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
The creature’s pugged nose, which seemed to be sniffing, was like a gorilla’s but fleshier. Its eyes, recessed under a ridged brow, were reddish—a feature which Max, thanks to his studies in biology, suspected was the result of increased capillary density common to nocturnal creatures with superior night vision.
Leathery skin covered the creature’s concave cheeks, jutting chin, sloped forehead, palms, and armpits. The rest of its body—from the top of its feet to the tip of its conical head—was carpeted in ruddy fur. But the great hominoid’s most striking feature was its pendulous breasts, which swayed as it did.
The fact it was female made Max feel slightly less frightened … but only slightly. The creature was so huge and powerful he knew he wouldn’t stand a chance in a fight—and he surmised, given her long, muscular legs athletically bent at the knees, that she could run a lot faster than he could.
“Look. I don’t know if you can understand me,” he pleaded, holding his hands in the air in a gesture of peace. “But I don’t mean you any harm. In fact, I’m just passing through. If you let me, I swear I’ll be out of your way in no time.”
The creature seemed to eye Max pensively, head slightly cocked where it had frozen mid-sway. Then the almost human look of intelligence on her face vanished as she bared her great square teeth and burst into manic gorilla laughter.
The terrifying echoes pulsated in the jungle. Max realized he had heard a variation of this sound twice before: once when walking on the beach and again just before the thunderbird’s attack.
“That was you?” he said.
The creature stopped laughing and looked at him again with an air of thoughtfulness while scratching her underarm absentmindedly. Whether she was an animal or a protohuman, a Miocene ape or a Neanderthal, was still—even at close range—anybody’s guess.
She took a step forward. Max was so petrified all he could do was stand his ground. Her motion propelled her intensely musky scent into his nostrils. It wasn’t exactly unpleasant—but like everything else about her, it was extraordinarily strong. “I don’t imagine bathing is high on the list of Bigfoot priorities?” he joked in an attempt to diffuse his terror and think more lucidly.
The creature seemed not to notice his snide remark. Instead, registering the existence of the pointed rock Max had used to break the coconut, she made a gigantic fist and, with its heel, smashed off the rock’s top in a single blow.
This she picked up and chipped into two sizable chunks over what remained of the original rock. With a chunk roughly the size of an iron in each hand, she stood back up straight, baring her teeth again while sniffing and glancing around the jungle with squinted eyes.
Suddenly, Max recalled the large rocks that had struck the thunderbird. Though it was a seemingly minor detail he had glossed over in his panic, he distinctly remembered that both rocks he had watched fall to the ground were freshly chipped.
“It was you, wasn’t it, out here in the jungle?” He made the next logical connection almost instantly. “You saved my life, didn’t you?”
The Bigfoot’s only reaction—if reaction it was—was to emit a loud, toothy yawn like a walrus bellowing.
“Why did you risk yourself to save me?”
Max received no response to this question. Not that he expected one. At this point, he knew he couldn’t expect anything from the cosmic sector—except, perhaps, the unexpected.
Motioning with a shaggy arm for Max to follow, the creature turned and stalked off quickly through the dense vegetation. Hesitating, but only for a nanosecond, Max trotted along after her. “What else am I supposed to do?” he asked no one in particular.
Swinging her long arms like twin metronomes, knees perpetually bent, the Bigfoot virtually glided through the jungle with a smooth, effortless gait that—surprisingly for her massive frame—was efficient … and fast.
It was all Max could do to catch up. When he finally did, he noticed how immense and muscular the creature’s shoulders were—and that a long, raised scar visible under her fur ran straight across them just below her tree stump of a neck.
With evening approaching and the jungle filling with shadows, it was no small comfort to have an eight-foot, seven-hundred-pound, boulder-slinging bodyguard who apparently knew her way around.
Max was also relieved to find his perception normalizing. Given his dual “hardwiring” for space-time and time-space, when he focused, he could still perceive the cosmic sector’s incremental time frames blipping by like photo stills.
But for the most part, it was less disconcerting to tune out the time frames and experience the cosmic sector from the perspective of one of its natural inhabitants as simply a spatial landscape just like any other. Well, maybe not just like any other.
This approach may have been less disorienting, but it made Max no less miserable. Evening had brought with it swarms of mosquitoes the size of fruit flies with matching proboscises that seemed intent on drinking all of his blood before nightfall.
The Bigfoot hardly appeared to notice them, but Max was in agony. Eventually, though the jungle felt like a sauna, he was forced to put back on his sweatshirt—at which point, exhausted from jogging to keep up, and parched again, he pulled up short and yelled,
“There’s no way I can maintain this pace. If you’re in a really big hurry, Godspeed. Maybe you could point me in the direction of some water before you abandon me.”
The creature stopped, turned around, and rejoined Max. Handing him her two chipped rocks, which were so heavy he nearly dropped them on his toes, she squinted and examined the darkening vegetation until she located what she sought.
Reaching up a good eleven feet in the air, she grasped a yellowish vine as thick as a boa constrictor and pulled it down taut. She snapped off the end with a powerful twist of her wrist, causing clear liquid to gush out like water from a hose. After downing several gulps with her head thrown back, she positioned the still drizzling vine beside Max for him to do the same.
“You’re sure this is fit for human consumption?” he asked, not even waiting for a response before his thirst got the best of him and he guzzled as much of the cool, citrus-tasting nectar as he could hold.
“Thanks,” he said, handing back the rocks and wiping his mouth on his sleeve. “I don’t suppose we could order a pizza?”
He had no way of knowing for certain if the creature understood a word he said (though he suspected she did) and mostly talked just to keep himself from freaking out. In any case, he noticed she slowed her pace considerably from that point on.
Evening was merging with night when the jungle began to thin slightly and a full moon—larger and brighter than the most stunning supermoon in the material sector—made its appearance in a cloudless sky through jagged gaps in the canopy.
Before long, making good time with such a moon to see by, they came to a river. Max heard it before he saw it: a wide tropical stream slowly gurgling through the jungle like liquid mercury in the moonlight.
The creature squatted beside the riverbank, listening and watching. Squatting beside her, Max could hear a sound that reminded him of the keening of tree frogs, and he could easily discern the river’s sparkling reflection below.
Though everything was, nothing in particular struck him as out of the ordinary. Even so, he could sense—intuitively, as it were, yet in an almost physical manner, like sensing the presence of heat—that the creature was nervous … and that made Max most fearful indeed.
Finally, still squatting, the creature turned and faced him, her spheroid eyes glowing like hot coals in the twilight. At that moment, in his mind, he heard words spoken with what sounded like a woman’s husky voice: “Climb on.”
“Who said that?” he whispered, glancing around in alarm.
“Zana,” answered the voice in his mind.
“Zana?” he repeated, whether silently or aloud it was hard to say.
“Zana helps the Umbodi.”
In what was arguably the most surreal moment of his bizarre journey yet, Max realized he was having a telepathic conversation with a female Sasquatch named Zana!
“You want me to climb on your shoulders?”
“Zana helps the Umbodi cross river.”
“How deep is it?”
“Not deep. Dangerous. Capu is there.”
“Capu? I don’t like the sound of that.”
“Climb on while we have moon. Maybe Capu sleeps.”
If Max had done anything crazier in his life, he couldn’t recall it just then as he mounted Zana’s hairy shoulders and held on for all he was worth as she stood up to her full height.
Again, and not for the last time, he wished Tuesday—and for that matter, Raul and Professor Icarus—could see him. At the very least, if he ever made it back to space-time in one piece, he would have some riveting stories to share.
Scanning the river, Zana stepped into the water and made a beeline for the opposite shore. Even ferrying a person through chest-high flowing water while carrying two large stones, her motion was so fluid Max imagined most ponies would give a bumpier ride—that is, until the ride got well and truly bumpy.
They were within twenty yards of the far bank, when Zana stopped, listening intently, and even Max could make out a distinct change in the sound of the water. A massive swell like that preceding a surfacing submarine was racing toward them downstream.
The river foamed and frothed—and then in the moonlight could be seen two enormous eyes that quickly gave way to a gaping mouth several feet high bristling with spiky teeth the size of tent stakes. “Jesus H. Christ!” exclaimed Max.
He could feel Zana’s tremendous musculature rippling as, in a single motion, she turned and fired a rock at point-blank range.
The shot was so perfectly aimed the rock disappeared with a sickening thud into the giant crocodile’s mouth, snapping its snout back as it rolled over and floated lifelessly (so it seemed) on its back with its white belly skyward.
Without taking her eyes off the creature, which Max realized must be Capu, Zana slowly and carefully backed her way toward the opposite shore.
Regaining consciousness, the crocodile rolled onto its front again and propelled itself forward menacingly with snakelike sweeps of its twenty-foot tail … only to stop at a safe distance when Zana hissed loudly and threatened to hurl her other rock.
Max felt frightened, dizzy, weak—but most of all, grateful—when she deposited him on the far bank, safe if not entirely sound, and led him through the trees up and away from the river.
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.