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 wasn’t sure what brought him to: the dappled sunlight on his face, the smell of sizzling venison and woodsmoke, the sound of humming, the pounding in his head, the soreness in his muscles and bones.
Wrenching open his eyes, he discovered he was supine in a makeshift shelter with a low, sloping roof of pine boughs through which the mottled sun was shining haphazardly.
He was wrapped in a blanket, which smelled faintly of sage incense, made of dark blue wool decorated with concentric circles of swimming dolphins in a lighter blue.
The pleasant, melodic humming to which he had awoken continued outside. Lulled by the sound, he closed his eyes again and almost fell back asleep—when suddenly the memory of the wolf attack and Zana’s horrific injury returned to him.
He sat up only to find that beneath the blanket, which turned out to be a hooded poncho, he was naked except for knee-high boots made of tan leather and brown animal fur. Someone had piled pine needles under him for a mattress.
He slowly pulled the poncho over his throbbing head. His hair actually hurt a little. Allowing the hood to hang behind, squinting and blinking, he crawled like an arthritic out from under the shelter.
The sun was overhead in a nearly cloudless sky. The world seemed brighter than usual, by several orders of magnitude, from the sunlight’s myriad reflections off the snow.
Standing up with boots planted on smooth stones, Max gazed down over the complex of ruins and surrounding alpine landscape from what he realized was the top of the astronomy tower.
But he was far less intrigued by his location than by his mysterious, hooded companion. A humming figure—crouched facing away in identical leather-and-fur boots and a red poncho with a black raven motif similar to Max’s dolphins—was roasting a cut of meat on a wooden spit over a small fire.
As soon as Max took a woozy step forward, the figure fell silent, stood up, turned, and faced him—though there really wasn’t much to tell about his face, which remained in the shadow of his hood.
“Greetings, Max,” said the figure in an eerily familiar voice, bowing formally. “I see myself in you.” The voice spoke in perfect (if rather old-fashioned) English.
“That’s nice,” replied Max, looking around unsuccessfully for Zana.
“Zana will return by sundown. Having fully recovered from her injury, she has gone on an errand and sends you her love and gratitude.”
“You know Zana?”
“We are old friends. Almost family, you might say.”
“And you can … communicate with her?”
“In a manner of speaking.”
“Who are you?”
Though Max had been struck by the uncanny familiarity of the mysterious stranger’s voice, with his head slowly spinning, he couldn’t quite place where he had heard it before.
Noting a wooden bow and quiver of black-feathered arrows propped against the wall beside a leather backpack, he recalled the arrows that had struck three of the wolves attacking Zana and the disguised voice with a similar quality leading the pack away. Whoever the stranger was, he wasn’t an enemy. “That was you, wasn’t it, who saved Zana?”
“I may have bought her a little space—or rather time. You saved her.”
The painful memory of bridging the material and cosmic sectors returned. Suddenly, Max felt extremely tired—so much so that he stumbled, only to be kept from swooning into the fire by the stranger’s firm grip. “Come. Sit with me while I prepare some sustenance. I can only begin to imagine the energy it took to do what you did.”
Seated in the warmth of the fire, Max was happy to find that the tower’s stone floor—thanks to an ingenious drainage system combined with a slightly convex shape—was perfectly dry.
On the subject of dryness, he remarked that his soaked jeans and socks had been neatly draped over the tower’s ledge in the sunlight and looked ready to put on again. “How long was I out?”
“Through two sunrises,” said the stranger, sitting down across the fire and slowly turning the spitted meat.
“Am I—am I going to be okay? I feel like I’ve been through a sausage grinder.”
“Fear not. There is nothing wrong with you that rest combined with nourishment and pleasant company cannot alleviate.”
“Speaking of, who is my company? Seriously, who are you?”
“You honestly have not divined my identity?”
“No. Maybe I hit my head when I passed out. Or maybe I’ve got early-onset Alzheimer’s.”
“What is Alzheimer’s?”
“Nothing. It was a joke. Could you just take off the hood please? I’ve always been terrible at guessing games.”
The sensation Max experienced when the stranger pulled back his hood is difficult to describe. Imagine living nearly nineteen years never having met your twin, then suddenly meeting him face to face under survivalist circumstances on top of an ancient tower.
Staring at the spitting image of himself with long, curly hair, Max felt his jaw drop. All he managed to say was, “You’re the Hanged Man! Why aren’t you blue?”
“In my dreams, you were always blue. And you don’t have your bindi either.”
The heretofore blue Max laughed, bizarrely, with the sound of Max’s own laughter. No wonder his voice had seemed so familiar: Max had heard it his whole life whenever he opened his mouth.
“Ah, I see why you are confused. The blue and bindi are painted on with dye made from jork eggs applied during dreamtime ceremony.”
“Jork eggs?” was all Max could think to say.
“You might call them thunderbird eggs. I take it from the contraction of your aura you know something about jorks?”
“I narrowly escaped becoming dinner for one, if that’s what you mean. You can see my aura?”
“Of course. You cannot see mine?”
“Maybe. Now that you mention it.” Glimpsing a diaphanous double egg extending approximately eight feet around his companion, he recalled his crash course in metaphysics with Maizy after his fight with Doug Biggins in sixth grade. “Whoa. You have a double aura, too!”
“Naturally. The Ombudo and the Umbodi constitute a powerfully twinned pair.”
“What are an Ombudo and an Umbodi? Zana mentioned ‘Umbodi’ twice. Telepathically, I mean.”
“You know, with her mind.”
“I know what it means. I am just impressed you manifested the ability to speak with her so quickly. The Almasty are a highly telepathic species. But we humans, not so much.”
“Believe me, it’s been a long time coming.”
“I believe you. It was for me as well.”
“Yeah, I imagine it was.”
“You look pale, Max.”
“I’m trying not to faint.”
“I apologize. I fear I have overtaxed you with conversation. Here, lie beside me and soak up the sun’s healing energy with your head in my lap.”
Strangely, Max had no reservations whatsoever about doing as directed. After all, it wasn’t as if his companion was really a stranger.
He stretched out on the stone floor and placed his head on the soft wool of his new friend’s raven poncho. Oddly, he felt as comfortable as he had ever felt around anyone, including Tuesday and his father.
The thought of his father immediately propelled him right back out of his comfort zone. He sat up again with what little strength he had left and said, “Tell me about my father. He’s why I came here. Is he still alive?”
“Yes, Max. Your father is still alive.”
“That’s good news. Is he … okay?”
“He is … in good hands.”
“When can I see him?”
“Rest now, Max. We can discuss whatever needs to be discussed as soon as you are stronger in body and clearer in mind.”
Max didn’t actually hear these last words—as just then he swooned with exhaustion and lost consciousness bathed with sunshine in his twin’s welcoming lap.
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.