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
He was awakened from his disquieting dream by snow weighing down his eyelids. Sitting upright and shaking his head in the faint glow from his fire’s coals, he saw tiny snowflakes scatter left and right in the wind.
Shivering, and more than a little stiff from the cold, he got to his feet and threw several chunks of wood on the coals—only to realize Zana was standing nearby in the semidarkness, swaying back and forth while listening intently.
Max stood still and listened as well. At first he heard nothing except the howling of the wind—yet he sensed the presence of danger almost physically, like a punch to the gut. No amount of rationalizing could convince him he and Zana weren’t in acute peril.
With low clouds above, an inch of powder below, and flakes flying everywhere in between, it was impossible to see far in the distance. Happily, just then the wood caught flame and the firelight extended its quivering halo out a ways like headlights pushing into a snowstorm.
Zana cupped her hands around her mouth and gave a high-pitched call that—though ear-splitting at close range—seemed to be swallowed straightaway by the snowy landscape.
“I guess it’s just you and me,” said Max.
No sooner had these words left his lips than he heard another howling much louder than the wind coming from all directions. It was a sound he had heard before in horror movies, though never in real life. It was the sound of wolves.
Zana was quicker to react than he was, grabbing two stones from her pyramid and slowly rotating where she stood, eyes on a swivel smoldering watchfully.
Meanwhile, Max picked up his extinguished light stick and struck it against the ground to remove the snow. Even as he looked back up, a single menacing form the size of a mountain lion appeared at the edge of sight.
Soon it was joined by another wolf roughly the same size, then another and another. Before long Max and Zana were encircled by as many as twenty of the gray beasts eyeing them hungrily while growling and pawing the snow.
The instant the circle began to tighten, Zana burst into action. Her first rock was so well aimed the wolf whose head it struck, ringing like a bell, crumpled without a sound and never moved again. Her second throw was less fortunate—merely glancing with a dull reverberation off an advancing wolf’s flank.
The wolf yelped and sprang forward, as did the rest of the pack—at which point Zana spun around, picked up Max like a child, and hurled him, stick and all, to the top of the statue in the fountain’s middle.
Despite his surprise, he managed to plant his feet on the pedestal’s narrow ledge and hold on for dear life to the two-headed figure of himself while not dropping his stick.
Uttering a tremendous hiss reminiscent of a giant pressure cooker, Zana turned, knees bent and hands ready like a linebacker, to face the onrushing pack.
The first wolf was dead meat—literally—as she sidestepped and snapped its neck with both hands. Max shuddered gratefully at her sheer animal power and quickness, but he underestimated these same qualities in her opponents.
Even though the fountain protected her back, the wolves still came at her from three directions. She managed to crack one’s ribs with a sledgehammer punch, then break another’s foreleg by slinging it halfway across the plaza, before ravening mouths closed on her knees and shoulders and she went down flailing.
Max watched helplessly as she screamed in agony while being savagely bitten again and again. He was preparing to spring down and attempt to free her, figuring this would be his first—and last—act of heroism in time-space, when something completely unanticipated transpired.
“So much for the Hero’s Journey,” he whispered at the exact instant there was a twang from somewhere behind the statue. A slender object rushed whistling past his ear and a wolf dropped dead with a black-feathered arrow through its heart.
He heard another twang from a bowstring followed by another dark arrow whirring past through the falling snow—and another wolf collapsed in a heap.
Reinvigorated by this unlooked-for assistance, Zana threw off a pair of growling wolves and staggered to her feet. Another twang. Another whir. Another dead wolf.
At that instant, Max heard what he could have sworn was a person imitating a wolf’s howl. Zana bellowed ferociously at the remainder of the pack—which suddenly, hearing a second wolf-like call from somewhere in the woods, took off toward it in unison.
Max climbed down, drenching himself in the icy fountain, and rushed over to where Zana was now seated, blinking lightheadedly, in the snow.
From the blood pooling around her in the firelight, he could tell she was badly injured. It felt as if his stomach had leapt up into his throat when he saw blood spraying out of a punctured artery just above her knee. “Oh, Zana. This is serious. Hang in there, girl!”
Pulling off his Maroon University sweatshirt, he ripped it with the strength of adrenaline into two long strips. With trembling hands, he tied the strips into a tourniquet above the wound.
Even with a decent tourniquet in place, Zana was still losing so much blood—which came dribbling out between Max’s fingers that were compressing the artery—it was only a matter of time before she was lost.
Shirtless and shivering, he thought of cauterizing her flesh with fire to stop the bleeding. But the burning wood chunks were so large and unwieldy there was no way to handle them without severe risk to himself.
He gazed on Zana’s typically emotionless face and was surprised to find written in it a combination of pain, fear, and sorrow. “Zana hurts,” he heard her say, loud and clear, in his mind. “The Umbodi helps.”
Into Max’s mental theater suddenly came a vision of Zana with two young Bigfoots cradled in her arms. All three were laughing hysterically with huge square teeth and shining eyes. He realized he was glimpsing a memory of Zana with her children.
Then he saw a memory of his own: himself cuddled in his father’s arms watching Star Trek over Thanksgiving on the couch in their home on Tupelo Street.
This vision was quickly replaced by Dr. Morrow walking in his front door with the news that his father had gone missing and was presumed dead. He viscerally recalled his shock and disbelief, followed by years of suffering …
Compassion. That was the name of the feeling glowing brighter and brighter in his heart like an ember fanned by the wind.
Soon, shining, the ember began to produce heat. With his third eye, Max could see lines of energy forming and swirling inside him—until a portal seemed to open, at the center of his heart, between time and space.
Sucking in a deep breath, tears streaming from his eyes, he felt the limitless energy of space flowing into the circumscribed reality of time like a tempest pouring into a teacup—and the teacup was himself.
Quivering, with all the fortitude he could muster, he directed the energy down his left arm into his hand and out through his palm where it remained desperately pressed against Zana’s deadly wound.
The exterior effect was nothing short of miraculous, as the wound instantly healed without a scar. But the interior sensation was more like being struck by multiple bolts of lightning.
Neither here nor there, momentarily bridging the material and cosmic sectors before passing out cold in the snow, Max was like a meteor flaming out rather than fading away.
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.