Note: This is posted “as is”, no editing or proof reading involved, as part of the 30 Shorts In 30 Days project. During April I will be attempting to write and post a new short story everyday.
Most animals need to feed regularly. Humans can manage to either graze whenever hungry, or to eat three square meals a day. Some animals only need to eat once a day, others still only need to eat once a week. And that’s how it is with the rare stomachus worm.
The parasitic stomachus worm feeds only once a week, starving its host of nutrition and excreting a mild toxin. The stomachus worm lives inside of its host digestive tract, normally dormant. A fully grown worm can measure between one and three centimetres in length and when not eating it is completely flat in appearance. When it does eat however, the mouth end will expand to form a wide circle, completely blocking off the stomach, and will catch all incoming food. It then digests this food itself before closing its mouth and opening its tail, whereupon the digested food will be passed back into the hosts stomach.
While the worm itself, like most parasites, does not cause its host any distress, the mild toxins that it passes back into the host can leave them feeling nauseous, occasionally inducing vomiting and or diarrhoea. These sensations usually pass within twenty-four hours and the host remains none the wiser of the parasite living in its stomach.