alex's archive
About Me
Image by @pepperjackets.

My name’s Alex Whalen and I play a lot of tabletop roleplaying games. I’m also a writer, so I end up going overboard on backstory to the point of writing actual stories. Now I’m sticking them here.


Total Word Count: 214,804
Total Stories: 47
Shortest Story: 537 words
Longest Story: 19,173 words
Average: 4,570 words



Jana contracts the Knocking Death in late spring.

The Knocking Death is very straight-forward. The first day you have it, it presents as fever— on a warm spring day, it doesn’t present as anything more than overexertion. The second day is when the irregular heartbeat starts. The knocking. That’s the day you shut the house and get your affairs in order. Though, of course, unless the fever was caught and the sufferer kept away from fond embraces, the whole family will hear knocking tomorrow. The third day you feel very well except for a minor issue of balance. The Knocking Death makes its final home in the inner ear. The moment your body falls horizontal after that, you die.


What the Right Hand Carries 54 MINUTE READ

God does not apologize, least of all to His angels.

You do not apologize to your hand when you injure it. You do not apologize to your eye when the light strikes it too hard. Him apologizing to me was as pointless as the pained noises I learned to make from Jeannie when I hit my shin on a table. The hurt is inconsequential. Offense can only be given to things separate from you.

God apologized.

“We’re not even made with as much consideration as a hand,” Gabriel said that night we met again after a thousand years apart. “You cage yourself for no reason. Isn’t that infuriating? Isn’t that alive?”

I am not supposed to be alive. Living things are distinct things. Separate things. Not angels. And what is there to apologize for?


Manger sur le pouce 9 MINUTE READ

Margot dreams of the sea.

It’s a warm sea, the south of France or Spain, framed by dark cliffs and set shining by mid-morning sun. The day is perfect. She wears a white linen sun dress and a round straw hat, and when a breeze comes up to lazily push around the salt smell of the water it ruffles her, flapping the white skirt and trailing dark curls. The sun on her skin feels right. As a child she feared a tan and becoming darker than she already was. But how good sunlight feels on her! How complimentary to the warm brown of her skin.

There is an orange in her hand. With neatly trimmed nails she begins to peel it. She starts from the center and makes an unbroken coil of the peel, a spiral, and smiles to see it like she did when she first learned how as a girl of seven.

“Woman!” Felix yells from the bluffs.


Tiralo Fuori Sull’impasto 13 MINUTE READ

“I just thought it might be nice, you know, rather than surviving on Jeannie’s robust but diminishing array of leftover vittles, to charge once more onto the culinary battlefield,” Francis said as he unpacked the paper bags from the grocer’s. “Although I do always forget on larger shops it would behoove me to go in frock. Certainly someday we shall live in a time when a gentleman might stock his own larder well without the judgment of little old ladies, who, for some bloody reason, don’t believe I should know the difference between rosemary and thyme.”

“I never noticed judgment on my trips,” Richard commented from the kitchen doorway. His instinct was to help, but he contented himself to watch his spouse place cans and jars of various things on the counter with no apparent relationship to each other: olives, lye, anchovies, two packets of tea cookies, tomatoes in oil, starch, white cherries, four bundles of herbs.

“That,” Frankie said, turning just enough to point at Richard over his shoulder, a tin of corned beef in his other hand, “is because you are too handsome to be judged. Someone’s dowager aunt catches sight of you, all she can likely think, is, ‘there goes a sculpted god of mercy, picking up supplies for an orphanage or something, wish he would pop in at the quilting circle,’ and, meanwhile, there I am looking like a bewildered—oh, hello.”

Richard, flushed to the ears, laid his chin on Frankie’ shoulder and gave the man a slight squeeze with the arms now wrapped around his waist. “Stop. If a grandmother judged you, it was based on conceiving what meal you could make with… Borax and olive oil?”


The Catgut Dilemma 26 MINUTE READ

As far as Kimiya Shioji is concerned, the trouble starts when Haruka Ahane sees him at the night market in Saburo-cho and wastes no time in coming over. He’s fresh off teaching a long day of classes, five o’clock shadow over his collared button-down shirt. Maybe about to catch the subway back to the flat. If he feels fatigued, he doesn’t show it, waving animatedly as he cuts the crowd.

“Shioji-san!” he calls as he approaches. “Are you working a case?”

“I feel like I shouldn’t have to point that loudly asking if I’m working a case is not good for many parts of my job,” Kimiya replies, thumbing the button on the side of his pen to turn it off.