Believing themselves to be the sole survivors of an apocalyptic fate, the people of Providence labor their days away under their crystal dome. Watched by demons from without and near-demonic tyrants from within, the common folk live their lives in a daze of drudgery and cheerlessness. Who can say which is better–to end a fruitless, meaningless life, or to go on living and hoping something better will come along?
These two short stories tell the tales of two very different families, and what they go through for the love of each other. One tells of a young girl who wishes to flee the accursed life that has been planned for her, and the other is a tale of a couple that has come to the end of its usefulness, as far as the rulers of Providence are concerned.
The people fear the Black Boys and the Pure Ones–midnight visitors that steal away any citizen who is too outspoken, or too old, or too…anything. In this way, the lawmaking Elite quell any hope or trust, making mindless workers of its citizens.
However, those in the comfort of the Approved cannot stop one thing, no matter how they try to quell it: love. For it is all too true–even though it cannot be publicly expressed and is indeed missing in a great many places, love is starting to put holes in the fabric of the society that the demons (in the guise of the law) have put up in the great city of Providence.
If there is anything I like more than Ms. Dougherty’s “The Dark Citadel”, it would be the short stories she writes as tangents from the main series. Every citizen of Providence, drab though his or her life may be, has a story to tell, and courage enough to carry out dreams that cannot be allowed expression. These two stories end on a very positive note, because the Green Woman is returning.
And I’ll be continuing to read each story, large or small, until she is victorious.