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June 7, 2009
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The entire family surrounded the hospital bed as the old woman’s life slowly began to fade.
A young girl tugged at her father’s sleeve. “But daddy, what if something bad happens?”
The father leaned down to comfort his daughter. “Don’t you worry sweetie. Grandma’s lived a good life, nothing bad will happen.”
“But daddy, teacher said that sholves are random and that they have nothing to do with…”
The father gripped the girl by her shoulders. “Now you listen. Those hot-shot ‘intellectual’ types are putting lies in your head. I have no doubt in my mind that Grandma’s sholve will be beautiful and pure, just as she was in life.”
“She’s going!” said the girl’s uncle.
The father and daughter pair turned their attention back to the hospital bed, where the old woman’s eyes slowly closed and her heart rate flatlined. There was a moment of silence where some bowed their heads while others looked at their watches, as if they were counting down.
The old woman’s body disappeared, and in its place…
…was a pile of high explosives.
“Oh shit,” the father said.
“For Christ’s sake!” the uncle yelled. “Hit the button, raise the Goddamn blast shields!”
“Everyone out of the room!” a nearby doctor yelled, hitting the blast shield button.
The daughter and father ran out of the room as fast as they could and managed to get out just as the shields were being raised. The explosives went off without warning.
3 family members dead. 8 injured.

A “sholve” is defined as the random transformation of a body into an assortment of alike objects at the time of death. The transformation can be into just about anything. Harmless objects, dangerous objects, other organisms. It is considered tasteful of the family to make use of the product of a sholve if they are able to.
The first recorded instance of a sholve was in 1789, when a Mr. Arnold F. Xandercarl was shot in an illegal duel and promptly transformed into a rather large swarm of butterflies. It’s not said what exactly happened to make it so, but ever since that day every person’s death has been followed by these transformations.
The very notion of the sholve has baffled scientists for decades, not just because it’s completely random, but because sholves tend to defy the otherwise sound theory of the conservation of mass. No one had given thought to such a discrepancy until around 1978 when a rather obese woman passed away and promptly transformed into a group of bubbles.
Theologically speaking, every major world religion has the same essential explanation for why a sholve is what it is. Despite scientists repeatedly and correctly claiming that sholves are, in fact, random, most major religious groups maintain the teaching that the product of a sholve reflects on how that person lived their life.
The truth is that no one really knows what causes a sholve to end how it does, though many studies have been done. One in particular by Dr. Catherine Reynolds, who is fairly confident that she is closing in on the secret…

“This is Channel 12 News at noon. A major genetics reasearch lab announced today that they are on the verge of discovering a way to predict the result of any given person’s sholve. Nancy Kerrigan has the story.”
The screen changed to a well-groomed newswoman standing next to a brown-haired woman in a white lab coat. “Thanks Tom. I’m here with Dr. Catherine Reynolds, head of the project. Doctor, what can you tell us about your work? Are you saying we’ll be able to tell exactly what a person’s sholve will be?”
The brown-haired scientist leaned in to talk into the microphone. “Not exactly, Nancy. While we won’t be able to tell precisely what the result will be, we’re finding that there are certain genetic sequences for harmful and harmless sholves as well as sequences that dictate whether or not the result will be organic, such as the swarm of butterflies from the first recorded sholve, or inorganic, such as a case in 1879 where a murder victim burst into mud, splattering the walls of his own home as well as his attacker.”
“Fascinating,” said Nancy. “What other information do you hope to obtain from this study?”
“Well, we’re hoping we can isolate certain sequences that can tell us what kind of organism it will be and possibly the nature of said organism, such as if it’s a mammal or a reptile,” Catherine said.

“Sir?”
The aging man tore his gaze away from the TV as he realized the receptionist was talking to him.
“Can I help you sir?”
“Uh, yes, I’m here to see Doctor Catherine Reynolds, please,” the old man said.
“Alright, if you head down the hall and take the third door on the right, you’ll come to her office. Wait in there and I’ll let her know you’re here,” the receptionist instructed him.
The man made his way down the hall and to the room as he was told. As he entered the room, he noticed the wall opposite him behind a large desk. Covering it were several diplomas and certificates, as well as many family photos.
The old man smiled.
The door began to open and the man turned around. The brown-haired woman from the news report earlier stepped into her office.
“Good to see you again, Dad,” the woman said, embracing her father.
“Good to see you too, Cathy,” the father said, returning the hug.
Catherine motioned to her father to take a seat, then walked behind her desk and took her place there.
“I, uh, saw you on the news today. On that report about sholves,” said the father.
“I know, isn’t it fantastic news? Fainlly there’ll be a way to predict danger before it…”
“Cathy, I’d like you to stop this nonsense.”
Cathy was silent for a moment. “I… beg your pardon father?”
“It is not our place as humans to know these things. Only He can…”
“Dad, listen to yourself!” Cathy said, frustrated. “Do you even remember the day Grandma died? I’m trying to prevent a tragic accident like that from happening again!”
“Your grandmother’s sholve was no accident. Clearly there was something we were unaware of that He knew about her,” the father said, a tone of uncertainty in his voice.
“Don’t you remember what you told me? You knew Grandma all her life. You told me she was beautiful and pure. Yet her sholve was terrible and destructive. If you had listened to the doctors and put the shield up before as a precaution…”
“Obviously your grandmother wasn’t as pure as I thought she was!”
“You know what, Dad? Forget it. Get out of my office,” Catherine said, pointing towards the door. “I should have known from the second you started talking about it that I couldn’t have a civilized talk with you about my work.”
Catherine’s father stood up and walked toward the door. Before leaving, he turned back. “I’m warning you, Cathy. This is not something for humans to dabble in. It is His will and His will alone.” He turned back around and exited the office.
Catherine sighed as she slouched down into her chair. She loved her father, but his dogma conflicted with her work. He’d bring it up every time one of them visited the other and it was always a mood killer.
She looked up at the happier photos from her youth. How she yearned for those simpler days when she didn’t need to worry about religion getting in the way of her relationship with her father. But there was work to be done. These studies would benefit mankind, only after that would she try to repair what was left with their relationship.
She sighed as she got up from her desk and left her office, making her way down the hall to the labs.

Several monitors were strewn about the table. Monitor #1’s display showed the father exiting the building, while over on Monitor #7 Catherine made her way to the lab.
“Have the sniper keep an eye on the old man. We’ll need his life for bargaining later. Tell the team to wait for my mark to… ‘extract’ the good doctor.”
Idea I got one day whilst playing Call of Duty 4 with the "A Bad Year" cheat on, which makes everyone you kill burst into tires.

Will I go somewhere with this? Eh, maybe.
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:iconhisnameisdaveyoufool:
Critique by HisnameisDaveyoufool Jun 7, 2009, 7:38:05 PM
Not bad, Mr. Intolerant. You've got a very good basic premise here for what could be an intriguing story.

Let's go through this...

1st section: That part when the old woman turns into explosives? First off, that would be a GREAT way to begin the story. I mean, you've got a good opening sentence already, but if it was "As old Mrs. whatsherface's body disappeared from the hospital bed, a pile of high explosives took her place." Y'know, in the tradition of Kafka's metamorphosis, where he starts off right the bat by saying "Gregor Samsa's a GIANT FREAKIN' BUG NAO!" (very, very rough translation)

Also, you might want to imply that the explosives are about to explode. If the fuse isn't lit or there isn't a timer, you can just get the bomb squad to come in and remove her.

One more thing -- I would love to see more description. Go into detail about the injuries and the getting away instead of "3 dead, 8 injured." If you're concerned about length, description, and letting us be in this world you've created, is always a good thing to include.

2nd section: This is what the hypothetical wikipedia article of your story should say, not the actual story itself. I've found a great way to get exposition such as this done is not through a research paper format, but some character talking to another character, introducing him/her to the concept. Like a family member explaining sholves to a child.

But one thing to watch out for (and if you already knew about this, that's cool too) is "maid-and-butler dialogue," a thing my Sci-Fi teacher taught me. That's when two characters are talking to each other about things they already know, like the maid and the butler in a cheesy soap opera.

3rd section: Finally we see the main character. Being that this is such a short piece I'd like to see her earlier on. Also, there's no underlying tension in this scene between any of the characters. You NEED conflict in every scene, unless it's the very end of a story or something.

4th section: Here we get into a lot of dialogue. I'd say get rid of the first section where he's talking to the receptionist; it doesn't contribute much to the overall outcome.

To make the dialogue more realistic, I reccomend they should start off talking about something else very petty, dancing around the issue. Then it leads to a bigger confrontation. That way we can have a lower point to start the climb, and therefore the climb is higher. Because right now it's high, but not steep.

5th section: Spooky. Personally I'd like to see more description here too.

Overall: despite the points above, this is still a really strong idea. I say you've got a very good start here!
What do you think?
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:iconflameviper:
I RABU YOU. SO MUCH.
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:iconhisnameisdaveyoufool:
HisnameisDaveyoufool Jun 7, 2009
Fav'd, to critique soon.
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:icontenshizuru:
My stupidity about paragraphs aside...I like it. Very interesting concept, hope there's a second chapter for sure.
Reply
:iconxxdiabloxx:
xXDiAbLoXx Jun 7, 2009  Hobbyist Artist
OMAI GAWD

I BROKE TEH SPACE-TIME CONTINUUM AND DIVIDED BY INFINITY

IM BLIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIND
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:iconparuser:
A most intriguing concept. I will admit that when I first saw the title, I thought you had misspelled "shovel". :P

Also, I want my sholve to be a younger me. Technical immortality, bitches!
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:iconthecrobot:
TheCrobot Jun 7, 2009  Hobbyist Digital Artist
:o
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:iconrasec-wizzlbang:
Rasec-Wizzlbang Jun 7, 2009  Hobbyist General Artist
I want to spontaneously turn into a volcano when I die...
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:iconnocturnalzombi:
That would be kickass.

I'd kind of want to be a massive fireball, or supernova type shit. ;D
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:iconnocturnalzombi:
I really do like the idea.
The conflict of religious vs. science is rather interesting especially because it's the father vs. daughter.

If you do move forward with it. I think I'd like to read on.


Also I lol'd really hard when the grandma turned into explosives. That's just awesome.
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