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
- Acharacter to be introduced
Whatever option receives the most votesdecides what happens. To take part, read the instalment below and then make your vote.
Voting closes for the choices at the end of the Fifth Instalment on Thursday 29th November at 8am GMT
If your new to the interactive novel or what a refresher what has happened previously find a quick reminder below or read all the other instalments at http://www.theinteractivenovel.com
Previously in the Interactive Novel
After a terrifying encounter in a haunted house Nigel Briggs, assistant to Professor Ashcroft debunker of the supernatural, decides to resign. Before he can write his resignation letter he is summoned to the professor’s study where a girl, Anne Farmer, who hints she can foresee the future, requests his help. Moments latter a doctor from an asylum restrains her and takes her away. On leaving Nigel asked how the doctor managed to find her. The doctor reveals Anne had caved Nigel’s name and address into the walls of her cell.
The next morning Professor Ashcroft requests that Nigel accompany him to an auction. Going under the hammer is a supposedly cursed artefact (the Amulet of Nergal). However, the auction is interrupted by some armed robbers. During their robbery a porter is killed, and the amulet vanishes.
Returning home after the auction Nigel is handed a note by Gertie (a servant in the professor’s house). Gertie believes the note was left by the mysterious Anne Farmer. The note is an address of a property in a slum district of London. Exploring the property, Nigel and Gertie discover the body of one of the robbers from the auction house. In his hand is the cursed amulet. Suddenly the door burst open and somebody enters the property…
Find out what you voted for with the next instalment below.
Saturday, 22nd September, continued.
I rushed over to the window. A Black Maria was parked outside the house, a carriage designed for transporting criminals.
“It’s the police,” I whispered.
“What do we do?” Neither of us wanted to have to explain what we were doing beside a dead body with a knife in his back.
The police were still searching the ground floor. We were trapped. If we tried to flee it would only be misinterpreted as an indication of our guilt.
I could only think of one option.
“Up here,” I cried out.
There was shouts from below acknowledging my cry.
A constable cautiously climbed up through the hole.
“Oy you pair stay right there.”
He scrambled up into the room followed by two more constables and a detective. Two of the constables rushed towards me. I was then shoved face first against the wall. One of the constables held my arms while the other patted me down.
“We didn’t do anything,” Gertie said.
“Doesn’t look that way to me,” the detective said. Spotting the amulet he frowned. He reached out for it. “What have we got here?”
The detective prized the amulet for the dead man’s hand. Staring at it as if transfixed he rubbed his index finger along the surface of the amulet. He yelped and withdrew his finger. A sharp edge had torn his finger tip open.
“Get them both down to the station,” he mumbled sucking on the cut.
Climbing down the ladder I took one last look in the room. The detective was sucking his bleeding finger while he continued to stare at the amulet in his hand.
At the police station Gertie and I were separated. I was taken to an interrogation room. The door opened and in walked the detective that had arrested us. He had a bandage over his finger. Accompanying him was Chief Inspector Finch.
“Well if this isn’t a turn up for the books?” Finch glanced down at his notes for my name. “Well, Nigel, do you know the identity of the deceased?”
“No sir, but I suspect he was one of the robbers from the auction house. He was clutching an artefact that had been stolen from the auction.”
Finch frowned and looked over at Moore. “I didn’t think we found any stolen items in the property?”
“Not that I have heard of, sir,” Moore said. Subconsciously his hand moved to rest on his jacket pocket.
Moore glared at me almost willing me to contradict him. His face had gone pale and sweat was beading on his forehead. Was he worried I would give him away for stealing the amulet.
“We have nothing to connect the deceased with yesterday’s robbers. The deceased is a Mr Peter Boden. He was an escaped patient from Elmwich Asylum..”
“Sorry, sir, but you did say Elmwich Asylum?”
Finch scowled. “Is there any relevance for your interruption?”
“On Thursday evening an escaped patient from Elmwich Asylum arrived at the Professor’s house demanding help. Yesterday Gertie found a note left by Miss Farmer. It was an address for the house where you found us.”
“I have another theory,” Moore said. He was sweating heavily. He didn’t look well at all. “You believed that Mr Boden was a robber from the auction. You found out where he lived and went to confront him unaware you got the wrong man. When he could not hand over the stolen item you stabbed him in the back, didn’t you?”
“No, it didn’t happen like that. Ask Gertie.”
Finch rose out of his chair. Moore staggered to his feet. He swayed slightly as if standing was an effort.
“Make yourself comfortable Nigel,” Finch said. “We are going to talk to Miss Stubbs and make some further enquiries.”
* * * *
It was early evening when Detective Moore returned. If anything his condition had worsened. He was sweating profusely, and his speech was slurred as he stated I was free to go. Staggering he led me to the reception where Professor Ashcroft was talking to Finch.
“Right young man you are free to go,” Finch said. “Professor Ashcroft here has vouched for you.”
Without a word the Professor spun on his heels. Gertie and I followed him into the cab. It was an uncomfortable journey back to the Professor’s house.
“Nigel my study,” the Professor said. He dropped his coat and hat into my arms. “Miss Stubbs, I believe Mrs Cooper would like to have a word with you.”
Expecting me to hang his coat before following, he marched up the stairs.
“Looks like we are both in for it,” I said to Gertie.
“Nigel, I’ve been thinking about the note Anne left.”
“Now is not the time.”
“What if Anne knew where to find the dead man and the amulet because you will tell her.”
“You’re suggesting that at some point in the future I will tell a patient at an asylum to leave a message that takes me to Pear Lane. Why would I do that?”
“You don’t know yet.”
I smiled and shook my head. “I’ve got to see the Professor. Good luck with Mrs Cooper.”
“I’m going to need it. I didn’t ask for permission to go out.”
I made my way up to his study. The Professor sat behind his desk. From the floor below there was the muffled shouts of Mrs Cooper. Gertie was certainly getting an earful.
“You and Miss Stubbs are developing a worrying habit of getting into trouble,” the Professor said. “Mrs Cooper thinks it is Miss Stubbs who is the ringleader.”
“It was me, sir. I asked Gertie to accompany me to the house.”
“I am glad you are finally taking responsibility for your actions. I want to know everything. No keeping secrets.”
I told the Professor about Gertie finding the note, visiting 22 Pear Lane and my suspicion that Peter Boden was involved in the robbery.
“The police do not think the late Mr Boden was one of the robbers. They did not find any missing possessions.”
“He had the Amulet of Nergal in his hand when we found him. I saw Detective Moore pick the amulet up. I think he stole it.”
“Those are serious allegations to make. Do you have any proof he took the amulet?”
“No, sir. That is why I did not tell Inspector Finch.”
“So, you are capable of prudent thought. Let us forget all about the amulet, the robbery and Miss Farmer. Now are we in agreement to put this ghastly business behind us?”
“Yes sir.” I said with every intention to comply.
Except unknown to me at that moment, circumstances beyond my control were conspiring to draw Elmwich Asylum and the cursed artefact back into my life.
What happens next is up to You!
The choices with the most votes will decide what happens next, so choose wisely. To make your vote click below.