Abridged Second Instalment


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
• A 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 Second Instalment on Sunday the 4th November 8pm GMT

Missed the previous instalment? Find it here Abridged First Instalment

Or find the full second Instalment here

Thursday, 20th September 1860


I opened the study door. The Professor sat at his desk watching the teenage girl, sat in the chair beside the fire, being fussed over by Mrs Cooper, the housekeeper. Despite the heat in the room the girl was shivering. Her skin was pale. She wore no shoes. Her filthy feet were covered in mud and dried blood as is if she had walked here barefoot.

I stood by the Professor’s desk feeling like a spare part. Reaching a similar conclusion, the Professor rose to his feet.

“Don’t go Arthur,” the girl pleaded.

The Professor frowned. “How do you know my name?”

“Nigel will tell me,” the girl said.

The Professor glanced at me. I shook my head. I had never seen her before in my life.

“Will tell you? You speak in the wrong tense.”

“I spoke in the right tense. Nigel and I are yet to have a conversation, but we will. They are coming for me. Please Professor Ashcroft you must understand I need your help. You won’t believe me, nobody does.”

“Well Miss?”

“Anne Farmer, sir.”

“Well Miss Farmer if I will not believe you then you are wasting my time and yours.”

“Maybe, sir but not Nigel’s. I know he will help me. I have foreseen it.”

“If your claiming to have some sort of prophetic ability, then Nigel is naïve enough to believe you. As for me I will not consider such nonsense, but I do love a good charlatan.”

“There is an evil at Elmwich. It is after something and when it gets hold of it there will be no stopping it.” Anne stiffened. “They are here.”

On que there was a heavy knocking on the front door.

“Get the door, Nigel,” the Professor instructed.

I hurried down the stairs and pulled open the door. A man with a rodent like face stood between two hulking guards.

“My name is Doctor James Downer. I am a doctor from Elmwich Asylum. We are looking for a girl.”

“Nigel let these gentlemen in.” Professor Ashcroft said descending the stairs. “What is your interest in the girl?”

“Miss Anne Farmer is an escaped patient at Elmwich Asylum she is delusional and dangerous.”

“She has treated us to some of her delusions. Please come this way gentlemen.”

He led Doctor Downer up to his study. Seeing Anne, he smiled. Under his instruction Anne was bounded in a straitjacket, gagged and led from the room.

The Professor returned to his desk. “Nigel, will you show the Doctor to the door.”
I followed Doctor Downer to the front door.

“One question Doctor,” I said. “How did you know to find her here?”

“She had carved your name and address into the walls of her room.”

Friday 21st September 1860


Collecting the morning papers the mysterious Anne Farmer was playing on my mind. I kept returning to the same conundrum. How did a patient locked away in an asylum know my name and address?

Returning to the house I found the Professor at this desk eating breakfast. He took the papers off me and I told him my concerns regarding Miss Farmer.

He dismissed my questions showing no interest in the enigma of Anne Farmer. Instructing me to be ready in the hour he dismissed me.

An hour later as we rode in a hansom cab and the Professor told me of our destination.
“Clements’ & Willatt’s Auction House,” he explained. “They specialise in antiques and curiosities that the other auction houses tend to frown upon. Lot number 34 has drawn my attention. It is an artefact with a sinister history. Supposedly it is cursed. A load of nonsense of course. However, I have my winnings from the other night burning a hole in my pocket and it should make a fascinating acquisition to my collection.”

I turned my attention to watching the bustling streets pass by. Little did I know that Lot 34 would be far more than just a little trinket, it would ultimately lead me to Elmwich Asylum…

What happens next is up to You!


The choices with the most votes will decide what happens next, so choose wisely from the options below.

Vote closes for the Second Instalment on Sunday the 4th November 8pm GMT





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