Skyclyffe by Z. Moss Read by Noah Kershisnik Genre: Middle Grade Science Fiction
Rex Bright enjoys drawing in notebooks and dreaming. He’s thirteen, and his life is ordinary. Until he sees a face in a cloud which changes everything. Rex glimpses the girl from an airplane window while travelling to his aunt and uncle’s farm for the summer. Her features are so perfect, Rex can’t believe she’s only vapor. But Cloud Girl is real. A week later, Skyclyffe, a mysterious airship cloaked in a cumulus, abducts Rex and his family. The captors expect the Brights to live in their flying city forever. And, although he’s kidnapped, Rex loves the craft filled with robots, scientific discoveries, and silvery-white beings. Before long, Rex will be forced to decide whether to escape, or if Skyclyffe and its secret wonders are worth never stepping foot on Earth again.
A cloud rose from below with a girl on it. Not a whole girl … just a tiny face peering up from otherwise vague fluff.
Rex dismissed the vapory vision for a trick at first, his thirteen-year-old brain making up junk. But the elements were there—two eyes, a nose, and a mouth—embedded in the top of a fast-moving cumulus. The pale features stared in his direction while her white hair drifted around as though floating in a pool of water.
He mashed his forehead against the airplane window to gain a better view. This wasn’t like any picture in a cloud he’d seen before, the usual cartoon snails morphing into whales as they skimmed across the upper atmosphere. This was boring brume except for a strange bit in the middle. The fog pimple mesmerized him. If he could reach her, Rex believed he’d touch milky skin and billowy strands.
After a few seconds, instead of scudding away, the celestial being grew larger, sailing right for him. The foremost fringe of the approaching haze met the wing’s metal edge, and the face turned, her gaze locking with his own.
She looked at him.
Was he dreaming? Had he lost his marbles? Rex marveled out the porthole, certain the noxious fumes from Stinky Feet, the shoeless guy seated in front of him, had damaged his optical nerve. He grabbed his mom’s sleeve to say, “There’s a girl in the clouds!” but found her asleep, her dark brown hair covering one temple and spittle gilding her chin.
His mom had to see this. If he told her about it later, she’d assume he was punking her again like when he said he had seen a mountain lion in the backyard. But she’d been awake all night packing their suitcases and mumbling to herself. This on top of how tired she seemed nowadays.
Rex recovered it from behind the book he had brought and an in-flight magazine in the seat pocket then swung back. But Cloud Girl was gone. A regular, innocent-looking cloud sat in her place.
Z. Moss lives in Stillwater, Minnesota and is currently working on the sequel to Skyclyffe. Two dogs, three cats, and two turtles run the household, including the real-life Radar.
Noah Kershisnik has been acting since before he could read. He spent his youth performing Shakespeare plays in a traveling children's theater, and developed a passion for performance and storytelling. Fortunately he did eventually learn to read, and now spends his time narrating audiobooks as well as acting on camera and stage.
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