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The Choosing Room

by EllieMae


James tried not to look nervous as he took his seat in the Choosing Room. Despite the obvious reason for the nerves, things were always extra scary in the Choosing Room because it was so crowded. November 11th was the only day that the entire Family was together, besides Father’s appreciation day on February 15th.

James smiled at his family unit as they took their seats beside him.

“What’s your number, Daddy?” said Danny, the youngest of James’s offspring.

“I’m number seventy five this year” said James to the little boy.

“Do you think The Father will choose me this year Daddy?” Asked Danny.

“You never know, but Father normally chooses older people, like me!”

“I wish I could get picked…” replied Danny, “I can’t wait to live with The King!!”

James immediately smacked his hand over his sons face.

Everyone around them stopped and looked. Parents shook their heads in disappointment.

Fear filled Danny’s eyes.

“Never. Never, ever speak His Name out loud again. Okay? Only the Father is worthy to say it.” James spoke in such a stern tone, that Danny worried he was going to hurt him.

“I’m sorry daddy. I promise I will never, ever say it again!

“It’s okay, just be more careful” spoke James, staring intently into Danny’s blue eyes.

Before Danny could reply, the trumpet started to sound the ever sound familiar song. The lights dimmed and every single member of The Family went quiet. When the trumpet stopped, the people began The Chant.

“Father, Father, we are your people.

Father, Father, we are in your hands.

Father, Father, you are The Almighty.

Father, Father, Father, Father…”

The Chant continued. The Choosing Room grew louder and louder, until every member of The Family was screaming as loud as they could. While The Chant was taking place, James looked around the Choosing Room and examined the rest of The Family.

It was hard to tell anyone apart, mainly because every man and woman wore the exact same outfits. All of the children dressed the same too. They all wore matching White Robes, which symbolized their desire to be pure. The green stripes on their clothing symbolized their allegiance to The Father.

Suddenly, the entire room was silent.

The Father had entered the stage.

“Hello Children, it is so wonderful to see you all. Thank you for coming to this years Number Ceremony”

The crowd cheered. James thought about what the Father had said. The Father thanked them for coming, but the price of not coming was execution. Everyone shouted praises to The Father. Many women burst into tears and begged him to choose her. The Father smiled.

“ I am sure you have all been looking forward to The Choosing ceremony, as much as I have! I won’t talk for too long, because I know you are all eager to get started. Before we begin, we must hear our special announcements, from The King Himself!”

The room was already silent, but when The Father spoke The King's name, it seemed as if everyone held their breath.

“Sadly, we do not have any new announcements from The King this year,but The King has been thinking of each and every one of you. He sends his warmest regards. He loves you.”

The entire Family smiled. This made them very happy.

“Now, we must begin at once!” said TheFather excitedly.

Everyone sat forward in their seats. The Father had their full attention. This is the moment they had all been waiting for.

After a short pause, The Father took a deep breath. He cleared his throat and said, “I am pleased to announce, this year, number 75! My Son James has been closed to join The King!”

The entire room erupted in applause.

“That’s you daddy!” screamed Danny, with the biggest smile on his face.

James began to cry tears of joy. He had been chosen. Out of everyone else, The King and The Father had chosen him.

James smiled at his family unit. They all beamed with pride and joy.

“Come on up, My Son James! We can’t wait any longer!” said The Father, in a kind, jokingly way, with an eager smile on His face.

James proudly walked to the stage. He was standing beside The Father!

It was now time for The Cleaning Process. James began by removing all of his clothing. The entire Family watched, beaming with joy.

James took a seat on The Chair as The Father proceeded to shave James’s head.

“You won’t need this when you live with The King!” said the Father.

James smiled.

“My Son, it is now time to engrave the Sacred Words of The King on your flesh.”

Once a the Father said this, He began to use the Knife to engrave the Sacred Words on James’s back.

He felt much pain. James began to cry out, it was too much. The Family cried with him. The louder James cried, the louder they cried.

Soon, the engraving was over. It hurt, but James knew that his suffering would be over soon. He smiled at The Family, thanking them for their support.

“James, my Son, you may not proceed to The Altar.”

Before he did, The Father embraced him.

“Thank you for your service, My Son. We love you. We need you. We hear you. Your work has helped us so much. You will now be rewarded for your efforts.”

The Father spoke to the entire room, “It is time for My Son, James to go to The King! It is time for us to invite The King into our bodies as well!” My Son, James, I grant you permission to proceed to the Sacred Altar.”

“Thank you Father” said James, with his face drenched with tears of happiness, and a sense of peace that he had never felt before.

As James walked to the Altar, he left a trail of blood behind him, he could feel The Sacred Markings on his back. He could feel Their power. James stepped onto the Sacred Altar. He sat on his knees and stretched his hands in front of him. He was now in the Position of Glory, a position taught to members of the Family as soon as they were old enough to walk.

The Father walked to the Altar.

“We will now continue the Number Ceremony!”

The Members of The Family began The Chant. Over and over and over again.

“Brother James, chosen by The Father!

Brother James, soon to get his reward!

Brother James, soon to fill our souls!

James, James, James, James…”

The room went silent again.

“Oh King! Hear us! We give you this body! Take him! Fill our souls!” shouted The Father.

James knew this was his que. he raised his head. The Father grabbed his head and quickly slit his throat. The last thing James saw were the eyes of The Father, but they were not the kind eyes that he was used to. They were the eyes of a bloodthirsty murderer.

The Father turned to The Family, with kind eyes and a friendly smile.

“My Children! It has been done! Brother James is now with The King!”

The Family cheered.

“The Spirit of The King is now in the body of James! We worship The King and we show our love for Him, we will now conclude the Number Ceremony by feasting on the flesh of My Son, James. Come, my Children! Feast upon his flesh and be filled with the knowledge of The King!”

Once the Father had said this, all of the Members of The Family ran as fast as they could. They devoured the flesh of James, acting as if they were wild animals. In a matter of minutes, James’s body was gone. All that remained were his bones, which would be given to his family unit as a symbol of honour and respect.

“Thank you all for coming! I cannot wait until next year. I will see you all at Father Appreciation Day. I love you all!”

“Wow” Danny thought, “I want to be just like Daddy when I grow up!”


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Sun Oct 15, 2023 2:38 pm
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vampricone6783 wrote a review...



That was really creepy, but interesting to read. I think that the creepiest parts of it all was how James was completely fine with dying and how Danny wanted to end up like James. It’s a cult! Danny is fatherless!

I heard things about Midsommar, but I never watched it. This story is kind of like how I’d imagine Midsommar to be.

I hope that you will have a wonderful day and night.




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Fri Jan 22, 2021 6:40 pm
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Sunflowerdemon3712 wrote a review...



I like this story it is great. this story is great cause it shows how twisted are veiws can get just by following along like everyone else. Also I wonder if this is just a few people such as a few hundred or multiple people like thousands either way it is still a great story. I love how you show enough a emotion so that your not over or under sharing it is amazing. I think it would be amazing if we got a follow up with what happened to danny afterwards like maybe one day he starts to question what's going on I think that would be amazing or maybe someone else shows danny the truth something like that. anyway I think it was a great story and I hope you have a great day! :)




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Sun Dec 27, 2020 6:32 am
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QuoolQuo wrote a review...



Ahoy ahoy,

This piece was... interesting. Not in a bad way though, I actually really enjoyed it, but it was more the concepts themselves. I’ll warn you now that I haven’t reviewed for a while so I might be a bit rusty, either way, here are some general comments:

1.

Despite the obvious reason for the nerves, things were always extra scary in the Choosing Room because it was so crowded.


This is probably just me being picky, but extra scary stood out to me in this and seemed to be more telling not showing. I suggestion I would offer to fix this would be to replace this sentence with perhaps a few descriptions of the Choosing Room (this will help the reader more easily visualise the scene as well as understanding the atmosphere).

2.
“Do you think The Father will choose me this year Daddy?” Asked Danny.


I believe “Asked” should begins with a lower case ‘a’. Also remember that the lines of dialogue must end with punctuation as they’re technically sentences (I’m bad at explaining grammar rules, sorry)

E.g
“I’m number seventy five this year” said James to the little boy.

Should be
“I’m number seventy five this year,” said James to the little boy.


3.
James immediately smacked his hand over his sons face.


When I originally read this, I thought James had actually hit the child (again this is probably just me) but if you were to make this clearer I’d suggest maybe something like “clamped his hand over his son’s face.”
Oh, also since sons is possessive in the sentence above, it requires an apostrophe. E.g son’s

4.
Before Danny could reply, the trumpet started to sound the ever sound familiar song.


I think the second sound is unnecessary.

5.
The Father had entered the stage.


There’s nothing wrong with this sentence, I’m just wondering what exactly The Father looks like, so this is merely a suggestion for some descriptions (I go on about them a lot, sorry).

6.
The Father thanked them for coming, but the price of not coming was execution.


Again, we have some telling not showing (though I’m not completely sure how you can show, perhaps describing how they’re called for the ceremony in the first place?) this is just another annoying little suggestion.

7.
Many women burst into tears and begged him to choose her


‘her’ should be ‘them’, I think (plurals are sometimes weird).

8.
“Come on up, My Son James! We can’t wait any longer!” said The Father, in a kind, jokingly way, with an eager smile on His face.


'Jokingly' would make more sense as just 'joking'

Granted most of those comments were about grammar (the curse that it is) so here are a few more about the overall story.
As I said at the beginning, I very much enjoyed this as I am for all ideas which are different to the classic run-of-the-mill entertainment. But while you classified this story as dystopian this stuck out most to me as a piece describing a very disturbed cult or religion rather than a society. What I'm trying to say is that it's a very interesting idea which could perhaps fit in various settings (with a haunting affect), and thus you have many options for worldbuilding if you ever wanted to expand on this.
The only real suggestion which I urge you to perhaps work on is descriptions. Now I myself am a bit obsessed with descriptions but they are key to helping the reader visualise a story as well as conveying the atmosphere of a piece to a certain extent. So, while this story is still great, I would propose that you maybe make the world a little clearer.

Well, now that that's all done, I hope you have a wonderful day and continue writing!
There's no need to take anything I said seriously as it all came from my own opinion (which isn't exactly worth a lot).

Au revoir
H.G




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Fri Dec 25, 2020 8:41 pm
yoshi wrote a review...



Hahaha this reminds me SO MUCH of "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson. Have you read that? Because these are SO SIMILAR.

Anyways-- love the plot, I love everything plot-wise, theme-wise, and all that, but there ARE a few technical and grammatical mistakes and also a few holes.

James tried not to look nervous as he took his seat in the Choosing Room. Despite the obvious reason for the nerves, things were always extra scary in the Choosing Room because it was so crowded. November 11th was the only day that the entire Family was together, besides Father’s appreciation day on February 15th.


Okay, so here is a hole in the plot. You notice the hole later on. In this paragraph, James seems nervous. Okay, perfectly fine. However, as you progress the story, we see that this little choosing thing is awesome for James. So basically he has nothing to worry about. It would have been better to start off this story where James is excited.

“Do you think The Father will choose me this year Daddy?” Asked Danny.

“You never know, but Father normally chooses older people, like me!”


Danny refers to this person as "The Father" and James refers to him as "Father". I would keep the repetition here, if I wrote this. Also, You immediately get the reader interested when Danny says, "Do you think The Father will choose me this year Daddy?" Since Danny had stated that there was a "The Father" and a seperate person who is his "Daddy", the reader is immediately hooked on.

“James, my Son, you may not proceed to The Altar.”


Hahaha I'm pretty sure you meant "Now" not "Not" because changing that one letter can make VERY different meanings.

James knew this was his que.


"Cue" not "Que". Although, you can probably meet the user named "Que" if you want. ;D

he raised his head.


Capitalize the "H" in "He".

The Father grabbed his head and quickly slit his throat.


Okay, so personally, this is a bit anticlimatic if you know what I mean. I reader that wasn't paying attention might skip over this and it's short, but also not descriptive enough.

You could have wrote (Just an idea. I love ideas.):

The Father strided towards James and grabbed his head, shouting joyous phrases to the crowd, which cheered him back. The Father then clenched James' head harder to prevent James' squirming. The Father pulled out a knife, and slit James' throat, cutting a bloody gash, spilling blood all over the floor. Before James blacked out in pain, he saw the bloodshot, murderous eyes of a killer, rather than the merciful, kind eyes of The Father.

James croaked a whispery, "Please," but it was lost in the rowdy cheering of the crowd.

And then James collapsed onto the floor as everyone celebrated his death.


Ooookay actually that was a little more violent then I thought it would be, but I guess you get my point.

The last line is absolutely the best. Perfect ending for a Dystopian Short Story like this.

Anyways-- Hope to see more of this magnificent work!

Bon Voyage

-y0sH!




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Fri Dec 25, 2020 3:13 am
Ichthys wrote a review...



Although this story was obviously dystopian from the beginning, the narration really sold me on the idea that being chosen was a "good" thing, or at least as good as it gets in a dystopian world. I was genuinely surprised by the ending despite the foreknowledge that the tale would not end well.

For some reason , despite you clearly asserting that James was Danny's father, he seemed a bit removed from the situation, like perhaps an older brother. Ashamed of being related to a boy who comitted such a terrible deed while not directly participating in the action. I actually had to reread those paragraphs to make sure of their relationship.

I also felt that mentioning Fathers' Appreciation Day in the first paragraph was a little unnecessary, but it still works well. On a side note, I do wonder if the apostrophe in the name of the holiday is gramatically correct. In the case of our own Father's Day there is an apostrophe, but not in Veterans Day. I suppose it depends on whether it is the fathers' appreciation or the fathers' day, but it does lead to some interesting discussions.

You did make a few typos here and there as well, but this was overall an entertaining read. Thank you for sharing this, and merry Christmas!





trust your heart if the seas catch fire (and live by love though the stars walk backward)
— E.E. Cummings