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
Stacking wood and kindling on the fire ring atop the astronomy tower while Max—winded and weak in the knees—plopped down to rest, the blue Max commented, “I have tried to imagine what it must feel like to be in your shoes.”
Staring at his own bony face and dusky, intense eyes in his twin, Max couldn’t help but laugh despite his hunger and weariness. “Well, if you don’t know, for sure nobody else does. Plus, if I’m not mistaken, I’m actually in your shoes.”
“Good one. Yes, I made them for you in anticipation of your arrival.”
“Thanks. They certainly fit. If I didn’t know better, I’d say you made them for yourself.”
“You are very humorous, Max, even when malnourished and fatigued.”
“Mostly, I just laugh to keep from crying. Did you make this poncho, too?”
“No. I am no weaver. My teacher made our ponchos with dyed llama wool.”
“Yes. The one who taught me to do this.” Kneeling in the twilight, the blue Max closed his eyes, smiled with inner emotion, and held his right hand over the firewood. After a few seconds, flames sprang from his palm. The kindling caught almost instantly and soon the fire was roaring.
“I’m impressed by your control,” said Max. “I nearly gave myself third-degree burns when I tried that.”
“It is not a matter of control.”
“Could’ve fooled me.”
“Not all is as it seems. It is actually about relinquishing control and allowing the energy to flow. One must work with the energy, not try to dominate it. That only creates resistance and can be dangerous.”
Max watched with a combination of vested interest and revulsion as his companion spitted the “tenderized” elk tenderloin and extended it above the crackling fire.
“Is that how I nearly blew myself to smithereens?” he asked. “By trying to control the energy when Zana was injured?”
“That would be my guess. I once accidently set my hair on fire when merely attempting to create light.”
“My teacher doused me with a bucket of water.”
“This teacher of yours. Can he do … what we do?”
“My teacher is a she. She comes from a long line of medicine teachers going all the way back to, well, this place: Muru-amah.”
“Can she set things on fire, too?”
“Not like we can. Abilities such as ours require special circumstances or experiences. Her path was to receive the Heywah’s knowledge of how to work with the energy in order to pass it along to me.”
“Apparently, her path was also to make these seriously detailed ponchos. What’s with the elaborate raven and dolphin motifs?”
“They represent our spirit animals, or primary guidance from the kingdom of fauna. You are clearly of the dolphin clan—”
“How do you know?”
“It was prophesied that the Umbodi would be. And now that I have met you, I feel certain you are a dolphin.”
“I do seem to get along with dolphins, if that’s what you mean.”
“I mean that and more. Dolphins are gifted divers who are able to navigate not only the deep seas, but also the depths of space and time. The Promised One had to be a dolphin, or a Diver, you see, because one with that name would naturally be able to come and go between worlds.”
“You seem to know more about me than I do myself.”
“I am only repeating Artemisia’s words.”
“My teacher. She is a seer.”
“She sees things.”
“I know what it means. So will I get to … see her soon?”
The blue Max slowly turned the tenderloin, which was beginning to sizzle while giving off an appetizing scent. “I sincerely hope so. Right now the lower spur of the Red Mountains leading to the pass to my village is blocked by the early snow. I barely made it here through the storm.”
“Meaning we’ll have to wait for the snow to melt?”
“Some of it anyway. Fortunately, the weather appears to be warming up.”
“What will we do in the meantime?”
“I thought, with your permission, tomorrow I would begin teaching you what I know about energy. It seems we were fated to meet at a place where your learning will be naturally accelerated.”
“Sounds like a plan—as long as you keep a bucket of water nearby.”
“I can do one better. We will train beside water. That way I can throw you in at the first sign of danger.”
“The meat is almost ready. Are you still up for trying some?”
“I will if you will.”
Even cooked just past rare, the meat was so tender the blue Max—after cooling it with his breath—was able to tear it in two like wet paper. Handing half to Max, he said, “We thank you, Great Spirit, for this gift of nourishment and honor you, great elk, as part of ourselves.”
“Amen. Dig in.”
“I do not mind if I do.” With this the blue Max took a huge bite, chewed a handful of times with a pleased expression, then swallowed. “Your turn.”
Max hesitated—but not for long. Hunger getting the best of his caution, he ventured a nibble. The meat was softer than pot roast—and more delicious than the best steak he had ever tasted.
“Do not be afraid, Max. If you die, at least you will not die hungry.”
“How comforting,” replied Max, before taking a somewhat bigger bite, then an even bigger one.
“How is it?”
“I told you it was only tenderized.”
At this point, starved beyond tolerance, Max was all in. He polished off his considerable half of the tenderloin in short order—and though no longer ravenous, he wasn’t exactly stuffed either.
“You probably feel somewhat hungry still,” commented his companion. “But I recommend that you have only liquids from now until tomorrow. It has been some time since your stomach last contained an abundance of solid food.”
Still chewing his last bite, his twin stood up, fetched a leather flask from his backpack, and tossed it to Max. “Drink some of this.”
Parched after consuming so much meat, Max unstopped the flask and sniffed its contents.
“Do not be concerned, my friend. It is pure water from the fountain.”
Max turned up the flask and drank, then capped it and tossed it back. As the blue Max stood and quenched his thirst, Max watched the sparks from the fire rocket up like backward shooting stars into the shimmering canopy of night. “I’ve still got so many questions.”
“Only a fool would not.”
“For starters, what do I call you?”
The blue Max set the flask on top of his pack and sat back down beside the fire. “You may call me Maxwallah. That is what my teacher calls me. Most others call me Max.”
“Sounds familiar. So is Maxwallah your given name?”
“Yes. It means ‘warrior of the heart.’ What is your given name?”
“What does it mean?”
“It doesn’t mean anything.”
“What do you wish me to call you?”
“Call me whatever you like.”
“Then I will call you Maxwell—and define this name as a maximum source, or well, of energy.”
“I like that.”
“You said you had other questions?”
“Yeah, what happened to my tennis shoes?”
“I am afraid wolves ran off with them sometime in the night after I replaced them with boots to keep your feet from freezing.”
“Well, they may look medieval, but the boots are certainly a functional improvement in this environment. I take it you and Zana carried me up here for defensive purposes?”
“Yes. Zana stood guard at the bottom of the stairs while I wrapped you in your poncho, made a fire, and built this little shelter.”
“Thanks for saving my life.”
“You would have done the same for me. What other questions do you have?”
“I want to know about my father. Where he is, how he is, and what I need to do to help him. And please, don’t pull any punches.”
“Pull any … punches?”
“Tell me everything.”
Maxwallah’s pensive expression in the flickering firelight suggested melancholy. “When I first learned of his landing in the metal thunderbird nearly seven revolutions of the sun ago, I thought perhaps he might be the Umbodi. Then, when I saw him, I realized he must be your father. ‘Thomas Diver,’ I read on his twin pendants.”
“They’re called dog tags.”
“Dog tags? That is an odd thing to call human pendants.”
“Chalk it up to military slang.”
“I see. Well, in any case, seeing him was a shock, both for myself and my teacher. Not long afterward, I first contacted you in a dream. Your father’s arrival was not in the prophecy, yet it played a role in bringing us together.”
“Wait a second. The first time I dreamed of you was just before my father disappeared.”
“Was it, now? I apologize. Sequencing can be very tricky when translating between sectors.”
“So what happened? Where is he now? You said he was in good hands.”
“He is sheltered in a cave high in a cliff wall overlooking Blue Lake protected by members of the Almasty tribe.”
Max could hardly believe his ears. “You’re telling me he’s being looked after by Bigfoots?”
“If that is what you wish to call them. I am not convinced they would approve of this name.”
“Better. Yes. No fewer than two are with him at all times.”
“Is this … safe?”
“The Almasty are loyal friends to the descendants of the Heywah. I would trust them with my life.”
Max reflected on his trials with Zana and remarked that he had, in fact, already trusted his life to the Almasty. “So where’s this cave? Where’s Blue Lake?”
“Across the Inland Sea.”
“That doesn’t sound good.”
“Actually, it isn’t far from my village—just down the opposite coast not even one revolution of the earth toward the Angel’s Eye.”
“The vortex between worlds from which you fell.”
Despite the sobering subject matter, Max had to laugh. “Go figure. In my world, we assign names like ‘Devil’s Graveyard’ to such regions, but here they’re angelic.”
“Our realities are opposites in most ways.”
“Tell me about it. How did my father get to this cave—and why has he been left there?”
“How he traveled so far from the metal thunderbird is a mystery. There is a narrow channel between coasts near the Angel’s Eye that separates the Outer Sea from the Inland Sea. My teacher thinks he swam across it before traveling to Blue Lake.”
“How wide is the channel?”
“Less than two miles as the raven flies.”
“Your teacher’s probably right.”
“My father was in the Navy. He was an amazing swimmer.”
“But what could have possessed him to brave such a feat?”
“Who knows. I was attacked by a real thunderbird while checking out his plane. Maybe something similar happened to him and he … swam for it.”
“Stranger things have happened, I suppose.”
“So why is he still in the cave?”
“Because we cannot move him.”
“Maxwell, your father is in a very precarious state. As I told you before, he is not made for my world. He has … lost ground since coming here.”
“What’s that supposed to mean?”
“He has … changed. You will see. His vital force is slowly leaving as he is gradually being reabsorbed by the ambient energy.”
“He’s ‘going silver,’ you mean?”
“If he can’t be moved, what are we supposed to do?”
“I did not say he cannot be moved. I said we cannot move him. You must be the one to do it.”
“Me? Why me?”
“Because only you are as yet capable of manipulating the space field sufficiently to get to your father and protect him from the ravages of time while transporting him back to the Angel’s Eye and, thence, to your world.”
“Hold on a minute. What did you mean by ‘get to’ my father? I thought he was being guarded in a cave above Blue Lake.”
Maxwallah sighed. “Therein lies the problem. He is being guarded, but we can no longer arrive there safely.”
“For starters, there is a forest fire that just began raging between my village and Blue Lake. It could burn for weeks—and I fear your father may not have that long.”
“A jander has taken up residence in the lake and endangers anyone—even the Almasty—who attempts to walk along the path to the cave along the water’s edge.”
“What’s a jander?”
“A water dragon.”
“Great. Let me get this straight: you’re saying I’m going to have to fly in and rescue my father?”
“That is precisely what I am saying.”
“Why don’t you do it?”
“I would. Happily. But I am not ready to attempt flight. I have not yet traveled as far as yourself on the Circle of Life.”
“What does that mean?”
“This is an in-depth discussion that perhaps would be best to have later.”
“How are you going to teach me to fly if you can’t even do it yourself?”
“I propose to instruct you in the basic principles for working with, not against, the space field. Ultimately, you will teach yourself to fly.”
This dramatic statement hadn’t even sunk in—when Max’s attention was diverted by an almost tangible sensation in his gut that they were no longer alone.
Instinctively, with a surge of fear, he hopped to his feet and spun around to face the staircase. But instead of ravening wolves, there stood Zana swaying above him with what he almost fancied was a grin.
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.