This wasn't part of Reconciliation originally, but I decided to add a prologue to better explain a few things. My disclaimer and intro can be found in the first (next) chapter. Thank you for reading and reviewing! It is much appreciated. (Which I know everyone says, but I mean it- I really do) :)

Preface: Into the Blue

"And when I lose myself I'll think of you!" sang the dark-haired girl, purposefully making her voice as loud and obnoxious as possible. She strolled aimlessly around the park, her arms linked with those of her two best friends. The moon was out, and not a cloud was in the sky. It was the Fourth of July, and she knew that fireworks would be going off any moment.

All three were dressed for the occasion, in handmade and thrift Revolutionary Era outfits. Each had curled their hair, and topped their heads with white bonnets. For most of the evening, they had been learning and dancing to European folk songs, but upon hearing the promise of a fireworks show in the park, the girls had left the ball.

The dark-haired girl, Amanda, called Amy, was the oldest of the three. She made sure that her life was full of laughter; either her own or another's. School had never been something she had taken seriously, though she was attending college. She was determined to make it big in the world, and was willing to take risks to get there. Acting, she was sure, would be her ticket out of this dumpy little town. But for now, she was stuck in a place where she wasn't wanted and never had wanted to be. Part of her didn't even know what she wanted out of life anymore. But for now, it was summer; the best time of the year. Now was a time when she didn't have to worry about anything, but she could just sit back and enjoy herself.

Next to her was a girl with brown hair, who's curls were beginning to straighten once again. Her name was Catherine, though forever her name had been shorted to the pet form, Cat. Some called her shy, but around her friend's she was quite talkative. Still, it was difficult for her to share her thoughts, especially if she knew that someone wouldn't agree or like what she had to say. Having graduated from high school last spring, her parents urged her to go to the university they had always wanted her to go to, and be a doctor- rather than an artist, as she had always aspired to be. Even though they weren't forcing her to go, Cat knew she would follow their wishes, as she couldn't bear to disappoint people.

The third girl was the smallest, and the youngest. Her wide, blue eyes and blonde hair gave off the impression of innocence, even naivety, though she was wise beyond her years. That was why she had found comfort in older company. Lottie was a thinker; she liked pondering, she enjoyed experiencing wonder and viewing the world around her with optimism. She was entering her senior year of high-school, partly with excitement, partly with dread. The world seemed very large to her, and she seemed very small. All she held onto were her dreams; dreams of success, of love, of happiness. Things that she didn't see how she could obtain in this life, but sure that she would eventually reach them.

To the world, their friendship with one another seemed uncanny, even ridiculous. But they didn't care what anyone thought. Despite the differences between them that made each one of them unique, there was one thing that they shared together. This specialty was a TV series surrounding the adventures of a British navy officer, Horatio Hornblower, in the early 1800's. Each episode deepened further a world of its own; one where values such as duty, loyalty, honor and bravery were esteemed.

None of them could remember exactly when they had become enthralled by Hornblower. They only knew that it was one topic that would never be talked too much about, one that would forever remain a inextinguishable bundle of emotions and interpretations. Perhaps what the girls liked best about the series in that, while lost in Horatio Hornblower's world, they could forget the problems they had with their own. Lottie had even vainly longed to go back in time, and be there for herself. However, each of them knew that Hornblower would never solve their problems, nor would the escape it offered ever last. But, perhaps it had the potential to make their lives easier to face, and that was why they loved it so. Or, in Amy's case, it might have been that most of the characters were played by highly attractive men.

A swirl of light twirled in the sky above them, and a boom followed, announcing the beginning of the firework show. Red, green, purple, and yellow flashed across the night sky, receiving cheers and sounds of awe from its audience. The girls clapped along with the rest, entranced by the beautiful array.

Amidst all of the color and thundering, there was an explosion, but it wasn't in the distance, as the others had been. This one burst all around Cat, Amy and Lottie, blinding their sight with sudden bright light. But instead of fading, as all other lights had, this light continued.

"What the…." Amy began, but before she could even finish her thought, she felt a tugging sensation around her middle, as if something was pulling her from the inside, taking her away from everything. She still couldn't see anything

"Amy!" Lottie called, as she felt herself being lifted up by an unknown force. She tried to fight it, but try as she might, she continued to be jerked upwards. She could barely make out the shapes of her friends, all floating strangely upwards.

Hearing her friend's cry, Amy reached out for her. Lottie did the same, and the two held tightly onto one another. "What's happening?" Lottie yelled, but Amy was unable to answer her. The world around them was beginning to spin, faster and faster.

Cat tried to call out. All she could hear was a low hum; everything was whirring, echoing and bouncing all around her. Intermixed were the faint chords of "America, the Beautiful" that played from the band stand. And all the while she could feel herself being spun in incessant circles, again and again. She tried to force open her eyes, but even this small movement was impossible.

She felt a hand wrap tightly around her own, and she knew it had to be Lottie's. She managed to crack her eyelids open for a brief moment, and could see both Lottie and Amy, hair flying and mouths wide open, screaming. Strange, it was, that she couldn't hear them.

After what seemed like an eternity, Cat was aware that she could no longer feel a pulling; rather she felt the opposite. The sinking sensation that she was falling hit her, and as she opened her eyes again, she could see the world below, approaching rapidly. There was no time to pray, or scream- not even to think. She squeezed the hand that was holding hers tighter, faintly comprehending that she was going to slam into the earth momentarily.

Seconds later, Cat met the earth, but not in the way she was expecting. A wave of cold washed over her, and in an instant, she could move again. Her lungs burned, and she opened her eyes. All she could see was water. Kicking her legs hard, she fought her way to the surface. Gasping for air, she looked around her. As far as she could see, mountains of writhing, blue water encircled her.

Lottie and Amy broke through the surface, both sputtering and coughing. The two swam over to Cat, greatly relieved to see each other.

"Where are we?" Amy managed to choke out, before a wave crashed down upon her. As she returned to the surface, she was aware of something large and dark steadily approaching them. Her eyes, blurred by seawater, were unable to focus on the object.

Lottie could feel the cold creeping into her, her teeth beginning to chatter. Her fingers and toes were beginning to go numb, and the dark water pressed down on her chest, making it difficult to breathe. As she fought to keep her head above water, she thought she heard voices coming from behind her. Too weak to turn around, she listened. The voices were louder now, and she recognized the language- French.

Now click the little button, if you dare, and read the rest of their story...