Song Title Challenge #18: Swing Life Away – Rise Against

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.  You can pick your own genre or use the one suggested to me.  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 Swing Life Away by Rise Against and the genre is Crime/Mystery.  Thanks to Anna from The Insanity Aquarium for the suggestion.

Swing Life Away

Detective Quinn slowly circled the scene, taking it all in.  Just like the others.  That would make this number six.

The body was slumped in the tyre-swing, arms folded in her lap, feet crossed underneath, almost relaxed.  If you didn’t know better you’d have thought she was asleep.  Quinn knew better.

The first was four years ago…no, three – it was just before the World Cup.  The coroner had ruled it a natural death.  There were no wounds, no bruising, the tox screen was completely clean.  Her heart had simply stopped.  There was only one reason to suspect foul play: the note.

Six months later a second body turned up.  Identical to the first except for her actual appearance.  And every six months since then.

“Hey, Charlie.  What’s today’s date?”

“Fifteenth.  Why?”

“Just wondering.”

Three years to the day.

The coroner approached, carefully stepping in the same footprints of the first officer on the scene.

“And?” said Quinn.

“No obvious signs of trauma.  Time of death around twelve hours ago.”

“Is it there?”

He gestured towards the body.  “See for yourself.”

Quinn walked closer, also keeping in the existing footprints.  She crouched in front of the swing and carefully lifted the girl’s hands.  There it was.  She took the piece of paper and unfolded it.  The message was only three words:  SWING LIFE AWAY.  What did it mean?

She backed away and nodded at the forensics techs to start processing the scene.  She wanted the body removed before any kids showed up.

Her phone rang.


“What do you mean ‘another one’?”

“Shit!  Okay, give me the address.”

“No, he’s still here.  I’ll tell him.”

Another one.  Two girls on opposite sides of town.  She walked to the coroner’s van.

“Charlie, we’ve got another one…”

Copyright © 2013 Herman Kok

Here’s the song for your enjoyment:

17 thoughts on “Song Title Challenge #18: Swing Life Away – Rise Against

  1. Thank you so much for choosing my song suggestion! I just wanted you to know that I absolutely loved this, and I couldn’t stop the little wry smile from creeping over my face as the note was opened and the words were revealed. Honestly, this is a brilliant piece, and the whole thing is a thoroughly awesome idea for a blog challenge. So glad I found your wonderful blog! 🙂


    1. Wow! Thanks for the wonderful comment. I’m glad you liked it. Be sure to also check out Nate’s attempt (link below) and why not try your own? There’s no expiration date so you can pick any previous title. Just be sure to link back to the original post so I don’t miss yours.


  2. Great story KokkieH, I enjoyed it! It was atmospheric and well paced. Sent a chill up my spine though! And I’m really curious to know what happens. So if this ever does turn into a book, tell us about it for sure.

    I gave the challenge a shot myself and posted the results on my blog here:

    Not sure I’ll win any prizes, lol, but it was good fun, so thanks for the suggestion. I also followed your idea not to listen to the song until I was finished. Crazy, because it was completely different to what I expected but really cool to hear.


    1. I commented on yours as well.

      My wife also wants to know what happens next, but continuing with it would involve figuring out a way for the murderer to actually kill these people without leaving any evidence and, more importantly, figuring out how Quinn’s going to catch him. If you have any ideas, let me know and I’ll name a character after you 😉


    1. Thanks. And sorry for creeping you out and ruining the song for you 😉

      Why don’t you try your own take on the title? You don’t have to use my genre. Just make sure you link back here so I don’t miss it.


      1. You didn’t ruin it! You just changed my perception 🙂

        And I am not one for creative writing. I like to write about stuff, but making stuff up has never been my forte. I don’t really have a knack for it!


      2. You’re missing out. Just saying. 😉

        I don’t listen to the songs beforehand, which helps to write something different from what people would expect. Often when I listen to them afterwards I’m like, “Whoa! That’s nothing like what I wrote!” It’s part of the fun for me. And I’m discovering some really nice songs along the way.


      3. I am missing out! Maybe I will have to try and hone my writing skills one day 🙂

        It’s a really cool prompt. I have seen people use random pictures or phrases picked right out of a book with no context. I never thought of a song title as a subject, but it works out really cool 🙂


      4. It started out as a creative exercise between a bunch of us who did an online writing course together, so I can’t take credit for the idea, but the others have since lost interest so I decided to continue it here. I like the practice it gives me, especially in writing genres I normally wouldn’t. And who knows? One of these could perhaps turn into a novel one day.

        Good songs, just like pictures, tell stories, after all. I think that’s why their titles work so well as writing prompts. At times it does get tricky to incorporate the actual title in the story, though. I’ve cheated on that front a couple of times.


      5. That’s the good thing about making something new though, isn’t it? Neil Gaiman said, “Because nobody has done it before, they haven’t made up rules from stopping anyone doing that again, yet”. So really, you’re not cheating. You’re just creating new guidelines 🙂


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