The day was hot. Unbearably so as I toiled in the garden. Dirt clung to my sweaty skin as I dug, unearthing an odd little yellow worm which my two-year-old daughter fell in love with. She wrapped it in a hand towel and carried it around like a baby.
She was still attached to it bedtime and made me tuck it I to bed with her. While I found the thing odd and disgusting, I did my best to let her do her own thing. For the next few days, she was inseparable from it.
Every time she proudly presented her “baby” to me, I noticed it was growing in size. Though what it was eating I couldn’t say.
Meanwhile I had noticed a tiny mark on my ankle and my foot had been swollen as well. I dismissed it as a bug bite. That night I woke with my daughter in my bed. Her towel in her arms. The odd little worm was missing. I felt something graze my leg and I swiped my hand under the covers to brush what I supposed was a hair away from me.
My hand ran into something that was attached to my leg. I withdrew it from the covers and clicked on the bedside lamp. The now fat worm was attached to my leg by a tubular appendage coming from its mouth.
With a shudder at the disgusting creature, I plucked it from my leg and went to the window. Opening it, I set it outside and then closed the window on it.
The next day as I walking down the stairs, I felt a sharp pain in my left lung and ribs. I rubbed tenderly at it as I walked. Another sharp pain went through my foot as I stepped down and my toes fell off, blood sloshing down the stairs. I stumbled and fell the rest of the way.
For a moment I lay at the bottom of the stairs in pain, then I heard a soft pop from my left side. I pulled my shirt out and looked under it. There was a small hole in my side with a little yellow worm wriggling out of it. As it squirmed the hole grew bigger. I pinched the end of the worm and yanked it out, then smashed it between my fingers. Half of my side dislodged, and a bunch of little yellow worms spilled out on the floor in a pool of my own blood. The little worms wriggled in the pool as more fell on top of them and I tried to get up.
My legs were weak beneath me, and I couldn’t stand. Blood loss caused my vision to tinge black. Just before I lost consciousness, I heard my daughter squeal in excitement as she saw the worms.
Emily Hughes is writing as Eady H. She is a cancer survivor, mother of twins, and pet mom to a pig named Hogarth.