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 and Tuesday emerged, blinking, from the dark seminar room into the bright second-floor hallway. Finding themselves alone, they immediately entered the stairwell and started climbing to the third floor. “How does everything look upstairs?” Max asked Raul.
“No sign of movement?” asked Tuesday.
“Not a creature is stirring.”
“Let’s do this,” said Max.
“I’m with you,” said Tuesday.
Exiting the stairwell into the empty third-floor hallway, they had to keep themselves—in their roller coaster ride of excitement and anxiety—from sprinting all the way to Suite 386. “Okay, Raul,” said Max. “We’re at the door.”
“I can see that. Tuesday, do you sense anyone, with a mind or otherwise, inside?”
Tuesday twisted the Bradelring on her wrist with a gloved hand and closed her eyes. “I’m not picking up on anybody or anything. I think we’re good to go.”
“You think—or you’re sure?” asked Max.
“I think I’m sure.”
“Take out the cardkey device, Max,” instructed Raul. “Tuesday, keep your eyes peeled and ears open—just in case.”
Max opened his backpack and removed the cardkey device—which consisted of an electronic box with a small screen and a metallic cardkey attached to it via a thin cable. “Got it.”
“Good,” said Raul. “Insert the key into the slot in the reader beside the door.”
“Excellent. Are you seeing multiple numerical digits in red flashing on the screen?”
“If you mean numbers, yes. They’re flashing like crazy.”
“They should be. Let me know when they stop changing and turn green.”
“Everything still kosher with you and the Bradelring, Tuesday?”
“There,” said Max. “We just got the green light.”
“Literally and figuratively,” replied Raul. “The door should open as soon as you remove the cardkey. But before you do, Max, put on your night vision goggles. I don’t expect the lights to be on inside.”
Again, Max did as directed while Tuesday nervously maintained the lookout. With his goggles on, Max could hardly see his hand in front of him in the well-lit hallway. “Okay. I’m blind.”
“Good,” said Raul. “Well, not good. You know what I mean.”
“You look like a giant insect,” commented Tuesday. “You could play Gregor Samsa in The Metamorphosis.”
“Let’s hope Max’s story has a happier ending,” said Raul. “Tuesday, on my signal I want you to remove the cardkey. As soon as you do, you’ll hear a tone—at which point you’ll have just a few seconds to open the door. Got that?”
“In the meantime, Max, make sure you don’t drop the cardkey device. You’re going to need it again—twice.”
“Hey, a rhyme,” said Tuesday.
“I may be a blind man,” said Max, “but I’m no fumble fingers.”
“Glad to hear it. Ready, Tuesday?”
Tuesday steeled herself and pulled the cardkey out of its slot. Immediately, just as Raul had predicted, there was a low electronic tone.
Without hesitation but with palpable apprehension, she turned the knob and the door swung inward ominously. The light from the hall revealed the outlines of the empty reception room.
“Now get in there and shut the door quietly,” said Raul. “Operation Bumblebee is going dark. I can’t be your eyes for this next part—but I’ll watch your back.”
“Roger that, Chunky,” said Max.
“I can’t see a darn thing,” said Tuesday after gently closing the door behind them.
“Fortunately, I can now. Thank God for these goggles.”
“I bet your father never envisioned you’d be using them for this purpose.”
“Who knows what he envisioned. The man was completely opaque. Here, take my hand. It’s a straight shot over to the next door.”
Grasping Tuesday’s hand tightly, Max led her past the desk to the next cardkey reader beside the door to the suite’s inner rooms. “So, Raul, I assume we basically repeat the same song and dance?”
“You assume correctly.”
Max inserted the card into the reader and waited again for the green light—at which point he removed the card, listened for the tone, and opened the door.
“Update please,” said Raul
“We’re through the second door,” said Max.
“Be sure to shut it behind you.”
Tuesday shut it by feel. “Done.”
“What do you see, Max?”
The inner hallway was also dark and empty. “Nothing. We’re good to go.”
“Approach the Program Director’s door.”
“Okay. We’re standing in front of it,” said Max.
“Do you sense anybody in there, Tuesday?”
“Nope. Not a soul.”
“The luck of the Irish is still holding. Remind me to kiss the Blarney Stone the next time I’m in Ireland. Go for it, Max.”
Once again, Max repeated the cardkey protocol. In less than a minute, he had guided Tuesday into Dr. Morrow’s pitch-black office and closed the door. “We’re in.”
“I’m impressed,” said Raul. “You guys are genuinely talented at this spying thing. Perhaps, instead of hacking the CIA, you should join it.”
“Look who’s talking,” said Tuesday.
“What do we do now?” asked Max.
“Lock the door behind you manually …”
Max turned the lock on the doorknob. “Done.”
“… put away the cardkey device, which you won’t be needing again, and take out the small USB plugin I gave you.”
“That was fast,” observed Raul.
“I was already getting it out.”
“I admire your initiative, Max.”
“Thanks. What next?”
“Are you at Morrow’s computer?”
“I’m just sitting down in front of it.”
“How’s the good doctor’s chair?”
“Okay. Now insert the plugin into a USB port and turn on the system.”
“Just like that?”
“Just like that.”
“This won’t trip any hidden alarm bells?”
“The plugin should disarm that sort of thing.”
“What’s to keep Morrow’s computer from filming us or recording our voices?”
“Chill, Max. It’s taken care of.”
Max was skeptical—but seeing as how Raul had gotten them this far unscathed, he did as he was told. The computer quickly booted up and a dialogue box appeared on the monitor.
With the room dimly illuminated by the monitor’s glow, Max removed his night vision goggles and let them hang from his neck. “It’s asking for a username and password.”
“Perfect,” said Raul. “You said you thought it was a Mac, right?”
“It’s definitely a Mac.”
“Is the caps lock off?”
“Then press and hold control, option, and command.”
“Okay. I’m doing it.”
“Now, before letting go, type x, i, x, i.”
“It means ‘peepee’ in Portuguese.”
“Whatever. Can I let go now?”
“Yes. Let go and tell me what happens.”
“It seems to be accessing the desktop automatically.”
“This is super cool,” said Tuesday.
“You know how to use the Finder, right?” asked Raul.
“Of course,” said Max. “I’m a Mac man.”
“Do a search for ‘Thunderbird.’”
“Blimey. I thought that might be the case. Press and hold command and option, then type in ‘Thunderbird ghost drive.’”
“I’m getting another dialogue box. It’s asking for another password.”
“Give it a second. Let’s hope the plugin is able to auto-sequence a password into the ghost drive.”
After a minute, with nothing changing on the screen, Max said, “Nothing. Zilch. We’re screwed, aren’t we, Raul?”
“We’re not exactly screwed—yet. Tuesday, we need to go to Plan B.”
“I was afraid you’d say that,” she said.
“What’s Plan B?” asked Max.
“Just a little contingency Tuesday and I discussed.”
“I was praying it wouldn’t be necessary. Are you up for this, Tuesday?”
“I’m willing to give it a try.”
“Up for what?” demanded Max.
“That’s a good lass. Max, let her sit down in front of the screen.”
Not knowing what else to do, Max obliged. Tuesday installed herself in Dr. Morrow’s chair and said, “I need peace and quiet. Please, nobody say anything until I speak.”
Suddenly, in a flash of recognition, it dawned on Max she was attempting to use the Bradelring to read Dr. Morrow’s mind to access the password for the ghost drive. “This is completely insane,” said Max.
“Shhhh,” said Tuesday, closing her eyes.
“Put a sock in it, Max,” whispered Raul.
Though it wasn’t particularly chilly in the climate-controlled room, Tuesday began to shiver, then shake. Reopening her eyes at last, she said, “Well, that was unpleasant.”
“Did you actually read Morrow’s mind?” asked Max.
“Yeah. I actually did.”
“What was it like?”
“Cold. Twisted. Hard to penetrate.”
“That’s all well and good,” interrupted Raul, “but did you get the bloody password?”
“I got something. I hope it’s the password.”
“What is it?” asked Max.
“69ZEEZ96. It’s a palindrome.”
“A word that reads the same forwards and backwards. ‘ZEEZ’ seems to be a reference to sleep.”
“And ‘69’ mirrors itself like a reciprocal system,” said Raul.
“You would pick up on that, Raul,” said Tuesday.
“I believe this could be the password,” said Max. “We have to try it.”
“A word of caution,” said Raul. “If it doesn’t work, you must be prepared to get out of there, like, immediately. Any message along the lines of ‘Access Denied’ and we really are screwed. Understood?”
“Understood,” said Max.
“Understood,” repeated Tuesday.
“Then roll the dice,” said Raul.
“Shall I?” Tuesday asked.
“Be my guest,” said Max.
Tuesday entered the possible password. For a few seconds, nothing seemed to change. Then a dialogue box appeared with the words, “Accessing Ghost Drive.”
“Would somebody please be so kind as to clue me in?” said Raul.
“It’s pulling up the ghost drive,” replied Tuesday. “I can’t believe it actually worked!”
“Me neither,” said Max.
“Jolly excellent, Tuesday. I sense a caipirinha in your not-so-distant future.”
“Shall I search for Project Thunderbird?”
“By all means.”
As soon as Tuesday entered her search, a large file appeared. She clicked on it—only to discover multiple subdirectories.
“Do you mind if I take it from here?” asked Max.
“Not at all,” said Tuesday, giving up the chair.
Max sat down again and clicked on a file labeled “Overview.” Quickly scanning the document, he learned that Project Thunderbird (which was indeed designed to explore time-space) was divided into two different approaches.
The first of these, or Dream Approach, involved specially recruited psychics—trained in advanced lucid dreaming and astral projection techniques—who were injected with a microchip designed to enhance their brainwaves and prolong REM sleep.
Project Thunderbird’s other method, or Mechanical Approach, involved pilots attempting to enter the cosmic sector by physically encountering the interdimensional wormhole thought to exist inside the Bermuda Triangle.
Since the wormhole’s precise location couldn’t be pinpointed, this method involved staging repeated flights, outfitted with high-tech equipment for navigating into and out of time-space, from Cape Carnival and (unofficially) Cuba.
“So that’s what your father was doing flying out of Cape Carnival and visiting Cuba all those years,” said Tuesday, reading over Max’s shoulder.
“This is really heavy stuff, Max.”
“Tell me about it.”
“Do a search for Thomas Diver,” said Raul.
“Do I have to?” asked Max.
“Okay. Here goes nothing.”
Captain Diver’s file came up onscreen. Under his photograph, his status was MIA. Further down, his dossier catalogued hundreds of flights into the Bermuda Triangle over the years.
Under “Background & Psychological Profile,” the dossier stated: “Thomas Diver, former NASA astronaut and decorated Navy captain, exhibits strong tendencies to patriotism and service to his fellow Americans. These qualities are easily manipulated to induce risk-taking behavior with respect to attempting to access time-space, which he has been led to believe is a matter of national security.”
“There’s no mention of any connection between your father and the CIA,” observed Tuesday.
“No. There’s not,” said Max.
“That’s a relief.”
“Yes. It is.”
“Are we finished?”
“What are you doing?”
In the search window, Max typed his own name and hit return. Sure enough, a file appeared onscreen.
“That’s weird,” said Tuesday.
“What’s weird?” asked Raul.
“There’s a file on Max.”
“That is bloody weird. What does it say?”
“I’ll tell you later,” said Max.
Max’s dossier featured two photos of himself—one taken when he was a little kid at the Navy Hospital, the other snapped recently while he was inside Dr. Morrow’s brain scanner. His status was listed as “Under Prioritized Recruitment.”
“Look, there’s even information under Background & Psychological Profile,” said Tuesday.
There was indeed. Max read: “Maxwell Andrew Diver, son of Project Thunderbird’s Thomas Diver, is a world-class psychic talent with extraordinary potential, particularly with regard to dream manipulation, including remote viewing, object retrieval, and Dreambody projection. Currently a freshman on a pre-med track at Maroon University, despite showing signs of rebelliousness and exhibiting an abrasive personality, Max is considered the project’s foremost recruiting objective.”
“Do I really have an abrasive personality, Tuesday?”
“I like you just the way you are, Max.”
“If you’ve got what you need,” said Raul, “it’s time to turn off the system and get Operation Bumblebee the heck out of Dodge.”
“My thoughts exactly,” agreed Tuesday.
“Okay, Chunky,” said Max. “Walk us through it.”
Exiting Dr. Morrow’s office was a lot easier, and far quicker, than entering. Soon Max, having stashed his night vision goggles back in his pack along with Raul’s plugin, was beside Tuesday hoofing it down the switchback staircase to the first floor.
Lumina Hall was as deserted as a mausoleum. Within minutes they were through the vestibule, out the front door, and down the steps onto the sidewalk.
Here the last of the evening’s surprises greeted them—in the form of the first snow of the year just beginning to sprinkle down like fairy dust under the burnt sienna glow of the campus lamps.
“Wow,” said Tuesday, her breath briefly materializing. She removed one of her gloves and reached up to touch the tiny flakes. “We’re definitely not in Florida anymore.”
Feeling as if he had just been unburdened of a tremendous weight, Max looked up, grinning deliriously, at the swirling night sky as icy snowflakes tapped against his cheeks and got caught in his beard.
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.