BOOK BLITZ: Bona Fides by Ash B. Whitley (Excerpt & Giveaway)
Ash B. Whitley
Publication date: March 1st 2022
Genres: Adult, LGBTQ+, Science Fiction
With great power comes horrific possibilities…
Former child prodigy, Rowyn Miller, needs to prove her incarcerated and spiralling dad isn’t a murderer. It should be a piece of pish—she is his ‘victim’, after all.
One problem: not a soul has been able to see or hear her for 1,573 days.
Being a living ghost is hell. For starters, her available investigative methods leave Rowyn lagging miles behind the shadowy forces who set-up her dad. Plus, she’s desperate for a proper blether instead of the increasingly gloomy one-sided chats.
At least the creepy government scientists and unkillable terrorists can’t get their hands on her, though, and Rowyn will soon discover there are far worse ‘super’ powers she could have been lumbered with…
HM Prison Belmarsh, London, 15th March 2019
“No appetite, eh?” the prison guard asked, whilst lifting the untouched lunch tray. Professor Arlo Miller didn’t so much as blink in acknowledgement.
His incorporeal daughter responded though, despite knowing the man wouldn’t hear her. “Aye, a few boots to the ribs will do that, you tube.”
Rowyn hugged her knees and shrank even further back into the corner of her father’s tiny cell. She rocked herself and wished for the billionth time she could feel her head clunking off the solid stone wall. After letting out a desperate sigh, she mumbled a quick, “Sorry,” to the departing guard. Her father’s current state wasn’t his fault; he was quite nice—for a prison officer.
For the past two months and twenty-four days, her dad’s routine had become as tortuous as her own. His visitation rights were restricted, and he only had access to one book (A Brief History of Time, so not much of a challenge). There was nothing to fill his day but staring at the same puke-green walls.
The professor sat motionless on his single bunk, which hung off the wall. His head hung so low it must weigh a tonne. In the early days of her disappearance, he always used to chatter on to her, oblivious to the fact she wasn’t in the room. The noise had anchored and soothed her. But for months now, after the initial burst of post-sentencing hysterical nonsense, there had only been silence.
He was disappearing by the day, and all she could do was watch and wither with him. His once thick and curly hair had greyed through stress and glaring bald patches were shining through. At trial, his weight loss had taken him to gaunt and he had progressed to skeletal. Yes, he was fading away to nothingness, and Rowyn hoped he would take her with him.
“Don’t leave me here. Don’t leave me here alone.” She let her head fall onto her arms and her eyes fall closed. “I cannae take it. Not alone. Not alone. I cannae do it alone.”
Distracted by her own mumblings, Rowyn failed to notice the door open. Then her father uttered his first words in months. “So, you finally show yourself.”
Rowyn’s head snapped up. The light from the corridor lit up a minute silhouette whose presence was like a flashlight, calling Rowyn out from her mental fog. When her father’s visitor moved into the cell, the dull, naked bulb illuminated her scarred skin. A jagged mark which ran down her cheek and neck, was a jarring imperfection in the woman’s otherwise perfectly put together ensemble. A mass of dark curls, with not a hair out of place, framed a serious pale face. She approached the prisoner with a swish of designer wool and the click-clack of high heels on stone.
Rowyn jumped as the door clanged shut behind the visitor, robbing the room of much-needed light. “Aren’t you going to introduce us, Da’?” Was she a detective? Or a lawyer? Probably here to grill her dad on where he had buried her ‘body’.
“That’s a funny turn of phrase for a man who has hidden away for over a decade.” The visitor’s critical hazel eyes continually scoured every inch of him. She was so short she didn’t even need to bend down to get a good look. “And you’re still hiding. Even now.”
“Do you like it?” he asked, waving a hand in front of his face. “I fancied a change. Green eyes suit me, don’t you think?”
“You’ve looked better,” the woman said with a withering gaze. “If you were expecting me, you could have at least made an effort.”
Rowyn jumped to her feet and moved between them. “Cheeky wee cow!”
Her father sniggered at the woman’s barb. The lost light flashed in his eyes and Rowyn’s not-quite-dead heart stirred.
“Why bother? It seems you’re only here on business,” he said.
The woman smiled. It was a tired gesture born of waning patience, which spiked a sliver of recognition in Rowyn. The nostalgia disappeared as quickly as it appeared.
“Where are they?” The woman’s voice was soft, but the demand was steel.
“From all of you.”
Ash B. Whitley is an SFF and mystery writer, hailing from the North East of England. By day she works in Finance and by night (well, post-bedtime story) she hammers away on her keyboard, writing far-fetched stories of superheroes, spies and complex female characters. Although several varieties of nerd, her first love is comics.
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