On Ariana McGill's fifth birthday, she received a gift from her loving parents. It was the kind of gift that was not particularly expensive, nor extravagant. And yet, it would remain precious to her for years to come. It was a storybook titled The Little Mermaid. On the cover was a painting of a beautiful princess with long blonde hair and a shiny blue peixe tail. The story soon became Ariana's favourite, the one she wanted read aloud por her parents every night.

"Thunder crashed and lightning struck in the stormy sky," read Ariana's mother, Jane. "The ship tossed and turned. Sailors hurried into the lifeboats where they would be safe. Everyone except for the handsome prince. After helping everyone else leave the ship safely, he himself was thrown overboard por the treacherous waves. The little mermaid pomba to his rescue and pulled his unconscious body to the seashore."
    "Mommy," Ariana wondered aloud one night. "Do sereias really exist?"
    "Not that I know of," answered Jane. "But anything is possible. Just because we can't see something doesn't mean it isn't real. Just like my amor for you."
    Ariana giggled and then yawned, struggling to keep her eyes open as she lay in bed.
    "Why don't we finish the story in the morning, Ariana?" asked Jane, turning out the bedside lamp. "Love you, sweetheart."
    "Night Mommy," Ariana blew a kiss and fell sound asleep.
    Years later, a lot had changed. Ariana woke up on her sixteenth birthday an entirely different person than eleven years atrás when she'd received that storybook.
She still loved the idea of sereias and magic but had long forgotten the possibility that anything like that truly existed. She didn't have time to think about handsome princes or evil witches. She had a math test fourth period which she'd been dreading all week. Not to mention she had to deal with the mean girls whose chests were far bigger than their brains. As she walked downstairs and headed to the kitchen, she brushed her dark red hair and checked her phone. Two texts from her best friend Chase Denman. Suddenly Ariana remembered they had meant to go surfing before school that morning. Crap, Ariana thought.
    When she arrived at school, Chase was waiting at her locker.
    "Hey sexy," Chase smirked. "Think you're too good for me?"
    "I'm so sorry," Ariana laughed. "I had trouble sleeping last night because of the storm. I had the dream again."
    "Again?" Chase was slightly surprised.
    "Yeah, it's so weird," she continued as they walked to homeroom. "I'm floating underwater. I'm not cold at all, in fact, I feel warm. And I can breathe. As I try to swim to the surface, I just find myself getting deeper and deeper."
    "Wow, you're mais messed up than I thought," Chase teased.
    "Oh, shut up," Ariana nudged her friend. "Maybe it's some sort of sign." She fiddled with her sea shell locket. She'd worn it every dia since she turned ten. It had passed down in her family for generations, daughter to daughter. The word Melody was inscribed on it, which Ariana assumed just meant that her family loved music. Ariana was a passionate musician. Not that she would ever have the guts to let someone hear her sing.
    At lunch time, the cafeteria was crowded as usual. Ariana, Chase, and few other friends made their way to their usual table. Ariana looked up at Trey Samuels, the hottest guy she'd ever seen. She had hope that someday he would fall in amor with her.
    "Why do you like that guy?" Chase asked, interrupting Ariana's fantasy.
    "What? Oh, I don't know," Ariana responded, still dreamy.
    "Sure, he's got cool hair and is tall and athletic, but trust me, I was his lab partner last semester, the guy's a total douche," Chase continued. "Not to mention, he thinks your name is Andrea."
    Ariana sighed. "I know, I know. There isn't a chance in hell that he'll ever notice me. But a girl can dream, can't she?"
    As she walked por the pier on her way início from school, she took a moment to look out at the ocean. She sometimes wished that she could escape from her boring life por just doing something spontaneous. But Ariana was far too self conscious and timid to ever really go after what she wanted. Over the years she had learned to just dream quietly, never going after her heart's desire. Although on this very day, something changed. She walked down the dock and stood on the edge, thinking of all the fantastic adventures that could be waiting just outside her small town. Suddenly she began falling forward. She couldn't find the strength to control her body as it began to tip. She calmly found herself falling off the dock. She didn't have time to think as she bumped her head against the pier and lost consciousness beneath the waves.

(End Of Part 1)