The park outside the museum was deserted. Not so long ago, on hot summer days, it would fill with kids in dark clothes with dark hair, both boys and girls in eyeliner. The police had cracked down on them after one too many complaints from the locals, but Samuel had never really seen the problem with them. Yes, they were underage and shouldn't have been drinking, but not all of them were drinking, and maybe they did sometimes leave behind a bit of a mess, but he'd seen a number of them wondering around after everyone else had gone and collecting what rubbish they could.
But they had all been in one place, getting to know each other and widening their network of friends on MySpace, Facebook's now almost forgotten predecessor. They were just having fun. They didn't cause trouble, they didn't disturb the sunbathers, families and couples on the other side of the park.
Samuel knew the real reason they were moved off the site.
People had been scared. Too many Daily Mail readers, disturbed by this 'emo' phenomenon they didn't understand. From what he had seen, they'd been, for the most part, decent kids. But black clothing, and red and black and blue hair scared people who didn't understand, who took the scare tactics of the newspapers to heart, seeing emo as a link to suicide.
He had had to help move some of them on. One of the girls – sixteen, maybe – had turned to him.
"Where are we supposed to go?" she had asked, and he hated that he didn't have an answer for her.
Now, he sat in his car with a clear view of the whole park, watching for the two people he suspected would be meeting there. It was convenient, just far enough from the city centre to offer the illusion of privacy, close enough that it was easy to get to.
Deserted, this late in the night.
Samuel reached for the inside of his jacket pocket. From it, he pulled out two black cylinders. After checking the one containing liquid still wasn't leaking, he put the two halves together. Lifting the object to his lips, he pressed down on a small button and inhaled, tasting apple and mango as he did so.
Briefly he wondered what time he would make it home. Too late for his guilty pleasure, most likely.
Whenever he was home before eleven, he found himself watching Cheaters, shown every night on Reality. He wasn't sure why he watched it – he saw enough of that crap in his line of work. Maybe it was the thrill of seeing people do the same thing. But at least he didn't broadcast the information for the public to judge as they watched the couple's demise. For that, at least, he could take the moral high road. He didn't drag the injured party to confront the cheater, either, didn't force them into taking that step.
Instead, he gave them the information, took his fee and left them to decide what to do, while also giving them a list of useful contacts that could help with the aftermath.
Part of him really hated Cheaters. It induced paranoia, sent people scrambling to his office, convinced their partner was cheating. Still, he was sometimes more than happy to confirm that, actually, Miss Smith, your boyfriend really is working late and, well, he's been acting strange because...he was spotted in a jewellers, looking at engagement rings.
It was those rare rom-com style moments that made his job worthwhile.
Occasionally, he would get a case that wasn't to do with cheating partners. More often than not, the missing person turned up a few days later, having been on a drinking binge and waking up God knows where. Very rarely did something worse come up, but when it did, Samuel dealt with it in the same professional manner he dealt with everything else.
The only difference was, after the worst cases – or the ones he simply couldn't solve – he'd find himself in Central Bar or Prince of Wales, drowning himself in beer and whisky.
He was thankful that, for the most part, Cardiff was a quiet city, mainly containing cheaters rather than murderers.
It made him glad he'd never followed through on his desire to move to London.
Samuel sensed it before he saw it.
The hairs on his arms stood on end, and the music playing on the local rock station, usually playing old classic rock songs this late, crackled. Something wasn't right, and every inch of him was screaming to start the car and drive.
But he didn't.
Instead, Samuel turned his attention to the park, watching as rip opened up in the air above the grass.
His heart caught in his throat. He'd seen enough episodes of Doctor Who to know that something like that could not be good. Plus, well, it was unnatural. A rip in the air, growing slowly larger and with a blinding white light coming through, belonged to the realms of science fiction and fantasy, the television shows filmed in the area, and not to the park outside the museum in Cardiff where emo kids used to gather.
Fight or flight.
To his surprise, he reached for the door handle. Before the rational part of his brain kicked in, he opened the door and stumbled out, wishing he was in America because there he could have been carrying a gun.
Like a tear in jeans that slowly rips until finally fully giving away, the gap in the air suddenly burst open. He lifted his arm to his eyes, shielding them from the light.
His arm dropped when he heard the screams.
Samuel watched as girls tumbled out of the rip, clutching each other as they moved forward, dazed, stumbling before collapsing onto the grass. Behind the girls, a wolf leapt out. It moved forward before changing. Suddenly, where the wolf had been standing was a man. Cuts and bruises marked his naked chest.
He turned, his eyes landing on Sam.
His fear disappeared as more of them came tumbling out. Despite the strange appearances of some of them – skin the colours of the rainbow, animal-like creatures staring around, girls and boys so beautiful they could have been angels – he knew they meant no harm. They were scared. Some moved so lethargically he would have thought, in any other situation, that they were on some kind of drug.
All of them looked either hurt or exhausted.
He sprinted forward, pushing any questions to the back of his mind. They needed help, his help, and right then, that was the most important thing.
As he moved across the road towards the park, he pulled out his mobile, dialling nine-nine-nine as he went.
"Help, I need an ambulance, soon as possible. The museum...make that...ambulances," he panted, watching as more fell out and onto the grass.
A/N: So, here is the much wanted 'extension' of Dark and Blend In. Any thoughts on the prologue, or Samuel as a character? As always, thoughts, feedback and criticisms are welcome, and reviews are returned. I also have a new poll up, if you want to check it out, and now a blog – on Wordpress, called ofmusingsandwonderings, so check it out if you like. As always, thanks for reading and hope you enjoy this new story.