Jennifer Farmer

J.S Farmer grew up in a small town in Connecticut. She studied criminology and psychology at Central Connecticut State University. After seven years as a police officer, she shifted her career into the private sector, working as a government security analyst for a defense contractor. During that time, she earned her master's degree in national security and public safety at the University of New Haven.

A native New Englander, she now resides in Northeast Florida with her husband, two daughters, and dog Jackson. Her favorite place in the world is the beach, where she enjoys searching for shark teeth and relaxing in the Florida sun.

Award Category
Screenplay Award Category
It's September 11th, 2001. Ground Zero is chaos and devastation. A young police recruit risks everything to find her sister among the wreckage, even if that means she must pay the ultimate sacrifice to save her. Undying love, hope, and perseverance bring a miraculous outcome to a tragic day.
Blue Sky Gone
My Submission


Chapter One

September, 2019

It was a bright and sunny September afternoon in Greenport, a small New England town tucked away in the quiet southwest corner of Connecticut. Audrey had just finished wiping down all of the counters in the kitchen. Feeling the familiar tightness in her chest, she quickly sat down on a trendy lime-green kitchen island stool to catch her breath. Audrey took a puff of her inhaler and concentrated on steady breathing. It didn’t take much for her to get winded these days.

Once a decorated police officer, Audrey had been forced to leave the job due to progressive respiratory illness. It was no mystery where the illness came from, but Audrey never dwelled on that. She instead looked at it as an opportunity to be home for her two daughters, Addelyn and Hope. Even though they were both in school, Audrey was grateful to be home each day when they got off the bus—something she would have missed working second shift at the police department.

It was the calm before the storm. Any minute, two kids full of pent-up energy from their day at school would come barreling into the house.

Right on cue, the big yellow bus pulled up in front of the house with flashing red lights. The bus doors had barely opened, as Addelyn and Hope burst free, stomping down the steep, awkward bus steps. Audrey watched from the window of their colonial New England home as the girls ran up the driveway. She took a quick puff of her inhaler before they reached the house. She didn’t want them to know just how bad her health had become.

The door flung open, and Addelyn came running in first, waving a flyer wildly high above her head. “Mommy!!” she exclaimed excitedly. “I want to do this! Can I? Can I?”

Audrey stopped the flyer from waving in front of her face to read it.


It was right up her daughter’s alley and she knew it. So what was the uneasy feeling she had in her stomach?

She looked down at her daughter and saw the light of excitement in her eyes. Addeyln was a striking seven-year old little girl with long sun-kissed blonde curls and eyes as green as a leprechaun’s. Looking at her, you would never suspect that her favorite things in the world were sharks, bugs, and snakes.

“Is this really what you want to do Addelyn?” Audrey asked.

“Yes, Yes, Yes!” Addelyn replied.

She took Addelyn’s delicate little hands in her own and kneeled down to her eye level.

“I think this would be perfect for you. I just want you to know that you may be the only girl. I don’t want you to be surprised,” Audrey gently said.

Suddenly, Audrey realized what her uneasy feeling was about. Her time in the police academy many years before as the only female in the academy class came flooding back.

There was so much her daughters didn’t know about her. She feared that if she were to reveal glimpses into her past it would lead to telling of that day— September 11th, 2001. But her illness was getting more noticeable, and she knew that one day she would have to reveal the dark truth about how and why she was so sick. Not only would she have to face the horrors of that day all over again, she would have to share that darkness with her daughters. They were still too young to know.

Addeyln thought for a moment.

“I’m not scared. I want to do it,” Addelyn said definitively.

Audrey smiled and pulled her close.

Like mother, like daughter…


“Let’s go, girls! You are going to miss the bus!” Audrey yelled from the kitchen, her morning coffee getting cold on the counter.

Two backpacks perfectly packed with lunches, completed homework, and endless forms to return to school were staged upon the counter. Next to the backpacks, Audrey noticed a yellow sticky note stuck to the counter.

SIGN ADDY UP FOR SCOUT RANGERS was scribbled in Addelyn’s second grade handwriting on the note.

Hope and Addelyn came running down the stairs into the kitchen. Hope, a carefree five-year old girl with short blonde curls, was dressed in pink, sparkly leggings and a purple unicorn shirt. Addelyn was garbed in much more subdued tones—camouflage leggings and a black T-shirt.

Audrey felt strong enough that morning to walk the girls down the end of the driveway to catch the bus. She never knew when she would feel well enough to do anything. There was no pattern to her illness except that it was getting worse.

As they climbed onto the bus, Addelyn yelled over her shoulder, “Don’t forget, Mommy! Scout Rangers!”

Audrey waved as the bus pulled away, their little faces in the windows of the big yellow bus disappearing into the distance. She had only made it halfway back up the driveway, when she felt her chest tighten and her head get light.

It’s getting worse.

She paused to catch her breath and steady herself.

Audrey slowly made her way into the house to retrieve the flyer Addelyn had brought home. Searching the flyer for the email and contact name, she plopped down in front of the computer and started typing.

Good morning, Blair,

My daughter Addelyn would like to join Scout Rangers. She is really looking forward to it. Please let me know how to sign her up. Thank you.



The day flew by in a flash, so much so that she didn’t notice she hadn’t received a response about Scout Rangers. It wasn’t until the bus came and Audrey saw the look on Addelyn’s face that she knew something was wrong.

Audrey sat on the front steps feeling fatigued and lethargic. Hope jumped off the bus in front of Addelyn, flying a paper unicorn she’d made at school, cheerily singing a song she had learned in music class that day. Hope floated on air as she skipped up the driveway, while Addelyn walked sullenly behind. Addelyn reached the steps and stood with her head hung low.

“What’s the matter?” Audrey gently asked.

“The boys at school said I can’t be a Scout Ranger. They said it’s only for boys,” Addelyn said with tears in her eyes.

Just then, a notification chimed on Audrey’s phone. She glimpsed quickly at the screen to read the notification. What she saw made her jaw muscles clench with anger.

If there are any BOYS who would like to join Scout Rangers, please let me know! All BOYS are welcome. Contact me, Blair, to sign your sons up!

Audrey reeled. BOYS. Written in capital letters and in bold nonetheless!

Audrey’s eyes narrowed as she pulled Addelyn toward her. The fierce look that often flashed in Audrey’s eyes met Addelyn’s forlorn face.

“Listen to me,” Audrey said, lifting Addelyn’s chin. “You can be anything you want to be, no matter how hard someone may try to stop you,” Audrey said as she wiped a tear from Addelyn’s cheek. “Now, let’s go get you signed up for Scout Rangers.”

Addelyn’s face brightened, and the sparkle returned to her green eyes.

They have no idea who they are dealing with.

That night as Audrey lay in bed, her memory drifted back eighteen years earlier, to a time she so often tried to forget.

Chapter Two

Eighteen years earlier…Monday, April 23, 2001

7:50 a.m.

“Breathe!” Audrey quietly scolded herself.

It was the first day of the police academy, and Audrey’s lifelong dream of becoming a police officer was coming true. All she had to do was get through the grueling six months ahead of her.

Audrey peered through the windshield of her parked car, studying the old brick academy building in front of her. She took a deep breath and pushed the car door open. Stepping out onto the asphalt, Audrey looked down at her freshly polished black boots, double-checking that she didn’t get even the slightest scuff mark on them. Then, she did one last nervous check of herself in the reflection of the car window.

Audrey had ironed her khaki recruit uniform a hundred times in the days leading up to that morning. There was not a wrinkle to be found. The American flag pin was straight above her chest pocket, and patches were sewn just right on her sleeves. Her name badge, which spelled out MORETTI in bold letters, was pinned strategically under the flag. Not a strand of hair was astray from her tightly wound bun. She was ready.

Audrey reminded herself again to breathe. She put one foot in front of the other until she was standing at the front entrance of the academy building. Audrey pulled open the heavy wooden door and entered the lobby. She was the first one there. The old lights above were harsh on her eyes, and the air smelled musty. Audrey claimed her spot on the old wooden bench in the lobby and sat quietly observing the woodwork and outdated decor of the old building. After a few moments, the front door opened, and a nervous young man walked in. His boots were shiny, uniform pressed perfectly, and he carried a stiff black duty bag, much like hers. It was clear by the way it swung when he walked that it was empty.

One by one each nervous recruit pulled open the same heavy door and found a spot to sit in the old lobby. Soon, the foyer was almost full, and Audrey had counted ten new recruits. As she looked around the room, she came to a sinking realization that she had never considered before.

She couldn’t be the only female recruit in the entire academy class…

Audrey looked at her watch that was set to military time. Her heart sank. It was 0759 hours, only leaving one more minute for a fellow female recruit to walk through the door. Deep in her heart, she knew no one would dare show up at the last minute. Just then, the sound of a lock releasing from the rear door of the lobby made the recruits straighten their postures. The door swung open, and a police officer in full uniform appeared in the doorway. He was an average-sized man, in his midfifties, with pale skin, and a clean-shaven face. His gray hair was just long enough on top to reveal that it was on the verge of turning white. With a hardened look on his face, he began to slowly make his way around the room, puffing out his arms in an attempt to look bigger and more intimidating than he actually was. He stopped and stood in front of each recruit, staring down at them without saying a word. Finally after several awkward moments, he began to bark out his introduction.

“I am Sergeant Gaston. I am a police officer and you are not. Some of you, not all of you, will graduate this academy. Only those who make it through will hold the honorable title of police officer. While in this academy, you will stand at attention in the hallways when a real police officer walks by. You will address me as ‘sir’ at all times. Do you understand?” Sergeant Gaston barked.

“Yes, sir,” the group collectively replied in their bravest voices.

“Look around this room. The people standing here are your future backup and your fellow officers one day, if you pass this academy. When one of you screws up, you all screw up,” Sergeant Gaston finished.

Audrey looked around the room, and for the first time in her life, she felt part of something big, a sense of belonging she’d never experienced before.

Sergeant Gaston spun on his heel. With his back turned, he instructed the group to follow him.

“First we get changed into our physical training uniform. I want to see how many push-ups you can do, how strong you are, and how much you can take,” Sergeant Gaston sneered. He held open the heavy wood door at the back of the lobby, leading to the hallway of the academy building. “The locker room is at the end of the hall,” he informed them, pointing left down the long corridor.

As Audrey filed into the hallway with the other recruits, Sergeant Gaston stepped in front of her.

“Except you,” he glared down at her. “Your locker room is that way.” He pointed in the opposite direction.

Suddenly, the feeling of solidarity Audrey had felt just moments before disappeared. She was reminded that she was, in fact, the only female in the entire academy class. She walked down the hall, glancing over her shoulder. The rest of her classmates were entering the men’s locker room, politely holding the door for each other and patting each other on the shoulder as they passed by.

The women’s locker room was desolate and painfully quiet. As she changed into her navy blue shorts and academy T-shirt in silence, she imagined her male classmates down the hall, breaking the ice and getting to know each other as they got dressed. She sat down on the bench by herself, hearing only the buzzing of the old fluorescent lights above.

This is going to be a long six months…