours.
What were “normal” business hours? Max wondered as he suddenly and mysteriously found himself making a beeline across the Quad.
If he wasn’t going to attend his own classes (which he had no real intention of doing), he needed, as Tuesday had reminded him, to stop by Bread and Circus for organic food and juicing supplies.
But he had the rest of the day for that—and here he was already at Lumina Hall, home to the Psychology Department! A sign on a metal tripod next to the imposing double doors reiterated: PSYCHIC SCREENING IN SUITE 386.
Max entered the unknown building and, preferring not to take the elevator (which tended to make him feel claustrophobic), quickly located the door that accessed the switchback staircase leading up to the third floor.
At the top of the stairs, out of breath for lack of exercise (he hadn’t played tennis in weeks), he exited into an empty hallway stretching in both directions and—by chance or otherwise—guessed the right way to Suite 386.
He could hear the squeak of his shoes on the marble floor as he approached the door, which was half open, and entered a waiting room with a handful of chairs (all empty) and a desk behind which sat a relatively young woman in a white doctor’s coat.
Her thick blonde hair was pulled up in an elaborate bun and her eyes were a cold blue atop high cheekbones. In terms of appearance, she struck Max as vaguely Eastern European. “May I help you?” she asked in a perfectly unremarkable American accent.
“Yeah. I’m here about the, uh, psychic ad.”
“Max. Max Diver.”
“Are you a student here?”
That pesky question again. “Sure,” said Max.
“Have you ever had your psychic ability evaluated before?”
“Specifically? No. Not really.”
“But you think you might have some innate ability?”
“You could say that. I just … I just want to get a little more control over it, if you know what I mean.”
“I think perhaps I do. You’ll need to fill out this questionnaire,” she said, sliding a clipboard with a pen to the edge of her desk.
“I can do that,” said Max, taking the clipboard and selecting a chair.
“There’s also a waiver underneath the questionnaire that must be signed.”
“What am I waiving?”
“Everything,” she said, smiling.
“So is this … pilot program affiliated with the university?”
“If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to ask. I’m Dr. Ishtar.”
“It’s an old family name. We trace our origins back to Sumeria.”
“That’s a long way.”
Three pages in length, the questionnaire was straightforward enough: name, contact information, family background, childhood diseases, health issues, education, psychic history.
Feeling reluctant to respond truthfully to the questions about the nature of his supernatural experiences, Max opted to make up “psychic” anecdotes in place of telling what actually happened when he dreamed.
After signing the waiver and handing it back to Dr. Ishtar with the questionnaire, he was instructed to follow as she inserted a cardkey into the door behind her desk and entered a multi-digit code into an electronic keypad on the wall.
Max could hear her gold fingernails tapping the touchscreen like talons. There was a click; the door seemed to open of its own accord; and Dr. Ishtar led him past several closed doors into a room featuring a large diagnostic apparatus Max thought he recognized. “Isn’t that some kind of brain scanner?” he asked.
“Something like that.”
“Come on, throw me a bone, Dr. Ishtar. I’m pre-med.”
“All right. It’s a state-of-the-art hybrid device that provides CT scanning combined with diffuse optical and magnetic resonance imaging. It allows us to get a full-spectrum picture of your brain activity.”
“The Program Director and myself.”
“Where is the Program Director?”
“He’s … out of town at the moment. Here, please drink this.”
“Are you going to drug me and remove one of my kidneys? Is that what all this is really about?”
Dr. Isthar didn’t appear to find this joke funny. “I can assure you it will be far less painful than that,” she said, her demeanor expressionless. “This is a proprietary iodine solution designed to assist with imaging. It also contains a mild muscle relaxant to limit involuntary movement.”
“Well, in that case,” said Max as he accepted the glass of liquid and drank it down in one gulp. Sure enough, it tasted terrible, mostly like iodine.
“Do you need to visit the men’s room before we proceed?” asked Dr. Ishtar.
“How long will this take?”
“Half an hour at most.”
“Very well. Please take off your clothes.”
“Take off … my clothes?”
“And put on this gown.” She opened a cabinet and handed him a blue hospital outfit. “I’ll be just outside the door waiting.”
Five minutes later, with Max self-consciously remarking the cool air circulating unimpeded under his thin gown, there was a knock on the door as Dr. Ishtar reentered the room. She instructed him to lie on his back on the extendable cot, feet toward the scanner.
“Don’t you need to, like, shave my head or something?” he joked.
“Thankfully, no. As I said, this device is state-of-the-art.”
“Are there any risks associated with this procedure?”
“Not any major ones.”
“You could feel slightly dizzy or experience a minor headache.”
“To the contrary. You may feel drowsy or even doze off. The effect is quite temporary. Are you ready to proceed?”
“Ready as I’ll ever be.”
As he was slowly pushed inside the machine’s imaging cavity, where he felt like a caterpillar in a metal cocoon, Max’s consciousness was flooded with images of himself as a young child being tested by Dr. Morrow at the Navy hospital.
He remembered the brain scanner into which he was slid, the electronic bed he was placed in afterward for observation, the dozens of wires and matching electrodes, the beeping monitors—all with great clarity and in impressive detail.
He recalled being dropped off earlier that day by his father, who assured him that everything would be okay while patting his little wrist with his manly hand and hugging him tightly to his broad chest smelling of Old Spice.
And then, even as the state-of-the-art device began to flash and click-click-click-click-click, Max unexpectedly plunged beneath sleep’s waves—spontaneously diving down, down, down with a bottlenose dolphin grinning at his side.
As he touched the sandy bottom, there was a pulse of luminescence. The sand seemed to quake and part. Max found himself sitting on a beach in his hospital gown being washed by warm waves inside what he could only identify as a colossal soap bubble that extended below the horizon in all directions.
There seemed to be a bright sun somewhere in the sky—but he couldn’t locate it. It occurred to him the light emanated from the translucent, shimmering bubble itself.
He wasn’t alone. Seated beside him in the gentle surf, naked except for a loincloth made of huge red feathers, was the blue Max, his dark hair freshly wet from the sea nestled atop his muscular shoulders.
“So, we meet again,” he said, smiling, as Max noted that the indigo of his twin’s skin wasn’t innate, but came from some kind of dye. The same also applied to the bindi marking his third eye.
“I’m dreaming, aren’t I?” said Max.
“Of course. I am, too.”
“Where is this place?”
“This is the Interface.”
“The … Interface?”
“The membrane between your world and mine. You might call it the subconscious. But that would only be an abstraction.”
“Have I been here before?”
“Yes. Many times. This is where we have always met.”
“It looks different.”
“It usually does.”
“How did I get here this time?”
“The dolphin brought you.”
Max heard an unmistakable clicking, which sounded uncannily like the sound of the imaging device in which he had drifted off, and looked up to see the dolphin’s bright, toothy face swaying above the waves just offshore. “I’m really very confused by all this,” he admitted.
“It is quite confusing—until you realize how utterly simple everything is.”
“How exactly is everything simple?”
“Everything is one.”
“Look, Max. We do not have a lot of space. Or as you would say in your world, we do not have much time. He is going silver even as we speak.”
“Being reabsorbed by the background energy. He cannot live in my reality. He is not … made for it.”
“And I am?”
“Yes, in fact. Now. You have received the caul.”
“Caul or call?”
“Both, I suppose. The point is, once he is completely silver, there will be nothing anyone can do to help him.”
“Why, your father, of course.”
Max felt something brush up against his leg with the tide and, as the foamy water receded, picked up a whole sand dollar freshly embedded in the sand.
“Well, I’ll be,” he said, holding out the test for the blue Max to see. But the blue Max was gone—along with the beach, the ocean, the dolphin, and the soap bubble.
In that instant, Max reopened his eyes inside the brain scanner. Everything had gone quiet and still. Shivering as Dr. Ishtar pulled him out of the device, he realized he was soaked with salt water!
“How do you feel?” asked the doctor, gazing down at him dispassionately as if he were a lab rat.
“You’re drenched. You must have sweated in there. Was it too hot?”
“What’s that in your hand?”
Sitting up, Max looked down to discover he was clutching a damp sand dollar.
“Is that what I think it is?” asked Dr. Ishtar.
“Yes. It’s a sand dollar. It’s … a lucky charm.”
“How did you know what I was thinking?”
“I … just … did.”
“Remarkable. You are psychic, aren’t you, Max?”
“I was under the impression that was for you to determine.”
“How right you are.”
“So do I contact you for my results?”
“No. We’ll contact you if you meet our qualifications.”
“You can get dressed now. I’ll be outside.”
Max was just slipping on his shoes when there was a loud knock on the door. “Come in!” he yelled.
The door opened and someone other than Dr. Ishtar entered. Tying his shoelaces awkwardly while still holding the test, Max felt the energetic shift in the room before he saw who was causing it. A chill ran down his spine as he looked up only to discover that the tall doctor in white holding a clipboard was Dr. Morrow!
His hair was slightly gray now—and he was perhaps a little thinner than when Max last saw him nearly seven years ago when he was the bearer of tragic news. But he still wore wire-rimmed glasses over his owl eyes, which seemed to twinkle with secret delight in his angular face.
“Maxwell Andrew Diver,” he said, smiling from ear to ear as he held up the clipboard on which Max could see several digital images of his brain’s activity. “Well, well, well. Miracles never cease. I knew it had to be you before I even saw your name. I could pick your beautiful brain out of a crowd.”
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.