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
Waking up this time was a déjà vu. As before, Max opened his eyes and stared at the pine-bough roof of his little shelter. Now, however, there was no sunlight filtering through. Nor was there any humming or smell of sizzling meat coming from outside. Had his encounter with the blue Max been merely a vivid dream?
Sitting upright with a bit less effort than before, at first he couldn’t say with certainty. Then he noted a telltale sign: rather than being merely wrapped in it, this time he was actually wearing his dolphin poncho.
He crawled out from under the shelter into what appeared to be late afternoon. The fire had completely burned out. Though his twin was nowhere to be seen, his bow, quiver and pack were still against the tower’s ledge where Max had last observed them. Someone had stacked kindling and firewood nearby.
Feeling chilly, he removed his fur-lined boots and pulled on his jeans, which were indeed dry. He had no idea what had become of his tennis shoes, but he thought better of putting on cotton socks in the snow. Besides, his new fur-lined boots—which slid back on easily yet fit snugly—seemed warm and waterproof.
He made his way weakly down the helical staircase to the ground level. His first item of business was to relieve himself, which he did in the six inches of snow behind the avenue of cherry trees.
His second, and equally important, necessity was water. Shuddering at what macabre souvenirs, in the form of giant wolf bodies or dried Sasquatch blood, he might encounter, he approached the plaza.
He heard the croaking of ravens before he saw dozens of them, bloated ones, perched willy-nilly and occasionally flapping their wings atop the decrepit buildings. Max fancied he could almost understand what they were saying.
Owing to the plaza’s convex slope and drainage system like those of the tower, there was no snow here either. Nor could he find any trace of gore, wolves, or—for that matter—an elk carcass. But what there was was even more … arresting.
Wearing nothing but buckskins decorated with red and black beads, having placed his boots, poncho and what looked like a sword in its scabbard on the cobblestones near Max’s old fire, the blue Max was athletically dancing around the fountain.
Perhaps “dancing” isn’t exactly accurate. The way he scissor-kicked from a headstand, then thrust onto his feet and twirled powerfully in mid-air, only to backflip into a low leg sweep, brought to mind a martial art—tai chi or Brazilian capoeira—thinly disguised as a dance.
Whatever it was, it was entrancing to watch. That Max was, in a sense, watching himself was certainly uncanny—yet it took nothing away from his appreciation of his twin’s grace and strength. He was reminded of a dolphin (of all things) swimming on land.
Suddenly, with this unexpected association, he realized the two-headed statue in the center of the fountain wasn’t just of him; it was of them. The Ombudo and the Umbodi constitute a powerfully twinned pair, the blue Max had said.
“What is this place?” asked Max when his companion had finished leaping and spinning.
With no hint of surprise, as if he had been aware of Max’s presence all along, the blue Max—having bowed respectfully to the statue—replied, “Muru-amah, capital city of the great Heywah people, my ancestors.”
Not wanting to seem rude but unable to deny his thirst, Max plunged his face in the fountain’s basin and drank deeply. The water was shockingly cold yet satisfying. “It seems really old,” he sputtered.
“It is. Perhaps as old as five hundred revolutions of the sun.”
“What happened? Where did all the people go?”
His twin sighed while strapping on a leather belt attached to the scabbard of a short blade about the size of a machete out of which protruded a hilt of elaborately carved bone. “No one knows. Obviously, there was a diaspora, with remnants of the original population settling elsewhere, such as my village. Some speak of pestilence; others have suggested famine.”
“No need to be sorry. Personally, I believe they traveled … elsewhere,” said the blue Max with a glance beyond the statue’s two faces at the periwinkle sky of early evening, where a planet that may or may not have been Venus twinkled brightly.
“That statue. It’s of you and me, isn’t it?”
“Yes. It represents the twin aspects of the Ombudo, the Chosen One, and the Umbodi, the Promised One.”
“Let me get this straight. I’m the Umbodi, the Promised One?”
“And you’re the Ombudo, the Chosen One?”
“That’s the craziest thing I’ve ever heard.”
Rather than being offended by Max’s bluntness, the blue Max laughed loud and hard, slapping his buckskin breeches. “My sentiments precisely!” he chuckled.
“So how did your ancestors know about us—down to what we look like—half a millennium before we were even born?”
“Good question. The Heywah had access to the space field—what you might call the time field. This energy was used to build Muru-amah. And Muru-amah, as you must have intuited, greatly amplifies the energy, including its applications for such things as psychic communication and physical healing.”
“Yeah. I sort of picked up on that.”
“Plus, they were devout students of the stars. The Heywah prophesied that the Umbodi would come from the stellar regions. ‘Umbodi,’ in fact, means ‘from the stars comes,’ while ‘Ombudo’ means ‘to the stars goes.’”
“Only one problem. Technically, I didn’t come from the stars.”
“True. But you fell out of the sky.”
“As for myself, there were many omens in the skies surrounding my birth, including a red comet and a series of lunar and solar eclipses.”
“That’s all well and good. But what are the … Umbodi and Ombudo supposed to do?”
“They are to complete the Circle of Life and bring our worlds closer together for everyone’s benefit.”
“Oh, is that all?” Max, who was experiencing lapses in concentration owing to his gnawing hunger, didn’t have the slightest idea what his companion meant.
“But we can discuss such matters later,” said the blue Max, seeming to peer inside Max’s thoughts much like Tuesday used to do before life switched from simply weird to utterly outlandish. “Right now, you must eat.”
The blue Max slipped on his boots and poncho, then motioned for Max to accompany him back down the lane of cherry trees. At the far end, he turned down a previously unnoticed alleyway flanked by stone walls.
After winding along a mazelike path, they came to an open courtyard with an enormous cherry tree atop a small hill in the middle. Hanging by a rope from one of its sturdy middle branches was what appeared to be the remains of Zana’s elk.
Stripped of its hide and rack, it was all meat and bones and stank as soon as they got within twenty feet. Undeterred, the blue Max lowered the carcass with the rope until it hung just off the ground.
Pinching his nose, Max noticed that the entire carcass was moving. And not under its own power—it was writhing with maggots! “Oh, Jesus. I think I’m going to throw up.”
Breathing normally, not even holding his nose, the blue Max unsheathed his sword (which turned out to be made of black obsidian) and expertly shaved the maggots off a tenderloin.
Underneath, oddly enough, the meat appeared pink and fresh. Max watched with what was fast becoming his go-to expression in the cosmic sector—morbid curiosity—as his twin deftly separated the meat from the carcass.
“If you’re under the impression I’m going to eat that,” said Max, “you’re even crazier than I think you are.”
The blue Max laughed again while hoisting the carcass back up into the tree. “I do not think you are going to eat it. I feel certain you are.”
“What other choice do you have?”
“But it’s rotten. We’re talking death by salmonella.”
“Only the outside of the beast’s flesh is spoiled. The inside is merely … tenderized. Nature wastes nothing and recycles all things in a specific order.”
“So you’re going to eat some, too?”
“Absolutely. I am famished after training.”
When Max still looked dubious, his companion, having wiped his blade on the moss at the tree’s base and slid it back in its sheath, said, “Come, Max. Let us get the fire going. I will even take the first bite.”
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.