3/2″ and 30 lbs (Samir Sirk Morató)

You’re watching Attack of the Killer Shrews when your dead classmate raps on the window.

It’s late. You’re awake, a bowl of buttered popcorn in your lap, a quilt around your shoulders, snowy new pajamas hugging your limbs, and that skeletal face is at the window again. For a heartbeat, you consider ignoring him. The woods are freezing and full of dying rabbits; your now slumbering parents spent this evening screaming at each other. You don’t want to deal with Logan. It’s annoying. He’s gross.

Still, you let Logan in.

“Thanks,” he says, crawling under the screen. He needs even less space to slip under it now.

“You’re welcome,” you say.

You both sit there, the bowl of popcorn between you, watching puppets and dogs in costumes attack a mad scientist’s lab. The cold that flooded in from opening the window fades. You huddle beneath your quilt, goosebump-pricked; Logan, speckled in frost, toys with his jeans. You are nice, so you don’t comment on his rotting teeth, crooked arm, or burn-splotched feet. Logan had all of those before he died. It wasn’t nice to comment on them then either.

Logan picks a popcorn piece off your carpet. “You dropped a kernel.”

“Oh! Sorry. Thanks.”

His fingertips scrape your palm when he gives you the kernel. It’s a whisper of dry hickory. You marvel at how he’s shriveled. Before, Logan was ripe. Now he’s a tiny scarecrow with haystack hair, all bone and sinew rattling around in his clothes. Loam caulks the creases in his sweater. Logan’s nibbled wrists and ankles jut out. You cannot remember how he looked in class. He’s the first dead person you’ve ever seen, but that’s less alarming than how quickly you’re forgetting him.

“There’s a bug in your hair,” you say.


Logan picks a cricket off his bangs. Countless other creepies crawl along his face. His eyes, his nose, and corners of his mouth are buggy white noise. You give up. Truthfully, you do not know Logan. You are not friends. But before his mom or her boyfriend killed him, he liked your trivia about polar bears being left-handed, and lent you pencils, so you owe him. You owe him because you are both five years old.

When you turn six and Logan is still five you will stop owing him.

Attack of the Killer Shrews, brimming with terrible beasts and adults pretending to love each other, scares you. You finish it so Logan has an excuse to stay. Being gone is not hard. Being alone is. When the credits roll, Logan stands, his shadow much bigger than his bruise-mottled body.

“I gotta go,” Logan says. “I need to get back. It’s a long ways off.”

“Where are you going?”

He shakes his head. “Can’t tell you.”

It’s always the same. You pout. All the MISSING posters and schoolwide pasture of buttercup ribbons don’t matter. Logan’s mother waited two weeks before she reported him missing. Everyone knows he’s dead. No one knows where he is. If someone in your town of seven-thousand does know, they aren’t sharing. Maybe Logan will tell you one day. Then again, maybe he’ll never stop parroting his old defense. Logan is no longer alive, no longer being forced into boiling showers or being beaten for wetting himself, but you understand how adults loom largest when they aren’t in the room.

The TV turns off. You let Logan out the door this time. He stands on the icy porch, all yellowed and greened, his moist clothes sticking to him. The jack-o-lanterns on the stairs glitter like knife bits. The moon, rotted to a sliver, hangs high above the mountains. It is dark and the country is vast. Logan looks small beneath the porch light.

Jealousy bites you. Napping beneath pine needles, far away from your parents, sounds luxurious. It seems nice. If you weren’t so scared of bears, vampires, and killer shrews—if it wasn’t so cold—you would leave with Logan. Your dead classmate smiles at you with winnowing lips. You’re too exhausted and envious to smile back.

“Goodbye,” Logan says, mournful, grateful. “Goodbye. I’ll see you again later.”


Logan clambers down the stairs. He waves; you wave. You watch him go. He leaves like your white breath: momentarily, he is there in the night, there in the trees, there with you. Then the world swallows. Then he is gone.

You will never see him in imagined flesh again. It is less because he has left you and more because he has climbed inside you. He hides in your dreams. He bathes in your guilt. Because there is no grave, it becomes you. You, with twenty more birthdays than him and counting. You, who stands and weeps at yourself, ungratefully still wanting to be gone.


Samir Sirk Morató is a scientist, artist, and heap of flesh. Some of their work can be found in The Hellebore, Catapult, The Dark Sire, and Wrongdoing Magazine. They are on Twitter and Instagram @spicycloaca. 


image: Amateur photographer and author Andrea Damic(Sydney, Australia) has words published or forthcoming in 50-Word Stories, Paragraph Planet, The Dribble Drabble Review, 50 Give or Take (Vine Leaves Press) Anthology, Spillwords, The Centifictionist, The Piker Press and elsewhere with her art featuring or forthcoming in Rejection Letters, Door Is A Jar, Fusion Art’s Exhibitions, Welter at the University of Baltimore and elsewhere. You can find her on TW @DamicAndrea or linktr.ee/damicandrea.