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, aka Snooze, a natural sleepyhead in the material sector, discovered he was quite the early riser in the Otherworld. Feeling restless in the aftermath of his dream and its unsettling aftermath, he stood up stiffly and stretched while gazing out over the rolling valleys below in dawn’s lemon-yellow light.
What a strange sensation to be a stranger in an even stranger land, he thought, realizing in the same instant Zana was awake and staring at him. Having just bolted upright on hearing him stir, she was shaking her inscrutable head while yawning vastly.
“Good morning, dear,” said Max. “Shall we go out for breakfast today?”
She eyed him dispassionately, then scratched her ribs with both hands and nimbly hopped to her feet. Meanwhile, Max ducked behind a pine tree to relieve his swollen bladder.
When he reappeared, she was squatting beside her little pyramid of chipped rocks examining it intently. After careful deliberation, she selected two stones—one for each hand—and appeared ready to set out again.
“You realize,” said Max, “I’m going to need some water, like, soon.”
If Zana registered his statement in any way, she didn’t show it. For the next hour at least, she led him down into a nearby valley, then up into a little gorge flanked by steep walls covered in massive oaks and enormous, leafy bushes that reminded Max of oversized laurel.
He munched a dry coconut shard as he strolled through what—after the rigors of the jungle behind—felt like a perfectly tame environment. But in time-space, as elsewhere, appearances could be deceiving.
Before long Max found himself laboring behind Zana through a thicket so disorienting he would have been a goner had he been on his own. Once or twice, even Zana seemed stumped by what struck Max as a vegetative maze leading nowhere in all directions.
Whenever Zana seemed to be in doubt, she stopped, cocked her head, and listened. After Max joined her in this behavior several times, he finally thought he heard what she did: the sound of water.
Even as his thirsty being was overjoyed at the trickling sound, Zana burst into manic gorilla laughter and gave her signature whoop to let Max know something positive was transpiring.
Growing quiet again and zeroing in on the trickling, the two slowly navigated the thicket, crouching when necessary, until they arrived at a rocky stream hardly three feet wide.
This time Max didn’t hesitate; he guzzled the icy water straight out of a little pool until his belly ached. The taste was pristine. If this water harbored harmful parasites, amoebas or bacteria, he would have been shocked—and in any case, beggars couldn’t be choosers.
After he finished, Zana followed suit by drinking her fill as well. Then Max washed his hands thoroughly and splashed his face and hair. Refreshed, for some time he dripped as they picked their way painstakingly downstream.
Gradually, intersecting a series of tributaries, the stream grew larger. Simultaneously, the thicket thinned out—and slowly, another familiar sound grew louder in their ears: that of a river.
Recalling their last river crossing and Capu’s attack, Max had mixed feelings, but Zana seemed excited and quickened her pace. As they moved along, the sun crested the ridge behind and bathed the ferny woods with golden shafts of light.
Zana pulled up short with the river in plain sight through the trees where the stream emptied into it. Handing Max her rocks, she motioned for him to stay put before dropping to all fours and stealthily approaching the water’s edge.
The river was relatively narrow, no more than thirty yards at its widest, fast-moving, and obviously deep in places. In the morning light, countless hatches of river flies formed a sort of living gauze in continuous vibration all around it.
A blue heron, with a wingspan of maybe a dozen feet, perched on a rock fishing, thumped its way into the air and sailed off downstream as Zana tiptoed to the edge of some whitewater rapids. Suddenly, with a motion almost swifter than the eye could see, she stabbed a hand into the rapids and pulled out a wiggling, brightly painted fish resembling an Alaskan salmon.
She knocked its head on a rock and tossed it up on the bank, then repeated the stabbing motion and produced another almost identical fish.
“That’s impressive,” whispered Max.
Rather than knocking the second fish’s head, Zana carried it still very much alive onto the bank and proceeded to eat it lengthwise—head, guts, and tail—in great cracking bites, spitting out the bones in between.
“That’s disgusting,” said Max.
Mid-bite, blood dribbling down her chin, Zana nodded toward the first fish lying lifeless on the ground.
“You want me to eat it raw?”
As soon as Max asked this question, to which he already knew the answer, his stomach growled and he thought of sushi. With a glance at the chipped rocks in his hands, he had an idea.
Kneeling beside his fish, he took a deep breath to steady himself. “Come on, Max,” he said. “You wanted to be a doctor—and you can’t even filet a salmon?”
With these words, nearly shutting his eyes squeamishly, he set one rock on the ground and sliced into the fish’s belly with the sharp edge of the other. Nauseating as it was, he used his hands to pull out the guts. These he tossed into the bushes before extricating as much of the pink meat from the bones as possible with his rudimentary blade.
Having finished her own breakfast, Zana stood watching, fascinated, as Max screwed up his courage to try a bite. But as soon as he did, he realized how silly he was being: the stuff was mouthwatering, better than any sushi he had ever eaten.
Seeing the surprised look on Max’s face as he wolfed down another bite, then another and another, Zana laughed and clapped her colossal hands like a little girl in a moment of delight.
Though the fish weighed a solid three pounds, Max ate all the meat he could access in a matter of minutes—at which point, wiping his mouth on his sleeve, he released a ringing burp, which made Zana laugh and clap even harder.
“Life’s simple pleasures, eh?” he said in mild mockery of his guide’s enthusiasm, quickly realizing how much he himself had enjoyed their repast. “Thanks, Zana. That was really quite tasty.”
Grunting modestly, she retrieved the fish guts he had discarded in the bushes, eating the pieces one by one like popcorn as she found them. Afterward, she washed everything down with several loud gulps of river water.
Throwing caution to the winds, after thoroughly scrubbing his hands (which still smelled like fish) in the whitewater, Max did likewise. The water was stingingly cold and absolutely thirst-quenching.
Meanwhile, Zana washed off the rock Max had used as a filet knife and picked up the other one. With a cautious look and sniff around, she led him back into the woods headed upstream.
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.