Song Title Challenge #1: Nessun Dorma – Giacomo Puccini-The entire village had gathered inside the church. Families and neighbours huddled together, talking in whispers. The Fair Ones were abroad, dancing under the harvest moon, and it was not safe for men.
Pietro started awake as the padre grabbed his shoulder. "Nessun dorma," the old man whispered urgently. "Sogni chiamano a loro!" No one sleeps. Dreams call to them. They feed on dreams, invading your mind and driving you insane. That’s why everyone was in the church tonight: to keep each other awake; to keep them out.
Song Title Challenge #2: The Mountains of Mourne – Percy French-"He’s gone to the Mountain."
That’s what Mother told me that chilly November morning when I asked where Grandpa was. I thought nothing of it, but then, I was six. The Mountain was a giant granite dome that dominated the skyline to the south. Men went there every day, carrying all manner of tools. They came back every night. Grandpa didn’t.
It was many years before I found out what went on there.
Song Title Challenge #4: Grandma Got Run Over By A Reindeer – Randy Brooks-Grandma got run over by a reindeer. This was strange for several reasons. First-off, you don’t really get reindeer in South Africa. Secondly it was nowhere near Christmas. To this day I have not been able to find out why they had built a giant reindeer in the food court in the middle of July. Why they built it on wheels is anybody’s guess.
Song Title Challenge #5: Fools of Damnation – The Embrace that Smothers Part 9 by Epica-“Why do you think they call it Mermaid Bay?”
“I don't know, Sam. Will you shut up now? You're scaring away all the fish.”
Ned cast in his line, thankful for a moment’s respite. He cared deeply for his cousin, but Sam never stopped talking. He had only brought Sam along because his mother had insisted. Sam had never been fishing, she had said. Ned couldn't let him go home without first teaching him to fish. Ha! She just didn't want to be stuck with Sam’s incessant chatter.
Song Title Challenge #6: Earth Intruders – Björk-The general rested a few seconds. The attack had started hours ago and things were not looking good.
The enemy had taken them by surprise, overwhelming the outside defences within minutes. The general had immediately ordered an evacuation and sent his shock troops to seal off and hold all access tunnels. They would die before letting the enemy through, but he knew in the end it was futile. The intruders were too many and they would soon be overrun.
Song Title Challenge #7: Careless Whispers – Wham!-Shhh! We don’t use that word here. They can hear if you say their name, even if you whisper. Careless whispers, my ma used to say. Careless whispers make you dead, she said.
People don’t know the truth ‘bout them. People think they’re just stories. They think they’re good, and nice, and beautiful. But they’re not, I tell you. They’re dark, and cruel, and evil. They’d kill you as soon as look at you. They kill for sport.
Song Title Challenge #9: Staying Alive – The Bee Gees-Cat ran. Branches and ferns slapped at her face and bare arms. She felt something tear at her shirt. Brambles, a detached part of her mind registered.
Her foot caught on a root. She stumbled and slammed into the next tree. She fell backwards, winded. Her lungs burned as she gasped for air.
She stood and her leg gave way under her. Pain shot through her ankle. She must have twisted it in the fall.
Song Title Challenge #10: Metalingus – Alter Bridge-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.
Song Title Challenge #11: Dirty Laundry – Don Henley-“Honey, I'm home,” called Hamish as he entered the cottage.
Hilda stepped in from the back room to greet him, but suddenly retreated as if she had run into a wall.
“Hamish! What’s that god-awful smell?”
Hamish blushed. He had completely forgotten about the smell, his olfactory senses having closed up shop and left before teatime this morning.
Song Title Challenge #12: Walk Like An Egyptian – The Bangles-There was a puff of dust as the tomb unsealed. Bryce strained against the beam, his muscles shining in the torchlight, and the door slowly swung outward.
He stood back. “After you, Doc.”
Susan had already donned a pair of latex gloves and handed a pair to Bryce as she passed him.
“Put these on, please. I don’t want us damaging anything.”
Song Title Challenge #13: Purple Rain – Prince (I think)-The night is black as pitch. Gusts of wind rattle the shutters of the dilapidated manor house standing abandoned on the desolate moors.
A bolt of lightning rends the air in two, illuminating for a second a lonely figure hurrying towards the house, huddled against the approaching tempest. A second flash. He glances behind him as he starts counting under his breath: “One…two…three.” He has barely finished mumbling the last number when he hears the thunder, starting as a dull rumble but quickly building to an overwhelming crescendo, drowning out even the howling wind.
Song Title Challenge #14: Battle Hymn of the Republic – Julia Ward Howe-All I had to go on was the address of an office in Brooklyn. I arrived five minutes early to find the door ajar. My gut told me to call the cops, let them handle it, but my curiosity won out. I pushed open the door.
He was sitting behind his desk, head bowed forward like he was reading. The Battle Hymn of the Republic blared full-blast from an old-fashioned gramophone in the corner.
I rapped on the glass. “Mr Brody? It’s Sam Thompson. We spoke on the phone?”
No reaction. I drew my .38 as I entered the office.
Song Title Challenge #15: Marijuana – Brujeria-Hernando scrambled backwards over the floor until his back hit the wall. The spectre was slowly approaching. He recited Psalm 23 in a high-pitched voice.
“The Lord is my Shepherd, I shall not want…”
Still it came closer.
“…Even if I go through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil…”
He closed his eyes.
Song Title Challenge #16: Big Balls – AC/DC-I took a deep breath as the shuttle stopped shaking and the restraints loosened. I hated re-entry. With all the advances that had been made in space travel, passing through a planet’s atmosphere remained perilous at best. It didn't help that I had no idea on what planet I was, but up to now the details of my mission had been kept secret even from me.
“Dr. Stevens, please come to the cockpit,” came the pilot’s voice over the intercom.
I made my way to the front of the empty shuttle. The cockpit door opened as I approached.
Song Title Challenge #17: Living With A Hernia – “Weird Al” Yankovic-I had brought down a monster of a boar. It was so large that three of us had to roll him over to skin. I braced myself against the beast and pushed. A pain like I had never felt before exploded in my groin and I could only lie there and whimper. The men had to carry me back to the house.
Charlotte summoned the healer after she saw the angry red bulge in my loins. He proclaimed it to be an imbalance of the humours and prescribed leeches. I had never held with leeching and sent for a physician from London.
Song Title Challenge #18: Swing Life Away – Rise Against-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.
Song Title Challenge #19: Sleepless Swans – Swallow the Sun-They say just before it dies, a swan sings and it’s the most beautiful sound known on Earth. Scientists say it’s a myth, but I've heard it. I heard fifty of them, all at once. It was incredible. Then they died.
They all died.
Haven't you noticed? Go walk through London. I'll give you everything I own if you can find a single swan.