Day of the Choosing is a horror short story by Lily Alexander.
In an unnamed city in the distant future, a ritual commences every ten years to determine who is worthy to remain in the city, or be exiled to an unknown fate. One man living with his wife and daughter attends the ritual with the other city inhabitants, fearful of what may happen to his family if they aren't chosen.
Day of the Choosing provides examples of the following tropes:
- And I Must Scream: Those not Chosen are fed to All the Rest and absorbed into its flesh, and kept just sentient enough to be assaulted with memories of the millions of past victims.
- Big Bad: All the Rest is the horrific Eldritch Abomination that is behind the ritual, and uses said ritual to feast upon innocents each decade, including the protagonist.
- Cosmic Horror Story: The story centers around a city where the people are at the mercy of a sadistic Eldritch Abomination that has taken over the entire planet and absorbs the people into itself, forcing them to have nightmares for all eternity, and the protagonist becomes one of those unlucky souls by the end.
- Death of a Child: Many of the children in the city aren't chosen. Just like the adults, they're fed to All the Rest.
- Downer Ending: As befitting a Dystopian Cosmic Horror Story. The protagonist isn't chosen, and he along with thousands of other innocents are fed to All the Rest. It's also made clear that All the Rest will continue the ritual until it has devoured the entire planet, just as it has done to other planets and will do to many other planets.
- Dystopia: Combined with Cosmic Horror Story. The setting is a city where all life seems to be as normal as on our world... except that every ten years, the titular Day of the Choosing is held, and those not chosen are Released to Elsewhere to be fed to an Eldritch Abomination. This happens in cities all around the world, all run by the abomination.
- Dystopian Edict: Every ten years, citizens are gathered in an outdoor auditorium to decide who lives and who is sent away to be fed to All the Rest.
- Eaten Alive: What happens to those who are not Chosen; they are sent to be absorbed by All the Rest and become part of its body.
- Eldritch Abomination: All the Rest, the one in control of the planet and the Choosing system, is a colossal, deformed, fleshy mound that looks like a pulsating tumor and is filled with millions of mouths. The real body of All the Rest is a pulsating orb- the flesh mound is a shell made up of the still-living bodies of the victims fed to it.
- The Hero Dies: The protagonist is one of thousands of people who ends up not getting Chosen, and is consumed by All the Rest.
- Lottery of Doom: Inverted. The lottery, or Choosing, is to determine who survives. Those who lose are the ones who become All the Rest's next meal.
- No Name Given: None of the characters in the story, aside from All the Rest (which is just the name the protagonist gives it, have names. Not even the protagonist.
- Pragmatic Villainy: All the Rest doesn't devour the population of the worlds it visits until after it finds another world with a viable food source. Instead, it keeps some of the population alive so its current food source remains stable.
- Precision F-Strike: The protagonist drops it exactly one time out of frustration in the narrative.
- Released to Elsewhere: While obvious enough to readers familiar with Dystopias, the citizens who are sent to be fed to All the Rest are simply said to not have been Chosen, and are moving to an undisclosed location to suffer an undisclosed fate.
- The Reveal: What does it mean to be Chosen? You get to live another ten years. Those who aren't Chosen are devoured by All the Rest, a giant Eldritch Abomination, as the protagonist unfortunately finds out in the end.
- Sadist: What separates All the Rest from the average Eldritch Abomination Big Bad is the sick pleasure it takes from the cries of its victims:"Ah, this is my favorite part: watching you all wriggle around against my might even when you have no chance! " All the Rest's many voices boomed throughout, drowning out the screams as more and more of us melted into its flesh. "Keep struggling! Keep fighting for your survival! Just as the ones who came before, and the ones who will come after! "
- Too Many Mouths: All the Rest has millions of mouths inside of it that are all a few inches wide.
- To Serve Man: All the Rest, a being from who-knows-what-planet, consumes those it has not Choose to temporarily spare.
- Villainous Glutton: All the Rest loves to feast on Unchosen beings, and loves to play with its food as well.
- Where the Hell Is Springfield?: There are no hints as to what state, country, or even continent that the story takes place in. Given that All the Rest has traveled to multiple worlds, it may not even take place on Earth.