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Cloud Cuckoo: (The Never Dawn, Book 2 ) | eBook

Cloud Cuckoo: (The Never Dawn, Book 2 ) | eBook

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"I couldn't put it down. It had me from the very beginning." Amazon Reviewer

Following their shock discovery, Noah and Rebekah reluctantly return to the lower levels of The Ark. Isolated and apart once more, Noah struggles to remember what happened at the surface and suspects Mother has altered his memory. 

But Noah's attempts to unite the workers to rebel are halted when Mother begins The Purge. Her cruel, relentless trials bring Noah to breaking point as he fights to survive when faced by his worst fears. 

Forced to accept Mother's terms after a month in Re-Education, Noah finally learns the truth about his people's past that leave him determined to defeat her once and for all.

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Chapter 1

My world has changed, but I cannot recall how. The ceiling above my nose looks the same; the hard bed beneath my aching body feels the same; and the groans from my team that welcome the new day, sound the same. But I know nothing can ever be the same again. I saw something last night, something that shouldn’t have been possible. But what did I see? As hard as I try, I cannot remember what shook my belief to the core.

My head feels too heavy for my neck and I dread getting out of bed. But I have no choice. I have no control over my life and must do everything Mother asks of me. I will perform my duties like a good worker, keeping my doubts to myself to avoid punishment.

But what happened yesterday? I’m certain I went to bed on Tuesday, but Abraham just announced today is Thursday. My stiff arm throws back the heavy blanket. I shiver in the morning air, but my throat is on fire. I have to drink, I have to get out of bed. My skull is about to split in two but I cannot stay a moment longer or Barnabas will report my selfish behavior.

I remove the headset and roll onto my side. The room spins and stars swirl across my vision. I throw my forearm over my eyes and grab the edge of the bed to steady the room. Someone touches my arm. I open my eyes to be greeted by a large grin from Reuben. I attempt to smile back but fear my face would crack.

“Noah!” Reuben grimaces as Barnabas shouts from the other room. “Get out here now. I’ve cleaned the ash pan, and Amos is lighting the stove.”

“C—” I cough. My voice has gone.

“He’s coming,” Reuben calls through. “I think he overdid the celebrations at the picnic.” Celebration? Picnic? Is that what happened yesterday? Reuben winks and leans closer. “Mother’s special recipe, eh?” I nod as much as my neck will allow and force my body upright to sit on the edge of my bunk. Again the room spins and I slip, almost shattering my bones as I land straight-legged on the floor. Bend your knees! I stagger across the moving floor, aiming for the wall. I push my palms against the stable surface, jam my feet into the floor and wait for the world to stand still.

Reuben’s hand rests on my shoulder. “You really are in a bad way. Do you need some help?” My shoulders drop a little. I nod, assured by his concern.

“Could you…?” It hurts to speak. I give up and point to my overalls.

He slides them off the hook and kneels. “Here, lean on me.” I steady myself and step into the legs. Reuben pulls the stiff material up to my waist and holds out one of the arms. “Hey, what happened to your shirt?” I look down as he lifts my tattered sleeve. “Looks like you’ve torn it.” I attempt to croak an answer but nothing comes out. But even if I could speak I don’t know how it happened.
Reuben tucks my tattered sleeve into my shirt. “I told you not to have that second cup. You must have snagged it on your ladder last night.” He laughs. “It did take you several attempts to get up there.”


“He’s coming.” Reuben pulls the overalls over my shoulder to hide the rip. I must get it repaired before Mother, or Barnabas, see it. I wrap my arm around Reuben’s shoulders as we enter the living area and manage to grunt a thank you. He nods towards Barnabas and whispers, “Be careful.”

I let go as Barnabas looks up from supervising Amos. “Good afternoon, Noah, glad to see you have finally decided to join us.” I fix my eyes straight ahead and make it to the entrance without further help from the walls. I wince as the light from the dome forces the crack in my skull a little wider. I bend to pick up the crate, and instinctively raise my hand as if to stop my brains spilling out onto the floor. The edges of the crate cut into my palms as I grip tight. I take a deep breath and lift. I stand and wait for my head to settle. My ears ring. I stop. A magical sound descends from the sky. Birds? No, not the sky, it’s a dome; one of Mother’s attempts to make us feel at home. The song fades, leaving only the promise of better times hanging in the air.

“Another fine day, Noah.” I turn slowly to see Abraham stride around the corner. He stops and places his hands on his hips. “Would you look at that sky.” I squint as I follow his gaze. Abraham beams. “She didn’t say anything, but the prefects must have found the book last night,” he points up, “judging by that. Isn’t that the bluest sky you have ever seen?”

Book? My insides tremble. But why should I worry? The worker hiding the illegal book is the one who should be worried. I attempt to agree with Abraham about the sky but can think of nothing but the book. It should be found, and the person keeping it from Mother punished, but why do I dread the thought?

Abraham sees my discomfort. “Oh, I see. Still suffering from the celebration.” I manage a faint smile. He holds out his hands. “Here, let me take that.”

I happily hand over my burden. He turns to go inside. I take one step and freeze. Birdsong? How did I know? I’ve seen pictures of birds, but never heard one sing.
Abraham calls back. “Are you coming?”

I free my mouth. “Yes.” But it sounds like I’ve not understood the question.

Barnabas looks up as we enter. “You spoil him.”
“Give him a break. It’s not often we get an unexpected holiday.” I thank Abraham as he places the crate by the stove. I take the bread and arrange the slices over the kindling fire.

“It’s the same for all of us, if he can’t control himself...” Barnabas glares at me, “we might have a problem.”
Abraham sits at the table. “You’ll be fine, won’t you, Noah.”

Barnabas approaches and pretends to check the toast. He leans closer and whispers. “You better be fit for work today,” then louder for everyone to hear, “we have targets to meet and an enemy to beat to the surface.” I turn the bread, glancing at the pot of water, but it will be another five minutes before it’s ready for the coffee. Why am I so thirsty?

“Bring the toast, Noah. Everyone to the table.” Abraham’s good mood spreads to the rest of the team, even Amos seems happier this morning. If only I could clear my head, then I might work out why I remain untouched by their enthusiasm.

I serve the toast, leaving myself until last. My chair legs scrape across the floor, but as hard as I try, I cannot stop the pain showing. I look down to my plate. The lightly-toasted bread is going to be a challenge. Barnabas slides the butter in front – he appears to have taken more than his share, perhaps deliberately. I take as much as I dare without depriving the others, but it barely covers the dry bread. I free my tongue from the bottom of my mouth, take the first bite and chew as best I can.

Abraham clears his throat. “Caleb, please pour the coffee.” I can’t help but smile at Caleb’s face as he goes about his duty. He grins and pokes his tongue out of the side of his mouth as he concentrates on serving his team—I hope Caleb never changes. Abraham looks around the table. His eyes light up. “You can feel it, can’t you. There’s something in the air.” My team nod as they eat. Abraham takes a deep breath. “I think we may have some good news coming today.”

Caleb straightens. “Do you think we’re—”

Barnabas tuts. “Don’t think, just do your duty.” Abraham holds his hand up to stop Barnabas bringing down the mood.

“Yes, Caleb. I do think we might be going up sooner than planned... much sooner.” The chewing around the table stops and even Barnabas appears to be interested. Abraham looks pleased by our response. He leans in and lowers his voice. “Don’t say anything to the other teams, but I believe that special holiday yesterday is to prepare us for a big announcement later. But...” he looks to Caleb as he serves Barnabas, “don’t let this distract you from your shift today.”

Caleb moves slowly around the table, filling each cup, careful not to spill a drop. Barnabas fidgets, gesturing to Caleb. “Do you think it’s wise to raise their hopes?”
Abraham leans back and places his hands behind his head. “Raise hopes? No, this is preparation for what’s coming soon.” I don’t think I’ve ever seen Abraham look so relaxed. He smiles. “Very soon.”

Caleb finally attends to my coffee. He grins, pleased not to have made a mess. Abraham sees his relief. “Thank you, Caleb. Good work.”

I look to Caleb and attempt to add my gratitude. But a dry ball of toast falls from my mouth onto the table. Caleb chuckles as I snatch it up before Barnabas can criticize. I grasp my cup and gulp down the tepid fluid to soak the toast clogging up my mouth. But it’s my team’s enthusiasm that is harder to swallow.

Meet The Author

Hi, I'm so pleased you're here on my new book store. :0)

I was born in Solihull in England. I later discovered two of my favourite authors had either lived, or were born just down the road from my home. J.R.R. Tolkien lived in Sarehole Mill as a child, and John Wyndham was born in Dorridge.

I read avidly from a young age, mainly fantasy and science fiction, and have always enjoyed books on ancient history.

I now live in Bedfordshire, England with my wife. I have two grown up children who live in London and New York.


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