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
Rows of clouds twisted above the Red Mountains, casting themselves like paint bombs against the blue sky, as afternoon wore on and the top of the second ridge grew a tiny bit closer with each weary step Max took.
Besides being bone-tired, he was also becoming shorter of breath as the altitude increased. And not having eaten so much as a nibble since breakfast, he was starting to get weak in the knees.
At the very least, he had the good sense to keep toward the back of the line with Spelunker. This meant the waist-deep snow he otherwise would have had to navigate was already compressed and hardened by dozens of enormous Sasquatch feet.
“How are you hanging in back there, Maxwell?” yelled Maxwallah, who barely seemed winded strolling along next to Zana just ahead.
“You know me,” Max managed to reply. “What doesn’t kill me leaves me debilitated.”
“I am afraid I do not understand.”
“I was just,” Max explained, struggling with his breath, “misquoting a writer named Camus. Tuesday and Raul were fans of his.”
“Your friends are fans of Camus. You will be reunited with them soon enough.”
“I hope so.”
“So what about you?”
“What about me?”
“Are you a fan of Camus?”
“Never read him. Speaking of writing, is Tay-wo a written as well as spoken language?”
“Yes. It derives from Heywah and uses a similar alphabet.”
“Do you write?”
“That makes one of us.”
“I gather you are more scientific?”
“Always have been.” A speck of ice, followed by another then another, landed on Max’s cheek. He looked up to find the darkening skirts of the clouds directly overhead. “And the scientist in me says we’re in for precipitation.”
Sure enough, even as Max pulled the hood of his poncho over his head, sleet began to fall in sheets. “I believe the scientist in you!” yelled Maxwallah.
“This weather doesn’t strike me as something that will pass anytime soon.”
“I agree. We must get to the top of the ridge quickly—or we might not at all!”
With the storm setting in hard and fast, the Almasty were thinking the same thing. Not even bothering to ask permission, Spelunker hoisted Max onto his shoulders while Zana did likewise with Maxwallah.
Once again, Max found himself riding bareback on a Sasquatch—this time through a driving storm in the howling wind up an alpine slope. Spelunker may have been wiry for one of his kind—but he was strong like barbed wire, jogging along at a tremendous pace as if Max were nothing but an afterthought on his bony shoulders.
In the meantime, the other Sasquatches, including Zana with Maxwallah, had kicked it into high gear as well. Even moving uphill in snow through sleet against the wind, their speed rivaled that of the fastest human sprinters on a level racetrack.
Max thought of the theory that humans descended from Neanderthals. If the Almasty were, in fact, our ancestors, why—from a Darwinian perspective—were they so physically superior? What advantages, besides a bigger ego, had evolution given us?
His philosophical musing was interrupted by an abrupt halt. Even in what was turning into a whiteout, Max could see they had come up against a massive snowdrift barring the path.
The Almasty were undeterred. They attacked the wall of snow like termites feasting on soft pulp, scooping away gigantic handfuls of hardened drift so furiously it was relocated in a matter of minutes.
Half an hour later, still riding Spelunker, Max watched through sleet mixing with snow as the dark entrance to a cave hove into view. Several Sasquatches emerged to guide them out of the elements into a cavern that glowed dimly with ruddy light.
The twins were set down and allowed to get their bearings as the Sasquatches stood around willy-nilly, their breath fogging as they stomped ice out of their fur. “Welcome,” said Silverback telepathically with an eye on Max.
“Thank you,” he replied, pushing back his hood and peering up dubiously at countless pointed stalactites suspended in the shadows above.
“Water?” Maxwallah asked, offering his twin his flask.
“Definitely,” said Max before drinking his fill.
“Come,” said Silverback. “Into the mountain we go.”
Outside of his dreams, Max had never even been inside a cave—much less a sprawling network of them punctuated with multicolored speleothems. Strolling with a line of Sasquatches from one echoing cavern to the next, he was surprised to find Silverback’s “castle” relatively warm and dry.
Word of the Umbodi’s arrival had apparently spread. The farther they traveled down into the heart of the mountain, the more of the Almasty emerged out of the stonework to have a look at Max. Many were aged Sasquatches, juveniles, and females with babies. A prepubescent male about Max’s own size insisted on touching the curls in his hair.
Some came for healing. Max cured several cases of a skin disorder similar to mange, restored the eyesight of an elderly male with cataracts, and healed a female of childbearing age who hadn’t been able to walk ever since suffering a high fever as an adolescent.
The fact that, back in the material sector, he had ardently desired to become a doctor wasn’t lost on him. He was no longer even sure he wanted to finish college, but one thing was certain: he was officially abandoning the study of what passed for medicine in his world.
Meanwhile, the group slowly but surely traveled onward and downward. It was some time before Max realized the reddish light in the cave system emanated from the walls themselves—much like in his childhood dream when he followed a Sasquatch through a series of glowing tunnels.
Max was nearly asleep on his feet, and was so weak from hunger he no longer even felt hungry, when, a couple hours later, they reached a very large cave indeed.
Suddenly, it just opened up like a prehistoric church with stalactites and stalagmites for a pipe organ—complete with an illuminated body of aquamarine water shimmering at the lower end.
Here the light coming from the rocks was brighter than elsewhere, and of a slightly more orange-yellow hue. Max followed Silverback down to the edge of the water, which turned out to be a subterranean lake with a freshwater feed trickling in from the wall at the upper extremity.
Maxwallah seemed unfazed by the sight, probably because he had seen it before, but Max was hard-pressed to recall anything so exotically eye-popping. “Do you come here often?” he asked his twin.
“Not as often as I would like.”
“What is this place?”
“The Great Hall of the Almasty of the Red Mountains. Listen carefully and you might hear their ancestors.”
Max listened. At first, he didn’t pick up on anything but the trickling of water and the footfalls and occasional grunts of the Sasquatches in the Great Hall—but then he imagined he heard something like a song.
It wasn’t very loud. Initially, in fact, he thought it was just his imagination. But as it rose and fell melodically, he grasped that it was an ongoing symphony of innate tones similar—though much older and far more extensive than—the one he had heard during Rolling Boulder’s funeral.
In parallel fashion, the song that seemed to play all around the Great Hall elicited a series of mental images—this time not of an individual, but of an entire clan of Sasquatches dating back centuries, if not millennia. “Where do the voices come from?” asked Max.
“Good question,” replied Maxwallah. “The beings you hear have all undertaken the Great Crossing.”
“It’s as if their voices are recorded in the stones.”
“Not recorded,” put in Silverback telepathically. “Part of their spirit lives on in the Talking Rock. Sometimes Silverback speaks to them. And sometimes they speak back.”
“That’s far out,” replied Max.
“Come,” said Silverback. “The Umbodi and the Ombudo must replenish and rest.”
The group of Sasquatches who had accompanied the twins from Muru-amah were gathering beside the lake to sit and eat food that was brought by other Sasquatches.
Exhausted, Max sat between Zana and Maxwallah, while Silverback reclined in a concave dip in the floor beside the lake facing everyone. Max realized the dip was the lowest point in the cave not actually underwater—and that it was apparently something like a throne.
They were served bandu eggs, fresh lake trout, wild carrots, and elongated tubers called fimbers that tasted like a cross between tapioca and sourdough. Everything was raw—and in the case of the fish, still wriggling.
No matter. Max ate whatever was presented to him without questions or complaints, washing everything down with lake water from Maxwallah’s flask. Finally, nature calling, he whispered to his twin, “I don’t suppose there’s a restroom around here?”
Maxwallah grinned. “I thought you would never ask. That is one of the best parts.”
After thanking their hosts for dinner, the twins excused themselves and—Maxwallah leading the way—wound through a confusing series of narrow passages off the Great Hall.
At last, they reached a medium-sized cave lit from below with … jubes. Not just a few glowworms, but thousands were making the cave floor squirm like meat infested with maggots. “What’s going on here?” asked Max.
“You said you wanted the restroom.”
“This is the restroom? Why doesn’t it smell like one?”
“Because of the jubes. They consume biological waste and transform it into light.”
Max stared at the cave floor that resembled a nest of incandescent snakes. “How’s that for free energy?” he quipped.
“Nature is nothing if not creative.”
“You can’t really expect me to eat jube powder for my initiation now, can you?”
“Why not? Nothing has changed.”
“I suppose you’re right.”
“Are you actually considering going through with your initiation?”
“I’m actually considering considering it.”
“You appear hesitant to use the restroom.”
“Maybe just a little.”
“I can assure you the jubes will not hurt you. Let us hurry and do our business. After today’s exertions, I am in need of sleep.”
“You’re not the only one.”
Afterward, they washed their hands under a dripping stalactite and returned to the Great Hall. The Sasquatches were already up and moving about. “So where are the bedrooms?” yawned Max.
“There are many private dwellings throughout the mountain,” replied Maxwallah, yawning himself. “We will be shown to a guest room.”
As if on cue, Spelunker appeared and guided the twins and Zana to the entrance of a small, softly illuminated chamber just off the Great Hall. Inside on the floor, they discovered three beds—actual beds—of living, foot-thick moss that smelled like seaweed sprinkled with cinnamon.
Almost humorously, if anyone had been awake enough to laugh, the companions (including an overworked, droopy-eyed Zana with a full belly) collapsed in unison sound asleep on the welcoming mattresses.
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.