Song Title Challenge #10: Metalingus – Alter Bridge

It’s time for this week’s Song Title Challenge.

Write a short piece of fiction, around 300 words, using the song title as your story title but don’t listen to the song.  Remember to link back to this post so I can find yours.

If you would like to suggest a song title for a future post, you can do so from the challenge page.  You can also leave a suggestion on the Facebook page.

This week’s song is Metalingus by Alter Bridge.  Thank you once again to Bumblepuppies for the suggestion.


Ferrous Dermatitis is the name the doctors gave it.  We just called it Metalingus or Ironskin.

It started in the foundries.  Something went wrong with the nanos.  A minor programming glitch that got worse every new replication cycle.

When the bosses realised they shut down the foundries and sterilised them, destroying the nanos.  But it was already too late.

Billy was the first to show symptoms.  His fingers started turning black and lost their feeling.  The doc thought it was gangrene or something, but when she tried to stick a needle in it bent.  In a week, it was his whole arm.  They amputated, but it kept spreading.  Within a month he was a solid lump of iron.

By that time others had started turning.  Everyone who worked at the foundries were placed in quarantine, even the bosses.  They went one after the other.  There was nothing anyone could do – the nanos converted the very iron in their blood to replicate.

The government firebombed the foundries and the quarantine facility, and we thought it was over.

Then little Sally Warner over on Treacle Street got a dark patch on her shoulder.  Her mom had worked on a smelter crew in Foundry 3.  The doc didn’t even waste time with needles; just held a magnet against her shoulder to see if it sticks.

Two days later, when we woke up, there was a fence around town.  No one’s allowed to leave.  They didn’t say nothing, but we all know they’re waiting for us to die so they can firebomb the whole town.

Joke’s on them.

There’s a copse on a hill just outside town.  Some days, when the last rays of sunlight hit the treetops just right, there’s the unmistakeable glint of metal.  It’s only a matter of time.

Copyright © 2013 Herman Kok

6 thoughts on “Song Title Challenge #10: Metalingus – Alter Bridge

  1. That was too easy. 😉

    I’m making a mental note that the next song title I submit should not have any potential sci-fi or fantasy connotations. (Funny thing is what this song actually is and what the title might really mean…)


    1. We can make that a side-challenge: find a song title I can’t turn into sci-fi or fantasy 😀

      I listened to the song and they’re good. Don’t know if I’m willing to spend money on them yet, but that’s what Youtube is for, isn’t it?

      Your theory on the title?


      1. Sounds like a good challenge. I guess that means I won’t be sending you Slow Chemical.

        The theory I’ve seen of the title is that it’s a mix of metal and a certain sexual practice. (So, some sort of metal love.) I think it’s more like a meta- plus lingus, meaning a higher reflective language.


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