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
Over the next hour, walking behind Zana in the moonlight, Max realized the jungle was beginning to thin out and change. The heat and humidity grew less oppressive; the mosquitoes seemed fewer and smaller; and countless fireflies (or something like them) appeared—making kaleidoscopic patterns of aquamarine throughout the woods.
Despite his exhaustion, sunburn and continuous itching, Max acknowledged the scene was memorable. He endeavored to log it away for future appreciation as he stumbled on through flashing swarms of fireflies behind his tireless guide.
Gradually, the terrain became hilly and the air turned almost cool. As the moon climbed higher, Max found himself no longer in a jungle but in deciduous woods, munching a coconut shard while walking across pine needles with the pleasant scent of resin in the air.
Under normal circumstances not subject to temporal dislocation, he knew such drastic alterations in landscape over such short distances were virtually impossible. This meant the change must be caused by the physics of time-space, in which time and space traded places, and where to travel was to journey not so much across distance as through history.
The thought that he might be approaching a comparatively modern era closer to his own (as suggested by the landscape) had the effect of grounding him in an otherwise groundless situation in which the earth itself—from a space-time perspective—literally appeared to shift under his feet.
Meanwhile, though he was lost, the fact he had no notion where he was going, and even less of an idea what to do when he got there, wasn’t lost on him. Glancing back, he was comforted to find his silver cord still stretching like a rubber band left and right through the trees and out of sight.
At the top of a steep hill, under a copse of pines with a bird’s-eye view under moonlight of dimpled valleys all around, Zana finally, mercifully stopped.
Max collapsed like a ragdoll on the pine needles sucking for breath. That last hill had been a backbreaker. He hadn’t been so winded since his tennis days, which seemed lifetimes ago.
Zana gazed down at him with a blank expression, then dropped her rock, cupped her enormous hands around her mouth, and let out a high-pitched, blood-curdling call that echoed in the valleys for the better part of a minute.
After appearing to listen, head cocked, for a reply, she simply shrugged when none was forthcoming and went about her business—which focused on gathering rocks from the nearby woods and piling them in a little pyramid on the ground.
By this time, Max had recovered enough to sit up and watch her curiously as, two by two, she started chipping the stones against each other into sharp objects resembling crude, oversized spearheads.
On the one hand, the chipped rocks reminded him of photos of Neanderthal tools. But they also looked almost exactly—except for their expanded dimensions—like what gorillas made in zoos when offered stones as playthings.
“What are you?” he asked.
Zana looked up at him stoically, almost nobly, then suddenly, baring her teeth, burst into idiotic laughter.
“Seriously. Are you a human or an ape—or both?”
This time there was no response as Zana just kept smashing stones. Nor was there any sense of telepathic communion with her—if there ever really had been.
“I’m starved, Zana. This coconut tastes like sawdust. Don’t you ever get hungry? Or are you just a rock-chipping machine?”
In answer (if answer it was) to Max’s somewhat rude questions, she put down her rocks and crawled around on all fours sniffing with her expressive nose just above the level of the pine needles.
After a few seconds, apparently finding what she was seeking, she dug into the ground with both hands, shoveling out masses of dirt in short order with her great, square-nailed fingers.
Before Max could get out of the way, she gave a pleased whoop and tossed a glowing creature the size of a garter snake in his lap. It looked like a massive Gummy Worm—except it was alive and squirming!
He nearly jumped out of his skin as he hopped to his feet and the glowworm tumbled to the ground. Before it could reenter the earth, Zana snatched it up, threw her head back, and—as if teaching a young Sasquatch—demonstrated how to eat it by lowering it into her cavernous mouth like a linguini noodle and swallowing it whole.
“You’ve got to be kidding,” said Max. “There’s no way I’m eating one of those.”
Zana shrugged again as if to say, “Suit yourself,” and returned to chipping rocks.
Too tired to pursue the subject of food, Max lay back again on the pine needles with his hands behind his head trying not to scratch his mosquito bites while staring up at the moon through the branches.
In the combined light from the moon and fireflies, the trees appeared to recede and turn into their own shadows. He experienced himself as a similar shadow, sinking further and further into the night.
The last conscious thought he had, listening to Zana chip-chip-chipping away, was to imagine her casually reaching up and grabbing the moon with one hand—only to smash it to smithereens with a rock and add the pieces to her little pyramid.
In his dream, Max was back at Maroon University flitting like a restless ghost across the gothic, lamp-lit campus under a full moon. He entered Chatterton Hall as a breath of smoke, penetrated his old room as a fog, and found Tuesday and Raul seated on the latter’s bed holding hands and talking about … himself.
“I wonder how the old boy’s doing,” said Raul in his humorous accent. “I hate to admit it, but I rather miss the stubborn blighter.”
“Me, too,” said Tuesday, glancing at the Bradelring with a faraway look underscored by sadness. “I can’t even see him anymore.”
To dream of a parallel universe is one thing; to be in a parallel universe dreaming of one’s reality is quite another. Was Max a butterfly—or a person dreaming he was a butterfly?
“Do you think he’s gone over?” asked Raul.
“I know he has. I felt it when he did.”
“Do you think he’s okay?”
“I certainly hope so.”
Raul sighed deeply and genuinely. “That makes two of us. Poor chap. If he just makes it back, I swear to God he can borrow any of my clothes he likes without asking in perpetuity.”
Though dematerialized in his dream, Max was so moved by his friends’ concern tears escaped his closed eyes and rolled down his cheeks where he slept. He wanted to tell them that, regardless of what became of him, he loved them very much.
He went so far as to attempt to do so, but there was no way to make contact. It was as if he and they were on incompatible wavelengths—which, when he considered it, he realized they were.
Space-time faded as he slowly reopened his eyes in time-space. The moon had almost set; the fireflies were gone; the sky was growing lighter; and Zana was snoring like a diesel engine curled up in a fetal position on the other side of her pyramid.
I wonder what Bigfoots dream about, Max mused as he wiped his damp cheeks on his leaf-stained sleeve and reached out where he lay until he was almost touching the capstone of Zana’s pyramid.
To his astonishment, when he focused on the topmost rock, it suddenly lifted all by itself several inches into the air, where it hovered, slowly spinning, until he withdrew his hand—at which point the rock fell with a pop back on the pile.
Zana stirred in her sleep, growling unintelligibly, then grew still again. In the soft, predawn light, Max stared at his hand, which felt vaguely warmer than usual, wondering what could possibly be happening to him.
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.