Reviews For Once Removed
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Reviewer: SandraDee Signed [Report This]
Date: 04 Feb 2009 3:24:58 PM Title: Part Ten: As Daylight Breaks

What a fabulous conclusion, Penny Lane. I loved absolutely all of it, though I have to confess that the ending literally brought tears to my eyes. You have such a way with words, and your story is so beautifully crafted.  Thank you for sharing it with us!

Author's Response:

Thank you for the wonderful comments!

I enjoyed writing this story, with all its emotional moments and tragic turns. It was challenging, in a good way, and I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for going along for the ride!

Reviewer: Marzee Doats Signed [Report This]
Date: 01 Feb 2009 8:14:37 PM Title: Part Ten: As Daylight Breaks

Oh, Penny!  What a satisfying and thought provoking ending to this great story.  Enjoyed isn't exactly the right word for how I feel about Once Removed because there were a lot of painful parts to this story, but the resolution is positive, and that's a relief.

I really felt for poor Jake as I was reading this.  He sure had been for a trip down the rabbit hole.  No wonder he's having trouble sorting out what's real and what's a dream. 

I'm going to be bad and just say it.  We need a fabric softener sheet for Emily because she's got a major case of static cling!  No wonder Jake couldn't wait to get away. 

I was intrigued by Gail's and Eric's dreams about April and then Heather's about Bonnie.  Since 'ghosts' seem to have their say in this universe, I can't help but think that those two spirits were in on some of the plot.  I especially like that Bonnie was working on Heather and not Emily.  (I'm being bad again! ;-) )



“We'll see you then, buddy!” said Stanley. “Now I've got to get the wife to her appointment, or she'll flip out on me.”

“Wife?” stammered Jake.

Stanley and Mimi glanced at each other, sharing a sly smile. “We'll talk later, Jake. Glad to see you're okay!” said Mimi.

She rolled up her window, and with that, they drove away, leaving Jake to stare after them. For a moment, he wondered if he'd woken up in yet another dream world. He'd been away such a short time, but so much had happened, it all seemed strange to him. Still, seeing Stanley and Mimi leaning against each other, laughing like that - he wanted this world for them.

Ahhhhhh!  This was so satisfying to read after after seeing the wrecks that Mimi and Stanley became in the 'Jake Removed' world.  I feel exactly like Jake.  I want this world for them.  After everything that's happened, they deserve it.


I'm so glad that Jake got to see that Woody was alive, and the busload of children, too, Stacy especially.  The fact that she watched him go, and that she smiled at him just really got to me.  He saved their lives, hers most definitely, and he deserves to feel that lightness in his step, knowing that everything has once again been restored. 



“Of course, the news that you're back has got everyone excited, and so people are planning to come out here tonight. Stanley said he hoped you'd be here, and Jimmy and Bill are both planning on telling you all about their parts in the defeat of Major Beck's regime.”

This just made me grin.  Jimmy and Bill, revolutionary war heroes.  I hope they have sandwiches named after them.  Maybe Jericho's Finest Ham & Cheese? :-D

Very intrigued by the 'real world' Skylar.  She's really grown up and Jake, who's probbly never had a conversation with her before, was certainly put on notice of this fact.  I like that Skylr can become something in both versions of Jericho, though I thik she, like everyone else, will survive longer in the one with Jake.



“I'm sorry I put you in that position. I should never have -”

“Jake -”

“I didn't think how bad things could get, what could happen -”

“Jake, really.” She turned to look directly at him. “I did what I thought needed to be done. That's how it works, right? We all play our part?”

He stared at her for a few seconds. He couldn't tell if it was amazement that she could talk that way after nearly being destroyed by the secret he'd asked her to keep, or amazement at seeing her standing in the sunshine, her hair blowing around her face. He took a breath. “I know a lot of things have happened. I'm dealing with things; you are too. Sorry I haven't been a very good friend.” He swallowed, imagining again how she had looked when she had answered the door with a gun. “I just wanted to tell you how glad I am that you're okay. That you came home from New Bern, and Cheyenne. How glad I am that you're alive. And -” he paused to take one more breath, “- how glad I am that I met you on that bus.”

First of all, thank you for writing an apology for Jake that seems worthy of the position he put Heather in.  His declaration of friendship was wonderful too. :-)  I'm not doing any of it justice, but I just love what you have given us here.  It's a lovely start for the Jake/Heather relationship in your universe.  I can see a wonderfully meandering line from here to Starrless Sky Story.

Thanks, Penny!  This was such an interesting 'what if' ride.  I actually did enjoy it.  Thoroughly!

Author's Response:


I really did enjoy, I confess, writing all the emotional and tragic turns in this story. It is interesting to push characters to their limits and see how far the emotions can go.

Emily is rather attached to Jake here, but she is worried and thinking about someone else, instead of isolating herself, so I'm sure it is a relief to Jake.

April and Bonnie do show their presence a bit more in this part, though I like to think the ghosts are hovering on the edges of the dream world, just a little bit. Hovering around the people they love, but also putting some things to rest and helping out the friend they have in common.

Stanley and Mimi are definitely much more hopeful, and stronger, in this world that they face together, than they would be in the one where they've separated, despite the tragedies that have befallen them.

I think, besides realizing the impact his actions of saving the children had on the town in general, Jake realizes for the first time here the impact it really had on each of them.

I like your suggestion for a sandwich named after Jimmy and Bill :)

I think Skylar of the real world shows hints of freedom fighter Skylar, and Jake will recognize them now, when he might not have seen them before. You're right that she will live longer in this universe, and she will have slightly more guidance from the adults in this world, though she is still developing an independence most of them have not recognized as Jake now does.

Of course Jake needed to make amends to Heather, for real life stuff and, though she doesn't know it, the dream that affected him so profoundly. I'm glad you enjoyed their moment here.

Thanks for going along for this ride, and I'm glad you enjoyed it!


Reviewer: Skyrose Signed [Report This]
Date: 19 Jan 2009 5:46:45 PM Title: Part Nine: Hell Breaks Loose

I really like all the detail and emotions in this chapter. I felt like I was there watching it all happen.  Sad as I was to see Heather die I couldn't help but think that she was finally at peace. I do appreciate that she went down fighting – just as I expected she would.  I can't say how much I admire Skylar in this part. I thought she was amazing in that she never thought twice about fighting for what she believed in. I think the way you froze the scene at the end and how Freddie asked Jake if this was what afraid would happen and then asking Jake what he was going to do was really effective in helping Jake realize the choice Jake had to make.

        Jake took a quick breath and lunged forward, tackling Eric. They both fell, struggling amidst the huge throng of people running, fighting, and trampling. Jake let out a cry as he felt himself sinking into the pit of flailing arms and legs and bodies.
I like the image (and symbolism??). I think this is very telling. Whatever choice Jake's makes now doesn't matter. It's too late to change what is happening

           “But-” Jake started as they pushed him into the ambulance. It was coming back now- Freddie, the choice he'd have to make. He hadn't realized it had been as simple as waking.

I like the simplicity of the statement. That the choice Jake needed to make was a simple as waking up and continuing what he has been doing.

I'm looking forward to you posting the next part!

Author's Response:


This part was...well, I don't think I can say 'fun' to write, but very interesting, to push these characters so far, emotionally, and to such intense, while tragic, heights.

Jake's choice is, I suppose, seemingly simpler than the sacrifices the other characters choose to make in this part, but an important one that will, of course, have a profound effect on his life.

Thanks again!

Reviewer: Skyrose Signed [Report This]
Date: 19 Jan 2009 5:07:25 PM Title: Part Eight: The Empty Rabbit Hole and the Unusual Suspect

I really enjoyed this part.

I wasn't surprised to see that Hawkins had taken off to find his family for a couple of reasons. The first reason is Hawkins need and desire to reconnect with his family that was evident in the show. The second reason is that Jake was the only personal connection that Hawkins had in town. Without Jake there he didn't become involved in any of the town issue that he did with Jake there.

I like how you portrayed Darcy as the smart person she is here. I don't think that Hawkins could have made a better choice in deciding to use  his tracking device to find his family. I am happy that he made the decision to put his family above his 'work' here. I think he made the right choice for himself, despite it not being the best choice for Jericho.

I really like Skylar's take on Gray in this part, how he only cared about what was important to him. From Gray's perspective I think that things got out of control so quickly that he had to focus on only the few things he could control like the salt mine, even if it as detrimental to the town he was supposed to run.

I do have to say I like how wise Skylar the freedom fighter!  I think her experiences in your story were like a rite of passage for her. I have to say that I think that she is one person who became a better person in this story.  I think that Jake had the least impact on Skylar in the 'real' Jericho so his absence in his 'dream' world had the least impact on her so I'd like that Skylar the freedom fighter is what Skylar will become one day in the 'real' Jericho.

Nice job!

Author's Response:

Thanks, Skyrose!

You're very right about Hawkins. His family means so much to him, and he had not become connected to this obviously floundering town in this universe. He knew he couldn't change it on his own and he had more important things to fight for, in the big picture, as well as his smaller picture, his family. He certainly didn't regret his choices here, and did what he needed to do. Darcy also did what she needed to do. She is very smart, and I'm glad you liked her mention here. Though she doesn't appear, her choices had an effect on this world, and, were the choices that were right for her and her family.

I like your take on both Skylar and Gray here. They did fall on opposite sides of a spectrum, I think, and I hoped both would be understood, even if Gray's actions are not especially honourable. Though he made mistakes, he did try his best and was devastated to find himself failing.

Skylar the freedom fighter was very fun to write. She definitely became strong in a way Jake has never seen her before, though, alone and desperate as she is, she may be just as doomed as the characters who have given up the fight. Hopefully though, Jake sees her potential here and remembers it in the real world.

Thanks for your comments!

Reviewer: Skyrose Signed [Report This]
Date: 19 Jan 2009 4:37:19 PM Title: Part Seven: Honour Among Thieves

I really think you got Emily right in this chapter. Everything she said and what she had become was very much in character. There's no doubt that Emily is a survivor. Reading this part it seems like the only way she is able to survive is by completely distancing herself from others and by justifying her actions so she doesn't feel for guilty for what has happened. 


He looked at her closely, scrutinizing her windblown hair, her stiff posture, her toughened expression. He'd seen glimpses of this before, moments hinting at this person she could become. After Chris's death, when Jonah let her down, and after New Bern sent the first mortars. He never imagined this person could ever be fully realized and standing in front of him. Somehow, she'd always kept this part of herself at bay.

 I thought physical description of Emily was a very good representation of how she changed as a person. I like how you included that Jake, in the past, saw glimpses of the person Emily would become and how he  never  imagined it would happen and then recognizing that she had become this person.

 Another great chapter to your story! Thanks!

Author's Response:


I wanted to present an Emily who is in character, and who, I think at least, is as tragic as all of the other characters in this universe. This Emily tries to tell herself she's better off than the others who let their weaknesses show, but she's given up something extremely important, cutting herself off from the rest of humanity, as you described. She has survived, but at a great cost.

I think Jake views her very sadly, since he did see the potential for this person to come out in her in the past, and hoped she would never go this far. (And I'm sure he never imagined she would) I think this is as horrifying to him as any of the tragedies he sees the others coping with in this world.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Reviewer: Skyrose Signed [Report This]
Date: 19 Jan 2009 3:41:37 PM Title: Part Six: Leader of the Pack

Although I was sad to see the changes in Stanley in this part, I was also glad that despite what he had been through I was able to see glimpses of the old Stanley. Although this may sound a little strange, I felt oddly comforted by the fact that he had Bonnie for company, if only spirit.  I think the resentment that Stanley has toward the town for abandoning him is justified.  Despite how he feels about the town, I got the sense when he was talking to Jake that he felt a little guilty that the Green's maybe one of the ones not eating because his farm was no longer a food source. I felt a little hope in Stanley when he asked Jake if he saw Mimi and then wanted to know if she was okay. I especially liked how Jake couldn't bring himself to destroy his hope by telling him the message that Mimi asked him to deliver.

Nice job!

Author's Response:

I think you're right about Stanley. As tragic as it is to see him reduced to talking to ghosts of family members not there, in a strange way, he is a little better off than some of the other characters who haven't given up their grip on reality, and so, see it for all its grimness. He has cut himself off as a survival mechanism, a little bit like Emily does in the next chapter, but he does feel guilty when he thinks of those friends of his in town. He usually tries not to picture them, however, knowing their present is probably bleak.

He definitely wants to ask, yet doesn't want to know, how badly off Mimi is. Jake just couldn't bear to give him that dose of reality.

Thanks for your review! 

Reviewer: SandraDee Signed [Report This]
Date: 17 Dec 2008 9:59:34 PM Title: Part Nine: Hell Breaks Loose

What an intense chapter, Penny!  It gave me chills.  You created such imagery with your words, as well as intense emotions, it was like I was watching it all unfold.

I guess it goes to show that for as bad as their situation was, it could always get worse.  My heart absolutely went out to the people being "evacuated."  The panic they felt, the uncertainty, the separation from loved ones was almost palpable. 

So now Jake is awake from his vision.  I wonder what he's going to do now that he's back?  I can hardly wait to see what you have in store for us!

Author's Response:

Thanks Sandra!

This chapter was difficult to write in some ways, but quite easy to get into, once I committed to the emotions and atmosphere such a scene would inspire in the characters.

Each character faces a tragic moment in this part, I believe, and you're right, it could always get worse for them.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Reviewer: Marzee Doats Signed [Report This]
Date: 14 Dec 2008 8:50:20 PM Title: Part Nine: Hell Breaks Loose

Just a few things....

I was wondering if we would see Heather again, but also thinking that I didn't know what the point would be... she couldn't change much in this world... all she could do is give Jake more regrets.  Still, I never considered her death and the fact that that would be one big way to affect Jake and Gail and even Eric it seems.  I can see Heather, having been through so much, making her stand in this way.  It fits her character to go down fighting and I'm glad you did it this way.

I was quite impressed by Eric here, and how, having reached his breaking point, he just went for it.  Another person who wouldn't go down fighting.  Skylar, too, was amazing.  I found myself feeling proud of her for taking her stand.  Nice job!

I can't wait to see what happens with Jake now that he's back in the "real world".  I was glad to see him affected by Heather's death... but glad also to see him be able to put it out of his mind in order to try and take care of his mother and the town.  I also can't wait to find out what Heather would want to tell Jake herself!

Lastly, I'm left wondering... in that other reality, what happened to poor Margret and Sally Taylor??

Author's Response:

Thanks for the review!

You're right, Heather's death is a catylist that affects a few of our characters here. She wasn't going to go down without a fight, and is one of the first, but not the last, of the characters to make a stand in this part.

Eric and Skylar definitely found themselves unable to stand by without fighting back in this part too.

Unfortunately, had this world continued to play out in whatever parallel universe it seems to exist, many of the characters would not have survived the riot. Some would have, and would have found themselves transported to the refugee camp. Margaret and Sally Taylor would have been among them. Not many of our main characters would make it out of the camp alive, finding disease and starvation just as rampant there, and finding the camp a place much less safe than their home in which to survive.

Poor Jake was quite affected by Heather's death as well as the things he saw happening to so many people he cares about. Back in the 'real world', he won't be able to view any of them quite the same again.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Reviewer: Obsidianagirl Signed [Report This]
Date: 14 Dec 2008 6:27:12 PM Title: Part Nine: Hell Breaks Loose

Wow! I have really loved this story and was heartbroken that Heather was so badly used and then killed. I liked this angsty story line and hope there is more to come.



Author's Response:

Thank you!

There is more to come, and thanks for reading so far!

Reviewer: alba Signed [Report This]
Date: 13 Dec 2008 6:05:12 AM Title: Part Nine: Hell Breaks Loose

wooooooooooooooow!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! this chapter has been amazing. It looks like the end of this story, but I think you still could do something more with this story, let us know what happens next, when Jake is taken into town to the med center.I really enjoyed this part it was so intense. I was holding my breath all the time. sobbing at heather dead, at Eric's desperation at Gail´s crying over heather's body, proud of Skylar still wanting to fight and I still was thinking that it was better not to fight at the moment, not like that, where everybody was gonna get killed but understanding all the rage the people from jericho had. I don't know what else to say just wooooooooooow!!!!!!!! you've done a great job with this story. please keep bringing more. :)

Date: 13 Dec 2008 5:03:06 AM [Delete]

Author's Response:

Thank you!

I'm glad the intensity of this chapter worked for you, and rest assured, it is not the end yet!


Reviewer: Skyrose Signed [Report This]
Date: 08 Dec 2008 10:39:24 PM Title: Part Five: Stranger on the Door Step

Heather had such an enthusiasm for life and hope for the future and to see it taken all away from her was very heart retching.  In Jake and Heather's conversation about what was going on in the outside world I got a sense that despite, all that had happened to Heather, she at some level she felt a connection to Jake. It was also during that conversation I saw a little of the old Heather, the one who was able to make some sense of the bigger picture. Heather isn't able to tell us what happened, but you did such a good job conveying how she feels by describing how she speaks and how she looks (and how her house looks) that I didn't think it was necessary to know the details of what happened.

I imagine that this would have been a very difficult chapter to write but I have to say it was my favorite to date.

Author's Response:


I really liked writing this chapter, difficult as it may have been to put Heather in this situation, because it was really interesting to figure out how she and Jake would interact here. I loved the underlying dynamic I could have in this scene since Heather is one of the few characters that didn't know Jake before the bombs, so she doesn't have to exchange pleasantries with him as the others do. While you're right, she can't tell us herself about her experience because she doesn't know or trust Jake, she can in some ways be more honest than the characters who do know Jake, simply because those characters have baggage attached to Jake that comes up as they tell him of their life post-bombs.

She definitely has a sense of the bigger picture, more than certain other characters, and this unfortunately means she knows how bleak it can be. I'm glad it seems some of the old Heather still shows through. I think it would take a lot for her to give up completely, and she hasn't reached that point yet.


Reviewer: Skyrose Signed [Report This]
Date: 07 Dec 2008 10:20:48 PM Title: Part Four: Dream Believer and a Homecoming

This part left me on pins and needles and definitely wanting more! 

I really felt a sense of desperation in both Gail and Eric in this part. Both are sacrificing their lives and taking on caregiver roles for two different reasons I think. Gail because she feels that by taking on April's work she can somehow fix things – give meaning to April's death. Eric, on the other hand, is doing it in a sense to protect Gail. I don't think at this point she realizes that he had an affair with Mary and he wants to maintain this image of a 'happy' family for his mother. Since Gail has come to identify so much with April in this world, Eric realizes that finding out about the affair would crush her and he can't do that to her.

I really felt for Eric having to tell Jake about the bus. The missing kids and what happened to Stacy really pulled at my heart. Poor Heather! It's just like her to go to great lengths to protect her kids even if it hurts her. I'm so worried about how this incident affected her.

Author's Response:

Thanks for reading and reviewing Skyrose!

Your assessments of Gail and Eric are correct. Gail's devotion to her patients is her way of coping with all the loss she has sustained and she has built up the idea for herself that she can somehow make up for it all in carrying on April's cause. Eric's also a devoted caregiver, but he focuses on Gail herself. Really, he's trying to hold the family together, himself and Gail in reality as well as the idea of the family they once were, when Johnston and April were alive. This is why he still protects the secret of his affair with Mary - he doesn't want to destroy this somewhat idealized image of their family to which he and Gail cling. It likely would upset Gail a lot to find out, as you're right, she does identify with April so much. And Eric did love Mary, and has had to cut a huge part of himself off basically, as much as he can, so he can uphold 'the family'.

Thanks again!


Reviewer: Marzee Doats Signed [Report This]
Date: 06 Dec 2008 2:27:53 PM Title: Part Eight: The Empty Rabbit Hole and the Unusual Suspect

Okay, first I have to gloat a little... Skylar was my main, number one suspect for Mystery Graffiti Artist.  She was just not as beat down as the rest, and she seemed ridiculously interested in Jake's return. 

I love what you've done with Skylar, who actually changed even more for the better (imho) in this version of Jericho than she did in the "real" one.  I hope she makes it, but for some reason I suspect that she will go down in a blaze of glory, in whatever happens next.  But at least she'll go down fighting.

As for the Hawkinses, I was interested in seeing how Rob reacted to Jake, but I am not disappointed.  I think you got this exactly right.  With everything that went wrong in this Jericho, without Jake to recognize something in Hawkins and vice versa, without their wary, suspicious dance of a relationship that somehow became a friendship, I don't see Hawkins becoming invested in the town.  So, if Darcy and their kids left, he would definitely go after them.  And may I just say, you described a brave, decisive, planning Darcy that I completely appreciate and totally buy.

Lastly, I thought your commentary on Beck's strength as an officer was intriguing.  To say I loathe Beck is to probably understate my feelings, so I was rather thrown by the idea that he was considered the "right" man to come into a stable situation.  First, I wouldn't have thought there was anyone back in Cheyenne or anywhere putting too much thought into assignments, and second, I think Beck proved that he wasn't really fit for command anywhere.  But your idea is still intriguing to me, because I can see now how it would have been even worse to send him to this Jericho.  Okay, this is way more than I like to ever talk about Beck, so I'm stopping now, but I just wanted to let you know that your reasoning got me thinking. :-)

Something tells me its going to get REALLY interesting from here!  Can't wait to see what happens next!

Author's Response:

First off, congratulations on guessing the graffiti artist's identity!

I'm glad you enjoyed this version of Skylar. I thought she was an interesting character on the show, with the journey she went on, and I had fun writing Skylar-the-freedom-fighter for this story.

You're right about Hawkins. Without his connection to Jake, he didn't get invested in the town either. He saw it spin quickly out of control, watched Gray's rise to power, and has seen what is happening, but knows he can't solve it all himself and does not place it high on his list of priorities. His family is still his main priority in this world, and so is the bigger picture. The interests of the town don't matter to him when it comes down to losing his family, or when compared with the interests of the country as a whole.

Your thoughts on Beck are interesting. Freddie and Jake's main concern in the issue here is that Beck was sent to retrieve the bomb from a stable place, supposedly because he had the finesse required (which is of course debatable, I confess I just took his word on that one, that that's why he was assigned Jericho at least). So, if Beck was who they send to a place they supposedly want to salvage, Jake is interested in what happens in a place that's already so badly ravaged as this Jericho is. Personally, I think, that the Cheyenne government placed finding the bomb as a top priority, as it was important to their continual domination of the remnants of the country, so I think they would be careful who they sent in this case. Whether or not Beck was a suitable choice at all is another question. :)

Thanks so much for taking time to read and comment!

Reviewer: SandraDee Signed [Report This]
Date: 04 Dec 2008 11:55:56 PM Title: Part Eight: The Empty Rabbit Hole and the Unusual Suspect

Wow!  Just when I think I know what's going to happen, you throw an absolute curveball.  I love how you keep me guessing, Penny! 

Author's Response:

Thanks Sandra!

I've enjoyed getting to write a little mystery in this story, since I haven't done a lot of multi-chaptered stories before.


Reviewer: SandraDee Signed [Report This]
Date: 27 Nov 2008 2:53:30 PM Title: Part Seven: Honour Among Thieves

I had been curious about exactly what had happened to Emily, so it was good to see what she's been up to.  I can't say that I'm entirely surprised that she fell in with Jonah again, though I would love to have been a fly on the wall when all of that came about. I'm guessing that Jonah insinuated himself back into her life after she was shot.

One of the constants about Emily is that she is a survivor. 

The conversation between Jake and Emily was interesting to read.  Obviously, she doesn't know the man that Jake has become and views him through the goggles of the past.  What she said to Jake about Gail trying to help lost causes was quite true. Emily doesn't consider herself lost quite yet, but I can't help but feel that she has lost some of her humanity--as have many of the characters.

I'm looking forward to seeing what happens when Jake encounters Hawkins. :)


Author's Response:

Thanks Sandra!

You're right in your guessing about Emily's return to Jonah. She felt very alone as she recovered from her injuries, and her friends were all otherwise occupied with their own tragic circumstances. Jonah offered a way to survive, and as you so aptly put it, she is always a survivor.

You're also very right, she has absolutely lost a part of her humanity, just as everyone else has lost a part of themselves too. Emily definitely doesn't consider herself lost because she's also lost the perspective to see herself clearly. And she's worked very hard to distance and separate herself from Gail's 'lost causes', in order to build up her own solitary survivor persona.

Thanks so much for reading and commenting!

Reviewer: SandraDee Signed [Report This]
Date: 27 Nov 2008 12:00:35 PM Title: Part Six: Leader of the Pack

Wow.  So I'm extremely sad for Stanley.  Of all the characters on the show, he's the one I've always counted on to be cheerful, to infuse joie de vivre and humor into situations.  It just goes to show how if a few incidents had gone a different direction, this is how Stanley might have ended up--alone and talking to his dead sister.  You captured Stanley so perfectly, Penny.  It was Stanley, and yet he was also more, a man who was changed by his experiences and the hard knocks that had come his way.

You also touched upon something that was only alluded to a couple of times on the show, namely the importance of Stanley's farm to the town and the conflict therein between doing what's best for Jericho (the city) and doing what's best for those farms in the surrounding areas.

On a totally off note, I like the titles you give your chapters.  This one, like the others, fits so appropriately.

A very nice job!

Author's Response:

Thanks Sandra!

I agree with you about Stanley, he added a wonderful humour and presence to the show. I think he's very strong too so it was difficult to send him so far into this direction, as far as I felt he needed to go in this universe.

I always thought that the conflict you mentioned was interesting, and as I was trying to explore some opposites or exaggerations of the normal Jericho in this universe, I thought it would be interesting to see what would happen if Richmond ranch, and the Richmonds, were suddenly outsiders, and not tied to the town at all.

And thank you, I'm glad you enjoy the titles!

Reviewer: Marzee Doats Signed [Report This]
Date: 21 Nov 2008 7:38:05 PM Title: Part Seven: Honour Among Thieves


Another intriguing installment, as always!  I was hooked from the beginning...


'Well, do I try to get away?' He was looking around quickly. Flat land surrounded him. Nowhere he could go on foot that they couldn't get to faster on the bikes.

I don't know. You were worried about the girl with the bat and the stray dogs.

This really struck me because Freddie likely is seeing a new side of Jake.  I assume that his Iraq persona might have just been a smidge more Ravenwood-like, and it's not as if there were that many people in Iraq (maybe just Freddie) that he cared about.  The Jake of those old days probably wouldn't have tried to reason with a woman wielding a bat, and I don't really want to know what he might have done to a snarling dog...


So.... Emily!  My, my, my.  She's certainly turned out ever so charming, didn't she?  Admittedly I'm not a fan, so that means I think you've captured her quite well.  Just a few of the excerpts that I think tell the story:


She laughed out loud. “Things changed. Where have you been?” For once it wasn't a real question. He didn't have to tell the Vegas story. “I take it you've been to town already. Why'd you come out here?”

Ah, yes.  Our Emily.  Considers Jake her soulmate and yet really doesn't want to know anything about him.  Yes, he left town and this Emily doesn't know how he's changed and grown, but this Jake does know that a version of 5 years later Emily - at one point at least - was quite happy to take him back.  I do so hope that Jake remembers this little encounter if he ever escapes this universe.


She scoffed. “I helped him. I protected him from Jonah. If we really wanted anything from him, do you think dogs would've stopped us?”

And ...


She glared at him. “I told her she could come with me. She wouldn't. Only so much I can do. I'm sure she's fine now. If they caught me, I probably wouldn't be here talking to you.”

It's just so Emily to only think of herself, isn't it?  I rather doubt Stanley and Heather consider what she did for them "helpful".  I was glad that she seemed to suffer a momentary twinge of guilt over Bonnie's death, but she just doesn't seem to get it.  I can't believe that after using Heather's place to hide out (and getting her into at least some trouble), Emily can dismiss all her responsibility because she offered to take Heather with her.  To Jonah's compound! As I read this part I was grinding my teeth and trying to come up with painful ways to punish Emily for treating Heather, especially, so shabbily.

And then there are so many interesting things you told us in this part.  I actually cheered at the idea that Gracie Leigh was thrown in jail by Gray.  It's nice to know that someone had a spine, even if all she used it for was to go into business with Jonah.  I mourn poor Dale.  I'd been wondering where he was, but I wasn't ready yet to assume he was dead.  I was kind of hoping he was the mystery graffiti artist.  Oh well, I have another suspect in mind. ;-)  I was also sorry to hear about Roger's demise.  What a way to go!  I don't know that Emily was worth missing, getting drunk, and falling off the roof.  Any possibility that there was another reason for this behavior? 

As always.... thanks for sharing!

Author's Response:

Thanks Marzee!

You're right, Freddie is definitely having an interesting journey himself, seeing this side of Jake. I think he's quite fascinated, watching how Jake behaves around people he cares about.

Emily...well, this Emily definitely does not consider Jake her soulmate. By the time he shows up here, Emily's resigned herself to a solo existence, because not feeling for anyone is far less painful. Bonnie's death really was a terrible blow and the beginning of this spiral for her. She did still attempt to 'help' people, though as you said, they did not appreciate her brand of help. I don't think understanding other people's experiences is really her strength so she really didn't see why Heather wouldn't want to go with her, she really thought it was Heather turning her back on her. That was the last straw, and she is now only really able to offer help by the way of 'protecting' Jake from her colleagues.

I'm glad you cheered for Gracie and mourned Dale. Life for them in this Jericho ended rather tragically, but it definitely caused a change in at least one citizen we'll soon be seeing again.

As for Roger, his behaviour was influenced in part by the fact that his fiance, the woman he crossed the wilderness on foot just to see again, had vanished into a life of crime, but also because he had led a group of survivors through said wilderness in hopes that they would reach a promised land. It was devastating to him when they reached a hell hole instead and most of them were turned away. After all those places they could have stopped along the way. But he had kept forcing them on, to reach the homey little town and the woman he just had to return to. So this is what he was thinking as he sat on the roof that fateful night.

Thanks so much for taking time to read and review!

Reviewer: Marzee Doats Signed [Report This]
Date: 14 Nov 2008 9:09:59 PM Title: Part Six: Leader of the Pack

Oh, Penny!  There's just so much going on here!  Impressive job as always.  The hints that you give us that tell the story for you as much as your actual story-telling really come to the front in this one.

First, I just have to say that I'm glad that I was wrong about Stanley.  Apparently he isn't so changed that he's stopped giving bear hugs.  This was a relief to me, even if the rest leaves me a little sad. :-( 

The dogs from the hunting trip!  I'm glad that they're no longer abandoned on the prairie, but it did leave me sad to realize that Stanley likely went on that hunting trip alone.  Jake wasn't in Jericho, and Mimi had already left him for the safety of life within the town's borders.

Is it odd to admit that I'm shocked that Bonnie is dead?  I believed Stanley (at first) when he said she was "around".  My heart was literally in my throat when he was forced to admit that she'd died.  And, what a way to go.  Unfortunately, I think it's too much to hope that Emily understands or appreciates the sacrifice -- Bonnie's or Stanley's.

Stanley seems more broken to me than even Heather.  I'm left profoundly sad by the changes in him.  He does seem giddy as he asks Jake about the food in town and makes the point that he has things that you can't get in Jericho.  How sad that he's left so hurt by the town's abandonment of him (and, sure, he has a right to his anger) that he literally revels in having "one up" on them. 

The last thing I'm going to comment on is Mimi.  She appears to miss Stanley a lot more than he misses her.  That took me by surprise, much more so than the implication that they got together earlier in this universe than on the show.  But, I suppose Stanley, reeling from his sister's death, didn't let himself fall in love with Mimi.  It's just very sad to me since they turned out to be such an amazing couple on the show.

Well, there's revving engines on the highway.... Mary did say that Emily was off with Jonah.  So, any chance we're going to run into that particular road gang next?

Author's Response:

Thanks Marzee!

You're right, Stanley is still there under all the ways he's chosen to deal with the new world. He's actually quite desperate for human interaction, so the bear hug just fit in naturally here. I always wondered about the dogs myself, and I think Stanley felt a kind of kinship with them, since they were abandoned out in the deserted prairie too.

I had hoped to keep the fact that Bonnie was dead a bit of a mystery until Stanley was forced to face the reality he normally avoids, so I was glad to hear you believed him/me at first. As for Emily's'll see in very good time.

Stanley's giddiness over the food is partly influenced by his skewed view of the town that abandoned him, but also, I think, he's trying to offer everything he can to his first human guest in months. He's already thinking about how Jake will leave and go back to the town, so he's trying to impress Jake, to get him to stay for a while.

About Mimi- Stanley did get very attached to her, and does miss her very much, but he hasn't been able to find a place for her in the alternate reality he sort of lives in. She's not part of the 'family' who stayed with him, nor is she really a part of the 'town' he's come to hate. When she first left, he was determined to hate her, but he's had a lot of time to think about it, and a lot of lonely nights by himself, so now he just really misses her. He worries about how she's doing in town, but doesn't really want to bring her up with Jake. If he knew just how badly she's coping, he'd be pretty distressed, but as it is, he tries not to think of her too much, it's just too painful.

You are, once again, very insightful, so to keep myself from giving away too much, I'll say nothing more about the engines.

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and insights. I really appreciate it!


Reviewer: Obsidianagirl Signed [Report This]
Date: 14 Nov 2008 5:04:04 PM Title: Part Six: Leader of the Pack

I love the way you wrote this...I can't wait for more.

Thanks for sharing.


Author's Response:


I've had fun writing this, and I so appreciate your words of encouragement.

Thanks for reading and commenting!

Reviewer: SandraDee Signed [Report This]
Date: 09 Nov 2008 10:39:27 PM Title: Part Five: Stranger on the Door Step

Poor Heather!  When I think of her character, I think of someone who has a such a spark of life in her.  It was difficult to read about her in this way--Heather as someone who not only lacks friends and family but has also lost herself. 

This situation in which Jake finds himself just keeps getting stickier and stickier.  It's not in Jake's nature to be a mere observer, so I'm curious to see what he will find himself compelled to do--and if Freddie will allow it.

So if I had to guess where Jake is going next, I would say to the Richmond farm.  I'm looking forward to seeing if I'm right. :)

Author's Response:

Thanks Sandra!

It was difficult to write Heather in this part, but really, most of the characters have experienced some sort of big loss in this world. Heather is just able to show hers more openly because she doesn't know Jake, and so, doesn't find as much hope in his return as his mother, brother, or friends. I confess, that's why I did enjoy writing this scene as well, having Heather react to Jake without having to welcome him back and put on a brave face as many of the others must.

You're right about Jake. It will be increasingly hard for him to observe, even though he's not sure what his place in this world really is, and what he can really do.

Great guess :) and I hope you enjoy the next part! Thanks again for reading and reviewing!

Reviewer: Obsidianagirl Signed [Report This]
Date: 09 Nov 2008 3:29:51 PM Title: Part Five: Stranger on the Door Step

OMG! Achingly sad and heartbreakingly true! I can't wait for more of this fic.

Thanks for sharing!


Author's Response:

Thank you, Obsidianagirl!

Thank you for reading, and for your kind words.

And welcome to the site! I hope you have fun here!

Reviewer: Obsidianagirl Signed [Report This]
Date: 09 Nov 2008 2:48:01 PM Title: Part One: In Dreams They Came

Wow! Wonderful, if frightening concept! I can't wait to read more.


Author's Response:

Thanks! I enjoyed taking a darker look at things with this story.

Reviewer: Marzee Doats Signed [Report This]
Date: 09 Nov 2008 11:38:41 AM Title: Part Five: Stranger on the Door Step

Oh, Penny!

This part is so well done.  Heather is my favorite character, and I was worried for her, but what you came up with was so realistic.  I knew she had to be affected by what had happened differently without Jake, and Eric's story about her was absolutely ominious, but (at least to me) she doesn't seem completely broken.  There is still a glimmer of Heather in there, even if that "We can do it! / What can I do to help?" spirit seems to be missing.  She wasn't a weeping wreck and she didn't shoot Jake or break his nose.  I'll take these things as hopeful things.

Two excellent pieces of writing that just tugged at my very being:

Jake took a sharp breath in as he took in the sight of her, standing there on the other side, fixing him with a look of hostility he'd never seen on her before. Her eyes had dark circles, she was thinner then he'd ever seen, and so pale. She was also still pointing the gun at him.


“Pretty bad out there, right?” she asked, her mouth forming a small smile but her eyes still dead serious.

He nodded grimly. “How about here?”

She laughed, the kind of laugh that sent chills up his spine. “Same. Same as anywhere, I'm sure.”

Jake's queasiness as he approached Heather's door seems to have been right on the mark, and I can't help but think that it has to really tear at him to witness Heather's transformation.  There is no way this woman is ever going to throw caution to the wind to do anything, be it kiss him or take off to New Bern. 

As for her reaction to Jake's confirmation that the outside world is bad, I think, even as the chill runs up his spine at her (I assume) creepy laugh, at least this Heather realizes that whatever happened to her, (and thank you for not spelling that out too clearly!) it wasn't personal.  The world isn't out to get her - this could have happened to anyone, and these horrible, awful things are happening to other people.  She may have drawn protectively into herself, but she hasn't completely lost the bigger picture.  Thank you for leaving Heather with her perspective, and for, frankly, leaving it mostly unskewed.

Okay, I suppose I should stop blathering on and on.  Thank you for for how you did this.  I didn't know exactly how you'd handle this, but I think you did superbly.  My only complaint would be that I doubt we'll see Heather again.  On the other hand, that probably wouldn't be realistic - she doesn't know Jake and would be suspicious of his coming back - so I'm not sure I can even complain about that.  Also, I don't really know that taking another look in on Heather would accomplish anything.  It certainly wouldn't heal her miraculously, so I suppose that's another vote against my argument.  Your stories often leave me in a delicious muddle so I end up actually arguing with myself, and this chapter is a prime example!

So we're off past the river now!  I think I know where we're going next and I can't wait to check in on those folks.  Something tells me Jake won't be getting a big ol' bear hug this time.


Author's Response:

Thank you Marzee!

Heather is one of my favourite characters too, so I really wanted to do her justice here. I wanted to show her as someone who was still strong, still holding on to everything she had left, so I hope that came out in this part. I'm very glad it worked for you.

Heather is also one of the few people who didn't have an already existing relationship with Jake, and so, I had a chance to explore in more general terms the way someone living in this world would experience it and react to it. You're right, she knows the world isn't out to get her specifically, but she does know as well that it isn't a kind place, and no one is exempt from the dangers in it. So while she might seem a little paranoid at first, you're right, her perspective is not skewed, it's completely valid for what she's seen in the world.

I really appreciate and enjoyed reading your insights, so never worry about blathering on. You guess right a lot of the time, so the different arguments you've made here are quite interesting. Here's the one thing I'll say: Heather has an important role in this dream, and her effect on Jake is specific and significant.

Thank you so much for the kind words, and I hope you enjoy the next part!

Reviewer: SandraDee Signed [Report This]
Date: 01 Nov 2008 12:07:10 PM Title: Part Four: Dream Believer and a Homecoming

Part 4 absolutely had me on the edge of my seat, Penny!  I was so eagerly anticipating Jake finally getting to see Gail and Eric, but I was also incredibly nervous for him, as well.  Considering the gloom that surrounds everyone in Jericho, I knew there was no way that his family would be spared that.  The info that Mary passed on about how they run the med center--coupled with the description you gave the med center at the beginning of the chapter--only verified my concerns.

Wow.  I hardly know where to start.  Like Marzee said, Gail and Eric are still so true to character.  Yet it's also clear that the horrors of the last year have taken their toll on the characters.  The way you described Gail as wild eyed truly served two purposes.  It spoke to her surprise at seeing Jake, but it also unnerved me.  Gail has had many expressions on the show, but I don't think we ever saw that--except for perhaps the time she told Jake and Eric to go to Rogue River to get the medicine for Johnston.

Eric seems resigned to this morbid existence, a vast change from what we saw Eric evolve into as a character on the show.  The story he told of the school bus--the children who died, the children who were missing, and Heather--absolutely tugged at my heart.  In the grand scheme of things, Jake probably never counted that event as one of greatest importance, but his absence had and continues to have a ripple effect on those who were part of the event.

So after reading this (and worrying about Heather), I have to wonder if now that Jake is back, will he have an effect on events?  Will he be able to make the situation better for those who have survived but live with the trials brought on daily by events over which they had no control?

Can't wait to find out!

Author's Response:

Thanks Sandra!

You ask an excellent question! It should be answered in good time. Jake is definitely drawn to helping the town, but a little unsure about what his place is in this world.

Thanks for taking time to read and review!


Reviewer: Marzee Doats Signed [Report This]
Date: 31 Oct 2008 10:28:51 PM Title: Part Four: Dream Believer and a Homecoming

Oh, Penny!  This part sure has left me with my heart in my throat.  I am so worried about Heather!  But I'm also worried for and strangely relieved about Gail and Eric.  Apparently, after all they've been through, Eric can put some/most of his animosity aside and just be glad that he has one more family member.  That is a good thing.

Going back almost to the beginning, I have to tell you I just love how you wrote this part.  Despite the changes that were wrought by Jake's absence, Gail is ultimately still Gail.

“I knew you were out there, somewhere. I knew it. All this time.” She beamed at her eldest son, and he couldn't help but grin back.

“Well, here I am. In the flesh.”

She gave him a brief scolding look, then smiled again. “Don't make jokes. Jake, I've dreamed this before. I always woke up and wondered where you were.”

“I know Mom,” he said huskily, afraid his own eyes might soon become as teary as hers.

“Look at you,” she said, her eyes surveying the damage she was imagining he had sustained in the far away place he'd been.

I can just imagine the damage she's looking for.  :-(

Another thing I have to mention... I think Gail's and Eric's response to Jake's homecoming is very telling of their troubles since the bombs.  They're so worn down they actually seem less surprised to see him now than they did when he came back before the bombs.

The story of the school bus also got to me, and to Jake as well (obviously).  Not only is there Heather (can I tell you how worried I am about Heather!!) but there's also the kids that he got to know and care about.  Sure, the one boy from Chapter 1 survived, but all the rest.  Stacy, and the kids who found him on the road.  My stomach is just tied in knots thinking about what happened to them.

As an aside, I wonder if we'll find out what happened to Hawkins, and if he's around.  Was he at least able to warn some of them about the rain?  I don't think he could fix everything, but he could have mitigated some of the problems that Jericho's suffered -- and maybe he did!  Makes me wonder if Jericho could be even worse off!

But back to Heather.  I'm glad Gail's looking after her (and that April did before she died), but I am just so worried about her.  It sounds like she had a really awful experinece at the hands of the convicts.  I hope she doesn't shoot Jake when he tries to deliever soup!

Intriguing chapter to say the least.  I'm on pins and needles waiting to find out what happens next!

Author's Response:

Thanks Marzee!

You are very perceptive. I'll leave it there, for fear of spoiling the rest of the story. I'll just say, you are right about Hawkins! He did help warn people about the rain.

Thanks for taking time to read and review!

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