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The Splintered Gate was the second short story in the Short Trips anthology Short Trips: Companions. It was written by Justin Richards. It featured Ian Chesterton and Barbara Wright. It is notable for taking place before the events of An Unearthly Child.


Ian has been vacationing in Dorset. One day it starts to rain and he heads back to his guest house. On the way, he passes a tea room and sees someone who resembles his co-worker, Barbara Wright. She is sitting with another woman and there is a package on their table.

When he reaches his guest house, Ian grabs at the gate to open it, but he gets a splinter in his hand. He removes the splinter, then forgets about it. When the rain lets up, he goes back outside and sees a fortune teller named Rosy Parks. She looks like the other woman he saw in the tea room. She offers to read his fortune, but when she sees the blood caked in his hand where the splinter cut him, she runs away.

Later that year, Ian is attending a party at Barbara's place. Barbara introduces him to her friend Rosemary, who is a psalmist. When Ian sees her he is reminded of the fortune teller from Dorset. He tells her of his encounter with the fortune teller, and she offers to read his fortune with her crystal. They arrange a meeting in a café.

At the café, Rosemary has brought a package and leaves it on the table. She tells him he will "face perils and experience things that no human should have to endure". She tells him he will face a temptation. He will be sitting with a woman, and there will be a package. If he takes the package, he will seal his fate.

Rosemary finishes, and asks for payment. Ian is angry, thinking she is a charlatan. She grabs the money and leaves. To compensate, Ian grabs the package from the table.



  • Ian tells Rosemary he teaches science at Coal Hill School.
  • Ian references A.A. Milne.


  • This story is told in the first person from Ian's perspective.


  • Rosemary predicts that Ian will go on a long journey, further than he has ever been before, during which he face perils and experience things that no human should have to endure. (TV: An Unearthly Child, The Daleks, et al.)