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
Strangely, in the aftermath of the battle, Muru-amah was as peaceful as the candlelit interior of a cathedral. There was hardly enough ambient light to glimpse the nearly silent comings and goings of the Almasty.
Most of what Max gathered from his slow walk through the complex came from his nose and ears: the smell of freshly spilled blood, the occasional whimper punctuating the silence from an injured Sasquatch.
Gazing at the night sky splattered with stars as the pyramids loomed ahead, he watched a dazzling, multicolored meteor streak across the heavens. Intuitively, it struck him as a sign—but a sign of what?
The answer came minutes later when his little group—which had gradually swelled to a large assembly—entered the rocky field between the two pyramids.
There, by the soft, reddish glow that began to emanate from his twin’s palm, he beheld Rolling Boulder. The friendly Sasquatch’s thick body—featuring numerous wounds to the chest and head beside his pudgy face—was stretched, supine and motionless, on the hard-packed earth.
Max’s initial reaction was shock. Even as he experienced the first stirrings of grief, he heard a mournful bass note echo in his mind. He gathered that the sound, which came from Silverback, must be the old Sasquatch’s innate tone.
Soon another innate tone from another Sasquatch was added, then another and another, until all of the Almasty, injured or otherwise, including Zana, were singing telepathically together while swaying as one.
Max had never heard a song so beautiful—or so sad. He was moved alternately from smiles to tears and back again as the symphony of tones, creating a sum greater than its parts, rose and fell in his mind.
Gradually, like watching a shape emerge from a cloud, it occurred to him that the seemingly amorphous symphony actually possessed form. Specifically, it told the story of Rolling Boulder’s tragically short life.
Max watched, transfixed, as an internal slideshow of sorts flashed scenes from the Sasquatch’s birth, childhood, adolescence, and young adulthood. Apparently, he had no mate or children.
The slideshow culminated in Rolling Boulder’s untimely death. A colossal jork had swept him off the Pyramid of the Moon—from where he was launching stones like an antiaircraft gunner—and stabbed him repeatedly with its beak while he lay unconscious.
The symphony seemed to induce a time warp. When it finally ended, hours appeared to have elapsed. The temperature had dropped several degrees, enough to frost the breath of those assembled, and new constellations had appeared over the horizon.
Using only their square fingers, Sasquatches started unearthing a roughly rectangular hole beside Rolling Boulder. Max and Maxwallah, following Zana’s lead, chipped in as best they could.
The ground, hard and crusty near the top, turned softer as the hole grew deeper. Max suddenly pulled up short when he uncovered a glowing object—which turned out to be a writhing, snake-sized worm like the one Zana had tried to convince him to eat.
Maxwallah snatched it up before it could disappear back into the earth. “Jube,” he whispered, offering it, still very much alive, to his twin.
“What am I supposed to do with it?” wondered Max, accepting the curling glowworm with barely suppressed revulsion.
“That remains to be seen. Have you encountered jube before?”
“Once. With Zana.”
“Why is it interesting?”
Their hushed dialogue was cut short by the next phase of the proceedings. Four Sasquatches gently lowered Rolling Boulder’s body into the hole by his arms and legs—at which point Silverback approached with a chipped rock in each hand.
“May the wind be at Rolling Boulder’s back during the Great Crossing,” he said telepathically. “And may his Otherself be like the earth rising up to welcome him.”
To hear an Almasty Elder utter what sounded like a version of the Irish blessing during a Sasquatch funeral was the very last thing Max expected. In his concluding statement, the old Sasquatch, dropping his rocks on his fallen comrade, said, “Silverback sees himself in Rolling Boulder.”
One by one, the others, including the twins, followed suit—tossing rocks on the body and offering sentiments of unity and identification.
When his turn came, stuffing the jube in his pocket and dropping a pair of stones Zana handed him on the pile, Max said simply, with a pang of sorrow, “I see myself in you.”
As they were filling Rolling Boulder’s grave with dirt, a youthful Sasquatch arrived carrying a luminescent piñon sapling (with earth still bundled around its roots) he had apparently just dug up and transported from down the mountain.
Without ceremony but with skilled husbandry, the sapling was planted in the grave’s topsoil—at which point more Sasquatches arrived dragging the bodies of the two thunderbirds that had also perished in the battle.
The huge beasts, which seemed from their markings to be a male and female, were arranged beak-to-tail in a yin-yang Ouroboros around the glowing sapling atop the grave. “Why are they decorating the grave with the bodies of their enemies?” Max whispered.
“They do not see them as enemies,” replied Maxwallah. “The jorks will help the sapling grow so that Rolling Boulder will be remembered.”
Max felt a tap on the shoulder. Turning, he found a thin-faced, almost blond Sasquatch—named Butternut, if memory served—presenting him with a large egg that gave off a faint bluish glow.
Max accepted the egg, which was quite heavy and definitely luminous, with a nod of thanks. When Butternut was gone, Maxwallah, examining the egg, commented, “Very interesting indeed.”
“What is it?”
“A jork egg. From the female there whose life you took to save mine.”
“You mean I … killed her?”
“I thought maybe I just stunned her.”
“I take it you never killed before?”
“It is not pleasant to take any creature’s life. But sometimes, it is necessary.”
“So why am I standing here with this egg?”
“Jork eggs are rare and highly prized.”
“For different reasons. The Almasty consider them a delicacy. Stealing jork eggs from the nest is a rite of passage for them.”
“Do humans eat jork eggs?”
“Not typically. We value them for their shells.”
“That’s right. You mentioned making dye with them.”
“For dreamtime, yes. The dye enhances the dreamer’s ability to travel far.”
“It can also be mixed with jube and ingested.”
“Jube? You mean glowworm?”
“Why would anybody in their right mind want to eat something like that mixed with eggshell?”
“For only one reason: to complete one’s initiation through a visionary experience.”
Max glanced at the sapling, framed by the shadows of the pyramids, illuminating the thunderbirds on Rolling Boulder’s grave. “I think I’ve had enough visionary experiences for a while.”
“That may be. But regardless of whether you opt to complete your initiation, finding a jube only to be given a jork egg in one evening clearly indicates you are ready.”
“Look. We can talk about this later. Right now, I’ve got work to do.”
“Just so you know, Maxwell, the Almasty are here of their free will and do not expect you to treat their wounded.”
“I know.” Max mentally replayed the horrific scene of Rolling Boulder plummeting to his death off the Pyramid of the Moon. “But it’s the least I can do.”
“I understand. Just be mindful not to overtax yourself. If you like, I can take the egg and jube back to the tower and prepare them.”
“For travel. The process involves boiling and peeling the egg and charring the worm.”
“That would be nice,” replied Max, handing over the goods. “Thanks.”
“My pleasure. I can also finish your hide shirt while waiting.”
“Speaking of overtaxing, Maxwallah, you should take it easy yourself.”
“There will come a day to take it easy. But that is not now.”
“See you shortly.”
Max grinned. “Not if I see you first.”
Like a protective older sister, Zana accompanied Maxwallah, leaving Max alone in the dark under the stars. Feeling chilly, he pulled up his hood, then created a little light to see by as he strolled through the complex looking to offer assistance.
By his rough count, fewer than thirty Sasquatches had actually been wounded—and only a handful had been seriously hurt. For the better part of an hour, he stayed busy healing a forearm gash, several puncture wounds, a broken wrist, and a fractured ankle.
The most painful situation was that of Spelunker, a wiry fellow with nearly jet-black fur, who had dislocated his shoulder and was still writhing in agony when Max found him near the plaza.
Afterward, having drunk from the fountain, Max made his way back to the astronomy tower and dragged his weary feet up the spiral staircase—only to find Maxwallah whistling while sewing beside the fire. “How’s it coming?” asked Max, yawning as he plopped down on his pine-straw pallet.
“I am almost finished attaching the second sleeve. That leaves only your belt. How are you?”
“Wiped out. Do I smell fresh pine needles?”
“Zana kindly remade our pallets. They were consumed by the fire.”
“That was thoughtful of her. Where is she now?”
“Who knows? Off being Zana.”
“What else do I smell? It reminds me of … pork and beans.”
“Charred jube with jork eggshell.” Maxwallah tossed Max a small leather pouch secured by drawstrings. “Guard it well.”
Max sniffed the pouch, which really did smell like a distant cousin of barbecue, before slipping it in his jeans pocket. “Thanks. Is there anything left to eat?”
“Not much, I fear. What food that was not taken by the fire was either crushed by the jork or destroyed by your ‘photon torpedo.’”
“Sorry about that.”
“I am lucky my bow and pack were unharmed. What is a photon torpedo?”
“Just something from a television show.”
“What is television?”
“A little box people in my world sit and stare it.”
“I would think that would become boring.”
“Depends on the show.”
“To finish answering your question, I did manage to salvage some wild carrots and most of a pheasant for breakfast.”
“What about right now? I could eat a jork.”
“You will have to make do with half a boiled jork egg. I ate the other half. But I must warn you: jork eggs are not—how do you say?—my cup of tea.”
Max didn’t care. He would have eaten a squirming jube just then. What remained of the egg (which was still a lot) was in a ceramic pot beside the fire. He ate it without hesitation, swallowing each pasty, musky bite with a contorted face and washing it down with water from Maxwallah’s flask.
“How did you like it?”
“Jork eggs are an acquired taste.”
“You mean one that’s never acquired,” quipped Max, yawning hugely.
“Something like that. But they are sustaining.”
“Good to know.”
Max didn’t remember falling asleep—but he remembered his dream. He was flying again, much like he used to, across a kaleidoscope of shifting landscapes. A waterfall, a jungle, a gorge cut by a shimmering river, another waterfall—suddenly the world below was lost to sight and he realized he was traveling through smoke.
Holding his breath, he sailed through what turned out to be a raging wildfire, with whole sections of forest burning like buildings in a chaos of gray.
When he finally emerged from the smoke, he found himself sailing across a long, deep, indigo body of water reminiscent of a Scottish loch. At the far end, he could make out the black entrance to a cave set high in a cliff face.
With rescuing his father at the forefront of his thoughts, he sped toward the cave at low altitude—heedless that something truly large and menacing was accelerating toward him just beneath the water.
Then he saw the massive swell surging up like that of a hunting capu. This wave seemed even larger and grew even louder as the creature—whatever it was—prepared to surface. Attempting to maintain his focus, he sped like a missile across the lake—and woke up.
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.
Building on SNOOZE’s deep dive into lucid dreaming, parallel universes and Hindu mysticism, Sol’s new novel, CALI THE DESTROYER, is a page-turner of a sci-fi tale set in an Orwellian future seeded in the dystopian present that radically rewrites Gnosticism as well as the origins of the earth and humanity.
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.