Abridged First Instalment

There are two way to enjoy the Interactive Novel. You can either read the whole instalment by clicking First Instalment of the Interactive Novel

Alternatively for those that are short of time why not read the abridged version. At 10% the length of the full instalment it is the same story but at a quicker pace and still gives you the chance to cast your vote and decide what happens next.

Foreword

Welcome to The Interactive Novel, the novel that allows you the reader to decide what happens during the novel. At the end of each weekly instalment will be at least one poll where you will decide either what happens next, a setting, or character to be introduced. Whatever option receives the most votes decides what happens. To take part, read the instalment below and then make your vote.
Vote closes for the First Instalment on Sunday the 28th October 8pm GMT


Wednesday, 19th September 1860

Church house looked more like a prison than a domestic property. The derelict house had not been lived in for years. A nervous looking man greeted us on arrival. He muttered some warnings about the house being haunted. Professor Ashcroft just laughed. Convinced there was no such thing as ghosts he had agreed a wager to spend the night in the house. Of course, that meant I would be joining him.

Inside the house, the musty air felt cold, almost oppressive, as if there was something in the house that wanted to be left alone. I followed the professor into the front room. After lighting the fire and some candles the damp room felt almost habitable.

We sat down to work through our books and did not stop until tea time. Outside night had fallen but as I ate I could see a streak of movement dart past the window. It was too big to be a bird or a bat. My heart pounding, I crossed the room not looking up at the glass out of fear that I would see some demonic face staring back at me. I yanked the curtains shut.

We returned to our books. The house remained eerily silent apart from the crackle of the fire and the scribble of our pens. Suddenly there was a creaking noise from above. It sounded like footsteps.

“Just the floorboards drying out,” the Professor muttered.

The house fell silent only to be interrupted by thuds from the hallway as if somebody was running up stairs followed by the slamming of a door.

“Rats,” the Professor exclaimed without looking up from his book.

I tried and failed to ignore the sounds throughout the house. We were not alone, and it wasn’t just vermin.

Abruptly the Professor picked up a lantern, rose to his feet and announced he was going into the garden to relieve himself. I heard the front door close and I was alone in the haunted house. Moments later the Professor returned without the lantern. He claimed he had dropped it and broken it. He poured himself a large measure of whisky.

The front door banged and then began to rattle.

“The wind, sir,” I suggested.

“Sounds like somebody trying to break in,” he said. He looked grave and troubled as if he was coming to terms with the idea that ghosts did exist.

The rattling of the door ceased only for the sound of somebody tapping against the window.

“Why are you here?” he suddenly asked.

“I am not sure what you mean?”

My response angered him so much that he crushed the glass in his hands slicing his palm open. But no blood flowed from the wound.

“Nigel! Let me in,” came Professor Ashcroft’s muffled cry from outside the window. If the Professor was outside, then who was in the room with me?

The spectre sat in the chair was an elderly man with sallow skin pulled tight against its skull. It radiated an aura of hate as if it despised me for living. It shot across the room throwing me from my feet. The ghost loomed over me. It reached towards me…

There was a smash of glass and the spectre vanished. The Professor fell into the room.

“You have wet yourself!” the Professor said shaking his head. “I thought you were house trained. I am sure you go to new lengths to test my patience.

He sat down in his chair. “My seat is damp.”

“Sorry sir I spilt my drink.”

He looked at me suspiciously and changed chair. With a change of clothes, I sat down in the damp chair. The Professor soon fell asleep. Unable to sleep I listened to the sound of the ghost as it ran up down the stairs and slammed doors in anger, but it did not return to our room.

Just after dawn, the Professor woke with a smile. “See no such thing as ghosts. That was the easiest twenty pounds I have ever made.”


Thursday, 20th September 1860

  On our return to London I retreated to my room. After a terrifying night I had decided I was no longer cut out to assist the Professor in his investigations into the supernatural. I sat down to write my resignation letter but exhausted I fell asleep after writing only a few words.

  I was woken with instructions to head down to the Professor’s study. There was a mysterious guest who needed our help. My letter of resignation would have to wait. I headed to the Professor’s study unknowing that the Professor’s guest had news that would make me question my future like never before…

What happens next is up to You!

You decide who the Professor’s guest is, what supernatural incident they invite Professor Ashcroft and his assistant Nigel to investigate, and the setting

The choices with the most votes will decides what happens next, so choose wisely.

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