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Temperance




Temperance flinched as the black gates clanged shut. She reached forward to touch them; they vibrated beneath her fingertips. A tremor raced up her arm. She drew back, black paint flaking off in her hands. An old night porter limped out of his dilapidated security hut on the other side of the gate. There was a tinny half-tuned radio playing inside the shack. A smell of mint and smoke wafted out around him. He lifted yellow fingers to his lips, taking a final drag of his cigarette before flicking it to the ground.

Feeling someone touch her elbow, Temperance looked up and saw her brother, Crispin, giving her a weak smile.

We’re locking ourselves in for the night, kids,” the porter said, waving them back away from the gates. He reached for a thick ring of keys fixed to his belt. Twisting them around in the dim light, he flicked through the mismatched collection before selecting the largest one. He cursed as he fumbled to turn the key in the lock. With a final nod towards them, he hobbled back to his small cabin.

Don’t worry Temperance, Daddy will be out soon. They’ll make me better,” Pratchett whispered from the other side of the gate.

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